Harris Poll: Kerry 48, Bush 47

Harris Poll Shows Tight Presidential Race (WSJ)

Sen. John Kerry and President Bush are now enjoying almost equal levels of support, according to the latest Harris Interactive poll.

Immediately after the Republican convention in New York, several polls showed Mr. Bush jumping ahead of Mr. Kerry with a clear lead of between six and 11 percentage points. There’s no such “convention bounce” for the president in the latest poll by Harris. The Harris poll, conducted by telephone Sept. 9-13, shows Sen. Kerry leading Mr. Bush 48% to 47% among likely voters nationwide. The poll also found that a slender 51% to 45% majority doesn’t believe that Mr. Bush deserves to be re-elected. The previous poll in which likely U.S. voters were asked which candidate they preferred showed Messrs. Kerry and Bush tied 47% to 47%. That survey was conducted before the Republican National Convention in New York City, which ended earlier this month. An earlier poll in June indicated a Bush lead over Mr. Kerry of 10 percentage points, at 51% to 41%. The latest poll was conducted within the U. S. among a nationwide cross section of 1,018 adults. It has a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

The results echo a recent poll sponsored by Investor’s Business Daily, which also showed that the gap between the U.S. presidential candidates has disappeared. The poll of likely voters showed the two candidates tied at 47% in a two-man race and tied at 46% if independent candidate Ralph Nader is included.

Interesting. It’s too early to say whether these polls are outliers, although most other prominent “likely voter” polls seem to show a Bush lead of 5-11 points. One expects a convention “bounce” to dissipate. On the other hand, there has been nothing in the news that would seem to redound to Kerry’s benefit. Of course, with multiple hurricanes and Rathergate sucking up most of the news coverage, Kerry has been largely off television, and that has always been helpful to him in the past.

Update (1303): The outlier explanation seems more probable. A just-released survey by Public Opinion Strategies (800 Registered Voters, Margin of Error: +3.46%) has it:


Also, Bush’s approval numbers are above the “magic” 50 percent line:


We shall see.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head 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. Nick says:

    Tradesports is up to 69.5 this morning. I’d have to say this poll is an outlier.

  2. McGehee says:

    Were the poll responses faxed to Harris from a Kinko’s in Abilene?

  3. Harris is, of course, the Internet-based outfit; I’m not entirely sure if that would make any difference in this case, though (most academic research shows its results are reasonably close to those of telephone polls).

  4. ken says:

    These polls are more in line with the situation prior to the Republican convention. All the free air time and the consistent message turned a few heads. Now that all the hoopla is over reason is returning and Kerry is gaining. It is that simple.