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Old 03-30-2004, 01:12 AM   #1
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POLL: Bush's Position Against Kerry Strengthens

Poll: Bush's position against Kerry strengthens
Public divided on Clarke charges, survey finds
Monday, March 29, 2004 Posted: 11:08 PM EST (0408 GMT)

(CNN) -- Despite a week of negative headlines about how his administration handled the threat of terrorism before the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush's political position against presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry has strengthened, according to a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

The poll results suggest that the Bush campaign's attempts to paint Kerry as a tax-raising liberal who flip-flops on the issues has affected the race more than charges by former White House counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke that Bush and his national security team didn't pay enough attention to al Qaeda in the months leading up to 9/11.

Among likely voters surveyed, 51 percent said they would choose Bush for president, while 47 percent said they would vote for Kerry, within the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Three weeks ago, as Kerry was cinching the Democratic nomination with a string of primary victories, he led the president by 8 points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup among likely voters, 52 percent to 44 percent.

Part of the reason for the shift is that a more equal number of Democrats and Republicans now say they are likely to vote this year. In earlier polls taken in the heat of the primary season, Democrats had expressed more enthusiasm about voting than Republicans, which buoyed Kerry's numbers among likely voters.

In a three-way race with independent Ralph Nader, Bush was the choice of 49 percent, Kerry was picked by 45 percent and Nader by 4 percent.

Bush job approval rises
In another bit of good news for the White House, Bush's job approval rating stood at 53 percent in the latest poll, the highest number recorded on that question since January. Three weeks ago, the president's job approval was at 49 percent, dipping below the 50 percent threshold considered a sign of danger for an incumbent running for re-election.

The poll found that the Bush campaign's media blitz against Kerry -- which began earlier this month after he became the presumptive nominee -- has begun having an effect on how Americans perceive the four-term senator from Massachusetts.

In the latest survey, 41 percent of respondents said they thought Kerry was too liberal, compared to just 29 percent who thought so in February. Asked if they thought their own taxes would go up if Kerry wins, 58 percent said yes, while only 29 percent said no. And 57 percent said they believe Kerry has changed his mind on issues for political reasons.

Fifty-three percent of poll respondents said they had an overall favorable opinion of Kerry, down from 60 percent in February. The number who had an unfavorable opinion of Kerry was 36 percent, up 10 points since February.

Bush, at 57 percent, now has slightly higher favorability numbers than Kerry, and his favorability rating has remained virtually unchanged since February. However, the president's unfavorability rating is higher, at 41 percent.

The Bush campaign has launched a series of ads questioning Kerry's votes on national security issues and charging that he would have to raise taxes by $900 billion to pay for the new programs he has proposed.

Kerry has hotly denied that charge, saying that while he would reverse Bush's tax cuts for higher-income Americans, he has never proposed a tax hike of that magnitude and would not raise taxes on the middle class.

The poll was taken Friday, Saturday and Sunday, after Clarke's explosive testimony in front of the 9/11 investigative commission and a vigorous White House counterattack challenging his credibility.

A slightly larger number of those polled said they were more likely to believe the Bush administration than to believe Clarke, 49 percent to 46 percent, within the margin of error. But the poll found a partisan chasm when it comes to how people view Clarke's charges.

Among Kerry voters, 80 percent said they were more likely to believe Clarke, while just 10 percent said they were more likely to believe the Bush administration. But among Bush voters, 81 percent said they were more likely to believe the administration and just 12 percent were more likely to believe Clarke.

Still, the poll found that the charges surrounding what the president and his team did or didn't do before 9/11 have raised doubts about their credibility.

A majority of those polled, 54 percent, said they don't believe the administration did all that could be expected before 9/11, and 53 percent said they believe it is covering up something about how intelligence information was handled before the attacks. An equal number said they believed Bush has misled the public for political reasons.

However, two-third of respondents said they do not believe the Bush administration could have prevented the attacks, and 62 percent said they don't think the Clinton administration did all that could be expected to prevent them.

War on terror
On the question of whether they approve of how Bush is handling the war on terrorism, 58 percent said yes -- down from 65 percent in December but still a majority.

Among Clarke's charges was that Bush and other administration officials were distracted from the pursuit of al Qaeda by their campaign against Iraq. Asked whether they thought that was the case, 49 percent of those polled said no, while 46 percent said yes, within the margin of error.

Poll respondents were also equally divided on whether the war in Iraq was part of the war on terrorism, but 56 percent said they still think the situation there was worth going to war.

Clarke has been particularly critical of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, his former boss and one of Bush's closest confidants. He has charged that she didn't "do her job" before 9/11; she has called his charges "scurrilous."

Asked about Rice, 50 percent of those polled said they have a favorable opinion of her, compared to 25 percent with an unfavorable opinion and 25 percent who were unsure.
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Old 03-30-2004, 06:43 AM   #2
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If the dems wanted to win, they'd have chosen Clark or Dean. They were much more sellable to Bush fans, ex Bush fans and middle of the road middle Americans than a Massachusetts liberal. Even Edwards would have been better. It's such a shame so many voters jumped on Kerry's bandwagon and didn't make it a good fight among a good field of candidates. Now look what we're stuck with.
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Old 03-30-2004, 09:33 AM   #3
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It's six months before the election. It's still a battle out there. What worries me more than anything is that people will get political burn-out and not vote. Hell, I could get burn-out, but I'm not worried about not voting. It'll be a long, ugly race. Ugh. Yeah, leeloo, this is not good for the public, I don't think.
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Old 03-30-2004, 11:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Leeloo
If the dems wanted to win, they'd have chosen Clark or Dean. They were much more sellable to Bush fans, ex Bush fans and middle of the road middle Americans than a Massachusetts liberal. Even Edwards would have been better. It's such a shame so many voters jumped on Kerry's bandwagon and didn't make it a good fight among a good field of candidates. Now look what we're stuck with.
woah woah slllllow down... clark wasn't a viable candidate yet and probably should've been held off till 2008 but was pushed in early by the clintons to clear the path for hill hill in 2008... dean was even MORE liberal than kerry, dispite the "mass-hole liberal" tag that he's stuck with. if you wanted to make the bush people sweat, give 'em a candidate that agrees with them on many of the core issues of this campaign, not someone who's 180 degrees away. the only person in this campaign who was like that was joe lieberman, who was stabbed in the back by al gore and never really made a dent.

