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July 27, 2004

ABC/WashPo Shock Poll: Bush Gaining Big

Does that headline, errrm, overstate the findings of the poll? Well, I'm thinking about applying to the New York Times as a political reporter; I'm emulating Adam Nagourney. I plan to use that headline as one of my "clips."

But, in all seriousness, it's the internals that really surprise.

Kerry has lost support against Bush in trust to handle five of six issues tested in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, including terrorism, Iraq, taxes and even health care. And Kerry's ratings on personal attributes β€” honesty, strong leadership, consistency, empathy and others β€” have softened as well.


The bottom line has shifted only very subtly. Head-to-head, the Massachuestts senator has slipped from a slight lead in late June to a dead heat today, with 49 percent support for Bush and 48 percent for Kerry among registered voters. Including Ralph Nader, it's 48 percent-46 percent-3 percent.

Better but not good. But hang on there.

Here's the really stunning part. Asked who the voters trusted to better handle issues...

Terrorism B55 v. K37 (was 48 v. 47 -- that's a 17 point swing)

Taxes B49 v K43 (was 41 v. 53 -- that's a stunning reversal)

Health Care B44 v. K47 (was 38 v. 56 -- from a trouncing to near-parity)

Iraq B52 v K40 ( was 49 v 47 -- a nine point swing)

Education B44 v K45 (was 43 v 52 -- nine-point deficit to near-parity)

Economy B47 v K46 (was 45 v 50 -- five point deficit to near parity, slightly ahead)

I don't know if this poll is right or one of the 5% that will just be wrong, but it seems to me that Kerry can't win when he's behind big on the war, slightly behind on the economy, and only slightly ahead on the Mommy issues.

An improving economy and the handover of authority in Iraq are among the likely factors influencing these assessments. So, too, is the attention focused on terrorism by the release of the Sept. 11 commission report last week. The nation's response to 9/11 has been Bush's finest hour in public approval; focus on it accrues to his advantage.

Probably the single most important advance for Bush on the issues in this poll is his rating for handling terrorism. Fifty-seven percent of Americans now approve, up from 50 percent last month. And registered voters trust Bush over Kerry to handle terrorism by 55 percent to 37 percent, compared with an even split, 48 percent to 47 percent, a month ago.

Among specific groups that are key to Kerry's chances, since June he has lost 13 points among women in trust to handle terrorism, 11 points among moderates and eight points among independents.

Who do women, moderates, and Independents trust on terrorism?

Women B46 v K43 (was 40 v 56 -- nice turnaround)
Moderates B40 v K43 (was 42 v 54 -- another nice turnaround)
Independents B50 v K40 (was all knotted up at 48-48 -- ten point lead with Independents. Nice.)


On the economy, public perceptions, while hardly enthusiastic, are their best (46 percent positive, 53 percent negative) in ABC/Post polls since July 2001. And Bush's approval rating for handling the economy, while not good, is better β€” up eight points since March, to 47 percent. Economic sentiment was vastly more sour at this time in 1992, when Bush's father was on his way to losing a second term.

This President Bush does remain vulnerable on his economic performance; 41 percent of Americans say most people have gotten worse off financially since he took office, while just 15 percent say most people are better off. That "worse off" number, though, is down from a high of 52 percent last fall β€” and it was worse still, 61 percent, in summer 1992.

Lots of good stuff here.

No Matter How Cynical I Try To Be, I Just Can't Keep Up Update: Kerry is Unelectable calls shenanigans on this poll, for an interesting reason:

This is meant to give the appearnace of a John Kerry boost after the convention. There will be no real gain for Kerry, the media have recognized that, and now they are doing their damnedest to manufacture one. Kerry has to have some kind of momentum post convention or else everyone will recognize he has no chance of winning and Donks will be discouraged and won't show on Nov.2. This poll is completely false.

Hmmmm... I don't know. I guess we'll have some idea in a week.

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posted by Ace at 03:34 PM

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