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Saturday, October 02, 2004

Newsweek National Poll Puts Kerry in the Lead

Posted by DavidNYC

I don't usually do national polls here, but I can't resist this one from Newsweek (registered voters, 9/9-10 and 9/2-3 in parens):

Kerry: 49 (45) (43)
Bush: 46 (50) (54)
Undecided: 5 (5) (3)
(MoE: ��4%)

I'm showing two trendlines because both are fairly recent and because the 9/2-3 numbers were taken right after the Republican convention, when Bush had a monstrous and (to some) a seemingly insurmountable 11-point lead. Needless to say, that lead is no more.

In a month, this poll has swung an impressive fourteen points. That's not to say it can't swing back again, but this kind of gyration must have Karl Rove's triumphalist stomach in knots. I don't see Bush as having much ability to push back in the other direction, because unless Kerry fumbles badly, the debates are going to be win-win-win for our side. And I'm also expecting John Edwards to bring all of his considerable skills as a courtroom litigator when he faces Dick Cheney - Johnn Sunshine will do an infinitely better job than the sorry Joe Lieberman did four years ago.

And check out the lovely internals on the debate. Sixty-one percent said Kerry was the clear winner, while only 19% picked Bush. When your numbers on a question like this fall below your baseline - typically, the one-third or so of voters who will almost always vote GOP or Dem - you know you've fucked up big-time. I would also point out that a rather large segment of registered voters - 74% - watched at least part of the debates, so this is going to have a broad effect.

You can follow the link to see the percentages for a whole host of other questions. One issue which really stands out for me is the draft: 38% of voters think that a second Bush administration would re-instate the draft, while just 18% think Kerry would. We need to push this issue, because I think it can motivate hard-to-reach younger voters and, of course, their parents.

UPDATE: Full internals are here, including weighting.

Posted at 08:36 PM in General | Technorati


Newsweek shows us up! Is this a sign of better things to come? You bet. Plus, it can't be bad when the Brits shorten their odds on John Kerry.

If we work hard and get our voters to the polls, Bush will be history on election day.

Maybe then we can see Karl Rove in utter disbelief.

Posted by: Robert Marlye at October 2, 2004 09:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'm so happy! Now we have a chance! Kerry frustated me greatly by not responding to all of the attack ads against him with ads of his own, but finally in the debate he could do it. And yet he did it respectfully. Bush's scowls are a big story too. I think he's so surrounded by yes people that he doesn't really remember what it's like to have someone question his judgement.

PS The LA TIMES POLL confirms Newsweeks numbers, giving Kerry a 2 point lead, I think. So, statistically tied.

Posted by: Ben at October 2, 2004 09:40 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Kerry's debate performance has turned him from just being not Bush to being better than Bush. And those poll numbers confirm that.

Posted by: Dale at October 2, 2004 09:45 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Oh happy days! It pleases me immensely that Newsweek shows that Kerry is up by two points. I can hardly wait to other polls. I wouldn't be surprised if Kerry is really up by four or five points!

Posted by: Barbs at October 2, 2004 10:32 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The numbers are terrific, and watching Mr. Halliburton get waxed by a Real Democrat will be tasty viewing.

I think I disagree with pushing the draft issue, however. Given that the huge piece of our forces already committed to Iraq reduces the military's wiggle room to near-zero, the need for a draft over the next four years is likely to be dictated far more by geopolitical circumstances than either man's feelings about the desirability of reinstating it. This has the potential to blow up on Big John in the same way Bush 41's "No new taxes" came back to bite him on the ass.

Posted by: RIposte at October 3, 2004 12:50 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The problem with the Newsweek surveys is that they are for registered voters. I wish they'd only survey likely voters, and weight appropriately for Nader -- for only the states on which he'll appear on the ballot.

Posted by: David R. Mark at October 3, 2004 01:24 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Regarding the internals, 34% of respondents are Republican, 36% are Democrat, 30% are independents. That's not quite right, huh?

Doesn't that suggest that Kerry might be up by more than 3%?

Posted by: David R. Mark at October 3, 2004 01:28 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

David Mark - We've seen so many problems with likely voter methodologies (especially with Gallup) that I'd rather see RVs for now. And yes, Dems are actually a bit under-weighted in this poll, so (assuming all else is correct), we are probably doing a bit better than the head-to-head shows.

Riposte - While I agree that reinstatement of the draft is something imposed by reality, and not by the wishes of the president, I still think the draft is something any president can avoid. If this analysis is correct, then Kerry doesn't risk a future blow-up.

