- The Washington Times - Monday, August 2, 2004


President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are competing for the support of a relatively few undecided voters, many of whom are preoccupied with work and family.

Others are just plain suspicious of campaign promises.

Getting the attention of these “persuadable” voters is critical. A majority of voters already have made a firm decision on their Nov. 2 choice, and just two in 10 say they are likely to switch to a different candidate.

Last week’s Democratic National Convention gave Mr. Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards their best chance to sell their message to voters.

That message never got to Democrat Debra Edwards, a 49-year-old homemaker from Lakemoor, Ill., who is leaning toward supporting Mr. Kerry.

“I didn’t see the convention,” said Mrs. Edwards, who is busy raising grandchildren.

“I heard from a buddy, who was major, major impressed with Kerry’s speech. I think Kerry’s all right, but I don’t care who they put in there. I just want Bush out,” she said.

Only one-fifth of the public said before the convention they planned to watch a great deal of the event.

An estimated 24.4 million Americans watched Mr. Kerry’s acceptance speech, according to Nielsen Media Research. That compares with 21 million people who watched Al Gore’s speech in 2000.

Retired union electrician Doyle Moreland of San Antonio said Mr. Kerry did not overwhelm him.

“I watched the speech, I thought it was OK, but that’s just talking,” said Mr. Moreland, who leans toward supporting Mr. Kerry. “I don’t care who they are; they’re all going to say what they’re going to do.”

Some voters who preferred Mr. Edwards beforehand said after the convention they were still happy with the choice.

But Democrat Terri Buchanan, a 36-year old bookkeeper from Tampa, Fla., said she has some doubts.

“Oh well … he seems like another Dan Quayle,” she said, referring to the Indiana senator who was vice president under the first President Bush. “He looks like he’s too young to be in office.”

One Republican voter who is not firmly committed to Mr. Bush said he watched the convention off and on.

“I’m still pondering,” said Joel Potts, 34 of Monroe, Wis. “I’m just interested in hearing details of their different plans.”

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