Newsweek Poll: Kerry 47, Bush 45
The Newsweek poll, which has rather consistently overpolled Democrats as compared to the other major polls, shows Kerry having erased his deficit in the first post-debate poll.
The Race is On (Newsweek)
With a solid majority of voters concluding that John Kerry outperformed George W. Bush in the first presidential debate on Thursday, the presidentÃ¢€™s lead in the race for the White House has vanished, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. In the first national telephone poll using a fresh sample, NEWSWEEK found the race now statistically tied among all registered voters, 47 percent of whom say they would vote for Kerry and 45 percent for George W. Bush in a three-way race.
Removing Independent candidate Ralph Nader, who draws 2 percent of the vote, widens the Kerry-Edwards lead to three points with 49 percent of the vote versus the incumbentÃ¢€™s 46 percent. Four weeks ago the Republican ticket, coming out of a successful convention in New York, enjoyed an 11-point lead over Kerry-Edwards with Bush pulling 52 percent of the vote and the challenger just 41 percent.
Among the three-quarters (74 percent) of registered voters who say they watched at least some of ThursdayÃ¢€™s debate, 61 percent see Kerry as the clear winner, 19 percent pick Bush as the victor and 16 percent call it a draw. After weeks of being portrayed as a verbose Ã¢€œflip-flopperÃ¢€ by Republicans, Kerry did better than a majority (56 percent) had expected. Only about 11 percent would say the same for the presidentÃ¢€™s performance while more than one-third (38 percent) said the incumbent actually did worse that they had expected. Thirty-nine percent of Republicans felt their man out-debated the challenger but a full third (33 percent) say they felt Kerry won.
Meanwhile, the latest LA Times poll shows that most believe Kery won the debate but little change in voter preference.
Viewers Give Round 1 to Kerry (Ronald Brownstein and Kathleen Hennessey)
Sen. John F. Kerry improved his image with voters who watched his debate with President Bush last week, but didn’t significantly shift their choice in the presidential race, a Times poll of debate viewers has found. Although the debate did not diminish impressions of Bush on most questions, it did restore some of the luster Kerry had lost amid relentless Republican pounding since his party’s convention in July, the poll found. The key question will be whether those gains will help Kerry peel away voters from Bush in the days ahead.
Of those who watched Thursday’s debate, more than three times as many called Kerry the winner as picked Bush, the poll found. The Democratic nominee also made modest gains with viewers on questions relating to national security and leadership. And the portion of debate viewers with favorable perceptions of Kerry increased from 52% before to 57% after. Kerry’s most dramatic advance in the survey came in convincing more voters that he had a thorough agenda for the next four years. Asked which candidate had the more detailed plan for the policies he would pursue if elected, viewers gave Bush a 9-percentage-point edge before the encounter; afterward, they preferred Kerry by 4 points.
Among those who watched, Bush’s approval rating after the debate was unchanged from before, with 49% approving and 50% disapproving. Bush’s favorability rating among debate viewers improved slightly (though within the survey’s margin of error). Before the debate, 51% of the watchers viewed Bush favorably and 49% viewed him unfavorably; afterward, the numbers were 52% and 47%. Kerry made bigger gains among viewers. On the most basic measure, the share of viewers with a favorable impression of him rose from 52% before the debate to 57% after; the share with an unfavorable impression dropped from 46% to 41%.
Interesting. Presuming the Newsweek poll is an outlier–a reasonable assumption given its history and what we’ve seen in other polls so far–this would seem to support the conventional wisdom that there are very few undecided voters. And, as is usually the case, most people watching the debate already have their minds made up.
Update (2048): Or maybe not.
President Bush and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, are about even among likely and registered voters in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, released Sunday. The poll showed Kerry and Bush tied at 49 percent each among likely voters interviewed. Among registered voters Bush had 49 percent and Kerry 47 percent. Independent candidate Ralph Nader was favored by 1 percent in each group. The margin of error in each case was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
By contrast, Bush was ahead of Kerry among likely voters 52 percent to 44 percent in the Gallup poll conducted September 24-26. Among registered voters in that poll, the spread was 53 percent for Bush and 42 percent for Kerry. Nader had 3 percent among each group.
“It’s obvious that the debate helped Kerry. What’s less obvious is how,” CNN polling director Keating Holland said.
On the issue of the economy, the poll showed all voters favoring Kerry 51 percent to Bush’s 44 percent, almost exactly the opposite of what the September 24-26 poll indicated — Bush with 51 percent and Kerry with 45 percent. Holland said that was good news for Kerry going into the second and third debates, in which domestic issues will be highlighted. But Holland said the expectations game has shifted — a plurality says that Kerry will do the better job in the second debate (before the first debate, most Americans thought Bush would win).