Matthew Dowd, the President’s pollster, has an analysis of the latest Washington Post/AP poll and why it shows good news for the President. Bush’s numbers have been rebounding around the same time Kerry’s numbers should be going up. As I’ve mentioned previously, Kerry won’t get a 15-point bounce from the convention even in his wildest dreams. A more moderate 7-point bounce is possible, but even then I think it will be short-lived.
Meanwhile, the President’s job approval numbers continue to creep up. The trick is taking these approval numbers and translating them into votes. If Bush can use August and the convention month to project a positive image of himself and elucidate a clear strategy for the next four years, I think we’ll begin to see the beginnings of a convincing Bush win. However, Bush is going to have to be on – he can’t afford to appear unpresidential or unprepared, and he has a strong tendency to do both. If his acceptance speech rises up to the level of his post-9/11 speeches he’ll win by a large margin.
August will be a key month in this contest, as it leads in to the true beginning of the campaign season. August is also the month where Kerry is tied up with federal spending limits, meaning that he can only make appearances and use local media while Bush can blitz swing states with ads. If Bush can make the best of his time leading up to the convention and New York goes well for him, this race could drastically swing to the President’s favor.