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September 17, 2004
CBS Confirms Bush Lead Over Kerry

CBS must hate to report this, but their latest poll confirms the earlier Gallup polling that George Bush has opened a significant lead over John Kerry, 50-41:

The contest between President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry looks much as it did in a CBS News Poll conducted last week, after the Republican convention. Bushs post-convention bounce remains intact, if even slightly larger in this poll; Bush now leads Kerry 50 percent to 41 percent among registered voters, giving the President a 9-point margin.

In the so-called battleground states, Bush's lead balloons to an astronomical fourteen points as John Kerry can't even break the 40 level:

Voters in 18 battleground states favor Bush over Kerry by 53 percent to 39 percent.

"Battleground" in this case may start looking like Sherman's march to the sea. What did CBS find out about Kerry's meltdown? One reason is that Bush has solid support from his base; only 7 percent of Republicans plan to vote for Kerry, but 20% of professed liberals are crossing over for Bush. His voters are considerably less enthusiastic than Bush's; only 40% of those choosing Kerry say they "strongly favor" him, as opposed to 63% of Bush voters. Attacking Bush hasn't helped, either, as voters have noticed the aggressive campaigning -- and have dropped their support during the same period.

And as Kerry has focused on terrorism, his numbers have steeply declined against Bush on that issue. Bush has always led Kerry on confidence in fighting terrorism but a month ago the gap was only 11 points, 43-32. Now Bush leads by twenty-four points, 50-26. Not only that, but more than half of all people now believe that deposing Saddam was the right thing to do (54%), despite Kerry insisting the past two weeks that it was the "wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time". Kerry has completely misread the American electorate.

However, the most interesting part of the CBS poll, as always, is at the end. CBS routinely oversamples Democrats without adequately adjusting the poll results, which has led to some outlier projections in the past. Not this time -- and this may be bad long-term news for the Democrats that goes far beyond losing the White House again:

In most CBS News polls, Democrats outnumber Republicans among registered voters. Personal identification with a party can change (temporarily or permanently) with events and voting preferences. In many states voters do not register with a party, and individual identification is a matter of choice. In this poll, where the Republicans hold a significant lead in voter preference and more voters hold negative views about Democratic nominee John Kerry, when voters are asked about their partisan identification at the end of the questionnaire, more identify themselves as Republicans. 36 percent say they are Republican, 32 percent Democrats. The percentage that identifies themselves as Democrats in this poll is lower than it has been in CBS News Polls conducted earlier in the year.

Kerry may be driving people away from the party, not just for this election, but for good.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 17, 2004 11:39 PM

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