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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Kerry Ahead by Six

The latest Gallup poll has Kerry leading Bush by 6 points among RVs (50-44), up from dead-even 5 days before. (47-47). (Oddly, Gallup’s LV match-up has Kerry slipping to 47-48 from a 49-48 lead 5 days ago. But, as I have repeatedly argued, it is the RV match-ups, not the LV match-ups, that best reflect the state of the race this early in the campaign. This absurd result from Gallup is one more reason to ignore the silly LV data whereever possible.)
That should make a lot horse race obsessives out there happy. But other findings from the poll are probably more important. Like this one: Bush’s approval rating is down to 46 percent with 51 percent disapproval. That’s a net negative rating of -5. At the beginning of the year, Bush’s rating in the Gallup poll was 59/38, for a net positive rating of +21. Quite a shift.
Bush’s approval rating on the economy is unchanged at an abysmal 41/56, while his rating on terrorism actually went up slightly to 54/43 from 52/45. But his rating on handling the situation in Iraq has continued its downward trajectory, sinking to 41/58 from 42/55.
The poll also shows Kerry doing much better in comparisons with Bush on handling three key issues: the economy, the situation in Iraq and terrorism. On terrorism, while Kerry remains solidly behind Bush by 17 points (55-38), that’s a significant contraction from Bush’s 60-33, 27 point lead two months ago. On the economy, Kerry has widened his 50-42 lead two months ago to a 54-40 edge today. And on Iraq–very significant in my view–Kerry has mostly eliminated Bush’s 15 point lead from March to a mere 3 points today (48-45).
As for whether “it was worth going to war in Iraq or not”, the public now says it wasn’t worth it by 54-44. Note that this is the first time Gallup has received a negative response to this question. Indeed, just five days ago, it was still 50-47 in favor of the war being worth it.
In addition, there is now close to an even split on whether the US should withdraw at least some troops from Iraq. A total of 47 percent says we should either withdraw all troops (29 percent) or some troops (18 percent), compared to 49 percent who want to either send more troops (25 percent) or keep troop levels as they are (24 percent). And close to half (45 percent) now say they’d be upset if Bush sent more troops to Iraq, up from 38 percent two months ago.
Bush is running out of options. And, as Bush is sinking, Kerry is cranking up his campaign. Stay tuned.

24 comments on “Kerry Ahead by Six

  1. soup on

    If Sept. 11 never happened, Bush would probably be winning — we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq
    Are you sure about that? Even Paul O’Neil would beg to differ.

  2. David in Burbank on

    It’s All Good. He barely won when no one knew who he was, now they do, and if the silence of my conservative friends means anything, it means they are ashamed.

  3. dchrist on

    When the GOP won a small number of seats in 2002 (+5 in the House, +2 in the Senate net gains), they won on the back of GWBush, whose approval ratings were 70 approve/26 disapprove (USA/Gallup). Bush now has an anemic 46 approve/51 disapprove (USA/Gallup)! 42% LV want a generic Democrat for Congress, only 37% LV want a Republican (rasmussenreports) and Democrats have been preferred for a solid month! Bush will not have as much time to focus on boosting his congressional colleagues as he HAD TO in 2002. He has his own record to (try to) defend! Many moderate Republican candidates already will have to distance themselves from Bush because he is so unpopular! Even in a conservative district like KY-6, Republicans face defeat if they run on Bush’s record! Winning a Democratic seat by twelve points in a district that went for Bush 55-42% in the 2000 elections, shows just how vulnerable Republicans are in Congress! (dnc website: democrats.org) Democrats are in good shape to pick up another seat for South Dakota’s Representative in a June 1st election! (dnc website: democrats.org, http://www.hersethforcongress.org) Republicans are clearly vulnerable up and down the ballot! Great turnout in November and abyssmal job approval of Republic policies and GWBush means democrats may just be taking back Congress AND the White House!

  4. AS on

    Why LV doesn’t track RV: One thing people often get wrong is the fact that the SAME sample of 1,000 voters or so produce both the RV and the LV numbers. The difference is, the LV calculation includes one more “weight” for each response. So if, in the pollster’s mostly subjective opinion, a certain percentage of registered R’s is likely to vote in November, and a certain percentage of men, and of older voters, and you are an older R man, your answers get “counted” more than, say, a young D woman. Problem is, this early in an election cycle, you can’t really rely on whether people SAY they’re going to vote, because who the heck knows? Most people aren’t paying attention yet. So you go with past elections as your model. Which is patently silly, since all elections are different (this one, I’m guessing, particularly so).
    Just remember that when a poll produces both LV and RV numbers, all that’s happening is the pollster is subjectively multiplying the Kerry and Bush numbers from the RV poll with some factor he/she’s come up with based on whatever ideosyncratic technique she/he wants. We can do the same thing. I, for one, believe loads of Dems will show up this Fall who didn’t in 2000. So my LV poll will take a decent RV sample, say Gallup’s, and “increase” (via weighting by a factor of 1.1) the Dem sample by 10%. So my LV result, which basically has as much credibility as Gallup’s, will show Kerry with a 3-4 point lead among LV’s.
    It’s all a game right now. As Ruy says, stick with the RV’s until, oh, about Labor Day.

