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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Kerry-Edwards Up By 7

The latest Gallup poll, consistent with the analysis I posted yesterday, shows the Kerry-Edwards ticket getting a warm reception from voters. In the poll, Kerry-Edwards leads Bush-Cheney by 7 points (51-44) among RVs. That’s up from a 4 point lead in Gallup’s last poll about three weeks ago.
Internals of this horse race question also look very good for the Democratic ticket. Kerry-Edwards have a very healthy 13 point lead among independents (50-37). And Democrats are supporting their ticket even more strongly (92-6) than the Republicans are supporting theirs (87-9); the reverse has generally been true in the campaign up ’til now.
Kerry-Edwards also have a wide 19 point lead in the solid blue states (58-39) and, even more important, a substantial 10 point lead in the purple, up-for-grabs states (51-41).
In addition, the Kerry-Edwards ticket enjoys a substantial advantage in favorability ratings over the Bush-Cheney ticket. Kerry’s favorability rating is 56 percent favorable/34 percent unfavorable (a +22 net rating), while Bush’s is 52/46 (+6). Similarly, Edwards’ favorability rating is 55/24 (+31), while Cheney’s is 46/42 (+4).
Guess those attack ads didn’t work so well after all.

38 comments on “Kerry-Edwards Up By 7

  1. Matt McIrvin on

    Dean, there’s a purely practical reason why we’re so nice to our ex-presidents, even disgraced ones. If leaders come to believe that their personal safety or livelihood absolutely depends on remaining in power, they’ll be tempted all the more to abuse that power extraordinarily in order to retain it. The idea, in general, is to depersonalize political power; to convince even the leaders themselves that they can survive losing, so that they can imagine submitting to a loss in a peaceful manner.
    You may think that Bush is such an abuser already that it doesn’t matter, but it could get a lot worse, and there will be other presidents.

  2. Brian on

    If you don’t mind me asking, in what stare are you? I’d have to imagine it’s a Republican state, but I could be wrong.
    In any event, although this is no way to really draw any sort of perfectly valid conclusion, I think Kerry’s got a lot of hidden support out there. Perhaps I’m biased because I usually read just the left-of-center sites, but I’ve read story after story of people who are supporting Kerry, not Bush. And many of these people are Republicans.
    I’m pretty confident at this point. The campaign, while it hasn’t had any truly great days yet, has been running faily smoothly. Mary Beth Cahill seems to know what she’s doing. The only thing that worries me is the fact that they are pulling advertising in some states – like Arizona, Missouri, and Lousiana, I think – and while I have a few ideas why, I am not really sure. I’d like to think that there’s some strategy behind this, and hopefully there is, but I’d hate to think that they are giving up so soon.

  3. Laura on

    This thread is probably dead but for anyne who drops by I’ll add this little tidbit of ancedotal info: I’ve been entering phonebank data for the Kerry campaign here in my small city next to a military base. The first night’s data, drawn from the base bedroom community, had Kerry winning. Kerry got about one third of the votes but the majority of Republicans were not voting for anyone for President. Interesting, huh?
    The second batch of data came from an affluent suburb. There Bush was winning but by far the majority of respndants were people who refused to discuss their vote at all. These are the I’m-a-Republican-but-ashamed-of-it voters.
    Of course this kind of micropoll isn’t good data for drawing conclusions, but it is encouraging.

  4. James on

    Joe, if blacks aren’t already angry enough about the Iraq war and the economy (both of which effect them more than any other group), then nothing will make them turn out.
    Unless Bush only went to teeny tiny towns in 2002 where he had a pre-selected audience and pre-selected fawning media whores, I don’t see the similiarity.
    The real problem is the media and how shamelessly they lie, destroy, and decieve on their master’s behalf. They are causing him to make up ground in the polls and they will continue doing that. August and September are going to be huge months for Bush.

  5. Brian on

    The Bush-Cheney ’04 Campaign realizes that it’s in trouble. Now word has come out that a private investigation firm has been hired to try and dig up stuff about Kerry’s military past. A confident campaign wouldn’t do that.
    While I am not ready to say it’s definitely in the bag, it’s looking more and more likely each day.

