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Independent Voters Desert Bush

Actually, Bush's numbers are poor with the public as a whole in the latest CBS News poll, but his numbers with independents suggest particularly serious difficulties with this group of swing voters.

In the poll, Bush's overall approval rating is 47 percent--bad enough, but independents give him only 45 percent approval. Similarly, his approval rating on Iraq is 46 percent, with independents even lower at 45 percent. Even more striking, Bush's approval rating on foreign policy is now down to 44 percent, with 45 percent disapproval, with independents much more negative at 39 percent approval/48 percent disapproval. But even that looks good compared to his ratings on the economy: 37 percent approval/56 percent disapproval among all voters and 33 percent/56 percent among independents.

In terms of the horse race, two questions (Bush vs. generic Democrat and Bush-Cheney vs. Kerry-Edwards) return the same low level of support for Bush among independents (41 percent). On the Bush-Cheney vs. Kerry-Edwards horse race (which Kerry-Edwards wins by a 50 percent to 42 percent margin), it's also interesting to note that Democrats and Republicans are identically polarized: 88 percent to 8 percent for their ticket.

Other noteworthy findings: by 55 percent to 32 percent (55/30 among independents) people believe Bush's decisions are influenced by special interests. At this point, people are much more closely split on Kerry (38/31, and 38/31 among independents).

Also, 67 percent believe that Kerry either cares a lot or some about "the needs and problems of people like yourself", compared to 58 percent for Bush. And, by 53 percent to 14 percent, people believe that Bush's policies have decreased, not increased, the number of jobs in the US (53/11 among independents).

Finally, opinion on the war in Iraq continues to head south. By 52 percent to 42 percent, people say the war was not worth the loss of American life and other costs; by 58 percent to 40 percent, they think that the Iraq threat could have been contained or wasn't a threat at all, rather than that it required immediate military action; and by 59 percent to 32 percent they think Iraq WMD intelligence was exaggerated to build support for the war.

Comments

At first I was wondering if this Haiti thing was a distraction, but this article says making Haiti an issue might be a good idea:

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/state/8074992.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp

Bush's policies on Haiti at issue

BY PETER WALLSTEN
pwallsten@herald.com

Lingering questions over what role the White House played in the Haiti uprising -- and whether race was a factor in sending back hundreds of fleeing refugees -- could haunt President Bush as he tries to win Florida again this year and secure reelection.

Leading Democrats, including presidential front-runner John Kerry, moved quickly Sunday in the wake of Haiti President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's resignation to condemn Bush -- painting the situation as a foreign policy failure by a president whose reelection campaign is based largely on national security.

''The United States should have been an honest broker for nonviolence,'' Kerry told The Herald in a telephone interview from New York, where he was campaigning for the Tuesday Democratic primary. ``This is one more indication of how the administration comes late to an issue, very ideologically colored in their approach, and allows things to get out of control as they have elsewhere in the world.''

`DOUBLE STANDARD'

Kerry also described the Bush administration's policy of blocking Haitians from fleeing the chaos while giving greater access to Cubans escaping communism as a ''double standard,'' but he stopped short of critics who call the Haitian policy racist.

Democrats believe the issue presents an increasingly complicated political problem for Bush and his national security team -- especially as the administration justifies ousting a dictator in Iraq in the name of fostering democracy, while it stood by as armed rebels forced out a democratically elected president only hundreds of miles off Florida's shores.

Some Democrats went further to frame the debate about Bush's priorities, accusing the administration of fueling a coup to overthrow a legitimate president.

''The conspiracy theory is alive and well as it relates to their hand in this,'' said U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Miami Democrat who is Kerry's Florida campaign chairman and who confronted Bush on Haiti last week along with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. ``This is going to be front and center in the campaign, just like Iraq will be.''...