  5. dchrist on

    The latest gallup poll also shows among that national adults (both registered voters and unregistered adults) Kerry is doing better and/or Bush is doing worse on most dates, granted by small margins. But these findings are repeated themselves and show that registering more voters, especially in swing states and in targeted urban/suburban/ideopolis areas is more likely to aid Kerry rather than Bush. This shows that increased effort into voter registration/mobilization efforts will likely pay large dividends for Democrats in 2004. To any and all encouraged by this prospect, I urge you to volunteer your time and energy (or even just donate) to the voter registration efforts like those by America Coming Together or your local Democratic Party or labor union or church congregation. We need all the help we can get and there is certainly good reason to believe that all this help will pay off up and down the ballot. Wouldn’t it be great to give President Kerry a like-minded Congress as well! Republicans are vulnerable! THis is the year we can take back our country!

  6. Controller on

    While Iraq tragedies are taking away from Kerry being able to keep his face in the main stream press, I keep reading that Bush has taken away the economy and jobs as a campaign issue. Not so, I say. I have been skeptical of the last two months jobs numbers and now realize that I am not alone. John Crudele of the New York Post has an interesting article discussing this today. Too bad the rest of the United States electorate does not read this. If the information in this article were known by the public, coupled with the Bush failures in Iraq, plus the failures of his War on Terrorism, this elction would be (as George Tenet would say) a slam dunk.

  7. Grok on

    Zogby was the only one to accurately predict Gore’s 2000 victory, but he’s missed some biggies, too. He’s the Sammy Sosa of polling–when he hits it, he hits it square, but when he misses it’s brutal.

  8. Alan Snipes on

    The information on polls given in above posts for ncpp.org and ayresmchenry.com are not available. There are no such web sites unless the wrong information was given. I tried accessing these sites twice and they do not exist nor is there a link at 2.004k.com.

  9. Jack on

    If John Kerry loses this election I’m moving out of the country. If GWB is reelected after all the crap that’s come out in just the past year, I’ll give up all hope. The crazy thing is that there’s so much controversy about GWB’s administration that something like the leaking of Plume’s identity has taken a total backseat. In any other administration, I think this issue alone would’ve dominated the news cycle for a good long time. Forget about how the administration shifted $700mm to prepare for an invasion of Iraq.
    It really is unbelievable how much this administration has TOTALLY SCREWED UP everything they’ve tried to do. But even with all the foul-ups, NOBODY has been fired or even resigned! Apparently accountability is only an issue for anyone who is not involved with the Bushies. I wish someone would replay the testimony of Wolfowitz when he testified that Shinseki’s opinion it would take several hundred thousand troops to stabilize Iraq as “irresponsible and way off base.”

  10. Oberon on

    Sept 11’s effect on Bush’s popularity is a little complicated.
    If Sept. 11 never happened, Bush would probably be winning — we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq, budget wouldn’t be such a mess, and most importantly the economy would be doing quite well.
    Sept 11 gave Bush a huge boost and at first he deserved it for leadership against Al Qaeda — but the fact is he completely screwed up the War on Terror and created this fiasco in Iraq. This is becoming apparent to more people every day.
    Which, by the way, ought to be the basic line of attack for Democrats — not that Bush is a liar or an evil person, but that he simply has made a mess of everything.

  11. tommy on

    Sept 11 was THE best thing that ever happened to gwb…While im dismiissive of the stories that he knew about it, I honestly dont believe he would take
    it back if he could. The tragedy provided him with
    political capital he otherwise never would have

  12. soup on

    The most striking thing about Bush’s poll numbers is the steady, almost linear downtrend ever since he took office. The fact that he was able to squander the huge overnight boost he received on 9/12/01 just shows he is a fundamentallly flawed politician. Where would his support be today if it weren’t for Osama and those 20 terrorists?

  13. Josh Yelon on

    Why would his RV go up 6 points, at the exact same time as his LV went down 1 point?
    My guess is, there’s a little statistical noise there. Probably, if there had been a bigger sample size, both categories would have been up 2 or 3 points.

  14. witten on

    I believe that the reason Zogby’s final poll
    in 2000 was more accurate than the others was
    simply that he kept polling on Monday, the day before
    the election, while the others stopped on Sunday.
    As you may recall, there was a shift toward Gore at
    the end, and the other pollsters missed part of it
    because of stopping polling on Sunday.

  15. Alan on

    Does anyone besides me find it utterly appaling that these polls show there is a big segment of the voting public out there that is “for war” when it seems we are WINNING and “against war” when we seem to be LOSING?
    In other words, this specimen doesn’t care what the purpose of the war is — just that we win. ” Go ahead and glass some towel heads and I’ll see you at Starbucks.” And I am sure when you ask them they think the war was justified — or not — on “principle.”
    I need a drink.
    Unlike some people I have no interest in an impeachment. The thugs proved in ’98 that impeachment is just a parlimentary strong-arm tactic. What I want is an electoral count of 538-0 come November.

  16. penalcolony on

    In 2000, almost all polls predicted GWB as the popular vote winner by 2 or 3 points. Zogby called it a dead heat, and also made the right call on every state but one. (Never can remember whether it was OR or NM.)

  17. Mencken on

    speaking as a horse-race obsessive: anybody have a recommendation of which poll presents the most accurate information?
    I know . . . I know . . . polling is an art not a science. but still, it’d be helpful to have a sense of which poll is the best to watch. and obsess over.

  18. Mencken on

    woo hoo!!!!! goodbye george bush!!!!
    not the most substantive response, but justified.
    anyway, I’d agree w/ zogby that this election is kerry’s to lose.
    fingers crossed.


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