  6. Lawrence on

    Well, as Bugs Bunny used to say, “I can dream, can’t I?”
    But your reply opens up an interesting question: who runs for president on the R ticket in 2008? Mitt? Jeb? They don’t sound like winners to me…

  7. Ron Thompson on

    Can I get some of what you’re smoking, Lawrence? The Republican establishment isn’t going to turn control of their operation over to the poster boys. It will be Jeb, or Bill Owens, or Bill Frist, or George Allen, or Mitt Romney, or some other dependable right-winger, but it will certainly be the candidate supported by the right in the primaries.

  8. Edward on

    The Dems are united as never before. We are still mad as hell about 2000 and will vote in-force. I have a feeling that the election will not be as close as many think. The world will rejoyce when Bush is out………

  9. Lawrence on

    Sorry to be off-thread, but me & some friends of mine were meditating on the possibilities of life-after if Kerry wins:
    We’re hoping the wished-for demise of the Cheney-Rumsfeld administration will result in leadership of the R party by the likes of McCain, Powell, and Der Schwartzenegger, who are, at least relatively, moderate and intelligent.
    Imagine a R party without hypocritical piousness, scandalous tax policies, and loud gorilla chest beating!

  10. Joe Zainea on

    The poll numbers are looking good for the Dems but this race is far from over. First of all, events on the ground, either in Iraq or here, can play to Bush’s advantage between now and Nov. 2.
    Second, Bush is a tireless campaigner when he wants to be. His current effort is beginning to remind me of how he nationalized the congressional races in 2002.
    Third, we’re still being introduced to John Kerry. Not all of his traits are flattering. Have you read about the size and number of his various policy councils? The Bush campaign is starting to zero in on that and asking why Kerry needs such a big clunky entourage to figure out where he stands.
    Fourth, I’m getting a little concerned about the lack of African American presence in the campaign. If African American political leaders in Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Miami make a half hearted effort at voter turn out in November in response to Kerry’s failure to reach out, we could have real problems.

  11. drewthaler on

    For ordinary people, I think what it comes down to is what Kerry-Edwards have in spades, and Bush-Cheney claims to have but doesn’t: honesty and optimism.
    Witness Richard Reeves’ recent op/ed piece, “The Way People Really Talk About Politics”. (Perhaps because he’s been around so long, Reeves is an interesting and far-sighted editorialist.) The campaigns throw stuff back and forth, but when it comes down to it, the average person isn’t a politician and doesn’t know what should be done at a national level. Instead, people decide based on (occasionally distorted) summaries of what they hear and apply their own values judgments to it.
    That’s why I think Bush is making a big mistake pursuing “optimism” and “values” after a huge barrage of negative attack ads. Those ads are clearly dishonest – every voter can see that. (Kerry, a decorated veteran, would somehow cut all funding for our military? Puh-leeze.) Bush might be able to win votes by staying consistently negative and arguing that in a dirty world, you need a president who knows how to fight dirty. There’s a certain ugly logic in that. But instead he’s being openly two-faced, and voters are going to see right through him.
    The voters aren’t stupid, George, they’re just busy with their own lives and thought they could trust you to run the country. If you treat them like they’re stupid, they’ll throw you out on your ear.

  12. demtom on

    So, Coach, what’s life like in New Hamp– oops! Don’t want to blow your cover.
    To piggy-back on what Nate said: when those who ought to be gung-ho about the incumbent are middling or downright embarrassed, it’s usually a sign a blow-out is coming, whatever the polls say. I remember feeling unhappy about Jimmy Carter in 1980 (I also recall seeing Gene McCarthy and Ralph Abernathy endorsing Reagan!); though the polls said the race was tight, it should have been obvious something was in the air.
    Bush has a ton of ominous signs: All those military and CIA people — who ought to be part of his base — noisily off the reservation. The rumors about changing VPs (also heard about his father amd Quayle in ’92). Personally campaigning, heavily and negatively, in Spring and early summer. None of these are things an incumbent bound for re-election has on his plate.
    I also have it from a person I trust — someone politically neutral — that “You can’t overstate the degree of loathing for the administration throughout DC”. This is all intangible stuff, but I’ve never seen a president hold the White House in an environment like it.

