Skip to comments.Poll: Bush ahead in 'red' swing states (MO 48-41, NV 50-45, AZ 50-39, NH 49-40, WV 45-44, OH 49-42)
Posted on 09/18/2004 7:28:48 PM PDT by ambrose
Posted on Sat, Sep. 18, 2004
Poll: Bush ahead in 'red' swing states
By STEVEN THOMMA Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON President Bush has pulled ahead of John Kerry in six closely contested swing states that he carried in 2000, shifting the electoral landscape rightward and making it more difficult for challenger Kerry to win the White House, according to a new Knight Ridder-MSNBC poll.
Bush leads in six of the seven battleground states he won four years ago and which were considered among the most competitive this year. He leads Kerry in Arizona 50 percent to 39 percent; in Missouri by 48-41; in Nevada by 50-45; in New Hampshire by 49-40; in Ohio by 49-42; and in West Virginia by 45-44.
A seventh swing state from the Bush column, Florida, couldn't be surveyed accurately this week because of the disruption caused by three hurricanes.
The seven states are critical. Assuming they're the most vulnerable of the states that voted for Bush in 2000 as Democrats, Republicans and independent analysts agree winning them all would likely ensure that Bush would win at least the same states he carried in 2000 and another majority of the Electoral College, and thus re-election.
In addition, the more that Bush pulls ahead in any of these states, the less time and money he has to spend defending that turf, and the more he can devote to capturing states that Democrat Al Gore won narrowly four years ago, such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Knight Ridder-MSNBC survey of 625 likely voters in each of the six states was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research on Sept. 13-16 and had an error margin of plus or minus four percentage points. Nevada's poll was conducted in conjunction with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Review-Journal.com.
Polls are merely snapshots in time, not predictions of what will happen six weeks from now on Election Day.
That's not to say that Bush has these states or the election sewn up or that Kerry can't still navigate this more challenging terrain.
Bush's lead in many of the states remained small, some within the poll's margin of error. West Virginia appeared easily within Kerry's reach. Florida remained a wild card. And both candidates have yet to face off in debates, which could draw 40 million viewers or more.
The survey revealed several reasons for Bush's relatively strong standing and Kerry's inability so far to make more headway.
One key explanation: Likely voters in most of the states ranked terrorism as their top concern, above the economy and Iraq, and they preferred Bush over Kerry to fight terrorism by margins of roughly 3-1.
"Bush is firm," said Evelyn Martindale, 80 an artist from Akron, Ohio. "Kerry is too wishy-washy."
Another reason: Moral issues and family values rivaled many other issues as a top concern among these likely voters.
In Missouri, for example, voters ranked moral issues and family values fourth on their list of concerns, after terrorism, the economy and Iraq, but ahead of health care, jobs and taxes. Across the swing states, strong majorities opposed gay marriage, and white evangelical Christians preferred Bush over Kerry by wide margins.
"It's the moral issues for me," said Vicki Burgess, 49, a hairdresser from Fraziers Bottom, W. Va. "He's pro-life and that's what I am. ... I'm for a marriage between a man and a woman. ... Those issues are my top issues."
A third: Bush supporters like their man. Kerry supporters aren't so sure. About 3 out of 4 Bush voters say they support him because they like him. Only about 4 out of 10 Kerry supporters say they would vote for him because they like him; another 30 percent say they would vote for Kerry because they disliked Bush.
Kerry's main claims to these swing states remain anger over the war in Iraq and anxiety about the economy.
"I don't think we should be in Iraq," said Bonnie Osburn, 79, a retiree in Cape Girardeau, Mo. "It hurts every time they announce another man has been killed over there. I can't trust anything George Bush says anymore."
One thing that doesn't appear to have influenced voters either way: the brouhaha in the media over each candidate's military service during the Vietnam War. About 4 out of every 5 voters in the states said it wouldn't influence their vote.
The most recent national polls suggest that the electorate is still volatile. A national poll by Gallup this week showed Bush with a 13-point lead. Another by the Pew Research Center showed a statistical tie.
But all national polls include large samples of voters from states such as California, New York and Texas that can swing poll numbers disproportionately. Because their partisan tilt is clear, their impact on the Electoral College is unlikely to change. California and New York are dependably Democratic; Texas is reliably Republican.
The Electoral College balance of power is held in less-predictable swing states. The Knight Ridder-MSNBC poll focused on voters in states that are most competitive between the two major parties and thus hold the key to the election. The pollster, Mason-Dixon, is the leading surveyor of state polls.
