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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Bounce or Not, It Looks Like the Kerry-Edwards Ticket Is Playing Very Well Indeed

The overnight polls taken last Tuesday (see my July 7 post) suggested Kerry’s selection of Edwards as his running mate gave the Democratic ticket a bit of a bounce. But right after that, a couple of polls were released that cast doubt on that supposition, since neither poll showed Kerry doing particularly well compared to their earlier surveys (though these earlier surveys were about a month before in each case, so not exactly ideal for measuring a before-and-after bounce).
The Ipsos-AP poll (July 5-7) actually showed Bush ahead by 4 points, whether against Kerry or teamed with Cheney against Kerry-Edwards. On the other hand, the Ipsos-AP poll has the dubious distinction of never having shown Kerry ahead, despite fairly frequent polling.
The Zogby poll (July 6-7) showed Kerry ahead by 2 points, whether against Bush or teamed with Edwards against Bush-Cheney–exactly the margin Kerry had a month before. But then again, despite fairly frequent polling, Kerry has been ahead of Bush by a remarkably stable 2-3 points in all Zogby polls this year, with just one exception (early May).
So who knows what the results of those two polls really mean about the Edwards bounce. Besides, we now have two more recent polls that underscore the basic idea that, bounce or not, the Kerry-Edwards ticket is getting a pretty warm reception.
In the Time magazine poll (July 6-8), Kerry leads Bush among RVs by 5 points (48-43). Bush’s low support in that horse race question is re-inforced by his identically low support (43 percent) in the related re-elect question (does Bush “deserve to be re-elected?”).
Consistent with previous polls, those who say Edwards’ selection will make them more likely to vote for the Kerry ticket (24 percent) far outnumber those who say his selection will make them less likely (6 percent). That’s in contrast to Cheney, where 23 percent of voters say his position on the ticket makes it less likely they will vote GOP, compared to just 11 percent who say it will make them more likely.
Other contrasts with Cheney in this poll: Edwards’ favorability rating is 39 percent favorable/12 percent unfavorable; Cheney’s is 41 percent/40 percent. By about 2:1, the public feels positively about Kerry’s choice of Edwards (52/27); but more feel negatively (50 percent) than positively (45 percent) about Bush’s choice of Cheney. Over half of the public (51 percent) feels less favorable about Cheney because he is the ex-CEO of Halliburton; but, by more than 2:1 (55/26), the public feels Edwards’ background means he will fight for the average person, rather than contribute to frivolous lawsuits.
And perhaps most important, when asked who would make a better president, 47 percent of the public chooses Edwards and just 38 percent pick Cheney.
The new Newsweek poll (July 8-9) has a number of similar and, in some cases, stronger findings. Kerry-Edwards leads Bush-Cheney among RVs by 6 points, 51-45 (annoyingly, the clear lead for Kerry-Edwards in this poll is portrayed as a “tie” in the Newsweek online headlines; guess that’s the party line at the magazine these days).
The horse race results also show Kerry-Edwards leading Bush-Cheney by 19 points (!) among independents (even with Nader in the mix), a catastrophic number for the Bush campaign if anything close to this lead holds up for the Democrats. Other bad signs for the Bush campaign (all results with Nader in the mix; no analabous data were provided on the 2-way matchup): Bush-Cheney only have a 3 point lead among men; Kerry-Edwards leads by 13 among 18-29 year olds and even by 6 among 30-49 year olds; and Kerry-Edwards actually has a 2 point lead among whites outside the south.
Note that Bush’s re-elect in this poll is identical with his poor showing in the Time poll: a mere 43 percent say they would like to see Bush re-elected.
In terms of whether Edwards is qualified to be president, 51 percent in the poll say yes and 30 percent say no–and that rises to 62/23 among independents. Also, when asked who they would vote for if they could vote separately for vice-president 52 percent of voters choose Edwards, compared to 41 percent for Cheney (59/33 among independents.
Based on these data, I’d have to say Kerry’s selection of Edwards looks like it’s playing very well indeed. And the contrast with Cheney very much looks like it’s in the Democratic ticket’s favor.

25 comments on “Bounce or Not, It Looks Like the Kerry-Edwards Ticket Is Playing Very Well Indeed

  1. kid oakland on

    Hunter over at dKos has got a fantastic diary about how the GOP pundits have been building up the ambulance chasing trial lawyer meme against Edwards for years now, with Tucker Carlson in particular pushing the egregious “jacuzzi lawyer” moniker. To find out just how foul that is read here….Tucker Carlson

  2. Marcus Lindroos on

    > No social conservatives are speaking in prime
    > time at the conventions,
    Like I said earlier, Kerry/Edwards should taunt the Bush campaign about this. After all, if “Shrub” is so proud of his DOMA “values”, why is there no prime time exposure for the Family Research Council folks?!

  3. Allan Bartlett on

    Please people, don’t get ahead of yourselves. We all know that this race is going to go down to the wire like last go around. Kerry/Edwards have gotten a bounce of a couple of points. They may pick up a few more points right after their convention. Then the race will be tied again after the GOP convention. Once again, the three debates are looming very large. We also don’t have any control over world events from now until election. What if the terrorists attack us again on our home turf? What if Bin Laden is captured? Any one of these hypothetical events would see a big change in the current calculus. It is going to be a fun next few months for sure.

