Time Poll Says Kerry Now More Likeable Than Bush
(Courtesy of Atrios)
The latest Time Magazine/CNN poll (not done by Gallup) using a sample that more closely reflects the party ID breakdown from the 2000 race shows Kerry and Bush in a 45%-45% tie going into tonight’s debate. The poll was conducted through last night, and included Nader, who is now down to 3%.
There is more good news in this poll for Kerry, aside from the 6% deficit against Bush in the last Time/CNN poll he has now eliminated.
A key reason for Kerry's resurgence was that he recaptured a large lead among female voters. Females now support Kerry over Bush by 12 points, 50%-38%. Pre-debate, the TIME Poll found women split evenly, 44% Kerry, 43% Bush. By contrast, in early August, Kerry led among women by 14 points.
Kerry has also restored luster to his overall favorability rating, with a 50% favorable - 34% unfavorable rating, a +16 point difference. That's a sharp increase from the pre-debate TIME Poll, when his favorables were almost equal to his unfavorables, 42% - 36%. Kerry now beats Bush on favorability for the first time, with Bush now at 48% favorable – 42% unfavorable, a +6 point difference. Just prior to the debate, Bush‘s favorables over unfavorables were +12 points.
Bush and Kerry are now tied at 52% each on "honest and trustworthy." On "good judgment," Kerry is now up 5 points over Bush, 54% - 49%.
On being "likeable," a key strength for Bush in 2000, Bush now trails Kerry, 70% - 65%. (Bush had a slight 4 point lead on likeability before the debate.)
Kerry's performance rejuvenated his standing, particularly on domestic issues, the topic tonight. Kerry again leads Bush on handling the economy (49%-42%), health care (52%-36%) and understanding peoples' needs (49%-40%).
The candidates are now even on taxes, 45% Kerry to 43% Bush. Two weeks ago, Bush led 46%-40%.
The economy (27%) has once again taken center stage; terrorism is second, at 21%, followed by Iraq (19%), health care (16%), and moral values issues (13%).
Voters remain evenly divided on whether the U.S. was right (45%) or wrong (49%) to go to war with Iraq.
This is a nice lead-in to a debate that will focus more on domestic issues and will require Bush to reconnect with the American people, something he will have difficulty doing when he is not in front of his usual adoring Stepford crowds. And this poll is a stark rebuttal to the chattering class that continues to pound the mantra that Kerry isn’t as likeable as Bush, or is losing female voters to Bush.