Thanks to PollingReprt.com for the graphic.
On this Saturday night, less than five days after Kerry’ s announcement of Edwards as his running mate, let’s take a walk through poll-land and see what has developed since Tuesday. First, as far as the head-to heads are concerned, I point your attention tonight to a poll that many of our freeper friends pay attention to. The Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll for Saturday shows for the first time John Kerry hitting the 49% mark, and opening up a four-point lead over Bush. As Rasmussen notes, this is the first time that either candidate has hit the 49% threshold. And of note is Rasmussen’s other poll on how voters view Edwards. While the White House is trying to define the Kerry/Edwards ticket as the most liberal ticket ever, Rasmussen notes that voters view Edwards as a moderate, not a liberal, while a staggering 70% of those polled view Pottymouth Dick as a conservative.
Along those lines, the recently-released Newsweek Poll taken through last night shows that the Kerry/Edwards ticket now leads the Bush/Darth Vader ticket by six points (51%-45%) if Nader is excluded. But notice how Bush does with alternate ticket combinations of Bush/Powell and Bush/McCain. With a Bush/Powell ticket, Bush beats Kerry/Edwards, and with a Bush/McCain ticket, Bush only wins by two points. Neither of these tickets will ever come to pass, so it must be driving Rove nuts to know that he may have topped out with Cheney and can’t do a thing to dump him without encouraging the wrath of the conservatives.
As Bush’s approval ratings climb back up based on voters’ feelings that Iraq is moving off the front pages and the economy is getting better, it is important to remember that there is every sign that Iraq will not stay off the front page for much longer. And that leaves Bush with the economy, where it is clearly true that if you have a good job, health insurance, and a home with equity, you are doing well now. It is anyone’s guess if this will hold up as we head into the fall.
But is important to remember also that this race will be won state-by-state in the Electoral College, and nationwide polls and job approval ratings may not mean much until October. Along these lines, it is important to look at what is happening state-by-state to get a sense of how things make break this fall.
In Michigan, American Research Group reported yesterday that Kerry has pulled out to a seven-point lead over Bush after trailing him earlier, and this is before the Edwards addition is fully factored in. Kerry does well against Bush with men and independents in Michigan.
ARG also reported yesterday that Kerry maintains a seven-point lead over Bush in New Mexico, with a large number of voters having an unfavorable opinion of Nader in the state.
Rasmussen finds that Virginia is within reach for Kerry, with Kerry now trailing Bush by only three points (48%-45%). Bush carried the state by nine points against Gore in 2000.
Rasmussen also reported this week that Kerry has now moved out to a five-point lead over Bush, 48%-43% in Florida, and this was before the Edwards selection was factored in.
It will be important to pay attention to these state-by-state polls as Kerry/Edwards makes the rounds of the key battleground states.