Gallup: Kerry Lost Ground During Convention

Gallup announced the results of its USA Today/CNN poll taken after the Democratic national convention. Instead of polling “adults”, as Newsweek did, Gallup focused on likely voters, a much more reliable indicator of voter behavior. Their polling shows that Kerry went from a marginal tie — one point up — to four points down over the convention, which puts him behind at the edge of the margin of error:

In the survey, taken Friday and Saturday, the Democratic ticket of Kerry and John Edwards trailed the Republican ticket of Bush and Dick Cheney 50% to 46% among likely voters, with independent candidate Ralph Nader at 2%.
Before the convention, the two were essentially tied, with Kerry at 47%, Bush at 46%.
The change in support was within the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points in the sample of 763 likely voters. But it was nonetheless a stunning result, the first time in the Gallup Poll since the 1972 Democratic convention that a candidate seemed to lose ground at his convention.

USA Today pins the blame on Kerry’s decline on a highly polarized electorate, but the real problem was the candidate and the convention itself. Despite efforts to tone down the anti-Bush rhetoric, every speaker talked about policies not in their own terms but as opposed to George Bush. Al Sharpton went on a tirade against Bush. By the time Kerry stepped to the microphone and launched his speech, it paled in comparison to Sharpton’s efforts and was self-contradictory. Again, Kerry defined his entire approach in terms of George Bush, implying that Bush had sold out to the Saudis and in the very next breath, implored Bush to “stay positive”.
Why did Kerry’s numbers drop after the convention? Because Kerry is his own worst enemy, and every time he speaks to the nation as a whole, his support erodes. The only points during the entire campaign when Kerry made inroads against Bush has been when Kerry was off the campaign trail. Kerry made his prime-time pitch to America, and America yawned.
In this context, having his campaign advertising “go dark” might not just provide a financial lifeline but a strategic lifeline as well. Democrats should consider having Kerry stop campaigning altogether, as so far — despite his third “reintroduction” to American voter — he has proven to be his highest obstacle to success.

Captain’s Caption Contest #21: The Right Stiff Edition!

It’s Friday, so it must be time for another edition of the Captain’s Caption Contests! This week’s theme is Politicians In Space, and here we have the official Democratic nominee for the presidency being surprised by having a photograph taken on a campaign event. Too bad his friends John Glenn, Bill Nelson, and Bob Graham couldn’t have told him what cameras do. Those Democratic Republican rascals!
Brave New World?
Guest judging this week will be Pat from Dr. Santy, a fine blog and a loyal reader. As always, leave your comments on the comments page, and as always, put your best caption entries in the comments section — NO e-mail, please! (E-mailed entries will be specially marked by CQ Archives security personnel and shoved down Sandy Berger’s pants.) The contest will remain open until 8 pm Sunday, August 1st, at which point the comments will be closed and Pat will pick the winners.
In the meantime, if you enjoy the contests and the blog, consider dropping in a donation for Captain’s Quarters trip to New York as a credentialed blogger at the Republican National Convention. Just click on one of the buttons below and donate whatever you can to the cause — all donations are cheerfully and gratefully accepted!

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BUMP 7/31: Don’t forget our first live stream today at noon! And keep the entries coming ….
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COMMENTS CLOSED: To the judges!

Did The Minutemen Bomb Churches?

Car bombs in Baghdad exploded outside two churches, one Catholic and one Armenian, causing dozens of injuries and pointing towards a widening of targets in Iraq by Islamofascist terrorists:

Two car bombs exploded just minutes apart outside two nearby churches in central Baghdad during Sunday evening services, injuring at least 20 people, witnesses said. The attacks appeared to be the first targeting churches during the 15-month violent insurgency.
U.S. military officials said at least one and possible both of the blasts appeared to have been booby-trapped cars in the city’s Karada neighborhood.

More news will be forthcoming; as I’m posting this, it’s been announced that two people have died in the attacks. However, the deliberate targeting of churches announces a new low for the Islamofascists, and perhaps a true revelation of their aims. These are not freedom fighters — these are people determined to wipe out all non-Muslims, or at least those who refuse to live as dhimmis at the mercy of Muslim masters.
One purveyor of the freedom-fighter myth received the adulation of the Democrats this past week, hailed as a hero by its delegates and feted by its leadership. Michael Moore even received an invitation to sit with ex-President Jimmy Carter. Here’s what Moore has to say about the Iraqi “insurgents”:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?

I don’t recall Americans bombing or torching churches in the Revolutionary War (nor, for that matter, the British, despite the desperately inaccurate movie The Patriot by Mel Gibson). I don’t recall the Minutemen beheading civilian hostages in order to force the Hessians out of the colonies. I don’t recall George Washington and John Hancock leading a theocratic movement that called for conversion or death to all infidels. I don’t recall even the Nicaraguan contras doing anything remotely similar to this, and yet John Kerry fought against supporting their cause to liberate Nicaragua from communism.
Do the Democrats embrace this version of history as much as they’ve embraced the man who made this ludicrous comparison? John Kerry and Terry McAuliffe need to answer this question. If they lift Moore up as an example of what their campaign means for America, then they need to explain Moore’s positions explicitly to the American people in order for us to understand how they approach the world.

Which Of These Things Doesn’t Belong?

Ann Gerhart provides Washington Post readers with an analysis of a term tossed around the Fleet Center in Boston with wild abandon last week, and in the ultimate paragraph, acidly notes one person who avoided it:

Today’s phrase:
A label affixed, often with wild abandon, on any Democrat capable of raising the pulse of delegates assembled inside Boston’s FleetCenter. Especially popular with the punditocracy, which used it more than 200 times last week.
Examples: David Gergen on CNN says Bill Clinton is a rock star. Jake Tapper on ABC and Rudy Giuliani, talking to reporters, both tag Michael Moore with it. Hannah Storm on CBS manages to declare Bill Clinton and Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama rock stars in the same paragraph. Says Greta Van Susteren on Fox News: “I hate to overuse the term” — oh, go ahead — “but ‘rock star’ is the term everyone keeps using with both the Clintons.” When Sean Hannity on the same network gushes to Jerry Springer that he is a “rock star” on the convention floor, Springer answers, “That shows you the pathetic state of affairs, I’m a rock star.”

Fortunately for me, I watched the convention on C-SPAN, so I managed to avoid the silly commentary by the talking heads on Alphabet Row. I’m honestly perplexed by the usage of “rock star” as a compliment, given that most true rock stars tend to be narcissistic and intellectually shallow, and worse, as Gerhart points out. However, in the case of political pundits, they tend to use the term more in description of audience response rather than any intrinsic quality of the person. It’s the reason that they felt comfortable applying the label rather liberally at the convention.
Gerhart waits until the final sentence of her analysis to point out where punidts drew the line:

During the Democratic convention, not a single commentator seems to have referred to John Kerry as a rock star, even though he is, to the best of our knowledge, the only one who can play the guitar.

No one referred to Bob Graham as a rock star, either, although that’s hardly comforting to Kerry. Howard Dean had been the rock star of the primaries until he ran into a buzzsaw wielded by Al Sharpton and Dick Gephardt in Iowa, and no one has since assumed the mantle. It’s clear that Kerry still has not captured the imagination of the Democrats, nor (curiously) of the punditocracy which normally hoists the Democratic nominee on its shoulders. The underlying cause may be Kerry’s rhetorical Grahamism and his policy drifts, which leave the liberal commentators either distrustful of his direction or simply uninspired.
No one will be calling George Bush a rock star at the RNC, either — but no one expects Bush to embrace such a small label anyway.