Bush, Kerry Tied Among Likely Voters In ABC-WPost Poll
As the presidential campaign gets underway, the latest ABC/Washington Post poll of the presidential race shows the contest between President Bush and Sen. Kerry tied among likely voters. The Washington Post , however, says Bush "holds clear advantages over John F. Kerry on national security issues and leadership in the war on terrorism, largely erasing the broad gains Kerry made at his party's Boston convention last month," even as "voters continue to give the president negative marks on the economy and his handling of Iraq." Among all registered voters, the poll found Bush at 48 percent and Kerry at 47 percent, "a shift in the president's direction since the previous survey." ABC World News Tonight led last night's broadcast with the poll, saying, "As the convention opens, Mr. Bush has made gains on his opponent. . . . On the issue of public trust to handle terrorism, Mr. Bush has an 18-point lead [56%-38%]. Mr. Bush is doing better on Iraq and getting higher marks for handling the economy."
GOP Officials Hope For A Five To Eight Point Bounce.
Republican Party officials, in public, have been very careful to ignore requests to predict a convention bounce for President Bush. But privately they are hoping for a 5 to 8 point bump in the polls. One top official said in an interview in New York that the typical goal for an incumbent's convention that follows his opponent's convention is to steal back one-half to two-thirds of the foe's bounce. But since Sen. John Kerry didn't receive much of a bounce and has actually lost ground to Bush in many polls since his convention, Republican officials are looking for a moderate bounce. One official who has advised Republican presidents since Richard Nixon said that if the convention goes as planned, Bush should receive a poll bounce of 7 percent to 8 percent. "I really expect him to come out of New York with big momentum," he said. Party officials over the weekend have suggested that a typical convention bounce would be 8 percent to 12 percent, but then quickly add that they don't expect that to happen.
Rove Downplays Significance Of Right Way/Wrong Track Numbers.
Bush advisor Karl Rove appeared on NBC Nightly News, where he was asked about numbers in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing only 36% of voters believe the country is moving in the right direction. Rove said, "I'm not certain I agree with your numbers as being indicative of anything. What was the right direction/wrong track for Bill Clinton in October of 1996 before he scored a big victory? 39%. Here's the bottom line. This election will be about a couple of big issues. One is Iraq and the other is the economy. It's going to be not a question of one person, but it is going to be a question of two, and the comparison between the two."