NBC Poll: Bush ‘Down But not Out’

MSNBC — NBC poll: President ‘down but not out’

With just over four months until Election Day, a near-majority of Americans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction and that President Bush deliberately misled the public to make the case for war in Iraq, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. Yet even with those less-than-positive numbers for the president, the survey also shows that the race between Bush and presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry is a statistical tie.

According to the poll, which was conducted by Hart/Teeter, Bush gets the support of 45 percent of registered voters, Kerry gets 44 percent, and independent candidate Ralph Nader gets 4 percent. Nader is not yet officially on any state ballot. “Kerry has a ways to go to be able to take advantage of Bush’s weaknesses,” said Peter D. Hart, a Democratic pollster. Still, he noted, the survey numbers suggest Bush “has to come back and win this election. He goes into the summer period down but not out.”

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Despite these negative numbers for Bush, the presidential horse race between Bush and Kerry is deadlocked, and the poll suggests one reason why: Voters still don’t know much about Kerry, even though his campaign has spent tens of millions of dollars in TV advertisements. According to the poll, in fact, just 57 percent of the respondents say they know a lot or a fair amount about Kerry — a real drop from 68 percent in the NBC/Journal March survey.

That’s a truly odd trend. The election is four months away now, which is just around the corner for political junkies but a long time for the average citizen.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.