Here's a brief look at each of the six states:
ARIZONA (10 electoral votes)
This is the most solidly pro-Bush swing state, according to the Knight Ridder-MSNBC poll. Bush's approval rating is 53 percent. A narrow plurality of 46 percent thinks the country is on the right track. A majority, 52 percent, approves of his decision to go to war in Iraq.
Asked who would better stop terrorist attacks, 29 percent said Bush and 9 percent said Kerry. The majority, 60 percent, said it made no difference.
Asked their preference to handle the economy, 37 percent picked Bush, 31 percent picked Kerry, 12 percent said they trusted both, and 15 percent said they trusted neither. A majority, 51 percent, said jobs were available in their communities.
MISSOURI (11 electoral votes)
Once a closely divided state, Missouri appears to be moving toward the Republicans.
Bush's approval rating is 52 percent. A narrow plurality of 48 percent thinks the country is on the right track. A majority, 55 percent, approves of the decision to go to war in Iraq.
Asked who would better stop terrorist attacks, 33 percent said Bush and 9 percent said Kerry.
Asked their preference to handle the economy, 36 percent picked Bush, 32 percent picked Kerry, 13 percent said they trusted both, and 17 percent said they trusted neither. By a margin of 45 percent to 43 percent, Missouri voters said jobs were hard to find.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (4 electoral votes)
Bush's approval rating is 54 percent. A plurality of 49 percent thinks the country is on the right track. A majority, 53 percent, approves of the decision to go to war in Iraq.
Asked who would better stop terrorist attacks, 30 percent said Bush and 11 percent said Kerry.
Asked their preference to handle the economy, 36 percent picked Bush, 30 percent picked Kerry, 14 percent said they trusted both, and 16 percent said they trusted neither. By a margin of 47 percent to 43 percent, New Hampshire voters said jobs were generally available in their communities.
NEVADA (5 electoral votes)
Kerry's hope that Nevadans will blame Bush for sending nuclear waste to their Yucca Mountain dump site is meeting mixed results. Nevadans are closely divided over whether to fight the planned deposits or strike a deal, with 50 percent wanting to fight and 46 percent favoring a deal. Almost one-third of voters, 32 percent, said the plan made them less likely to vote for Bush; 63 percent said it had no influence.
Nevada voters rank Iraq second on their list of concerns after terrorism, slightly higher than the economy and unemployment. Neighbor Arizona is the only other state to rank Iraq second, and it's tied with the economy; elsewhere it's third.
That's probably more a reflection of Nevadans' relative satisfaction with the economy than greater anxiety there about the war than in other states. A plurality of Nevada voters, 49 percent, thinks the Iraq war was the right decision.
OHIO (20 electoral votes)
Ohio is a top target for Democrats, who hope to take the state away from Bush and with it the presidency. That looks more difficult now though still within reach.
Bush's approval rating is 51 percent. A narrow plurality of 47 percent thinks the country is on the right track. A majority, 53 percent, approves of the decision to go to war in Iraq.
Asked who would better stop terrorist attacks, 33 percent said Bush and 11 percent said Kerry.
Asked their preference to handle the economy, 36 percent picked Bush, 35 percent picked Kerry, 13 percent said they trusted both, and 12 percent said they trusted neither. By a margin of 48 percent to 40 percent, Ohio voters said jobs were generally hard to find in their community.
WEST VIRGINIA (5 electoral votes)
This is Kerry's best opportunity, as of now, to win a state from Bush. Bush's approval rating is 48 percent. A plurality of 48 percent thinks the country is on the wrong track. By a margin of 49 percent to 47 percent, West Virginia voters disapprove of the decision to go to war in Iraq.
Asked who would better stop terrorist attacks, 29 percent said Bush and 12 percent said Kerry Bush's weakest ratio among the six swing states.
Asked their preference to handle the economy, 33 percent picked Kerry and 32 percent picked Bush, the only one of these swing states where Kerry enjoyed an edge. By a margin of 63 percent to 28 percent, West Virginia voters said jobs were generally hard to find in their community.
We need a landslide in the Senate and Congress. Is that too much to ask? Yeah, I thought so.
New Hampshire is a surprise.
Stop attacking Kerry's patriotism! :)
Good post! Thank you! Bumpety, bumpety, bumpety, bump.
He's up in New Hampshire. Good news. The EV map thread has it leaning to Kerry.
Conditions are ripe.
I'm hearing New Jersey is now in play. Anyone got anything on Maryland?