  13. theCoach on

    I was trying to be a little coy. We have an (R) governor, and all (R) congess people. The state to our west is solidly democratic. The state to our south is solidly Democratic as well.
    We went Bush in 2000, but in a *very* close race.
    George Bush Senior did not win here in the ’92 primary, and GWB did not win the 2000 primary.
    That should probably be enough of a hint…

  14. dean on

    Changed my mind. Don’t hate Bush, but you can say I do if you like. Because, and get this straight, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HATING GEORGE BUSH.
    He’s an incompetent individual who permitted and possily assisted in the WTC attacks, he has assisted in the looting of the US Treasury, he has lied to the American people consistently, his incompetence and greed have us mired in a war that has killed nearly a thousand Americans, killed more than a thousand coalition forces, and killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, he’s succeeded in wrecking the US economy for the next ten years…it just goes on and on. So fine. If you want to think I hate him, that’s fine, because he deserves to be hated. Hating George Bush is not merely acceptable, but reasonable. How’s that? Settle it for you, S. Robinson?

  15. dean on

    Ah, once again the “hatred” charge is leveled. Why is this used as a charge by the same people who hounded a SUCCESSFUL president for eight years and tried to hamper everything he did in spite of low unemployment, a high-flying economy, a budget surplus, and a general state of peace?
    Yup, I don’t care if Bush lives or dies. I don’t hate him. I despise his incompetent, dishonest, thieving administration. Once that is over, I’ll be glad to see him go, but I do not want him to steal any more money from me than he has already on the way out. And I couldn’t care less whether he lives or dies. Unless he gets indicted and tried. Then I think he should serve his sentence alive.
    Got that, S. Robinson? Shove the “hate” stuff up your a**, okay? Try addressing something real or substantive and don’t play the stupid “you hate” game with me.
    You want to see hate? I’ll forward you the letter about Teresa Heinz-Kerry that I got from one Andy De Paolis of RBS Media Group. Then you’ll see what hate is. RBS Media Group is a Republican PR firm. You should see the hate-filled, lie-filled letter they sent out.

  16. Nate on

    Which state is it that you are in? I’m having a hard time thinking of a “solidly Republican battleground state” (if it is so solid, why is it a battleground?) Anyway, I’m just curious.
    I recently made a cross-country trip from Princeton NJ to Portland OR, with a detour into Banff, Canada. Although the ends of the trip are pretty solid Kerry-country, it did take me through some real Great Lakes Battlegrounds and the upper plains (which are probably voting Bush but don’t seem excited about it).
    My observation is just that pro-Kerry stickers seemed to outnumber pro-Bush stickers by a huge margin. Especially in the urban areas (as would be expected). Of course, there were few Kerry stickers in Montana, North Dakota and Idaho, but there weren’t many Bush stickers either. The “battle ground” state of Michigan seems to be safely Democratic if the bumper-poll, anti-war yard signs, and conversations with disgruntled Republicans mean anything.
    My guess is that the Dems and Dem-leaning independents are energized and the Republicans are far less energized. Time will tell, but I’m starting to suspect that there might be lopsided turn-out that could upend the polls.

  17. Ron Thompson on

    Yesterday Survey USA released 4 state polls, including one for Florida. Results in different groups from that poll are listed here in the second column, with the result from the 2000 Florida exit poll in the first column. In all cases, the Democratic percentage is listed first, and Bush’s percentage is listed second. The right hand colum is the difference between the 1st column margin and the second column margin (e.g. Gore lost men by 12, Kerry’s behind by 7, so Kerry’s +5). I did this for all clean 2000 to 2004 matchups. Wish I could get this to format better, but I can’t.
    2000 2004 Effect on
    Gore-Bush Kerry-Bush Kerry
    Overall 49-49 47-44 +3
    Men 42-54 41-48 +5
    Women 53-45 53-41 +4
    White 40-57 42-52 +7
    Black 93- 7 82-12 -16
    Hispanic 48-49 45-34 +12
    Republican 8-91 13-83 +13
    Democrat 86-13 82-10 -1
    Independent 47-46 48-38 +9
    Liberal 79-17 81-11 +8
    Moderate 51-46 58-34 +19
    Conservative 21-77 20-75 +1
    Post grad 45-52 49-43 +13
    College grad 39-57 45-45 +18
    Some college 48-49 50-43 +6
    No college 53-45 44-50 -14
    Urban 50-48 50-45 +3
    Sub/Rur 47-50 47-46 +4
    In 14 of the 17 categories, Kerry has an advantage. In one other (Democrats), Bush has an advantage of 1 point. Only in two groups does there seem to be a significant swing to Bush: Blacks, and people with no college.
    If you think Bush is going to run 16 points better among Blacks, I have some ocean-view property I’m looking to sell. The only other significant advantage for Bush is that the least-educated quarter of the population seems to be swinging to him, either out of dumb-guy solidarity or because of the filter used to screen for likely voters.
    They use different age-groups here than in the 2000 exit poll, so I don’t include them.
    I sure don’t understand how the overall race can be so close when there is such large movement in so many different groups.

