Zogby Poll: Bush Opens 4 Point Lead
President Bush opened a four-point lead on Democratic Sen. John Kerry the day after the final debate between the White House rivals, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Friday. Bush led Kerry 48-44 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, which included one night of polling done after Wednesday’s debate in Tempe, Arizona. Bush led Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, by only one point, 46-45 percent, the previous day.
An improvement in Bush’s showing among undecideds and a strong response from his base Republican supporters helped fuel the president’s rise. “The good news for the president is that he has improved his performance among the small group of undecideds,” said pollster John Zogby, who found 6 percent of likely voters are undecided. “Nearly a quarter now say that he deserves to be re-elected, up from 18 percent in our last poll.” Zogby said the difference between Kerry’s 79 percent support among Democrats and Bush’s 89 percent support from Republicans also should be “worrisome” for Kerry in such a tight race. “Kerry needs to close the deal with his fellow Democrats,” Zogby said.
Both candidates headed to the swing state of Nevada in upbeat mood on Thursday after their final debate and renewed their battle during separate appearances in Las Vegas over who was best suited to lead the middle class to prosperity. The focus of the race now turns to less than a dozen crucial battleground states, with Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa — where Bush and Kerry are running neck and neck — all certain to see plenty of the candidates down the stretch.
The new tracking poll found Bush pulling into a tie with Kerry among Catholics and women voters, and moving slightly ahead with young voters. Kerry still holds a solid lead among seniors.
The poll of 1,220 likely voters was taken Tuesday through Thursday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. The rolling poll will continue through Nov. 1 — the day before the election. A tracking poll combines the results of three consecutive nights of polling, then drops the first night’s results each time a new night is added. It allows pollsters to record shifts in voter sentiment as they happen.
The poll showed independent candidate Ralph Nader, blamed by some Democrats for drawing enough votes from Al Gore to cost him the election in 2000, with the support of 1.1 percent of likely voters.
Bush’s strong showing among women and the young is especially interesting–although it should be noted that young voters are among the least likely to actually turn out and vote. Bush’s lead among Catholics is surprising, too. Not only is Kerry a Catholic but Catholics tend to vote Democrat, valuing the welfare state over abortion and similar issues. Indeed, if Bush is running even among women and Catholics, I wonder whose support he’s losing to have him in such a tight race.
The Zogby poll is the only significant new national poll out today, but it moves the RCP average up to a 2.3% Bush lead.
Electoral-Vote.com factors in new state polls in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, and Montana. The overall tally remains unchanged, though, at Bush 284 to Kerry 228. RCP puts it at Bush 264 – Kerry 237 but has not factored in any new state polls taken since the last debate.