Tuesday, May 04, 2004


CBSNews/NYTimes Hide Kerry's Troublesome Poll Numbers

Kerry is trying hard to shake off "The Snob Factor," but it's not working

CBS NEWS and the New York Times made sure that the headlines on their poll reflect President Bush’s recent problems in Iraq. CBS’s headline was, "Poll: Growing doubt on Iraq." The headline in the New York Times was, "Support for War is down Sharply, Poll Concludes."

However, while there were many questions about the war in Iraq, there were just as many, if not more, questions concerning the upcoming presidential election. While President Bush’s candidacy is vulnerable on the Iraq issue, the poll’s questions reveal that his campaign footing is quite strong. The poll results reveal that it is John Kerry who should be more worried at this point. The conclusion, after dissecting the polls, is that voters are wary of Kerry, don’t trust him as much as Bush and his own supporters don’t feel as close to him as Bush supporters feel towards the President. In fact, the biggest reason why voters are voting for Kerry is because they are against Bush. Very few voters are in favor of Kerry because they want to see the man become President.

Campaign analysis- Kerry’s unfavorable ratings have gone up since January. This is due to the Bush campaign ads and the fact that more voters are paying attention to Kerry and like him less the more they see him. Taking a closer look at Bush’s support, 55% are strongly in support of the President, 65% of Republicans feeling the same. However, only 32% of Kerry voters and 38% of Democrats strongly support their nominee.

National snapshot- The feelings about the state of the country and its economy are remarkably similar to 1996, the year that Bill Clinton was comfortably re-elected. In September of 1996 more people thought that the country was headed on the wrong track than the right track. Those feelings were expressed at a time of peace and stability compared to today. Similar feelings are echoed today so Bush supporters need not fret on the “wrong track/right track” question.

The economy– There is even more encouraging news for Bush, here. There are similar results for how voters perceived the economy in 1996 and today. In February of 1996, only 50% of voters thought that the economy was “fairly good.” Today, a strikingly similar 51% feel the same way. By August of 1996, 58% felt that way and in October, eve of the election, 66% felt that way. Obviously, Bush must mirror the Clinton method of convincing voters that the economy is doing better than previously thought. These results show that Bush has plenty of time to do so. In fact, more people today think the economy is going to get better than those who thought so in February, 1996 (30% to 14%)

Ideology- In February, 35% of voters thought Kerry was moderate and only 29% considered him a liberal, despite the fact that John Kerry has been determined to be the Senate’s most liberal senator. Since then, the Bush campaign has done a good job of unmasking Kerry’s liberal side. Now, 43% consider Kerry a liberal and only 28% think him a moderate. The Bush campaign must continue to highlight Kerry as a liberal, because their tactic is working. The media might complain about this labeling but results below will show how voters consider Bush to be a conservative, not a moderate, more than ever.

Poll facts- Certainly, we should not put too much stock in poll numbers. Look at the numbers themselves. 88% of those polled said they were going to vote in this year’s election. We all know there will be a turnout not even close to that number. In addition, 49% of those questioned said they are closer to the Democrats while only 41% said that they feel closer to the Republicans. Of course, the country is more evenly divided than that. Therefore, the Bush team should not worry about these numbers while the Kerry campaign has a lot of catching up to do.

Kerry has not struck a chord with voters, amongst independents and even fellow Democrats. Kerry is going to have battle perceptions he has created of himself and how voters perceive him. This should be known throughout the rest of the campaign as “The Snob Factor,” Kerry’s albatross.


Favorable 24% Not Favorable 8% Undecided 32%
Favorable 27% Not Favorable 33% Undecided 26%

Favorable 23% Not Favorable 32% Undecided 32%

December 2003
Favorable 48% Not Favorable 31% Undecided 31%
April 2004
Favorable 38% Not Favorable 43% Undecided 18%

Favorable 34% Not Favorable 42% Undecided 22%

How likely is it that you will vote in the 2004 election for President this November -- would you say you will definitely vote, probably vote, probably not vote, or definitely not vote in the election for President?
Definitely 88% Probably 10% Probably Not 1%

Would you describe your support for George W. Bush as strongly favoring him, or do you like him but with reservations, or do you support him because you dislike the other candidates?

Strongly Favor 55% Like w/ Reservations 35% Dislike Others 8%
Strongly Favor 65% Like w/ Reservations 28% Dislike Others 5%
Strongly Favor 41% Like w/ Reservations 44% Dislike Others 15%

Would you describe your support for John Kerry as strongly favoring him, or do you like him but with reservations, or do you support him because you dislike the other candidates?

Strongly Favor 32% Like w/ Reservations 28% Dislike Others 38%
Strongly Favor 38% Like w/ Reservations 27% Dislike Others 32%
Strongly Favor 21% Like w/ Reservations 29% Dislike Others 48%

Do you feel things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?

Right Track 41% Wrong Track 48%
Right Track 39% Wrong Track 51%
APRIL 2004
Right Track 36% Wrong Track 55%

Right Track 30% Wrong Track 59%


How would you rate the condition of the national economy these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

Very Good 3% Fairly Good 50% Fairly Bad 30% Very Bad 15%
Very Good 5% Fairly Good 58% Fairly Bad 23% Very Bad 10%
Very Good 6% Fairly Good 66% Fairly Bad 19% Very Bad 6%
APRIL 2004
Very Good 4% Fairly Good 51% Fairly Bad 30% Very Bad 15%

Do you think the economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
Better 14% Worse 29 % Same 55%
Better 17% Worse 23% Same 57%
Better 26% Worse 19% Same 53%
APRIL 2004
Better 30% Worse 26% Same 44%

Do you think of John Kerry more as a liberal, a moderate, or a conservative?
FEBRUARY 12-15, 2004
Liberal 29% Moderate 35% Conservative 19%
MARCH 10-14, 2004
Liberal 39% Moderate 30% Conservative 11%
APRIL 23-27, 2004
Liberal 43% Moderate 28% Conservative 12%

Do you think John Kerry says what he really believes most of the time, or does he say what he thinks people want to hear?

MARCH 10-14, 2004
What he believes 33% What people want to hear 57%
MARCH 30-APRIL 1, 2004
What he believes 29% What people want to hear 54%
APRIL 23-27, 2004
What he believes 29% What people want to hear 61%

Do you think of George W. Bush as more of a liberal, a moderate, or a conservative?
APRIL 23-27, 2004
Liberal 12% Moderate 21% Conservative 56%

Do you think George W. Bush says what he really believes most of the time, or does he say what he thinks people want to hear?
APRIL 23-27, 2004
What he believes 53% What people want to hear 43%

Generally speaking, do you usually consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or what?

APRIL 23-27, 2004
Republican 29% Democrat 35% Independent 35%

Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican party or to the Democratic party?

Republican 41% Democrat 49%

Did you vote in the 2000 presidential election, did something prevent you from voting, or did you choose not to vote? IF VOTED, ASK: Did you vote for Al Gore, George W. Bush, Didn't Vote.

APRIL 23-27, 2004
Gore 31% Bush 33% Didn't Vote 30%

CBS News Poll: Growing Doubts on Iraq.
Click here to see the complete questions and responses to this CBS News/NY Times poll.
NYTimes: Support for War is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes.

Update: Discussing this poll, OxBlog, Mudville Gazette, Bored in the Belfry.


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