  18. Lawrence on

    I’m hoping for the unmeasured enthusiasm effect that the R’s got in 1994, when all the Clinton-haters were all riled up. Clearly, this year all of us D’s are appalled at the results of the W presidency, so we may end up at the polling booth with a little more oomph than is measured by the polls.
    Remeber, also: no R has gotten the most votes in a presidential election since 1988. Gore + Nader == more than 50% in 2000 clearly points to a persistant democratic advantage in recent years, so we only need a little more enthusiasm to overcome the R hate machine.
    The W administration and the R party in general is showing its political tin ear: it thinks people see banning “gay marriage” as a positive issue, and sympathizing with people’s economic fears and frustrations (a la Edwards) as negative! Yes, I do think they’re acting desperate, and getting OBL might be the only thing that can save them…

  19. theCoach on

    I am hoping for the EdSez scenario. I think there are probably 2-3% of voters that try to go with the winning team. If the convention bounce can make a story that Kerry is strongly leading, we may be able to pick up these crucial votes. If you factor them in, and then do some anaysis of the trends, smart young ambitious Republicans will have to do some strategic rethinking of their positions and who they whose fortunes they would like share.
    However, it is also crucial to remember that it is very early, and Bush has a good shot of pulling this off. Just today I noticed two cars almost completely covered with “W” stickers — a sign of desperation, or a sign of someting else, I do not know. I am in a solidly Republican battleground state (we do not like Bush-style Republicans). We need to get out the vote and keep our side energized, and their side unenthusiastic about their candidate (how can you be enthusiastic about the worst President Ever? – what the ‘W’ stands for)

  20. molly bloom on

    Slightly OT, but why was the discovery of W’s drunk driving arrest a “dirty trick”? W made moral values an issue. By doing so, he put his own morality at issue. What we learned from the episode is that Bush was willing to lie to cover his own misdeeds and his obsession with secrecy (remember restoring honor and integrity to the White House?) I note his response was to attack his attackers. This response was a foreshadowing of his entire residency.
    In light of the WMD lies/ Saddam had something to do with 9/11 lies, to name the two most important along with the national guard lies, and the torture memo lies this was ground worth covering.
    John Dean, who knows a thing or two about pResidential lies and secrecy covers this in his excellant polemic, Worse than Watergate.

  21. S Robinson on

    Mr. Knight,
    Regarding #4; whether or not Gore or the Dems were directly involved was not my intent. Sorry to mislead. The issue was that some major news was released on the final weekend before the election, with no time for the other side to respond. I don’t have exact data at hand, but I recall Bush leading around 3-5 points headed into the final weekend. Polls still showed him with the same lead on Monday, except for Zogby, which showed a dead heat. Why was Zogby so accurate? It was the only poll that gathered data over the weekend. Gore improved because a big negative story was allowed to go unanswered.
    I agree completely with points 2 and 3; not so sure about #1.

