Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Still Standing: Media scratching its collective head after forged documents, Abu Ghraib photos, John Kerry's biography and Michael Moore fail to knock Bush down
Flashback, Democratic primaries: The media was salivating over the prospect of a one-term presidency for George W. Bush. President Bush was taking a beating in Iraq, Europe, the Middle East, the Democratic primaries and on the nightly news. He was considered a goner, "toast." The message from the electronic chorus was that America was sick of Bush, considered him a failure and would no way vote for him. Just in case, Bush detractors felt it was best to have the Democrats nominate a Vietnam veteran, John Kerry, in order to wipe out Bush in the November election.
National polls reflected Bush's shaky standing. The poll results were taken as gospel, evidence that the country agreed with Beltway groupthink and that Bush had to be sent back to Crawford, Texas. No one debated the veracity of the polls. No one ventured to think that Bush was more popular with voters than the polls reflected. No one offered up evidence up support for Bush's policies. And no one said, "Kerry apparently leads Bush in a poll." (emphasis added).
Fast forward, the present: Bush has emerged with a sizable lead in the polls with barely a month to go in the election. Since the highly successful Republican Convention in New York City, President Bush has enjoyed a sustained bounce and strong support in the polls. After Kerry failed to get a bounce, so-called pundits said it's because the nation is "polarized" and confidently predicted that Bush wouldn't get a bounce. After Bush got a big bounce, the pundits had nothing to say except that Kerry should have responded quicker to a few ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
THE TRUTH is that President Bush has finally been able to emerge from the media clutter and make his case to the American people. They have responded to his campaign and are strongly supporting his cause. The President enjoys enthusiastic support while Kerry must deal with tepid support from his own party. President Bush is attracting swing voters while Kerry is confusing them with his haphazard style.
President Bush has a lead in the polls that would be considered a landslide if it was the result on election day. Remember, Bill Clinton was considered to win by a landslide of an 8 point margin over Bob Dole and he didn't even garner 50% of the vote. (Clinton won, 49%-41%).
Media's head-scratching: However, the media refuses to believe their own polls indicating the president's strong showing in the electorate. On Monday night, CNN.com published a story with the headline, "Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll." The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that among likely voters, Bush was the choice of 52 percent, while Kerry was the choice of 44 percent. Apparently? That sounds like a clear answer to me!
When Bush was buried under a barrage of criticism during the early months of 2004, there were no headlines that said, "Dean apparently leads Bush," "Kerry apparently leads Bush," "Edwards apparently leads Bush," and "hypothetical Democrat leads Bush."
The Washington Post is equally confused by President Bush's lead in an article entitled, Poll Shows Bush With Solid Lead. The reporters on this story, Dan Balz and Vanessa Williams, could barely bring themselves to admit that Bush is leading Kerry by a wide margin. In fact, they don't even mention the poll numbers until the 13th paragraph of the story. The poll results were revealed only after a litany of anti-Bush quotes were strung together.
The article does not give Bush credit for garnering support of his policies. Instead, the article says that his supporters are reciting lines from his script or they are swing voters reluctant to vote for a wishy-washy Kerry. Then, the article quotes 4 voters who are critical of Bush's credibility, jobs, the war, the economy, and health care.
Yet, Balz and Williams are forced to admit that "Bush leads Kerry in a hypothetical ballot test, 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters". Amazing, one wonders how such a terrible president is able to enjoy a 7 point lead.
The poll says that Bush has a lead with both men and women. "Bush holds a double-digit lead among men (53 percent to 41 percent) and a narrow lead among women (49 percent to 46 percent)." However, instead of trying to figure out why Kerry has lost the customary gender-gap lead with women, Balz and Williams try to cram in more anti-Bush quotes. They don't reflect the internal poll numbers interspersed in th article that indicate Bush is rated higher than Kerry on many important issues and aspects of the campaign.
Many people are dismissing the polls because some show the race is tied while others show Bush with a lead. Well, we know that Kerry is NOT winning. That is very important. The media should do a little more digging and discuss why the president is doing well on likability, personality and issue-driven poll questions.
Instead of scratching its head over an "apparent" Bush lead, the media should finally admit that President Bush enjoys a comfortable position in the polls and is in the driver's seat.
Yahoo News: Poll Shows Bush With Solid Lead, By Dan Balz and Vanessa Williams, Washington Post Staff Writers
CNN.com: Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll