Bush, Not Bush, and Nader

Rather than burying it at the bottom of the previous post, I want to highlight two questions from the ABC/WaPo poll not covered in the two news reports:

Nader is polling 6%. Granted, in a +/-3% poll, it’s hard to know how to read that. It’s both good news for Bush–a lot of Kerry’s base is less than thrilled–but also bad–some of these people would certainly vote for Kerry if the race tightens.

That’s important because of these numbers:

Is your vote more for George W. Bush or more against John Kerry? (asked of Bush supporters)
For Bush 83%
Against Kerry 16%
DK/No opinion 1%


Is your vote more for John Kerry or more against George W. Bush? (asked of Kerry supporters)
For Kerry 44%
Against Bush 55%
DK/No opinion 1%

I knew such a gap existed. I didn’t realize it was anywhere near that high.

Clearly, this election is going to be a referendum on George W. Bush. That’s almost always the case when an incumbent president is running for re-election. Sometimes, though–1980 being a classic case, and 1992 at least a partial one–the challenger has enough charisma or ideological appeal to attract a substantial number of people to vote for him. So far, John Kerry seems not even to have energized his base constituency.

Certainly, part of that has to do with Kerry’s personality. My guess, though, is that much of this is a function of much of the Democratic base being against the Iraq War, of which Kerry has been a weak supporter.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. tommy says:

    It looks like you right wing thugs better head on over to Wal-Mart and set up some voter regisration tents

  2. tommy says:

    So far, John Kerry seems not even to have energized his base constituency………………..which can be reflected by Kerrys inability to raise money…….what a moron

  3. Texas Star says:

    Hey Tommy,

    Us Republicans will set up tents at Neiman Marcus!! Remember all of us are so rich!

    You are also a bore!

  4. dondo says:

    I think you underestimate the depth of the progressive dislike for Bush. “[The gap] is a function of much of the Democratic base being against the Iraq War, of which Kerry has been a weak supporter.” I think the truth is closer to what Judge Calabresi said: “Bush has asserted the full prerogatives of his office, despite his lack of a compelling electoral mandate from the public.” At best, the electorate is evenly divided, yet Bush has steamrolled over the half who aren’t represented, from fiscal policy to environmental policy to international policy. You may disagree with the views of the left, but you cannot dismiss their existence, and the philosophical differences are much deeper than the Iraq war.

  5. Attila Girl says:

    How has Bush “steamrollered” over the leftists re: environmental policy? If it were so, we’d be drilling in ANWR, and inching closer to being less dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Which would, of course, be a Good Thing.

  6. McGehee says:

    I’ll reiterate: Bush got more votes in 2000 than Clinton ever did in ’92 or ’96.

    Yet I remember when the victorious Clinton with his 43% popular vote percentage was touted by Big Media as having a “mandate for change.”

    Somehow I think Bush has even more of a mandate than that. What say you, Dondo?

  7. James Joyner says:

    Dondo: I’m seeking to explain why the majority of Kerry “supporters” are anti-Bush rather than pro-Kerry. One would think that, if he embodied their ideals, it would be the reverse.

  8. I’ve been following Nader since he announced he was thinking about another run. He’s consistently run at 6% in polls from the beginning. Only two polls I know of this year have had him elsewhere (both at 4%). Of course, it’s still summer, so who knows what he’ll look like when voters start paying attention in the Fall.

  9. Dave says:

    You know, I think Kerry is just sitting around and letting Bush dig his own hole. I certainly hope he energizes his campaign closer to the end of the election, but at the same time, he’s got a lot less cash on hand and he has to stretch his post-convention government cash a lot longer, so the more conservative (if you’ll pardon the expression) approach to the campaign might just work.

    It’s a gamble, though. If events conspire to turn Bush’s poll numbers around on either the economy or the war, Kerry will be stuck having to kick his campaign from low-key into high gear to charm voters away, and I don’t know if he can do it.