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An Optimistic View of the Polls

Donald Lambro in today’s Washington Times has a positive perspective on recent polls, some of which have shown President Bush trailing John Kerry and other Democrats badly:

[T]he [Gallup] poll’s footnotes suggest the Massachusetts senator’s spurt in the polls may have more to do with the sharp increase in the number of Democrats who described themselves as ‘likely voters’ than with any change in the way voters perceive the president’s job performance. The statistics shifted during “a period of intense coverage of Democratic primaries and caucuses,” which raised Democratic voter interest in the campaign and thus “boosted their chances of being included in the Gallup ‘likely voter’ model,” Gallup said.
“You need to look at historical comparisons for any valid sense of the president’s standing today. Historically, Bush now stands at almost exactly the same place Bill Clinton stood in February 1996 and Richard Nixon stood in February 1972,” [Republican pollster Whit] Ayres said. “Bush is basically at 51 percent or 52 percent in the [independent] Gallup Poll. Clinton was at 53 percent and Nixon was in 52 percent,” he said. Both presidents easily won re-election in those years, with Mr. Nixon winning in a 49-state re-election landslide.
In May 1984, for example, after a tough Democratic primary battle, polls showed Democrat Walter Mondale locked in a 49 percent to 49 percent dead heat against President Reagan. Mr. Reagan won that year in a 49-state landslide.
Recent polls also show voters are not buying a lot of the Democrats’ attack lines they used in the primaries against Mr. Bush. A Pew Research Center poll released Thursday, which gave Mr. Bush a 53 percent favorability score, found that a 55 percent majority believe the war in Iraq has helped the United States in its war on terrorism.
When asked what has had the biggest impact on the mushrooming budget deficit, 61 percent cited the costs of the war in Iraq, compared to only 8 percent who point to the Bush tax cuts that Democrats have blamed for the fiscal shortfall, the Pew poll said.

The Democrats talk to each other so much that they never can quite get it into their heads that tax cuts are popular.

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