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September 6, 2004
Gallup, USA Today Show Bush Up Seven Points

In another poll confirming Bush's breakout this week, USA Today shows George Bush leading John Kerry outside the margin of error for the first time in the campaign:

President Bush widened his lead over John Kerry after a combative Republican National Convention deepened questions about the Democratic candidate's leadership, especially on terrorism.

As the campaign enters its last eight weeks, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows Bush at 52%, Kerry at 45% and independent candidate Ralph Nader at 1% among likely voters. Before the convention, Bush led Kerry by 2 percentage points.

Just as with the more dramatic Time and Newsweek polls, the real story shows in the poll's internals. Terrorism has moved back to the top of the list of concerns for voters this fall, and Bush has extended his lead over Kerry on that issue by ten full points, to a gap of 27:

But the New York convention has reshaped views of the political landscape and the candidates in ways helpful to the GOP. Views of whether Bush has the personality and leadership qualities to be president improved by 6 points; those of Kerry declined by 14 points.

And the importance of terrorism the major issue on which Bush has an advantage surged. Voters now say terrorism is as important as the economy, and more important than the war in Iraq, in determining their vote. The president is preferred by 27 points over his challenger in handling terrorism, up from a 10-point edge last month. By 2-to-1, those surveyed say the chances of a terrorist attack against the USA would be less if Bush rather than Kerry were elected.

The Kerry campaign chalks this up as the result of "ugly and inaccurate speeches" at the Republican convention, part of the Democrats' new strategy to simply cry and pout whenever a Republican opens their mouth. With the exception of Zell Miller, the Republican convention speeches barely mentioned John Kerry, preferring to focus on Bush's track record of accomplishments in his first term. For those who saw and read the speeches at the convention, that dog won't hunt.

Kerry needs to quit painting himself as a victim at every turn. Americans don't elect victims, they elect leaders, and Kerry has yet to figure that out.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 6, 2004 5:42 PM

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