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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Kerry Ahead in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Oregon

State polls are starting to reflect the move toward Kerry we’re seeing in the national polls. An Ohio ARG poll of likely voters (LVs), conducted May 10-12, shows Kerry ahead of Bush by 7 points (49-42), even with Nader in the mix. Note that independents favor Kerry by 5 points; by comparison, when the Democrats lost the state in 2000, independents favored Bush by 16 points.
A Hamilton, Beattie and Staff poll of Florida LVs for ACT, conducted April 29-May 9, has Kerry up by 3 (50-47). Note that, while Kerry and Bush were tied among independents in the first half of the poll, in the latter half of the poll Kerry led by an amazing 31 points among independents. In 2000, Gore and Bush were dead-even among Florida independents.
A Lake Snell Perry poll of Wisconsin LVs, also for ACT, has Kerry ahead, this time by 9 points, and even with Nader in the mix. Kerry leads by 13 points among independents; in 2000, Bush actually won independents in the state by 6 points.
Finally, a Research 2000 poll of Oregon LVs, for the Portland Tribune, has Kerry ahead by 4 (50-46), with a 15 point lead among independent voters. In 2000, independent voters were evenly split between Gore and Bush.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

22 comments on “Kerry Ahead in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Oregon

  1. Jeff on

    I agree. I think it’s kind of pathetic how the Bush Administration and their apologists in Washington D.C. (i’m talking about their cable news supporters too) thought that what happened to Berg would suddenly transform their situation. I see the opposite happening. People are making the connection with Abu Ghiraib. It’s sad really. I also think the Berg beheading had less effect because his father openly blames the Bush Administration for the death of his son.
    Personally, more and more, I keep hearing people getting sicker and sicker of Bush. Their apologists are getting more defensive, etc.
    For the first time since his (s)election, I sense he is toast. No more feelings that “he can” lose, or that “he might” lose. Now i’m definitely in the “he will” lose camp.

  2. Mara on

    The Berg killing doesn’t necessarily distract from Abu Ghiraib. Most people don’t pay attention to the details, and they heard about the prison abuses in a cumulative way – drip, drip, drip. Then the Berg killing happens, and most people think “jeesus, it’s retribution for the prison stuff”, and then they might reflect that invading Iraq has just “opened the gates of Hell”. It’s all bad for Bush.

  3. frankly0 on

    To me one interesting question about the latest, quite dramatic drop in Bush’s overall poll numbers is why they dropped just when they did.
    I’d estimate the average poll number dropped from about 49% to about 44% — roughly 5% of the hardest percentage points we’ve yet encountered. Yet it did so over an event, the release of photos of prisoner abuse that would not, at first blush, seem to be the worst thing going on from a political point of view.
    There are several possibilities here.
    One is that it was simply the final straw, and that other things could as well have been that straw.
    Another is along the lines I had suggested in some previous posts: that Bush’s overall approval numbers would not go down even on bad news from Iraq, so long as his approval numbers on handling Iraq were not distinctly more negative than his approval numbers. The underlying idea here is that shifting the focus to national security issues, as opposed to the economy, actually helps Bush, so long as his numbers on national security are relatively good. But once they go below water level, and particularly once they go below his numbers on overall approval, then those overall approval numbers will go down with them.
    A still further explanation is that the prisoner abuse hurts Bush so much because they get at the only remaining defense he has had of the Iraq adventure: that we are the good guys bringing civilization and democratic ways to benighted Iraq. Most Americans respond positively to this view; it flatters us as a country and a people. The problem with the prisoner abuse is that it tears to shreds that image. No one can look at these pictures and feel that these soldiers are involved in something noble and uplifting. This fact has doubtless inspired many Americans to turn away with real revulsion from the Iraq war and its supporters.
    I guess my own view about the true explanation is that it likely involves all three of the potential components I have mentioned above.

  4. EdW on

    I’m a little skeptical about the HB&Staff ACT polls. Notice in the text that they don’t identify who they are polling (RV, LV, Adults, Democrats, etc). ACT and HB&Staff are certainly interested parties in this election as well. That they don’t reveal their poll questions also has me skeptical.
    “Given George Bush’s lies about Iraq, healthcare, the deficit, etc. Whom would you vote for if the election were held today?” I’m guessing HB&Staff are not that crass in their polling techniques but it sure makes me question the results when they don’t provide the survey details.

  5. Roy White on

    There is a conflicting Oregon poll, by someone named Riley (is this a known pollster?), also through May 10, which has Bush at 44, Kerry at 39. Don’t know who is right.

  6. James on

    Eldon, that poll was considered an outlier by many because they had the same size sample of Republican and Democratic voters, even though Democrats outnumber Democrats in CA.
    This is all good news but the media and Bush won’t give up without a fight. November is an eternity from now and the Thug hate machine has just begun to fight. They will do *anything* to keep their power. It is going to get ugly.

  7. SSJPabs on

    Now that’s a line I hadn’t heard before. The CIA did it to get REVENGE on Bush. George Tenet striking back just before he leaves town. He fell on his sword for Bush but nothing came of it.
    I just hope Kerry doesn’t peak to early, got to have a simmer till the convention and then go strong to weather any hit from the NYC convention.

