Kerry Losing Ground In Key Swing State

In a state that George Bush would love to win and Kerry can’t afford to lose, Kerry has dropped seven points in the past five weeks:

John Kerry’s numbers have slipped in Pennsylvania, a statewide poll released Tuesday shows.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee lost ground to President Bush in the latest poll conducted for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Keystone poll by Franklin & Marshall College showed Bush leading Kerry 46 percent to 40 percent among 565 registered voters. Kerry lost 7 percentage points since the last Keystone poll in February. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

The drop mirrors the free-fall that Kerry has experienced nationwide over the same period of time. Kerry dropped from 47% to 40% while Bush’s numbers held firm at 46%, and Kerry’s disapproval numbers went up the same amount. Nader’s entry has pulled 3% of voters away from the two national candidates, but presumably mostly from Kerry. Kerry only leads among those voters 65 and older. The Keystone poll reports responses from registered voters instead of likely voters, which tend to favor Republicans a bit more, so the news is doubly bad for John Kerry and the Democrats. The poll was conducted over the weekend, after the fallout from the Clarke testimony and book publication.
Just to remind everyone, Al Gore carried Pennsylvania by 5 points in 2000. If Bush can take Pennsylvania, it puts Kerry in a deep hole, since the Keystone State represents 21 electoral votes. Having George Bush poll this strongly in a Rust Belt state while the economy is still revving up signals a deep problem with the Kerry campaign, who should be holding onto a state so close to his own. If this continues, Kerry will take his rightful place amongst the giants of electoral flops, McGovern and Mondale. (via The Corner)
Addendum: Here’s a handy Electoral College vote calculator. You’ll notice that had the 2000 census been applied to the 2000 election, Bush would have won 8 more EC votes. Changing PA to Bush puts him 60 EC votes ahead of Kerry…

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