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In a poll that will likely go unnoticed today with all of the VP hoopla, CNN reports that Bush has gained in popularity among minority voters since the 2000 election, making headway among demographics that Kerry needs to have any chance of winning:
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry holds wide leads over President Bush among black and Latino voters questioned, but Bush runs slightly stronger among minority voters than he did four years ago and has a double-digit lead among white voters, according to the results of a new Gallup poll looking at racial contrasts in the presidential race.
The poll, released Tuesday, found that in a two-way race between Bush and Kerry, 53 percent of white registered voters supported Bush, while 41 percent supported Kerry. Among black voters, Kerry led Bush 81 percent to 12 percent, and among Latinos, the Massachusetts senator led 57 percent to 38 percent.
Exit polls from the 2000 election showed that Bush received only 9 percent of the black vote, compared to 90 percent for Democrat Al Gore, and 35 percent of the Latino vote, compared to 62 percent for Gore. So Kerry's lead over Bush among black voters in the new poll was about 12 points smaller than Gore's gap in 2000; among Latinos, it was 8 points smaller [emph mine -- CE].
This is tremendous news for the Republicans, and suggests that Kerry may have missed an opportunity to shore up support among minority voters with his selection of Edwards. When any Republican can gain 12 points with the black community and eight with the Latinos, it means that either the Republicans have done something significantly right, or Democrats' neglect has finally come into focus with these voters. Kerry has battled the perception of a lily-white campaign since the Iowa caucuses; this may be the chickens coming home to roost.
Kerry chose John Edwards, a trial lawyer with just six years of experience in national politics and none in foreign policy or national security. Kerry could easily have sewn up these demographics by selecting a VP nominee from one of these constituencies, such as Bill Richardson of New Mexico or even a woman like Diane Feinstein. The fact that his short list included none of these tells these people that the Democrats do not value their support, or at least do not consider its maintenance to be a high priority.
Gallup includes more detail on the polling, including the interesting data that Nader draws off more minority voters from Kerry than from Bush, magnifying the Democrats' vulnerability.Sphere It View blog reactions
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