Both the latest Marist poll and the latest Rassmussen Tracking poll show Bush and Kerry once again tied in the Presidential race. Both are hanging in the high 40% range, neither getting any significant advantage.
Despite Will Saletan’s argument that Bush’s numbers are fatal, it certainly doesn’t appear that way based on these numbers. Bush and Kerry have a roughly equal percentage of swing voters leaning towards them – and unlike Kerry, Bush has his convention to look forward to. If Bush can make a significant appeal with swing voters and broaden his base more than Kerry did, the dynamics of this race could easily swing towards Bush.
At the end of the day, Kerry is an unappealing candidate. He’s arrogant, aloof, and a poor campaigner. His campaign is based on the premise that everyone hates George W. Bush and he doesn’t have to sell himself – which is the wrong assumption to make. There are a lot of people who may not like George W. Bush, but also don’t like Kerry’s constant waffling and his “secret plan” for Iraq. I have the feeling that Bush will clobber Kerry in the debates – not because Bush is a better speaker (although Kerry is nearly as atrocious), but because debates are as much about perception as policy. Kerry does not come off well, which is why his numbers have traditionally been best when he’s not actively campaigning.
Given the Kerry campaign’s predilection for massive and embarrassing mistakes, I wouldn’t rule out a Kerry implosion either – especially if Bush establishes a firm lead after the NYC convention and Kerry stops pulling all punches and decides to go for the jugular.
Bush isn’t a shoo-in by any stretch of the imagination, but despite the Democrats laughable assertions to the contrary, Kerry isn’t setting the world on fire either. It’s anyone’s game, and now the ball is in Bush’s court.