Three national polls have been released since the conclusion of the Republican convention, and each shows a significant bounce for President Bush. A Newsweek survey conducted over September 2-3 shows that in a three-way contest, 52% would vote for Bush-Cheney, 41% would vote for Kerry-Edwards, 3% would vote for Nader-Camejo, and 4% were undecided. Bush leads Kerry 54%-43% in a two way race. Respondents "who were queried only on Friday, after Bush's speech, gave the Republican a 16-point lead over Kerry." The 11-point lead in the Newsweek poll "represents a 13-point bounce for Bush since an Aug. 5 to Aug. 10 poll conducted by Newsweek's pollster, Princeton Survey Research Associates, for the Pew Research Center." Reporting the survey findings on Saturday evening, CBS Evening News noted that "the same poll after the Democratic Convention gave Kerry a ten-point lead."
Meanwhile, a Time poll conducted over August 31-September 2, shows 51% would vote for Bush and 41% would vote for Kerry in a two way race. In a three-way race, 52% would vote for Bush, 41% would vote for Kerry and 3% would vote for Nader.
Finally, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll conducted Sept. 3-5 shows 52% would vote for Bush while 45% would vote for Kerry in a two-way race. Bush also leads by seven points (52%-45%) if Nader is added to the mix, with the consumer advocate garnering 1% of the vote. USA Today reports "Bush is further ahead than the campaign expected. With the conventions over," Bush strategist Matthew Dowd says "Kerry 'has lost any ability to have any one-way conversation' with voters." Mark Mellman, Kerry's pollster, "says there is 'no doubt' that 'ugly and inaccurate speeches' at the Republican convention had an effect. 'Equally, there's no doubt they'll fade pretty quickly,' he says."
Bush's approval rating has also risen above 50% in each of the polls, which political strategists consider to be a significant threshold for an incumbent president's prospects (Newsweek 52% approve, 41% disapprove; Time 55% approve, 42% disapprove; USA Today/CNN/Gallup 52% approve, 46% disapprove). The Wall Street Journal notes Bush "is in a stronger position than either party expected when summer began. Both sides agree Mr. Bush is clearly ahead, boasting job-approval ratings at least temporarily at or above 50%, even though they doubt the accuracy of the wide leads reflected in the two magazine polls." Meanwhile, the New York Times says, "Republicans and Democrats are in unison on two points: President Bush is in a more commanding position than many in his own party forecast only a month ago, while Senator John Kerry is struggling to catch up."
Poll Indicates Giuliani Speech Swayed Most Voters Toward GOP Ticket
The New York Post reports former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's speech at the Republican National Convention "swayed more voters to re-elect President Bush than the speeches given by Sen. John McCain and Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a new poll shows. Giuliani's 40-minute speech Monday night convinced 24 percent of those polled to vote for the GOP ticket, according to a recent Newsweek poll. That's compared to 20 percent who said they were more likely to vote for Bush after hearing Schwarzenegger's speech Tuesday night. Just 20 percent said McCain's speech persuaded them to vote Republican in the Nov. 2 election."
Polls Cast Doubt On Conventional Wisdom About Why Kerry Didn't Get A Bounce
When Sen. John Kerry failed to get a substantial bounce out of his convention, most analysts concluded the electorate this year is so extraordinarily polarized that it contains only a very small number of undecideds hence the lack of movement in the polls after what by all accounts appeared to be a successful convention. Bush's rise in three post-convention polls, however, appears to cast doubt on that theory. In a RothenbergPoliticalReport.com piece titled "The Most Electable Democrat, Huh?", analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes, "The contest between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry changed little, if at all, after the Democratic National Convention, leading analysts (including myself) tried to explain the lack of movement as a by-product of the heavily polarized electorate. How stupid do we look now?" Columnist Bill Safire addresses the issue in his New York Times column, writing that "all that sustained thumb-sucking you heard about this being a polarized electorate, with only a tiny sliver of undecideds, has just ended with a loud pop. Polls that showed John Kerry ahead by a few points going into his convention a month ago now show President Bush up 11 points. That means the old 'swing vote' still swings and the battle for voters is in the political center."
Bush With Three-Point Lead In New Mexico
The Albuquerque Journal said on Sunday, Bush "had 45 percent support compared to Kerry's 42 percent in the Aug. 27 to Sept. 1 survey of 908 registered voters statewide." Eight percent of the voters were undecided.
Bush Leads Kerry In Electoral Vote Estimate 237-211
Meanwhile, the AP reports in an Electoral College analysis that President Bush "has opened a lead over John Kerry in their drive to White House victory by making gains in the Midwest and solidifying his Southern base." Bush "has 20 states firmly in his column and eight leaning his way, for a total of 237 electoral votes." Kerry "has 11 states plus the District of Columbia in hand, with five states leaning his way. That puts Kerry at 211 electoral votes."