IMO...the New Hampshire and West Virginia numbers should be switched. New Hampshire is becoming more and more Massholeized and WV is more aliigned with SE Ohio, SW PA and eastern KY...these areas are rapidly trending Republican.
High 40s and just at 50 is not that great for an incumbent with a good economy and a boob like Kerry as an opponent
American voters are pathetic
I'll post it over here too:
More info from these polls -
Bush Favorable/Unfavorable - 52%/37%
Kerry Favorable/Unfavorable - 35%/42%
Bush Job Approval - 53%
Right Track/Wrong Track - 46%/43%
Economy and Jobs - Bush 49%/Kerry 43%
Approve of going to Iraq - Yes 52%, No 45%
Chance Of Terrorist Attack Will Be Less With - Bush 29%, Kerry 9%
Do the Vietnam Activities Of Either Candidate Effect Your Vote - Yes 21%, No 70%
Bush Favorable/Unfavorable - 50%/39%
Kerry Favorable/Unfavorable - 33%/42%
Bush Job Approval - 52%
Right Track/Wrong Track - 48%/43%
Economy and Jobs - Bush 49%/Kerry 45%
Approve of going to Iraq - Yes 55%, No 44%
Chance Of Terrorist Attack Will Be Less With - Bush 39%, Kerry 9%
Do the Vietnam Activities Of Either Candidate Effect Your Vote - Yes 20%, No 80%
Bush Favorable/Unfavorable - 47%/39%
Kerry Favorable/Unfavorable - 37%/43%
Approve of going to Iraq - Yes 49%, No 45%
[b]New Hampshire: [/b]
Bush Favorable/Unfavorable - 52%/38%
Kerry Favorable/Unfavorable - 36%/42%
Bush Job Approval - 54%
Right Track/Wrong Track - 49%/43%
Economy and Jobs - Bush 50%/Kerry 44%
Approve of going to Iraq - Yes 53%, No 46%
Chance Of Terrorist Attack Will Be Less With - Bush 30%, Kerry 11%
Do the Vietnam Activities Of Either Candidate Effect Your Vote - Yes 18%, No 81%
Bush Favorable/Unfavorable - 51%/39%
Kerry Favorable/Unfavorable - 37%/42%
Bush Job Approval - 51%
Right Track/Wrong Track - 47%/45%
Economy and Jobs - Bush 49%/Kerry 48%
Approve of going to Iraq - Yes 53%, No 45%
Chance Of Terrorist Attack Will Be Less With - Bush 33%, Kerry 11%
Does Vietnam Service Effect Your Vote - Yes 20%, No 79%
[b]West Virginia: [/b]
Bush Favorable/Unfavorable - 46%/41%
Kerry Favorable/Unfavorable - 38%/37%
Bush Job Approval - 48%
Right Track/Wrong Track - 42%/48%
Economy and Jobs - Bush 45%/Kerry 46%
Approve of going to Iraq - Yes 47%, No 49%
Chance Of Terrorist Attack Will Be Less With - Bush 29%, Kerry 12%
Do the Vietnam Activities Of Either Candidate Effect Your Vote - Yes 22%, No 76%
I hope you are right, but I believe no matter how big a lead GW Bush has, we need to act like we are ten points behind. We must get every single vote we can this year because it is not only John Kerry that neeeds to be defeated, but the entire Democrat Party must be totally destroyed at the ballot box this year. I sincerely hope that all Freepers and other like kindred spirits do not let their guard down, no matter how positive the poll numbers become. REMEMBER, THE ONLY BALLOT THAT COUNTS IS THAT CAST ON ELECTION DAY!!!
"We need a landslide in the Senate and Congress."
You are so right about that. I'm trying to be enthusiastic about it. Freepers in states with seriously contested Senate races should use their energy and time to help make that landslide a reality.
No,Arizona is in play
The LA TIMES says so
Will there be a follow-up article about who's leading in swing "blue" states?
Big coat tails in this election.
Kerry's base is not motivated, and if he is behind big in the polls on lection day, the dems and the socialists will stay home.
On the other hand, Kerry has motivated people to vote against him. There are lots of people (myself included) planning to walk on broken glass to vote for W. And while I am there I will vote straight down the line Repub. Out with the demos in MA.
Barring any Bush mis-steps, the debates should drive down the Dem numbers even further as voters get a look at the pretentious empty suit known as John Kerry.
While there are more "Massholes" moving to NH, the state basically turned in the most Republican slate of election results in 2002 than they have done in a long time. There's no reason at all it should be a Kerry lock, despite the influx into the state.
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