  22. Samuel Knight on

    A few points:
    1) Not all the polls are looking so good. WaPo had it tied. We should also remember that a lot of polls in the primaries and again in the recent Canadian election were substantially off. The polls are hints, it generally looks close with a slight Democratic advantage.
    2) We are close to coming into a time that Kerry won’t be able to spend heavily.
    3) As Iraq fades from the news, the President’s poll rating appear to be bouncing back up to around 50%. It doesn’t look like the collapse in confidence in him happened.
    4) Drunk driving story. Easy to blame it on the Dems, but there is no proof that they had anything to do with it. One reporter went after it and got it. But yes, I was important, Gore did better than any poll said he was going to. Which brings us back to point #1.

  23. Preston on

    “with the American casualties in Iraq going down”
    TJ- I agree with your caution- but the daily casualty rate by month belies your claim:
    Jan- 1.68
    Feb- 0.79
    Mar- 1.68
    Apr- 4.67
    May- 2.71
    Jun- 1.67
    Jul- 2.11
    There’s no need for us to let Bush off the hook for a situation that is not improving (at least for US soldiers)

  24. Laura on

    I don’t think the “dirty trick” of releasing the drunk driving info had anything to do with anything. The story didn’t have legs. It wasn’t significant enough to change anyone’s mind.
    It’s a story that has more resonance this year as the the discrepancy between what Bush pretends to be and who he really is becomes more apparent every day.
    Defeating Bush in Nov. is essnetial to save our democracy but it’s just the first step. We need him to be defeated soundly, humiliatingly, and to take some house members and Senators down with him. That’s the only way to force the “responisble” leaders of the Republican party to pull their party back into the mainstream.
    The comment above about the TV news (Fox excepted) being on Kerry’s side….I have no opinion about that because I never watch TV news. Maybe the stations are ashamed of the way they helped promote Bush’s misinformation and got us into an unnecessary war. In any case anothe step in securing our democracy has to be to attack the media for their role in disseminating misinformation. A whole bunch of credibility needs to be lost. We need to make it common knowledge that the media, by failing to question the Bush administration, bears the responisbility for the deaths of our service people.
    Winning this election isn’t going to be enough if the mass media remains a right wing monopoly and the Republican party remains under the control of the cabal of robber barons and religious fanatics.

  25. S Robinson on

    “The media wants him to win. Desperately.”
    What media are you reading? Fox wants Bush to win, but CBS, NBC, ABC and the NYT are all solidly in Kerry’s corner. And they’re not exactly subtle about it!
    “First, remember, Democrats usually close with a rush the last two weeks..see…Gore 2000…”
    The Dems closed fast in 2000 because of Gore’s dirty trick – releasing news of Bush’s drunk driving arrest on a Friday. The GOP couldn’t take any action against the charge until Monday, and by then public perception had already been decided. Probably the way the GOP will announce the bin Laden capture this year.
    Your hatred is duly noted, but Clinton still has a SS detail – deservedly or not.

  26. dean on

    If George Bush gets to fly Air Force One back to Crawford in January I will not be happy. Once he’s out of office, I don’t want any more taxpayer money…MY MONEY…spent on him than is absolutely necessary. I would rather see the SS detail pulled off him too. Who gives a crap if he lives or dies once he leaves office?

  27. daver9 on

    Up front, the public will finalize support for Kerry after debates, like Reagain ’80.
    Kerry will win 35 states and bring in many dms from congress to the courthouse. Why? consider..
    First, remember, Democrats usually close with a rush the last two weeks..see Humphrey ’68, Clinton ’92, Gore 2000, because polling undercounts our base because Democratic leaning voters are too busy trying to make a living to pay much attention to campaigns.
    So, assuming Kerry runs a solid campaign, a safe assumption given the skill of his campaign so far;
    and assuming a neutral economy, a fair bet;
    and futher assuming Iraq remains the quaqmire mess it is, again a safe assumption,
    Then we’ll see a huge Democratic victory on Nov. 2.
    If Bush/Rove’s $80 million in negative advertising hasn’t dented Kerry yet, why should we assume that unfettered GOP attack ad spending in August, with vacations and the Olympics and back-to-school spending dominating the public’s mind, will make any more of a difference?
    Kerry seals the deal in the debates, like Reagan 80. It’s going to be a wonderful Democratic year…

  28. James on

    Marcus, do you mean that Bush has gone up in July and went up in June as well as in May?
    The media wants him to win. Desperately. They have lied to people again and again about the economy and Iraq. That will only continue, and become huge when Dems are totally off the air in August.

