Tuesday :: Oct 14, 2003

New ABC News/Washington Post Poll Has Good News


by Steve

Those of you who were climbing the walls over the most recent Gallup Poll that showed Bush with an increasing approval rating can now climb off the wall. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll just released by ABC tonight, which concluded last night, shows that Bush is in trouble, and losing to an unnamed Democrat 44%-49% amongst registered voters.

So much for that "We were right about Iraq" campaign of the last week.

Moreover, amongst those leaning to vote Democratic next year, the poll shows that Wesley Clark has jumped to third in the preference, with Dean maintaining a front-runner status, both primarily at the expense of Joe Lieberman and John Kerry.

Persistent criticism on the economy and his Iraq policy alike are clouding President Bush's political standing, creating vulnerabilities that combine to lock the incumbent and an unnamed Democrat in a dead heat for the 2004 vote.

An ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll finds that nearly six in 10 Americans — a new high — call U.S. casualties in Iraq "unacceptable," more than double its level when Baghdad fell last April. Bush's approval rating for handling terrorism more broadly, while still high, now matches his career low. And most continue to disapprove of his handling of the economy, a critical election-year benchmark.

There are newer troubles as well: More than eight in 10 continue to see the alleged White House leak of a CIA operative's identity as a "serious matter," and the number who think the administration is fully cooperating in the investigation has declined to 39 percent. About two-thirds still favor appointment of an outside special counsel to look into the matter.

If the 2004 presidential election were today, 46 percent of Americans say they would vote to re-elect Bush, while 47 percent would favor the Democratic candidate — the president's weakest showing to date in this so-called generic horse race. (It's 44 percent to 49 percent among registered voters). Bush's lead in this test is down from +13 in April, +8 in August and +5 last month.

There are several “money” findings in this poll that will keep Karl up this week. Amongst key groups, Bush has problems:

Bush loses independents by six points and moderates by 15 points in the generic matchup; in late April, by contrast, he led among independents (the quintessential swing voters) by 19 points, and among moderates by 14.

As in 2000, he faces gender, racial and income gaps. Men favor him by 50 percent to 44 percent; women prefer the Democrat by 50 percent to 42 percent. Whites and higher-income people support Bush by double-digit margins, nonwhites favor the Democratic candidate by a huge 51 points, and lower-income people by 12 points.

In addition to neutralizing any gender gap advantage that Bush previously had, the poll also shows that Bush has problems with seniors over Iraq:

The administration's Iraq policy faces particular criticism from seniors, who have been more skeptical about it all along. Fifty-six percent of senior citizens disapprove of the way Bush has handled the situation. About six in 10 say the war was not worth fighting and the administration has no clear plan there, and more than two-thirds call the level of casualties unacceptable. Indeed, Bush does the worst among this group compared to other age groups in the generic '04 matchup, trailing the Democrat among seniors by eight points.

Again, this was taken during the Cheney/Bush/Rice/Powell "We Were Right About Iraq" spin job and after a week of all Arnold/all the time coverage. And it shows that the Valerie Plame cover-up will do damage to the White House.

So seniors, swing voters, and women are heading our way heading into next year. Let’s make sure we get the right candidate to take advantage of this.

Steve :: 3:23 PM :: Comments (11) :: Digg It!