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Kerry Polling Memo: Vice Presidential and Convention Aftermath [View All]

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Skinner ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-04 11:20 AM
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Kerry Polling Memo: Vice Presidential and Convention Aftermath
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John Kerrys selection of John Edwards has been exceptionally well-received by the public, and the ticket holds a narrow lead over Bush-Cheney. However, since John Kerry was already in a much stronger position than challengers have been in the past, we do not expect a significant bounce in the horserace from either the Vice Presidential selection or the convention.

Voters Have Demonstrated Strong Support For Senator Edwards Selection

In the CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, 64% of voters gave the choice a positive rating. In 2000, a smaller 55% gave similar ratings to Bushs selection of Cheney. Seventy percent (70%) of voters said they were enthusiastic or satisfied by the addition of Edwards to the Democratic ticket.

A strong majority of voters (57%) believe Edwards is qualified to serve as President the same percentage (57%) as believed Cheney was qualified when he was selected in 2000. Moreover, 64% say Edwards selection reflects favorably on Kerrys ability to make important Presidential decisions.

Kerry-Edwards Maintains A Lead

Averaging together the four polls conducted since the selection yields a 3-point lead (48% to 45%) for Kerry-Edwards over Bush-Cheney.

The Vice Presidential And Convention Bounce Is Likely To Be Limited

Despite the high ratings for the Edwards pick, we do not anticipate a substantial bounce in the horserace as a result of either the selection, or the convention. Challengers sometimes get convention and Vice Presidential selection bounces because they have not consolidated their partisan base. Most recent polls show John Kerry already getting 82%-89% of the Democratic vote. Thus, there is little base left for John Kerry to consolidate. He has already accomplished that goal.

Sometimes challengers get a big convention bounce because of events that have nothing to do with the conventions. Going into the 1992 convention, Bill Clinton was running third and Ross Perot was getting 30% of the vote. During the Democratic Convention, Perot dropped out, temporarily increasing Clintons margin by a net 28 points. Clintons gain had less to do with the convention and lots to do with Perot, but Republicans gleefully use that swing to boost their convention bounce calculation.

More important, even before the convention and his selection of John Edwards, John Kerry was already in much stronger position than most challengers have been coming out of their conventions. Since 1956, on average, elected incumbents have gone into the Vice Presidential selection and convention season with a 16.6 percentage point lead. Bush strategist Matt Dowd admits that, at worst, Bush and Kerry are even. This puts Kerry far ahead of where other challengers have been going into their conventions, and puts Bush far behind the traditional mark.

Even after the challengers convention the average elected incumbent has led by 6 percentage points. Thus, anything less than a 6 point lead for Bush after the Democratic Convention will indicate weakness for Bush by historical standards.

Indeed, only three incumbents in the past 50 years have been behind the challenger after the challengers conventions - - and all three have ended up losing on Election Day (G.H.W. Bush, Carter and Ford). By historical standards then, if this George Bush does not have a solid lead after the Democratic Convention, history would suggest he is likely to lose.

In short, Kerry-Edwards is not likely to get a substantial bounce from the Edwards pick or the Democratic Convention because John Kerry already had more support than most challengers get, even after their conventions.

We do, however, hope to increase the number of people who know about John Kerrys record, values, and plans.


Paid for by John Kerry for President, Inc.
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