Furthermore, if it's an effective issue (and I think it is), I'd rather use it to get us in the White House and *then* worry about the potential reprecussions. After all, in the history of broken presidential promises, it is very rare for them to come back and really bite someone running for re-election. I think Bush pere's "read my lips" was so notable in part because it was a big exception.

Posted by: DavidNYC at October 3, 2004 02:13 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

What I feel is the most important part of the Newsweek poll from the internals:

the same amount (51%) says they would trust Kerry to make the right decisions during an international crisis as would trust Bush (51%)

If that stands up this election is over: Kerry wins. Bush's entire strategy is to basically push the idea that if Kerry is elected, catastrophe will follow. If Kerry stays even or moves ahead of Bush on this issue, "Who do you trust during an international crisis?" then what else does Bush have? From where I sit that leaves Bush with only the tax boogeyman, which Kerry should be able to innoculate himself from by stating his position clearly in the debates and then flanking Bush on his record of turning surpluses into record defecits, and gay marriage which all polling I've seen indicates is a peripheral issue in this campaign.

Oh, by the way, you should probably take the link to the Florida Politics page off of the site... it appears to have been hijacked by a wingnut. Shame, it was a good blog.

Posted by: Disenfranchised Floridian at October 3, 2004 02:42 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Kerry is doing good, but it's going to be a
fight to the finish, can't get complacent.

Posted by: Rob at October 3, 2004 09:57 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The important thing is that Newsweek has confirmed that Kerry received a bounce from the debate. It's a big step in the right direction for the Kerry campaign. He's gaining momo. A couple of more debates and he might just be set to win on Nov 2nd.

Posted by: Rock_nj at October 3, 2004 11:46 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

"Alert status red!!!! But the sun came up instead...."

Matthew Good

Posted by: canadian_4_kerry at October 3, 2004 01:01 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

rasmussen shows bush gaining ,up to a 4 pont lead. his polls are strange when bush was up 11 he had iy almost a dead heat. kind of get the feeling he makes his polls more pro bush when bush needs the help.don`t get to excited, 1 bad debate for kerry and bush goes right back where he was.

Posted by: joel at October 3, 2004 03:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I agree with Joel, one bad debate and we could be back where we were. It's too early to talk of a Kerry "lead" yet.

I think the Newsweek poll said it had a margine of error of + or - 4. Does that mean what I think it means? I.E. although the Newsweek poll says 49 for Kerry and 46 for Bush as of a couple a days ago, if you take 4 from kerry you get 45 and add 4 to Bush and you get 50. So reality could be anywhere from a small lead for Kerry to a small lead for Bush. Plus, of course, it's all fluid.

The Bushies are getting ready to launch an attack ad on Kerry talking about a "global test" in the debate. I don't like the idea of preemtive war at all, so I fully agree with what Kerry said, in fact I'm much more of a peacenik than he is, but I do think it may be the thing he's most vulnerable on in terms of the debate. The Republicans are going to try to replace in voters' minds Bush's scowl with Kerry's "global test."

Posted by: Ben at October 3, 2004 07:00 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There are plenty of anti-Bush ads that could be made from the debate as well (e.g. his comments about how we could not afford homeland security]. So I'm not that bothered about the 'global test' meme, especially since responsible news editors know that Kerry also said he would never give another nation a veto over America's foreign policy.

Posted by: erg at October 3, 2004 10:03 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Kerry already has a great ad in the pipeline that opens by saying that Bush lost the debate and now is reduced to lying about Kerry's statements on the "global test", then reminds viewers of what Kerry really said. I visited my parents this weekend and the mood was better than it's been for two months. My dad works closely with the DFL chair in my home county in southern Minnesota, and reports that they can't pick up Kerry-Edwards yard signs fast enough to meet the demand. A drive through the main town in the county confirmed their popularity. Things are looking good, but let's not get too cocky and provide them the opportunity for a suckerpunch or another Swift Boat-esque trojan horse.

Posted by: Mark at October 3, 2004 10:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

New Gallup shows a tied race.

10/1-3 (9/24-26)

Bush 49 (52) Kerry 49 (44)

This is good news to see a tie in a poll that has tended to favor Bush.

Posted by: DFuller at October 4, 2004 08:22 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

19% is pretty low. That's about the level of Alan Keyes's support in Illinois. Now there's an arresting thought - support for Keyes is about as mainstream as thinking Bush won the first debate.

Posted by: Sam Wang at October 4, 2004 08:32 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I saw lots and lots of Kerry/Edwards yard signs as I drove along the Delaware River in Bucks County, PA yesterday. I probably saw about 4 Kerry/Edwards signs for every Bush/Chenney sign. It's a traditionally Republican county. A wealthy well-to-do sort of a place.

