In the most recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, John Kerry holds an astonishing twelve-point lead over President Bush among likely voters. John Edwards leads Bush by ten. Surprisingly, Bush fares better among all registered voters, although he still trails.
The only hopeful sign in these dreary results is that Bush’s approval rating is still in positive territory, albeit only slightly–51% to 46%. This suggests that a substantial majority of respondents currently view Kerry favorably; that percentage is sure to decline as people get to know him better, while it seems unlikely that Bush’s approval rating will sink significantly below where it is now.
UPDATE: Reader Gary Maxwell alerted us to a much more optimistic set of data from Zogby. Zogby, who conducted his poll during the same time as the Gallup poll cited above, divided the country into red states and blue states. In the blue states, Kerry beats Bush 46% to 45%. But in the red states, Bush leads by a whopping 51% to 39%. Even in the blue states, Bush is rated better at dealing with terrorists and rogue states by a twelve-point margin.
I can’t account for the differences between these polls, but I hope Zogby–a very competent pollster whose biases lean, if anything, in the other direction–is right.
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