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AP-Ipsos Poll: Kerry Leads by 3

John Kerry leads George Bush 49-46 percent of nation-wide LV's, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos Public Affairs Poll conducted 10/18-20. The poll also found Bush's approval rating at 47 percent.

Comments

Two things:

1) Does it strike anyone else that most recent polls not only show Bush with approvals that are dangerously low, but that are in most cases his bottom point -- e.g., the Time poll had him at 49%, not nearly as good-for-Kerry as the 44-47's floating around elsewhere, but it's still the lowest of recent vintage in a poll that had always scored high for him. For many of us, it's been a source of consternation that, despite accumulating bad news (and public awareness of said news), Bush's job approval had always remained respectable -- at least, compared to his dad and Jimmy Carter. But maybe what we'd been seeing was only a stubborn hanging-on of the post 9/11 haze: that a certain percentage still reflexively gave "approval to the executive in time of war" but nonetheless didn't really like Bush all that much, and now, with re-election very much in the balance, these voters are expressing their true (lower) opinions for the first time.

2) I've asked a variation of this question in the past and never got an acceptable answer. We can all talk about who's up who's down, 50% rules, undecided to the challenger, likely voters -- but, has any incumbent president trailed his challenger in ANY poll this close to an election and still managed to win?

I so sick of seeing national polls. With less than two weeks left, I think its time we start focusing solely on the states that matter.

demtom wrote: "has any incumbent president trailed his challenger in ANY poll this close to an election and still managed to win?"

Well there's Truman, of course. But I don't think it's happened since then.

I don't think we've had an election comparable to this one in quite a while, so historical analogies don't hold much water for me. (I keep hoping for the 1980 analogy to come through, but that may just be wishful thinking.)

Demtom:

My view is that what we are seeing is the outcome of seeing Bush during the first debate. Remember prior to that- almost all other exposure to Bush was in an unchallenged situation except the Meet the Press interview where his numbers also fell. This is the realization of really bad news (Iraq, the flu, etc) that demonstrates a common narrative, that this President means well , but is incompetent (kerry's line that you can be resolute and wrong is perfect). I forget where but there is an excellent post on one of the blogs about how Bush is actually just Carter revisited on the Republican party.

The one thing that seems so clear from all the polls over the last couple weeks is this:

The tide is with us and it is strong.

The EMD explanations on polling and its limitations are helpful. But they are far less reassuring that I'd like when virtually all the national polling trends show Bush gaining, not losing...and when many of the key battleground polls show similar trends. I'd sure sleep easier if the trend was reversed, even if Kerry were mathematically behind--but gaining. T.J.

Demtom,
In answer to your second question, I saw a report a couple of months ago that no incumbent president in the past 80 years (since polling really began) has ever won re-election when the challenger was ahead in the polls at ANY POINT DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR. As we know, Kerry has been ahead in the polls for about half this year.

That same report said no incumbent had ever gone onto re-election when they were not at least 16 points ahead in the polls after their convention. As we know, Bush was up by an average of 4 points after the GOP hatefest.

All in all, not good indicators for the incumbent.