Monday :: Jun 21, 2004

Latest ABC News/Post Poll Shows Kerry Ahead, With Bush Losing Ground On Terrorism, Iraq, And Honesty


by Steve

As Bush’s numbers on the economy improve, he now sees slippage in his numbers against Kerry on handling terrorism and Iraq, according to a just-released ABC News/Washington Post poll out tonight. In fact, for the first time in this poll more voters favor Kerry in handling terrorism than Bush. And Kerry now leads in head-to-heads and on the issue of honesty.

Tell me, was it fun blowing all that money Karl? How big was your cut? Since W approves the ads and the campaign strategy, doesn't this make both of you look stupid?

Exactly half the country now approves of the way Bush is managing the U.S. war on terrorism, down 13 points since April, according to the poll. Barely two months ago, Bush comfortably led Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, by 21 percentage points when voters were asked which man they trusted to deal with the terrorist threat. Today the country is evenly divided, with 48 percent preferring Kerry and 47 percent favoring Bush.

Over half of those polled in this poll now feel that the war was not worth fighting, and most of the slippage has come from independent voters.

Fewer than half of those surveyed -- 47 percent -- say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, while 52 percent say it was not, the highest level of disapproval recorded in Post-ABC News polls. Seven in 10 Americans now say there has been an "unacceptable" level of casualties in Iraq, up six points from April and also a new high in Post-ABC News polling.

A majority say the United States should keep its forces in Iraq until the country is stabilized, but the proportion who want to withdraw now to avoid further casualties -- 42 percent -- has inched up again to a new high.

Virtually all of the recent movement against the war has occurred among political independents. Among those with no firm party ties, the proportion who said the war was "not worth fighting" increased from 48 percent in May to 59 percent in the latest poll.

Bush’s overall approval rating, at time when his marks for handling the economy have gone up, is still stuck at 47%, with 51% disapproving. Furthermore, Kerry leads Bush in head-to-heads with regardless of whether Nader is in the race.

In a November ballot test, Kerry leads Bush 48 percent to 44 percent among registered voters, with 6 percent currently supporting independent candidate Ralph Nader. Last month, Kerry and Bush were tied. With Nader out of the race, Kerry's advantage swells to eight points, clear evidence of the continuing threat that the Nader candidacy poses to the Democrat.

Kerry now leads Bush on all issues except Iraq, and even there Kerry is now only five points behind Bush.

The survey found that Kerry's advantages over Bush extended to a range of issues. When asked which they trusted to do the better job, Kerry held a double-digit advantage over Bush as the candidate the public preferred to deal with health care (21 points), taxes (13 points), education (10 points), prescription drug benefits for the elderly (12 points) and smaller leads on handling international affairs (8 points), the economy (5 points) and the federal budget deficit (4 points).

In only one area -- Iraq -- was Bush more trusted, but by a narrow 50 percent to 45 percent margin.

And here’s a kicker. After spending $80 million to define Kerry as a waffler and of questionable integrity, Kerry now leads Bush on the issue of trustworthiness and honesty.

But by a 52 percent to 39 percent margin, Kerry is seen as more honest and trustworthy -- a troubling finding for Bush whose truthfulness in the run up to the war in Iraq has been called into question.

Sure, it’s just another poll. And a large number of those polled who support Kerry say they are against Bush. But this poll shows that after spending so much money to smear Kerry, taking advantage of a Reagan bounce, and taking credit for the improved economy, Bush is losing. He is not only losing on trust and honesty, but he is losing ground on all the issues as well.

Steve :: 4:16 PM :: Comments (14) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!