September 9, 2004


Bush Gains Solid Lead, Poll Shows: President Strengthens Position on Key Campaign Issues (Richard Morin and Dan Balz, September 9, 2004, Washington Post)

President Bush emerged from his New York convention with a solid lead over Democratic challenger John F. Kerry, strengthening his position on virtually every important issue in the campaign and opening up a clear advantage over his rival on many of the personal characteristics that influence voters in presidential elections, according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

For the first time in the campaign, a majority of likely voters now say they plan to vote for Bush. Among those most likely to vote in November, Bush holds a 52 percent to 43 percent lead over Kerry, with independent Ralph Nader receiving 2 percent of the hypothetical vote. Among all registered voters, Bush leads Kerry 50 percent to 44 percent. [...]

In the five weeks since the Democratic convention, Kerry's favorability rating has plunged, after attacks on his Vietnam service from a group of anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans, self-inflicted wounds by the candidate over Iraq and a relentless pounding from Republicans. Kerry's favorable rating fell from 51 percent at the beginning of August to just 36 percent in the latest Post-ABC News poll, while his unfavorable rating rose from 32 percent to 42 percent.

Bush's favorable rating rose slightly to 51 percent and his overall approval rating rose another notch to 52 percent. An identical percentage said Bush deserves a second term. Strategists in both campaigns have watched Bush's approval rating closely through the year as an indicator of his reelection prospects. That rating fell below 50 percent in May and has been inching its way back up over the summer. History suggests that Bush will be formidable in November if his approval rating remains in the low-50s, vulnerable if he is in the 40s.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2004 5:56 PM

In '96, it was the Democrats complaining about Zogby undercounting Democrats. In '00 it was Republicans complaining.

ABC/Washington Post may be correct, but Zogby was accurate in both '96 and '00.

Posted by: Joel Thomas at September 9, 2004 6:14 PM

The internals of this poll are a [gonadcrunch] for Kerry.

Posted by: ghostcat at September 9, 2004 6:27 PM


You could very well be right about Zogby. But ever since the RNC, Kerry's actions and gaffes and flip-flops under the far more intense scrutiny of the final two months are those of a candidate who's in big trouble. So I don't know how seriously they're taking the tighter Zogby numbers at Camp Kerry.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at September 9, 2004 6:31 PM

I don't know about Zogby, but this AP story is certainly telling:

After months of pledging to contest President Bush (news - web sites) in every region of the country, Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites) and Democrats are limiting television advertising to 14 battleground states as the fall campaign opens.

Arizona, Colorado, the most of the South and MIssouri are being written off by Kerry and co.

Things could change and Republicans shouldn't get cocky but things are looking up for the good guys.

Posted by: pchuck at September 9, 2004 7:26 PM

Zogby is accurate -- on the day before election day. He seems to always have a mysterious "late swing" to the winning candidate.

Posted by: AML at September 9, 2004 7:57 PM

Joel - without the DUI the weekend before the election Zogby would have been the least accurate pollster in 2000.
As for Kerry abandoning states it will be interesting to see if Southern Dem senate candidates (SC, NC, LA) are helped or hurt by Kerry's absence.

Posted by: AWW at September 9, 2004 10:34 PM

AWW, you gotta think the SC candidate is all but lost anyway. SC is a really conservative state, it ranks up there with Nebraska (my current home) and Idaho (my former home). As for LA and NC, that is a good question. LA is just plain odd in state-wide elections because Democrats have a habit of winning them.

Posted by: pchuck at September 9, 2004 10:43 PM

The "Nader factor" really ought to be taken out of national polls, since he's only on, what, nine ballots now ?

With any luck, he'll put one state in the Bush column, but that's the most that anyone can hope for/fear.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 10, 2004 2:54 AM