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August 13, 2004
Gallup: Bush Maintaining Head-To-Head, 3-Way Leads

As I mentioned below, Gallup has released its latest polling, and it shows George Bush maintaining a thin lead over John Kerry among both likely voters and the wider, less-reliable registered voter sampling. Bush leads Kerry 50-47 (LV), almost unchanged from two weeks ago, when Gallup polled as the Democratic convention closed. Among registered voters, Bush leads 48-47, a statistical dead heat.

David Moore writes this about the lack of movement:

The changes from the last poll are within the polls' margins of error, suggesting the contest has been essentially steady over the past several weeks. Indeed, the average levels of support for the candidates in the past three polls are identical to the current results.

"Essentially steady" sounds fine, until you realize that during this period, John Kerry selected John Edwards as his VP candidate and held his national convention. Even with all of that going on, Kerry could not budge in the polls. That is a disaster for the Democrats, even if they all want people to believe that partisanship is at an all-time high and they never expected much of a bounce coming from the convention. If so, why spend the money on staging one? Why not just do a call-in nomination at the end of August to nominate John Kerry and spend the money on advertising?

The news does not improve for Kerry in Moore's next paragraph:

The current poll also shows that 51% of Americans approve, and 46% disapprove, of the way Bush is handling his job as president. For the last three months, Bush has averaged 48% approval and 49% disapproval. The current figures are a slight improvement for Bush and represent the first time he has been above the symbolically important 50% level since mid-April.

So Bush has pushed himself back up after the brutal primary campaigning into re-election territory. Kerry has yet to dent Bush, and Bush hasn't even had his convention yet. Why? Despite Kerry's focus on security and Iraq, Gallup shows that Bush has made steady improvements in these areas, boosting his overall performance rating:

The slight improvement in Bush's overall job rating could result from slightly more positive assessments of his handling of the terrorism and Iraq issues. While a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq (45% approve, 52% disapprove), this rating has improved slightly from a 42% approval to 56% disapproval rating in a June 21-23 poll.

Bush continues to receive his highest marks on his handling of the terrorism issue, with 57% approving and 40% disapproving. This rating is slightly better than the 54% to 44% rating Bush received in mid-June.

As always, the more Kerry talks about security issues, the more people turn back to George Bush.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 13, 2004 9:47 AM

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