Newsweek: Bush 54, Kerry 43

Apparently, the TIME poll released yesterday showing President Bush opening an 11 point lead was not a fluke.


Immediately following the Republican National Convention in New York, the latest Newsweek Poll shows that, in a two-way presidential trial heat, the Bush/Cheney ticket would win over a Kerry/Edwards ticket by 54 percent vs. 43 percent among registered voters. In a three-way trial heat, including Green Party Candidate Ralph Nader, the Bush/Cheney ticket would still win 52 percent to 41 percent for Kerry/Edwards and 3 percent for Nader/Camejo among registered voters. That represents a 13-point margin bounce for Bush/Cheney since an August 5-10 poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Research Center.

And even though more Americans (49%) say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. at this time (43% are satisfied), President George W. Bush’s approval rating has gone up to 52 percent, a seven-point increase since the last Newsweek Poll (July 29-30), and the first time it’s topped 50 percent since January. Also 53 percent of registered voters say the would like to see President Bush re-elected to another term. The last time a majority of Americans wanted to see the president re-elected was May 2003.

In comparing the two presidential candidates, more registered voters think President Bush has strong leadership qualities than Kerry (65% vs. 47%), is more honest and ethical (62% vs. 47%), says what he believes and not just what people want to hear (66% vs. 42%), would trust him to make the right decisions during an international crisis (57% vs. 44%), shares their values (54% vs. 42%), and is personally likeable (67% vs. 59%). In addition, more registered voters think President Bush would do a better job than Sen. Kerry on various issues: terrorism and homeland security (60% vs. 32%), the situation in Iraq (55% vs. 37%), foreign policy (54% vs. 38%), taxes (52% vs. 38%), economy (49% vs. 43%), education (48% vs. 42%), and gay marriage (44% vs. 36%). More people say Sen. Kerry would do a better job than President Bush on healthcare, including Medicare (45% vs. 43%) and the environment (50% vs. 36%). Two months before the election, more registered voters (28%) say terrorism and homeland security is the most important issue in determining their vote. Twenty-one percent say it’s the economy, 13 percent say healthcare and only 11 percent say the situation in Iraq. On that subject, a majority of registered voters (55%) think that the U.S. did the right thing in talking military action in Iraq, though 50 percent say the war has not made Americans safer from terrorism (45% think it has). And, among registered voters, 44 percent think Saddam Hussein’s regime was not directly involved in 9-11 (42% say it was).

Those internals are even more encouraging for Bush supporters than the TIME poll .

What’s really amazing is this:

Despite the four-day convention, a strong 60-percent majority of registered voters say they saw none of (32%) or very little (28%) coverage of the RNC on television last week. Only 40 percent say they saw some of it (24%) or a great deal (16%). And only 36 percent say they now have a more
favorable opinion of the Republican Party, with 27 percent saying they have a less favorable opinion. Of Independents, 29 percent said they have a more favorable opinion of the Republicans and 27 percent said less favorable. Following the Democratic convention in July, 41 percent who said they had a more favorable opinion of the Democrats. Only 24 percent said they had a less favorable opinion. And of the 45 percent of registered voters who said they watched all or part of the President’s speech, 37 percent said they had a more favorable opinion of him, while 18 percent said it was less favorable.

Go figure.

Again, I’d prefer to see likely voter polls than registered voter polls at this stage of the game.

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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. McGehee says:

    And even though more Americans (49%) say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. at this time (43% are satisfied), President George W. Bush’s approval rating has gone up to 52 percent…

    There are ways to explain this anomaly, such as Bush’s approvals being boosted by the fact he’s effectively being measured against Kerry, or simply a perfectly reasonable gap between “dissatisfaction” and “disapproval.”

    But I’ll toss out another possibility, just to rock the boat:

    Many of those who approve of Bush’s job performance may be dissatisfied because he isn’t getting enough actually done for which they approve of him — Osama’s still at large, terrorists are still committing atrocities, taxes are still too high (aren’t they always?) and government is still too big.

    I know there will be those who dismiss the idea out of hand, but many of those were dismissing out of hand the idea Bush could get a bounce from this convention.

  2. Matt says:

    This news is especially depressing for the lefty insiders. They have been trying to explain away their post-convention non-bounce by saying that the country is already so divided that is is almost impossible to move the poll numbers. I wonder how they will explain the huge Bush bounce.