Wednesday, August 25

Swift Boat Liars Nick Kerry in LA Times Poll

Hopefully, the debunkings, firings and resignations - along with Kerry's more aggressive counter-attack - we've seen over the last few days will render this setback null and void.
Bush Overtakes Kerry in Latest L.A. Times Poll

President Bush heads into next week's Republican national convention with voters moving slightly in his direction since July amid signs that John F. Kerry has been nicked by attacks on his service in Vietnam, a Los Angeles Times Poll has found.

For the first time this year in a Times survey, Bush led Kerry in the presidential race, drawing 49 percent among registered voters, compared to 46 percent for the Democrat. In a Times Poll just before the Democratic convention last month, Kerry held a 2 percentage point advantage over Bush.

That small shift from July was within the poll's margin of error. But it fit with other findings in the Times Poll showing the electorate edging toward Bush over the past month on a broad range of measures, from support for his handling of Iraq to confidence in his leadership and honesty.

Although a solid majority of Americans say they believe Kerry served honorably in Vietnam, the poll showed that the fierce attacks on the senator from a group of Vietnam veterans criticizing both his performance in combat and anti-war protests at home have left some marks: Kerry suffered small but consistent erosion compared to July on questions relating to his Vietnam experience, his honesty and his fitness to serve as commander in chief.

The Times Poll, supervised by polling director Susan Pinkus, interviewed 1,597 adults, including 1,352 registered voters nationwide, from Aug. 21-24. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

For all the promising signs for Bush, the poll found the president still threatened by a consistent current of uneasiness about the nation's direction. In the survey, a slight majority of voters said they believed the country was on the wrong track. A majority also said the country was not better off because of his policies and needed to set a new course. And 45 percent said they believed his policies have hurt rather than helped the economy.

Pamela Sundberg, a disabled paralegal from Moorhead, Minn., who responded to the survey, crystallized the conflicting emotions among those drawn toward change but still resisting Kerry.

Sundberg voted for Bush in 2000 but now feels "we got ourselves in a mess in Iraq," where her son has been serving. She is dubious about Kerry, saying "he's so back and forth about things."

But while leaning toward Bush now, she can envision switching to Kerry by November. "Maybe just for a change he should be elected," she said.