it's still waaaaaay too early to tell exactly how this election will turn out... but i'm still sticking with what i said 2 months ago- the dems out right hatred for bush will hurt them in the end. the last election was so damn close because the two candidates were baisicly saying the same damn thing. america couldn't decide which a-hole they hated least.

this time around, i just find it hard to believe that america as a whole is going to vote a sitting president with over 50% approval ratings out of office and replace him with someone with radicly different ideas. the people don't have to agree with bush... they just have to agree with him more than they agree with kerry. that gap would've been smaller with a more centrist candidate like lieberman... in my opinion. i could be wrong.
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Old 03-30-2004, 12:37 PM   #5
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Interesting point about Lieberman headache. The reason he didn't do better in the primaries is because he was considered too much like Bush, especially in his position on Iraq. I didn't completely agree with this; I wouldn't call Lieberman "Bush lite", which is what some Democratic activists called him. The potential problem with him is that to some he didn't strike enough of a contrast with Bush. It's still some seven months before the election; we haven't even had the conventions, and I just read an article about a whole town in Iowa that basically has not decided how they are going to vote. It's really not campaign season yet.
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Old 03-30-2004, 12:49 PM   #6
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As I have said here....the Democratic primaries pushed the party to the left. THis happens in the republican party as well. Bush was pushed to the right.

I still believe this is what the Clinton's wanted. They did not want an electable candidate. Clark was pushed by them. Dean was not their boy, nor was he the party leaderships boy.
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Old 03-30-2004, 12:53 PM   #7
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You know what makes me laugh about the Republicans who whine about Hillary Clinton running for President when her husband has already been President? The fact that those same Republicans support a President whose Daddy was President just a few years before. Pot? Kettle? Black?

(General comment, not referring to anyone who's already posted in this thread.)
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Old 03-30-2004, 02:44 PM   #8
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Just wondering...do you have any quotes of republicans whining? I am wondering who they are. Hypocrites! I agree, I just wonder who they are.

Problem is I have NEVER heard a single person complain that they were opposed to Billary because she was the wife of a President.

My problem is I was open to voting for a democrat but I am not going to vote for Kerry. My vote will not matter in Massachusetts thanks to the electoral college.
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Old 03-30-2004, 03:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
this time around, i just find it hard to believe that america as a whole is going to vote a sitting president with over 50% approval ratings out of office and replace him with someone with radicly different ideas. the people don't have to agree with bush... they just have to agree with him more than they agree with kerry. that gap would've been smaller with a more centrist candidate like lieberman... in my opinion. i could be wrong.
Around this time 12 years ago, didn't many ask: Who's Clinton? And does he even have a chance?

C ya!

Marty
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Old 03-30-2004, 05:49 PM   #10
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Originally posted by Popmartijn


Around this time 12 years ago, didn't many ask: Who's Clinton? And does he even have a chance?

C ya!

Marty
well your point answers it's self... clinton was an unknown entity. he could flip flop on major issues because he had no real political paper trail. people KNOW kerry... he's been around a while, and his voting records are easily accesed.

and as for hill hill... me dreading her ever being elected president has absolutely nothing to do with bill. bill is nothing more than a figure head.
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Old 03-30-2004, 06:15 PM   #11
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I wouldn't worry headache. I think Hillary's chances of being the Democratic nominee are greatly overrated.
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Old 03-30-2004, 09:27 PM   #12
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As verte pointed out, there's still a LOOOONG way to go. There are books (that's plural, folks) coming out shortly which are just as critical of the prez as this last one. Kerry has little or nothing over his head, and Bush has an anvil hanging over his.
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Old 03-30-2004, 09:35 PM   #13
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As verte pointed out, there's still a LOOOONG way to go. There are books (that's plural, folks) coming out shortly which are just as critical of the prez as this last one. Kerry has little or nothing over his head, and Bush has an anvil hanging over his.
Yeah.....John Dean has just put one out. Others are coming out. Six months is *eons* in a political campaign.
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Old 03-31-2004, 02:15 PM   #14
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i think... rather hope... americans don't hold much water in books put out trashing a presidential candidate in an election year...

this clarke guy pisses me off to the utmost degree... if things were so dire, and you were sooooo worried and the bush administration was doing sooo little... why did you wait until you had a 6 figure book deal to come out with all of this information? if he honestly did care about it and isn't just trying to make a buck, he should donate any proceeds made from the book to the 9/11 family fund. otherwise he's just a money grubbing asshole to me.
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Old 03-31-2004, 02:32 PM   #15
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Ahh, America. We strive to climb the corporate ladder, we support those politicians that will give us the most money, we worship capitalism but when someone makes money all credibility is lost.
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