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ABC News and the Washington Post have released the results of their latest polling in the presidential race, and they confirm that John Kerry has headed downhill faster than a runaway eighteen-wheeler burning through its brakes. Kerry, who had led by two points after his convention, now trails by nine among likely voters, 52-43, for an eleven-point freefall.
But even more significant than the overall vote result are the underlying polling, which shows how complete Kerry's collapse has been. For instance, 84% of Bush supporters claim to support the President rather than just casting an anti-Kerry vote. Bush's numbers on that question have been remarkably consistent for the past six months. So, too, have Kerry's -- but that should give him no comfort. Only 41% of Kerry's votes are a positive affirmation of his candidacy, while more than half, 55%, plan to vote against Bush rather than for Kerry. And Kerry has dropped fifteen points since 8/1 in his favorability numbers, going from 51% positive to only 36% positive.
Even worse are the issue numbers, where Kerry performed dismally. In ten issues on which ABC/WaPo polled, Kerry only outranks Bush in three, and only one of those outside the margin of error (Helping the Middle Class). Bush tops Kerry on Iraq by sixteen points, and on the overall war on terror by a breathtaking twenty-two points, 57-35. He tops Kerry by ten in taxes (50-40) and, interestingly, Supreme Court nominations, which came up 46-36 with 15% holding no opinion. So much for Bush's judicial nominations being outside the mainstream; this could portend some serious blowback for Democrats in November for their obstinacy in blocking Bush's picks for the federal bench.
On eight character questions, Kerry loses on all of them in the most devastating blow this poll provides. Note the yawning gap on leadership:
Honest and trustworthy: 48-35 Bush
Understands people like us: 44-43 Bush
Strong leader: 58-31 Bush
Make country safer, more secure: 54-35 Bush
Shares my values: 48-40 Bush
Has vision for future: 49-40 Bush
Clear stand on issues: 56-29 Bush
Appealing personality: 53-31 Bush
In a rebuke to the Bush haters and the mainstream media, 52% of the electorate feel that Bush earned re-election on the basis of his first term in office regardless of the candidate opposing him. Against that kind of support, any candidate would have difficulty unseating an incumbent. However, Kerry's abysmal performance in this campaign not only threatens to retain Republican power in the executive, but it could overwhelm Democrats hoping to get a toehold in the Senate as well.
Unless Kerry turns it around -- and the CBS forgery debacle won't help that at all -- his candidacy risks almost every Democrat running below him on the ticket. If the presidential race turns into a McGovern- or Mondale-style rout, the Republicans could gain as many as five seats in the Senate, making judidcial nominations much more likely to pass. The Democrats know this, but have no choice but to try to ride it out.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Captain's Quarters has a stunning analysis of the stunning ABC/Washington Post poll. I'm generally not much of one for polls (they make me nervous when they're discouraging, and they make me nervous when they're encouraging). But this one really ... [Read More]
Tracked on September 9, 2004 9:20 PM
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