  29. Marcus Lindroos on

    I am slightly worried by the Bush Approval Ratings graphs on the PollKatz website. Check them carefully, and there has indeed been a small but systematic trend over the last month. It seems every single poll now rates “Shrub” slightly higher than one month ago.
    I think Kerry/Edwards should be pretty pleased with where they are, if they are *still* tied in the polls two months from now. If that happens, the pressure will be on the President in the debates since I believe undecided voters rarely switch to the incumbent in the last month before election.

  30. Brandon R. on

    I’m very surprised (though I shouldn’t be) to see the Democrats rally behind their ticket even more than the Republicans. The Republicans usually fall in step like the obedient fascists they are.
    Now if we can get Nader down to 0% in all the stupid polls. (Or maybe they should just stop asking people if they plan to vote for him. Sheesh.)
    I also think as Bush continues to insist on the Al Qaeda-Saddam link despite the total lack of evidence, it a.) further damages his credibility b.)makes him sound desperate and/or even delusional.

  31. soup on

    Far from over, far from over, yes. I’m waiting for debate exchanges along these lines.
    Bush: “Members of Congress should not vote to send troops into battle and then vote against funding them. And then brag about it.”
    Kerry: “A president should not rush our troops into a war of choice based on bad intelligence to remove weapons of mass destruction. And then when he can’t find the weapons make jokes about it.”

  32. EdSez on

    One of my scenarios for Bush-Cheney is a huge collapse. I think that some of their support comes from people who like to stay with a winner. Other support comes from people who are uncomfortable admitting to themselves that an Administration is incompetent when nothing can be done about it – – but the thought will be a lot more comfortable when it is near the time when the Administration can be replaced.
    It will take a long, long while for the general public to come around to the idea that Bush-Cheney is likely to lose. The earliest this could happen is a few weeks before the election. If it does, look out below! Support for B-C will evaporate.

  33. Brian on

    The ups and downs of these polls are even more hard to follow than the ones of the polls during the primaries.
    Not every poll is as good as this one, as I am sure you can imagine, but at the same time, Bush and Cheney aren’t running away with the election in any of them. Most of them show both major parties tied. And while some of the polls reflecting the attitude of voters of the current administration, such as job approval numbers, may be pretty decent, like the ones that show them to be over 50%, in those cases, as in the other cases, Bush and Cheney aren’t creaming Kerry and Edwards.
    Perhaps more importantly than anything else, a lot of voters seem to not have an opinion of the Democratic ticket just yet. If the Kerry-Edwards campaign can, at worst, stay even when it is not ahead slightly ahead, like it will be after the convention, it could make a favorable impression when the debates come.
    One last thing: I just hope some state polls, like the CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup poll that show Bush-Cheney beating Kerry Edwards by 13-15 points, aren’t the norm. I expected a state like Alabama to be out of Kerry’s reach, whereas I assumed North Carolina was starting to be in play, even just a little.

  34. aenglish on

    Did the big bad movie stars say nasty things about Dear Leader? Oh the horror! Call out the National Guard! Oh wait, they’re in Iraq.
    Give it up. Nobody cares about it, any more than they care about the “Edwards is a trial lawyer” as an attack theme.

  35. T.P. Connell on

    If Kerry/Edwards attends another Hollywood fundraiser it could be over. Take the money, God yes, but do not get up on stage with these crazies again. This kind of affair does not play in Peoria.

  36. T.J. Pempel on

    Great numbers, but it’s a long way until Nov. And there’s a lot that can pull Bush out still yet… with the American casualties in Iraq going down, the economy sputtering a bit less badly, Bush’s negatives also dropping, and most importantly, a month of unanswerable Republican spending in August…. And then there’s always Osama bin Laden–almost surely stuck in Karl Rove’s basement waiting to be pulled out at the ‘right moment.’ We still have a lot of work to do.

  37. Rick P. on

    Hey folks, let’s not get over-confident. Bush is not history until he on Air Force One headed to Crawford, TX on January 20, 2005. This campaign to liberate America will be long and ardorous. Fight like hell; the lying Bushies will do no less.


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