  8. tomtom on

    The Berg video has two main effects, one hurts Bush, the other helps:
    1. It takes attention away from Abu Ghraib, and reminds us how bad the other guys are. This helps Bush.
    2. It shows that al Qaida is still out there, and still killing Americans. The Iraq War was supposed to stop this sort of stuff. This hurts Bush.
    The June 2004 Atlantic has a riveting graphic (pgs 54/55, paid online subscription only, unfortunately) which shows al Qaida is resurgent after 9/11. Kerry has an opportunity to publicize the ineffectiveness of the Bush response to al Qaida. This can turn the Berg incident in the long-term decisively against Bush.
    One of Bush’s few remaining areas of strength in the polls is the War on Terrorism (hate that phrase, just like War on Drugs). How better to measure his effectivenes than the post 9/11 al Qaida terrorism upsurge.
    Results. Results. Results. Swing voters tend to be results oriented. That’s why they are swing voters! They don’t have a strong ideological lens. They go with what works.

  9. Fish on

    –tin-foil-hat: on–
    I think the CIA manufactured the Berg video, not at the behest of the Bush campaign, but to attack it. They really, really don’t like this Administration. And, unlike us, they really do have data to back their feelings up. They just can’t show it to us.

  10. sky on

    Let’s be vigilant. This is when Rove and crowd bring out the most brutal attacks. Remember what they did to McCain in S. Carolina. What horrible rumors will they start about Mr. Kerry?

  11. Alan on

    I don’t see why anyone would expect the Berg video to help Bush. I suppose they imagine that this just proves “how barbaric the towel-heads are” so of course everyone will vote for Bush out of fear.
    I haven’t seen the video. But if you see the video, does it make you feel safer? Does it make you feel like we are getting a handle on the terrorism problem? If not, the incumbent isn’t going to benefit.
    The line from get-your-war-on about the War on Terror really rings true: “Remember when we had a problem with drugs so we declared a War on Drugs and now you can’t buy drugs anymore? It will be just like that!”
    Kerry in a landslide.

  12. Bushmaster on

    I saw a couple of posts on the warblogs about the Berg video being a major public breakthrough. Lots of quotes from TV types and editors about viewer/reader feedback, and all of it was “more Berg, less Abu Ghraib.” Also, lots of high search traffic numbers for the Berg video, although, given how hard it is to find an unedited version on a mainstream news site, search engines are the only way for the morbidly curious to see it.
    But, if the upsurge in public interest in Iraq and the War on Terror is real, I’m not so sure the conservatives are right that the Berg killing will galvanize the public and make them forgive the Abu Ghraib abuses (and the screw ups in Iraq too). Rather, I’d expect a lot of people who’ve only been half paying attention (if at all), and who may have given the administration the benefit of the doubt on terror or simply not considered it much, are going to think, “after everything in Iraq, all the dead soldiers and civilians, all the money, all the mixed up reasons and leaks and coverups and who said what to whom, all the gunmen and bombings and mutilated Americans … after all that, weren’t we supposed to get these f***ers?” If the Berg killing does anything other than simply reinforce the existing polarization, it’s gonna cause a LOT more re-evaluation by those folks – and they’re not gonna decide they want another four years of this.
    After all, when you poll 1000 people nationwide, only a couple dozen actively read blogs or internet news or political commentary or watch Fox or CNN more than a few minutes a week. Most Americans still get their news from local tv, the network nightlies, the front page of a newspaper, late-night talk or the water-cooler. Even on-line, its mostly MSN or Yahoo frontpages, larded with wire stories where they only read the headlines.
    The thing about the Berg video is that it is coming at the worst time for Bush: it upsets the inattentives and makes them want to support their government’s efforts to retalitate and get justice, so they decide they want to do something about it. But when they try to learn more, all they will hear now is Abu Ghraib, insurgencies, State-DoD infighting, and declarations of failure by military leaders and defecting neo-cons. And that will be very bad news for the Bushies indeed.

  13. reignman on

    I wonder what they’re saying at a Republican version of this site. Bush took Kerry’s lead by doing a press conference, and he lost it without any significant moves by either Bush or Kerry.
    I mean, really.

  14. Alan Snipes on

    I was pessimistic about the polls a couple of weeks ago and Ruy told us to stay cool that Bush’s low approval numbers would eventually show up in the head to head matchups with Kerry. I think Ruy is being proven right and that we finally have the Bastard where we want him. I hope I’m not crowing too soon but I think this is the beginning of the end for Bush. I certainly hope so.

  15. tomtom on

    You said it SqueayRat! Amen.
    I’m so tired of the idea of a War on Terrorism. It’s as if WWII was the war on blitzkrieg, or a War on Drugs. Just venting.

  16. SqueakyRat on

    As Kos pointed out the other day, the reason Bush’s numbers on the War on Terrorism are sliding so fast is that he and everyone else in Administration have insisted that Iraq is the new front in the WOT. So when his Iraq approval tanks, so does his WOT approval. Serves him right for being a liar.

  17. Shankar D on

    Most shocking thing about the new CNN/Time poll if I’m reading the story correctly is the public’s view of Bush’s handling of the war on terrorism:
    “But even in the fight against terrorism — one of Bush’s strengths in many polls — this poll showed a split over whether Bush is doing a good job. Forty-six of those polled said he was, but 47 percent said he was doing a poor job.”
    I’m sure Ruy will have the answer momentarily, but that has to be the first time there’s been a net negative on Bush’s handling of the terrorism threat. It might even be the first time his approval on that issue has dipped below 50%.
    Still, the public prefers Bush to Kerry on the issue by 49 to 42, and despite dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq, prefers Bush to Kerry by 46 to 43. Not to state the obvious, but Kerry’s big task, IMO, is to present himself as a viable wartime President and defender of national security. Makes me think more and more that he should pick Clark as his VP.

  18. Alan on

    It would be interesting to track these approval polls on the same graph as the poll where people believe that Saddam had nukes or had something to do with 9/11.
    The media is not covering for Bush anymore, and this is the result.


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