Bush Gaining in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
Kerry lead fades in two battleground states (Susan Page, USA TODAY)
President Bush has eroded John Kerry’s lead in two big battleground states that voted Democratic four years ago, complicating the Massachusetts senator’s electoral landscape. USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup polls show Bush narrowly ahead in Wisconsin and the candidates even in Pennsylvania, a state that is crucial to Democratic hopes of winning in November.
As the Republican convention opens today, the president’s prospects seem to be brightening in some states that could determine the outcome Nov. 2. Ã¢€œThis is historically a challenger’s strongest time,Ã¢€ before the incumbent’s convention, says Ken Mehlman, Bush’s campaign manager. Ã¢€œFor John Kerry to have not gained ground and perhaps even be losing ground has to be very troubling to their campaign.Ã¢€
USA TODAY surveyed three states last week that voted for Al Gore in 2000 and are close this time:
Ã¢€¢In Pennsylvania, Bush and Kerry each had 47% of likely voters; independent Ralph Nader was at 2%. Among battleground states, Pennsylvania is second only to Florida in number of electoral votes, with 21. Gore carried the state by 5 percentage points.
Ã¢€¢In Wisconsin, Bush led Kerry among likely voters, 48%-45%. Nader had 4%. Gore won the Badger State. It has 10 electoral votes.
Ã¢€¢In Iowa, Kerry led Bush among likely voters, 51%-45%. Nader was at 2%. Gore narrowly carried the state. It has seven electoral votes.
Kerry fared better among the larger pool of registered voters. He leads in Pennsylvania by 49%-43%, in Wisconsin by 47%-45% and in Iowa by 50%-44%.
Kerry’s camp said those encouraging results were more accurate. Ã¢€œI have consistently argued that at this stage of the game, the registered-voter (sample) is a much more valid indicator than the Gallup likely-voter sample,Ã¢€ says Mark Mellman, Kerry’s pollster.
Nonsense. “Registered voter” polls are meaningless and almost always inflate the numbers for Democratic candidates, since their support is artificially padded with young and poorly educated voters, who are much less likely to turn out. If Bush can carry Pennsylvania and retain Florida, he’ll almost certainly win re-election.