  4. Joe Zainea on

    The Rasmussen daily tracking poll this afternoon has Kerry 48% to Bush 45%. A couple of months ago, during all the back and forth, Rasmussen stated that if one of the candidates could establish a lead of 3% or more for four consecutive days that it could be said a definite trend has been established. Well guess what?
    Joe Zainea

  5. Lawrence on

    I think it’s unlikely that W will dump Cheney if only because that would be a sure sign of desperation. However, it may just transpire that Cheney has a health incident, god forbid, of some kind before the R convention, which might give them an opportunity. McCain I think is very unlikely to accept the position, and Powell, who polled the best, is considered by right-wingers to be the liberal of the administration. If somehow Powell is VP nominee, the R party message becomes blurred.
    I think the horserace numbers clearly end up averaging K/E ahead, and W has to wait for the rather late R convention for his best chance for a bounce. Strategically (keep your fingers crossed) it looks good, but then “a week is a lifetime in politics…”

  6. Marcia on

    I agree with those who speculate that Bush will not dump Cheney. Mainly because the right wing won’t be happy with either Powell (who’s pro-choice and pro-affirmative action) or with McCain, who was the co-author of campaign finance. Ditto with Guiliani and Tom Ridge, both of whom are pro-choice. For an indication of the veracity of that stance, look at the Senate as we speak…….debating the gay marriage amendment. Is that a pathetic attempt to energize the right wing, or what? I think they’re a little bit worried about their base. No social conservatives are speaking in prime time at the conventions, and the right wing nutter issues have been on the back burner during our empire building….er, um…..nation building spree.
    I won’t even begin to predict who will win the presidential race. I’m in Ohio and giving whatever time I can to work on phone banking and information distribution with the local Kerry campaign. Right now the polls here are back and forth with Bush one week and Kerry the next.
    IMO, I think Edwards was a great pick for VP, mainly because of the difference I see in Kerry. He seems much looser, more human, and he smiles more. This is a good thing. Now, if he will only spend some of those millions he’s raised to hire some better speech writers :-}

  7. Marcus Lindroos on

    As an aside, Kerry is probably doing the smart thing by arguing America is *not* safer because of this Administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East. Voters clearly do not buy the Administration’s line that “we are safer because of Iraq”.
    So, what happens if (heaven forbid-) there is a major terrorist strike before the elections? At least Kerry has set himself up fairly well, by saying he would focus more on homeland security and less on invading other nations…

  8. Marcus Lindroos on

    > If Bush drops Cheney for Powell or McCain, do the
    > polls suggest sure doom for the Kerry-Edwards
    > ticket? What do you think? Me, I find it a truly
    > troubling possibility….
    Fortunately, I don’t think it is ever going to happen. “Shrub” is a captive of _his_ political base to a greater extent than Kerry/Edwards are. And the base loves Right-Wing Dick. These guys would scream bloody murder if (relative-) social moderates such as McCain were on the ticket.
    Besides, “Shrub” never admits making mistakes anyway. If he would drop Cheney, it would be a clear sign to everybody that he thinks he is in trouble.
    BTW, *my* biggest worry is the recent lack of news in Iraq and elsewhere means the constant downward pressure on “Shrub’s” ratings is about to end. Iraq is hardly a stellar success, but at least there has been little embarrassing news about the Administration’s handling of the situation (apart from the recent report about CIA perhaps). They also got moderately good news from the Wilson/Plame investigations recently, I thought.
    I am just praying that they will, at worst, be tied in the polls two months from now. That would give Kerry/Edwards the chance to move ahead, if they perform well in the debates.
    P.S. John W.:
    : … got to start with the democrats winning back
    : congress first, in the house of reps. than they take
    : the senate. then they take the white house.
    I think it’s more likely to be the other way around. The House of Representatives will come last, because of gerrymandering.
    The Dems were able to win a majority of House seats in Texas as recently as the last election, I believe, but the GOP takeover in the South now means they’ve finally been able to redraw the congressional district boundaries to their advantage in a number of states [Texas, Colorado etc.]. This means the growing number of Demo-leaning Hispanics won’t have a big impact in the near term.

  9. John Wolford on

    And i was in the Us Marine Corps from 1983-1985 then discharged. I have lived history and know alot. in fact if anyone here would like to email me on any law matter regarding history or current events, just write me. i had to come back and post this last comment

  10. Ron Thompson on

    Dear John,
    In English, the first person nominative pronoun is always capitalized, e,g. “I”. Also, it is customary to capitalize the first letter in every sentence.
    No need to thank me,

  11. John Wolford on

    If you would like to know more of what i mean, please feel free to email me at wolford19641968@hotmail.com. ill be happy to explain. Here is not the place though as i have taken too much time and room here already. so please do email me if you want a more clearer explanation. i am an expert as i attended college and then law school from 1985-1993. four years apiece each. Take care folks.!!!!!

