Bush Still Ahead

An interesting Time/CNN poll has been released showing Bush well ahead of any of the Democrats. The poll data shows:

Bush 49% – Wesley Clark 42%
Bush 49% – John Kerry 41%
Bush 52% – Howard Dean 39%
Bush 52% – Dick Gephardt 39%
Bush 52% – Joe Lieberman 39%
Bush 52% – John Edwards 38%

Now, to be fair, polls aren’t all that meaningful this early in an election, however, it does show something interesting. Bush hasn’t campaigned at all. The RNC hasn’t even run their ad yet. In fact, the press coverage of Bush has been consistently negative all summer, focusing on Iraq and the bad economy (although the economy is now an asset rather than a liability for Bush, assuming growth continues as it has). Yet Bush’s numbers haven’t fallen below 50% at all. For a first-term President in his third year of office, Bush’s numbers are pretty good.

Granted, there’s not much that can be gleaned from this quite yet. Voter ID for the Democrats is still relatively low, and the Bush campaign has scarcely begun. These numbers will undoubtedly change, and anything could happen between now and then.

What this does prove is that the hatred of Bush that the Democrats are counting on appears to be an entirely partisan sentiment. Democrats may hate Bush, but that won’t be enough to win an election. The massive anti-Bush groundswell that the Democrats are always promising has failed to emerge, and if that’s what the Democrats are counting on in 2004 they are very likely to be sorely disappointed.

UPDATE: Before anyone asks, this is a poll of registered “likely” voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7%.

5 thoughts on “Bush Still Ahead

  1. Hey, Jay, I have some chickens to sell you. Of course, they haven’t hatched yet, but I’m sure that won’t be a problem for you.

  2. I remember that in the 1996 Iowa Senate race, Tom Harkin led Jim Ross Lightfoot by 30 points in five months before the election. By the time November came along, Harkin won by a mere five percentage points. Similar stories, along with actual upsets, can be told throughout recent political history, including but not limited to Paul Wellstone in 1990, Jesse Ventura in 1998, Chuck Hagel in 1996 and Sonny Purdue in 2002. In all of these cases, the challengers overcome a margin much wider than what any of the six Democrats listed need to overcome Bush.

    The negative tone of the Democrats, particularly Dean, will definitely be a turnoff for swing voters and my hope is that it will be tempered after the primary season.

  3. “Yet Bush’s numbers haven’t fallen below 50% at all.” ~Jay Reding

    Except for the LA Times National poll (Nov. 15-18) that has Bush’s re-elect numbers at 42% (only 46% among men) with 46% against re-election.

    CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Nov. 14-16, has Bush at 44% re-elect.

    NPR’s national poll has Bush’s re-elect at 44% from the 11th to the 13th of Novemeber.

    CBS News (Nov. 10-13) has Bush losing to the unnamed Democrat 41-43%, a dip of five points for the President in only a few weeks.

    NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Robert Teeter (R). Nov. 8-10 has Bush at 43% against the unnamed Dem at 40%.

    Interestingly, Newsweek’s Poll (Princeton Survey) resulted in (11/6-7/03) 49% for Bush in a head-to-head with DEAN, at 45%, with 6% undecided. MOE +/- 4%.

    The Ipsos-Public Affairs/Cook Political Report Poll of Nov. 4-6 has 39% as “definitely Bush,” 24% will “consider someone else,” and 35% as “vote for someone else.”

    ZOGBY (of all people) has Bush and the Democratic nominee neck-and-neck at 41% on 11/5/03.

    One last time, in case that quote at the beginning of my post was missed: “Yet Bush’s numbers haven’t fallen below 50% at all.”

  4. I was referring to his approval ratings, which (I believe) haven’t fallen below 50% in most national polls. (There will always be some that show different numbers based on methodology and sampling.

    Note that the numbers drop dramatically when that “unnamed Democrat” is replaced with a Democrat that is actually running. That’s hardly good news for the DNC.

    Of course all of this is entirely subjective at this point. The polls will change over time, and there’s nearly a year between now and Election Day. However, what these polls show is that Bush is neither extremely vulnerable (as the Democrats want to believe) nor a sure thing (as some Republicans think). However, with the usual advantages of incumbancy, name recognition, and a mssive war chest, the Dems are already starting with an uphill battle.

  5. The difference between the unnamed Democrat and the eventual Democratic nominee will disappear as name recognition and advertisements for the candidate increase. Those head-to-head numbers are fairly useless except to gauge perceptions among the public concerning a battle in progress: the electability war.

    And I’ll grant you that Bush’s approval rating hasn’t gone below 50% in most polls, but hanging that close to the halfway point with re-elect numbers below 50% is not a good position for any incumbent. Consider especially the issue that is being hyped by the RNC for its current ads (Iraq) is one that most Americans now believe is a shortcoming of the President.

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