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This afternoon, the Washington Post reported more good news from their pollsters. Bush has worked back to a tie with Kerry in the WaPo poll, 46-46, erasing a four-point gap in the same time period when John Kerry selected John Edwards as his running mate. Bush has also reclaimed his advantage in fighting the war:
Despite growing fears that the United States is losing the war on terrorism, President Bush has reclaimed the advantage over his Democratic challenger John F. Kerry as the presidential candidate best able to deal with the international terrorist threat, according to the latest Washington Post poll.
The survey found that 55 percent of all Americans currently approve of the way Bush is handling the campaign against terrorism, up 5 points in the past three weeks. Slightly more than half -- 51 percent -- also said they trust Bush more than Kerry to deal with terrorism, while 42 percent prefer the Democrat. Three weeks ago, the two were tied on this crucial voting issue, which ranks with the economy and the situation in Iraq as top concerns this presidential election.
The polling took place before Bush's address at Oak Ridge, in which he not only defended his efforts but made an impressive case for continuing his prosecution of the war. According to the poll, Americans need to hear more about the victories, such as liberating almost 50 million people and elimination of the AQ Khan network, as well as stripping Libya of its WMDs. Only 46% think we're making progress, a reflection of the administration's passivity in making its case and a media that can't bring itself to cover the news properly:
For the first time in Post polls this year, fewer than half of the country -- 46 percent -- say the United States is winning the war on terrorism, down eight points since April. Thirty-eight percent say the United States is losing the terrorism fight, a new high in Post surveys and up 11 points since March.
At the same time, the proportion of the public who say the war with Iraq was not worth fighting has grown to 53 percent, a record high, while 45 percent say it was worth it. Still, a 53-percent majority say the conflict with Iraq has contributed to the long-term security of the United States.
The last part is puzzling; are we to believe that eight percent of the electorate think that the security of the United States isn't worth fighting for?
More interesting is the results of the Edwards selection. Only 46% said that it made them view the Kerry campaign more favorably, the same percentage that supports Kerry in this poll. 49% said it made no difference or made them view him less favorably. It appears that Edwards has brought nothing to the ticket except a bit more passion to the already committed. Comparatively, the Post notes that in 2000, Gore's selection of Lieberman got a 53% favorable and Bush's selection of Cheney managed 50%.
The shift back so soon towards Bush shows that the Kerry/Edwards ticket not only received little bounce, but that it has already lost some of its steam. The debacle of the Thursday-night fundraiser may have contributed to the fall, but it may also just be the Edwards selection demonstrating Kerry's lack of seriousness on security. At any rate, the Republicans have been given a window earlier in the summer than first thought. It's time to throw it open with more of the Oak Ridge approach.Sphere It View blog reactions
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