  12. John Wolford on

    i have to correct a line in that last comment:
    in 1918 midterm cycle, the house stayed republican, the senate went republican as a result of republicans losing,
    i meant that the senate went republican and the house stayed republican as a result of the dems and wilson lieing about not getting us into world war 1 which the republicans used against the dems. Wilson had promised in 1916 that he “kept us out of the war” but immediately took us into it is what that means.
    everything else looked pretty accurate. sorry folks. i dont really like to correct my grammar but that looked needable.

  13. John Wolford on

    Believe me, the prediction here is a bit odd that the democrats would be able to swing this election. i think or believe that the emerging democratic majority is right, but i believe a majority like what ruy and john discussed in their book is perhaps got to start with the democrats winning back congress first, in the house of reps. than they take the senate. then they take the white house. I think if Kerry-Edwards pull this off it will be another close race, and the dems will be doomed in 2008. Kerry-edwards (mainly kerry more than edwards) is not exactly the kind of candidate as one would describe the dems. He is more of a shallow liberal. to make a majority like the one ruy and john discussed in their book would be to have a liberal centrist. more in teh form of john edwards. look for john kerry to lose the election narrowly but for john edwards to give that emerging democratic majority a pump if he tries to go at it in 2008 on his own for the top of the ticket. by the way on last note the thesis of winning the house back, then the senate, then the whitehouse in three different but consecutive election cycles, comes straight from the 1916, 1918, and 1920 elections. in 1916 , oddly, the dems reelected Wilson president in the face of him and world war 1. the republicans took back the house after four years out of it. but the senate stayed firmly with the democrats. in 1918 midterm cycle, the house stayed republican, the senate went republican as a result of republicans losing, and then in 1920, the presidential election bursted into what became a 12 year republican majority. where republicans controlled all three. I actually think in my thesis the dems should try that for the opposite party. Just think of this clue: in 1916 the republicans had nominated a charles and a charles. in 2004, the dems nominate a john and a john.

  14. markalan on

    People, please-Bush is not going to dump Cheney.
    Here is why, despite all his flaws Bush sticks to his people even though they make wrong decisions or cause problems. Think about it has Rumsfield, Wolfowitiz, Rice, or Tenet been asked to step down or been fired? All of them should of been for various reasons, even despite public and media uproar -Bush wouldn’t think of pushing them out- its all about loyalty to him
    Second, Bush would never part with Cheney because he is the backbone if not the president, Bush would be rudderless.
    The only thing we need to worry about is the capturing of Osama weeks before the election- or shown to the media-since they might already have him.

  15. jamie on

    CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll just released strongly corroborates Kerry lead & Edwards bounce: ideas presented in the article. However, the Kerry camp should not get complacent and I don’t think it will: too smart. Its going to be a very tough race from now ’till November & the Kerry people should not be afraid to go negative soon — blast Bush long & hard.

  16. Brandon R. on

    I’m very optimistic at this time.
    Remember, we WON in 2000. I have a hard time believing the next time that more people are going to vote for Bush rather than less.
    I don’t really think the midterm elections of 2002 can be taken as any sort of indicator. Remember that was pre-Iraq, and Bush was doing his best to scare the piss out of the public making us think Saddam was ready to launch a nuke our way, or at least give one to Osama. The Democrats had no response whatsoever. Even though I voted, I can’t honestly say I was too pumped up about it. It’s the complete opposite this year.
    The hardcore Republicans are very loyal, and even if they don’t like Bush, they’re going to vote for him, but this election is going to hinge on the so-called ‘independents’ and the polling is very good when it comes to that group.
    If Bush does ax Cheney, he’s going to look like a ‘flip-flopper’ which is exactly what they trying to label Kerry as.

  17. santi on

    One more thing. I read that in ohio fundamentalists are trying to get an anti-gay measure on the ballot (which would increase right wing turnout). How does ruy feel that kerry can navigate the gay marriage issue and still win ohio?

  18. santi on

    When I go to pollingreport.com i’ve noticed that bush and kerry are running neck and neck in most polls and when i go to the la times web site their state by state polling map suggests that bush may be a bit ahead in penn, ohio, and wisconsin. i badly want bush to lose but i suspect it will be harder to unseat him than some democrats seem to think. I read ruy’s book (coming dem maj) in 2002 and the numbers all looked there for a good election cycle for dems, but the reverse was the case. I’d like ruy to tell us in one of his blogs whether he thinks ohio, penn, and florida are likely to go to bush or kerry and why. Right now (especially if bush dumps cheney and puts powell or mccain on the ticket) i see another close election with the dems coming up just a bit short again. I do think that ruy’s general thesis is correct and that 2008 and 2012 will see a clear tip to the democrats. I’m just not quite sure we’ve reached the tipping point yet. I hope i’m wrong.

  19. Ted Schaefer on

    If Bush drops Cheney for Powell or McCain, do the polls suggest sure doom for the Kerry-Edwards ticket? What do you think? Me, I find it a truly troubling possibility….


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