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October 15, 2004
Reuters: Bush Up By Four After Debate

In what will be a shock to the pundits who thought that Kerry won Wednesday's debate, the new Reuters/Zogby (ha!) poll shows that Bush picked up three points since then, extending his lead to four points over Kerry:

Bush led Kerry 48-44 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, which included one night of polling done after Wednesday's debate in Tempe, Arizona. Bush led Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, by only one point, 46-45 percent, the previous day.

An improvement in Bush's showing among undecideds and a strong response from his base Republican supporters helped fuel the president's rise.

The difference between the two daily tracking polls is that now we start to see the effects of the debate, as one-third of the survey was taken the day afterward. Far from hurting Bush, the debate seems to have swung more independents and younger voters to the Republicans, while Kerry now only holds onto half of the Catholic vote:

The new tracking poll found Bush pulling into a tie with Kerry among Catholics and women voters, and moving slightly ahead with young voters. Kerry still holds a solid lead among seniors.

Put simply, Kerry cannot win with only half of women and Catholics supporting him. Both consituencies went solidly for Gore last time around in a losing effort. If Bush captures both of these blocs, Kerry's toast, and he knows it.

As I predicted, the polls would show within 96 hours that Bush won the third debate handily. Kerry's stumbles cannot be covered up by the mainstream media, and the Mary Cheney debacle -- especially the "shame" comment by Edwards' wife -- has his campaign reeling. When even Zogby acknowledges a GOP gain in momentum, you have to assume the other polls will be more dramatic.

As Jim Geraghty at Kerry Spot advises, watch carefully which states each candidate visits over the next three days. I predict that outside of Ohio, Kerry spends all of his time in Gore states, while Bush spends most of his in Gore states as well. Defense vs. offense -- it tells you what the professional polls really show.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 15, 2004 6:23 AM

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