Alex's Outlook

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

More fallout, no movement in Bush's poll numbers

A recent Newsweek poll showed Bush's job approval at a record-low 42 percent, and even the Bush-friendly Washington Times is sounding the alarm, signaling a deepening Republican pessimism.

I don't want to sound like Donald Lambro, but with GIs dying every day to Shiite rebels, the media still playing up Abu Ghraib and voters' lagging awareness of the economic recovery (again, no irony intended), it's incredible how well Bush is doing.

First off, Kerry is dead even with Bush in the most dismal weeks of Bush's presidency.

More importantly, though, are polls from individual battleground states and "blue" states that show major weaknesses in Kerry's candidacy.

Two Oregon polls show a +2 Kerry lead and a +5 Bush lead. Gore won Oregon by .4% in 2000, and Oregon will be a hard-fought contest this year.

The latest poll from Michigan shows Bush leading by 4 points, 48-44.

A California poll by SUSA shows (incredibly) a dead heat between Bush and Kerry in that state, 46-45 Kerry. (Gore won CA by 11 points.) An Illinois poll by Rasmussen shows a Kerry lead of only 5 points in a state that Gore won by 12. And the latest poll of New Jersey shows a Kerry lead of 6 points (43-37) in New Jersey, which Gore won by 15 points. An older NJ poll gave Bush a 4-point lead over Kerry, and a pre-Abu Ghraib poll of Maryland gave Kerry only a 5-point lead in that state.

Individually, I would have discounted all of those blue state poll results. But taken together, they represent a serious weakness in Kerry's candidacy. If he is running that far behind Gore, he has no prayer of winning this election.

The only cloud on Bush's horizon is Ohio, which I think has swung decisively leftward over the past two years. It has been rather badly mismanaged by the Voinovich-Taft one-party Republican regime over the past fourteen years, and it was very hard hit by the manufacturing job losses. Kerry's leading there by seven points. To compensate, Bush would have to win two smaller blue states (New Mexico and Oregon) or a large one like Michigan or Pennsylvania. Considering how poorly Kerry has performed thus far, my money is still on Bush.


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