July 27, 2004

ABC/WashPo Shock Poll: Bush Gaining Big
— Ace

Does that headline, errrm, overstate the findings of the poll? Well, I'm thinking about applying to the New York Times as a political reporter; I'm emulating Adam Nagourney. I plan to use that headline as one of my "clips."

But, in all seriousness, it's the internals that really surprise.

Kerry has lost support against Bush in trust to handle five of six issues tested in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, including terrorism, Iraq, taxes and even health care. And Kerry's ratings on personal attributes — honesty, strong leadership, consistency, empathy and others — have softened as well.


The bottom line has shifted only very subtly. Head-to-head, the Massachuestts senator has slipped from a slight lead in late June to a dead heat today, with 49 percent support for Bush and 48 percent for Kerry among registered voters. Including Ralph Nader, it's 48 percent-46 percent-3 percent.

Better but not good. But hang on there.

Here's the really stunning part. Asked who the voters trusted to better handle issues...

Terrorism B55 v. K37 (was 48 v. 47 -- that's a 17 point swing)

Taxes B49 v K43 (was 41 v. 53 -- that's a stunning reversal)

Health Care B44 v. K47 (was 38 v. 56 -- from a trouncing to near-parity)

Iraq B52 v K40 ( was 49 v 47 -- a nine point swing)

Education B44 v K45 (was 43 v 52 -- nine-point deficit to near-parity)

Economy B47 v K46 (was 45 v 50 -- five point deficit to near parity, slightly ahead)

I don't know if this poll is right or one of the 5% that will just be wrong, but it seems to me that Kerry can't win when he's behind big on the war, slightly behind on the economy, and only slightly ahead on the Mommy issues.

An improving economy and the handover of authority in Iraq are among the likely factors influencing these assessments. So, too, is the attention focused on terrorism by the release of the Sept. 11 commission report last week. The nation's response to 9/11 has been Bush's finest hour in public approval; focus on it accrues to his advantage.

Probably the single most important advance for Bush on the issues in this poll is his rating for handling terrorism. Fifty-seven percent of Americans now approve, up from 50 percent last month. And registered voters trust Bush over Kerry to handle terrorism by 55 percent to 37 percent, compared with an even split, 48 percent to 47 percent, a month ago.

Among specific groups that are key to Kerry's chances, since June he has lost 13 points among women in trust to handle terrorism, 11 points among moderates and eight points among independents.

Who do women, moderates, and Independents trust on terrorism?

Women B46 v K43 (was 40 v 56 -- nice turnaround)
Moderates B40 v K43 (was 42 v 54 -- another nice turnaround)
Independents B50 v K40 (was all knotted up at 48-48 -- ten point lead with Independents. Nice.)


On the economy, public perceptions, while hardly enthusiastic, are their best (46 percent positive, 53 percent negative) in ABC/Post polls since July 2001. And Bush's approval rating for handling the economy, while not good, is better — up eight points since March, to 47 percent. Economic sentiment was vastly more sour at this time in 1992, when Bush's father was on his way to losing a second term.

This President Bush does remain vulnerable on his economic performance; 41 percent of Americans say most people have gotten worse off financially since he took office, while just 15 percent say most people are better off. That "worse off" number, though, is down from a high of 52 percent last fall — and it was worse still, 61 percent, in summer 1992.

Lots of good stuff here.

No Matter How Cynical I Try To Be, I Just Can't Keep Up Update: Kerry is Unelectable calls shenanigans on this poll, for an interesting reason:

This is meant to give the appearnace of a John Kerry boost after the convention. There will be no real gain for Kerry, the media have recognized that, and now they are doing their damnedest to manufacture one. Kerry has to have some kind of momentum post convention or else everyone will recognize he has no chance of winning and Donks will be discouraged and won't show on Nov.2. This poll is completely false.

Hmmmm... I don't know. I guess we'll have some idea in a week.

Posted by: Ace at 10:34 AM | Comments (13)
Post contains 762 words, total size 5 kb.

1 Oh what a great time for a campaign to "go dark." This guy is Karl Rove's dream come true. This guy might remove the term "McGovern-esque loss" from the lexicon.

Posted by: Paul C. at July 27, 2004 11:09 AM (ksb2F)

2 This poll is total bullshit. This is meant to give the appearnace of a John Kerry boost after the convention. There will be no real gain for Kerry, the media have recognized that, and now they are doing their damnedest to manufacture one. Kerry has to have some kind of momentum post convention or else everyone will recognize he has no chance of winning and Donks will be discouraged and won't show on Nov.2. This poll is completely false.

Posted by: Kerry Is Unelectable at July 27, 2004 11:25 AM (cTMxl)

3 This is good, but I'm waiting for about about Andrew Sullivan and his goddamn donkey. It's so cutesy I want to puke up three feet of small intestine.

Posted by: Jeff B. at July 27, 2004 11:41 AM (KnUQv)

4 It was ast month's poll that was completely rigged. Bush was behind even on the tax issue, which would be a first for a Republican.

I think this month's is legit. So the "improvements" are bogus. Whether they took a legit poll this time because they were embarrassed last time, or to give Kerry a perceived bounce in next month's poll is up in the air. Just don't get excited by the movement.

(Of course it could just be sampling error. I just don't buy it though. A Republican behind on the tax issue would be just about an impossible result to get if the sample was in fact unbiased.)

Posted by: Mark at July 27, 2004 11:44 AM (C54d0)

5 On that Donkey,

I think MeTooThen mentioned that earlier. I almost put it into a post, but I'm sure Sullivan would say that the Donkey is just there to signify this is donk convention week, and that there'll be an elephant there at the end of August.

I sort of wanted to use it anyway, because he pisses me off so much, but I decided it was just stretching too much to claim that that donkey means what it may easily be taken to mean.

Sullivan might mean that. He might be being cute about it. But it's hard to refute his inevitable defense.

Posted by: ace at July 27, 2004 11:48 AM (iog7U)

6 The more of Kerry that people see, the less they like him. He'd do better by hiding in an underground bunker between now and the election and let the 527s do all his campaigning for him.

Posted by: Conrad at July 27, 2004 12:44 PM (69Ckh)

7 I just don't trust this poll.It SEEMS wrong.I have never believed short of the world coming to an end that Kerry could win but the rot in the system is a lot deeper than I would have believed,so it will be close.
No matter what the result I fear that the domestic madness will continue.The difference is that with GWB, many more Islamofascists will be convinced of the error of their cause ( ie DEAD).

Posted by: dougf at July 27, 2004 01:24 PM (fKIkN)

8 Clearly, we have to get rid of Independent women to pull this off. I've alerted the VRWC.

Posted by: jeff at July 27, 2004 02:05 PM (M0psR)

9 Also, remember: "close", i.e., within 1-2 percentage points means "within the margin of error of the poll".
Rather than giving a number, I would be happier if they presented the results in a graph, with a shaded bar representing the margin of error centered around the specific percentage number...

Posted by: Nathan at July 27, 2004 02:27 PM (AqZSF)

10 I don't think it's intentionally rigged either. Kerry has been slipping slightly for a while now, and his inability to get a bounce from Edwards or the backspin they've tried to put on the 911 report may be prophetic. If he doesn't get a bounce from the convention he's toast. The networks refusal to televise it is their attempt to keep the people from finding out what an ass he actually is. If they covered the whole thing, ordinary dems would stay away frrom the polls in droves and the "independants" would find themselves in the "decided" column.

Posted by: Dacotti at July 27, 2004 03:37 PM (QvMeW)

11 "Close" could very well mean "big GOP lead". Remember how "close" it was just prior to the 1994 elections?

Posted by: rdbrewer at July 27, 2004 04:13 PM (2LE6C)

12 Well, it's possible that this poll is the anomaly, or that last month's poll is the anomaly, or that both polls are accurate and that Kerry's numbers really are falling compared to Bush. Does the prior trend for this poll show last month's numbers as being way out of whack?

Personally, I think it is entirely possible that Kerry has slipped this much. My recollection is that Kerry's standing rises when he is off the stage and Bush is on (mostly because coverage of Bush is primarily negative in the media). For the past couple of weeks and all of this week, it has been all Kerry, all the time. Kerry isn't the "unnamed Democrat" from 2003 anymore. It's all downhill from here for him.

Posted by: Ross at July 27, 2004 06:37 PM (Gs9hL)

13 I'm having a little trouble with this myself. Bush practically tied on healthcare? Before they've even begun to carpet-pander with the Medicare handouts?

As I see it, the Bushies have been holding their powder on healthcare and education, so there has to be something else at work here. My guess would be the fools and crooks Kerry surrounds himself with are taking their toll, and picking that empty suit for VP hasn't helped. We knew our mediocrity would surround himself with capable and effective henchmen; their mediocrity's been scraping the barrel.

If it's even remotely accurate, the poll's just terrible news for Kerry supporters.

Posted by: spongeworthy at July 28, 2004 03:57 AM (uSomN)

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