View Full Version : USA Today:Bush Lead Now At 8 Points

10-18-2004, 02:43 PM
Small, significant gains sharpen Bush's edge
By Jim Drinkard, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON President Bush's rebound in a new national poll reflects growth in public confidence in his handling not only of terrorism, an established strength, but also traditionally Democratic issues such as health care and Social Security. It came despite clear majorities that said he lost all three debates to Democratic opponent John Kerry. (Related link: Poll results)

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll conducted from Thursday through Saturday found Bush ahead of Kerry by 52% to 44% among likely voters, a 9-percentage-point shift from a poll the previous week. (Related link: Bush leads latest poll)

The president gained against Kerry in his handling of eight out of nine sets of issues among those same voters. The biggest increase was on how he would handle Social Security, where Bush went from a 40%-53% deficit a week ago to a 49%-46% advantage in the latest poll. Bush also scored advances in his handling of health care, the situation in Iraq, terrorism and taxes. Kerry held his own on Medicare, and continued to hold small leads over Bush on the issues of education, the budget deficit and the economy.

"The presidential election isn't choosing debaters, it's choosing leaders," said Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster. "The numbers are moving back to where they were before the debates. We've grabbed the momentum."

Democrats dismissed the new results. "We are in a neck-and-neck race nationally," said Kerry pollster Mark Mellman, who said Kerry is strongest where it counts: in the closest states that will decide the Electoral College outcome.

"We are very comfortable with where we are, and we are not particularly concerned with these poll numbers that keep flying around," said Joe Lockhart, a Kerry campaign spokesman.

Bush also showed gains against Kerry in all personal qualities except intelligence, where likely voters gave Kerry a 51%-36% advantage. Bush posted higher marks for being honest and trustworthy, strong and decisive, sharing voters' values, having a clear plan for solving the nation's problems and being more likely to keep campaign promises. He inched past Kerry, 47%-46%, for "cares about the needs of people like you."

Overall, Bush's "favorable" rating took a 7-point jump, to 58%, while Kerry's held steady at 51%. He picked up strength among independents, where had been lagging behind Kerry; among voters age 18-29; and was tied among voters 65 and over, where Kerry had held a slight edge.

Bush also was helped by a 4-point increase, from 28% to 32%, of those who said terrorism would be the most important factor in their voting decisions. Voters who make the war on terrorism their top priority favor Bush by a 4-to-1 margin.

Voters are clearly more fervent about this election than they have been in years. Compared with previous elections, 67% said they are "more enthusiastic" about voting, and 75% said the outcome "matters more" to them than in previous years. Those findings are reflected in an influx of new voter registrations and in expectations of high turnout on Nov. 2.

Voters also are more polarized. Of Republicans, 71% said they "strongly approve" of the job Bush is doing; 68% of Democrats said they "strongly disapprove." No president in modern times has ever had such a high disapproval rating from the other party. In the month he resigned, Richard Nixon had a 59% disapproval rating among Democrats; Bill Clinton had 57% disapproval by Republicans during his impeachment.

Contributing: Susan Page, Richard Benedetto and Jim Norman

10-18-2004, 02:47 PM
"We are very comfortable with where we are, and we are not particularly concerned with these poll numbers that keep flying around," said Joe Lockhart, a Kerry campaign spokesman.

Sure you are, Joe. Sure you are.

I bet his eyes are bugging out more each day.

10-18-2004, 03:15 PM
Sounds like it's time for him to dig up some more forged documents in Texas....