Latest CBS News/New York Times Poll Has Lessons For Kerry/Edwards
The latest CBS News/New York Times poll is out this morning, taken through Thursday night. And although the NYT headline writer does everything he can to put a negative spin on the story (“No Poll Boost For Edwards”), at the bottom of the story you find that Kerry/Edwards have a 49%-44% lead over Bush/Cheney, with a sizeable majority in the country (56%) still feeling that the country is headed in the wrong direction, as well as a majority (51%) who feel that the Iraq war was a mistake and not worth the loss of life (62%).
Again, as I have said several times, pay more attention in the coming weeks to the state polls, as this story in the Times confirms the myopic mindset of the national media towards polls. To them, unless sweeping changes materialize in national polls that show a noticeable swing towards one side or the other, there is no bounce. But the NYT doesn't notice what is happening at the state level, like in Tennessee and other swing or southern states since the Edwards announcement.
Probably the most notable finding from the poll was that for the first time a majority felt that the Democrats were preferred to make decisions about Iraq (45%) instead of Bush (41%). Also, the generic congressional ballot question shows the Democrats now with a commanding 46%-37% advantage in the next election over the GOP. Another key finding was that Bush’s policy of preemptive attack is more unpopular with voters now than at any time previously. 60% of those polled (the highest ever) are against preemptive attacks by the US, with only 33% supportive of preemption. And 71% of those polled feel that another terrorist attack in the US in the coming months is either very or somewhat likely. Yet Kerry/Edwards have a lead over Bush/Cheney.
And if you question the sample in this poll, think about this. Although 37% of this sample said they were Democrats, compared to 29% who said they were Republicans, (and 30% independents), 38% of those polled in this sample said they voted for Bush in 2000, and only 33% said they voted for Gore. Furthermore, as we digest the thrashing from 2002, it is interesting to note that while there was a pretty even split (24%/ 25%) between those who said they voted Republican or Democrat in the 2002 midterms, 32% of the sample said they didn’t bother to vote in the midterms.
There’s a message for you in these results Senator Kerry: get aggressive. You have the latitude and room in the polls to go after Bush on terrorism and Iraq, and challenge him, his record, and his credibility on these issues directly. And in doing so, you’ll drive up the turnout from your base.