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July 8, 2004
AP: Polls Bumped Upwards -- For Bush

A new poll of registered voters conducted earlier this week shows new movement in the polls as John Kerry selected John Edwards as his running mate -- but the momentum went to George Bush (also here):

The AP-Ipsos poll found Bush leading Kerry just outside the margin of error, with the president's support at 49 percent, Kerry at 45 percent and independent candidate Ralph Nader at 3 percent. The Bush-Kerry matchup was tied a month ago, when Nader had 6 percent.

The three-day survey began Monday, the day before Kerry tapped Edwards as his running mate, and asked registered voters about the newly minted ticket on Tuesday and Wednesday. Half supported the Republican tandem of Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney while 46 percent backed the Kerry-Edwards ticket, just within the question's margin of error.

AP/Ipsos showed some boost in Kerry's support in the South after the selection of Edwards, but not enough to overcome Bush's strength in that area. Bush gained strength on the economy as well, which may demonstrate that public opinion may be the most lagging indicator of a recovery. His approval rating has recovered to 50% for the first time since January, and picked up 11 points among suburban women -- so-called soccer moms who now support Bush at 52%.

All of this adds up to a remarkable turnaround since the last AP/Ipsos poll in June, which had a hypothetical Kerry/Edwards ticket leading Bush/Cheney, 47-44. Bush has added six points of support in a month, even with the focus on Kerry and his selection of a running mate. Kerry may have already peaked, especially with most of the bad news in Iraq heading into the rear-view mirror now that sovereignty has been successfully transferred and some perspective can be gained by the electorate. Nader has been hammered, losing half of his support in a month and appearing to have almost faded out of sight.

For Democrats who assumed the Edwards selection would boost their popularity, it appears it only impressed the faithful. Democrats should be concerned that even with the news breaking Kerry's way. most of it positive, he lost ground.

UPDATE: Read Hugh Hewitt's take on this -- he attributes the trend to Michael Moore.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 8, 2004 4:10 PM

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