Notes on the Atrocities
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004  

Indicators Point to Kerry

The other big story today (again, via Billmon) is a recent poll published by Mother Jones. It echoes all the recent results you've heard, but thanks to a wonderful interface provided by the magazine, we can dig down into the data a little. The upshot: while both candidates are overwhelmingly supported by their own party (and come up even across the board), independendents are leaning strongly toward Kerry.

For example, when asked to rate positive or negative feelings about the candidates, opinions were evenly split (GOP positive about Bush - 79%, Dems negative - 79%; GOP negative about Kerry - 68%, Dems positive - 68%). When asked who they'd vote for, Independents were exactly split between the candidates--36% for each--but almost a quarter remain undecided. That quarter is the election, and it doesn't look good for Bush right now (of course, it could change, yada yada).

Where we finally see some separation among Independents is when pollsters got to the issues and trends. The key findings among Independents:

  • Only 33% want to continue in the "Bush direction" (67% want a new direction)

  • 71% think the country's economy is worse off since Bush took office (13% think it's better off)

  • 64% think their jobs are less secure, 23% more secure.

  • 72% think the cost of living is worse, 20% better.

  • And this shocker: 66% think the country's morals have declined; only 20% think they've gotten better.

  • Over three-qurters think the middle class and workers have been losers under Bush.

  • On job availability, 81% of Independents endorsed a statement saying good jobs were still hard to find.

  • Looking at the Independents' numbers, two trends emerge: (1) they're worried about jobs and think Bush is terrible on that score (in fact, a majority of those polled want more protectionist trade policies to save jobs), and (2) they're uncertain about Kerry. On this last point, one finding is striking. The majority of Independents felt Bush had been a divider, not a uniter (54%), but a whopping 52% didn't know whether Kerry would unite or divide (they tend to give him the benefit of the doubt). What that tells me is they badly want a reason to jump off the Bush boat, but they want to be convinced that Kerry is a safe alternative.

    Consequently, I'd say these numbers essentially endorse the Kerry strategy of focusing on jobs and staying positive--that's what the Indies want to hear. Independents remain deeply skeptical about jobs and the economy, and the numbers show they haven't been swayed by all the rah-rah over the jobs numbers. Meanwhile, Bush continues to do his part by running an inept administration and campaign. I know some of you are losing confidence, but don't--all the evidence is still pointing toward a Kerry win.

    posted by Jeff | 12:49 PM |
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