Posted by: Rock_nj at October 4, 2004 08:45 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

rock_nj, but at the same time, Gore won Bucks County, PA by four points last time. It certainly is encouraging you say so many Kerry signs, but Kerry needs to do as well there as he did in 2000 if he plans to win. With that in mind, one has to suspect the Dems prospects in PA are diminishing long-term if even a win in Bucks County doesn't tip the scales dramatically in favor of the Dems.

Posted by: Mark at October 4, 2004 08:50 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

PA is an interesting state. There are more Ds than Rs registered. But, the state legislature is more or less dominated by Republicans. However, the Republican party is very much a fiscally moderate party in PA, as the reality of governing a large industrial state with large urban areas force them to spend money in a realitively liberal way.

One interesting trend in PA that has helped the Dems and will probably continue to help them going forward, is the fact that the once solidly Republican suburbs are now open to voting Democratic. A county like Bucks was solid Republican terrority a few decades ago, in the days of Nixon and Rockerfeller moderate Republicans. The fact that the Dems could make headway in such a county is a sign of strength for the Ds. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the Republican party on the national level has become so capitive to Southern right wing elements, that there are a lot of moderate voters that have nowhere else to go but to vote for a Democratic party that has moderated their positions. The BIG TENT in the Republican party just isn't that big in reality. It's full of a lot of fire-breathing preachers, and narrow-minded bigots, and that turns off moderates. So, PA votes Democratic with the rest of the northern states and rejects the rightwing Southern politics that has taken over the Republicans.

Posted by: Rock_nj at October 4, 2004 10:33 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Hey, that's not fair. We Democrats have our own fire-breathing right-wing nutjobs. They're just not as plentiful as in the Republican party. Why, I believe that our very own Yell Miller said in 1964 that by signing the Civil Rights Act, Lyndon Johnson had betrayed the South for a "mud puddle". Mmm. Feel that fiery warmth.

Posted by: Dale at October 4, 2004 11:16 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I stand corrected. It was "a mess of dark porridge", not a "mud puddle". But he's still the darling of the Democrats!

Posted by: Dale at October 4, 2004 11:33 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Zell Miller is little more than a DINO these days, and I don't mean dinosaur, I mean a Democrat In Name Only. Most of Zell's fellow right-wing Democrats (aka DixieCrats) have become Republicans over the past decade, like Senator Shelby of Alabama. If anything, the Dems have got some wackjobs on the other end of the spectrum, but most of the fire-breathers, bible thumpers, and ardent biogots have gone over to the Republicans where they belong.

Posted by: Rock_nj at October 4, 2004 12:46 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I just got back from an opera-filled weekend in Washington, DC. I drove up, and stayed in Alexandria, VA. What was interesting is that all along the way, from NC to DC I felt like Kerry bumper stickers and signs were definitely more visible than those for Bush. I realize northern VA is far more Democratic than the rest of the commonweath, but even so, I'm wondering if Kerry couldn't perhaps upset Bush in VA this election? I sure hope so. I also got several "thumbs up" signs from motorists who passed me (because of my Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker). Pepe is feeling increasingly more and more optimistic for our man!

Posted by: pepe at October 4, 2004 01:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Read this about Kerry's chances in Virginia. Granted, it was written three days prior to the debate, so if what it says is true, than we may be in better shape than we thought. Although the Washington Post says that many VA for Kerry workers are being reassigned to other states because of a low chance of winning VA. I hope they change their minds.

Posted by: Dale at October 4, 2004 02:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks for the article, Dale--it was an interesting read. The only correction I see necessary with the author's assertion that "VA is the MA of the South." It looks better from a Southern perspective to say "MA is the VA of the North!" Besides, there was a VA nearly two decades before there was a MA! ;-) Anyway, I agree with much that was contained in the article, and I'm beginning to think that VA could actually be in play. I did see a lot of Kerry support in the Old Dominion, especially in and around Alexandria. As a side note, the strongest Bush support (and it appeared to be sizeable) I saw in VA was in Stafford County.

Posted by: pepe at October 4, 2004 02:56 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I'd take those VA workers and spread them among NM, NV and CO. And by the way, where's Bill Richardson?

Posted by: David R. Mark at October 4, 2004 10:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

pepe, Arlington County was a Democratic stronghold for decades. Al Gore got 60% there. Even Walter Mondale won it in 1984. It's good to hear Kerry's doing well there, but Fairfax County a few miles southeast is the big prize. If we can tip the scales there significantly enough, there's an outside chance we can make Virginia competitive. 210,000 votes is a lot of ground to make up though.

Posted by: Mark at October 4, 2004 11:45 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment