October 17, 2004 -- President Bush has surged to a 6-point lead over Sen. John Kerry, the largest edge the president has enjoyed since his much-maligned performance in the first debate, according to a poll of likely voters released yesterday.
Fueled largely by a solid advantage among women, Bush leads Kerry 50 percent to 44 percent, the Newsweek poll found.
After squandering an 11-point lead during the first debate, Bush managed to regain his footing in the final two head-to-head showdowns, according to the survey.
In the poll, Bush holds a numerically significant lead with women (49 percent to 43 percent) and dominates among Americans ages 30 to 49 (56 percent to 39 percent).
Kerry is far out in front in the eyes of seniors (54 to 39) and is more popular with men (50 to 46).
Bush's overall advantage shrinks to 2 points 48 to 46 when the poll's total 1,004 registered voters are included.
The poll found that people who watched the third debate gave Kerry the win by an 8-point margin. The Democrat's victory, however, was hardly the landslide he engineered in the first debate, when 61 percent of respondents declared him the winner.
Compared with Newsweek's poll of registered voters immediately following the first debate, Bush has gotten a 4-point bounce since then.
Ralph Nader garnered a meager 1 percent among likely and registered respondents.
Bush's lead is narrowly within the poll's 4-point margin of error.
But a Time magazine poll released yesterday showed a tighter race, with Bush leading Kerry by just 2 points, 48 to 46, among 865 likely voters.
In early October, a similar Time survey showed the candidates dead even at 45 percent.
For the second consecutive week, the Time survey which had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points found the president's approval rating dipping below 50 percent.
Still, there was good news for Bush coming from an Associated Press poll on what problems are of most concern to voters.
A majority of Americans 55 percent list national-security issues as their top priority, a 12-point increase since April, according to the survey.
More than one quarter of those surveyed named the Iraq war as the No. 1 issue of concern, and 18 percent designated terrorism as most problematic.
Four out of 10 of participants named either the economy or a subsection of the economy as most worthy of attention.
Bush has consistently scored higher than Kerry on issues of war and terrorism, with the opposite true on economic topics.
A three-day tracking poll by Reuters/Zogby found Bush's lead holding steady at 4 points.
The poll has consistently found that Bush's ability to rally his party base and Kerry's relative inability to do the same with his own is primarily what has moved the president in front.
"Bush's strength is that he has consolidated his constituency. Kerry's weakness is that he has not consolidated his constituency," pollster John Zogby said yesterday.
Bush has earned the support of 89 percent of Republicans, the poll found, with Kerry garnering 79 percent of voters from his own party.
In Florida, where Bush and Democratic vice-presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards spent yesterday campaigning, the Kerry-Edwards ticket has closed a once-formidable gap and turned the race into a dead heat.
Bush and Kerry both receive 48 percent of the Sunshine State vote, according to a Washington Post poll.
And if not for his domination of the Hispanic vote, Bush might be in even more trouble in Florida, where his brother, Jeb, is governor.
Of 1,800 Hispanic registered voters polled, 61 percent pick Bush, while only 32 percent side with Kerry.
The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
* Kerry picked up a lukewarm nomination from the New York Times in today's editions.
The paper described Bush's White House tenure as "disastrous" and said that with Kerry as president, "the nation will do better."
Looking at the latest Electoral College map, Kerry has to sweep Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida and Michigan to have a shot. That looks unlikely. He may take Michigian, but he trails in al the others. It would appear that in all these states(except Florida, where Bush's brother is obviously governor), the NRA is a bigger factor than any union support for Kerry.
[quote][b]The Los Angeles Times has a story on polling too. It points out, as most experts already know, that an incumbent president rarely gets even more than 1% of the popular vote than the final polls show. If an incumbent is polling, 47%, 48% just before the election, that is probably what he will get. In contrast, the challenger always does much better than the final polls indicate.[/b][/quote]
Electoralvote.com is a left leaning site. They use the best case scenerio for Dems. That being said, I think Kerry is in trouble but not out of it. Most polls have him down. He is going to states that he should have locked up, WI IA MI.
You say Bush never gets over 50% but show me 1 poll where Kerry is over 50%. Bush is over 50 in a couple of polls.
It's not over at all but you can kind of feel the trend going in the President's direction, but if Kerry can gain some traction in the last week he could certainly pull it out.
New Hampshire moves to Kerry, giving him the Electoral College for the first time. But his celebration may be short-lived, as national surveys veer back toward Bush, suggesting that state polls will follow. All six nonpartisan national surveys begun Oct. 13 or later show Bush ahead. The average lead is four points
You have a valid point. The polls become the story rather than the candidates' psotions. It's reported more like a horse races than a battle of ideas. It's easier to describe polls then delve into anything substantive. And it makes the job of the media much simpler than explaining things.