- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 15, 2004

John Kerry is losing support among Democrats, independents, women, Catholics and veterans, all of whom helped give President Bush the post-convention bounce he got — and still holds — in many polls.

The Bush tide, at least for now, is running strong in several battleground states.

Ohio, where Mr. Bush edged Al Gore by three percentage points in 2000, increasingly looks like a lost cause for Mr. Kerry. The Democrat is so far behind in that state that pollster John Zogby says he is “ready to take Ohio out of battleground category and make it a red [Republican] state. I have Bush with a solid lead of 10 points there.”

In hotly contested Florida, the president now is up by six percentage points, 51 percent to 45 percent, in a Survey USA poll of 607 likely voters taken Saturday through Tuesday. In July, Mr. Kerry was ahead by three points in the same poll. Back then, the senator from Massachusetts led by 12 points among women and by three points among military households; Mr. Bush now leads by three points in each group.

Pennsylvania, which went for Mr. Gore in 2000, is now too close to call in the latest Rasmussen poll, and in Wisconsin, also won by Mr. Gore four years ago, Mr. Bush has an eight percentage point lead in the most recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.

Even in New York — one of the most reliable Democratic states in the past three elections — Mr. Bush is gaining momentum, now trailing by six percentage points in the Quinnipac University poll, which last month had Mr. Kerry leading by 18 points. A Marist poll has Mr. Kerry falling to an eight-point lead from a 14-point advantage in April.

Mr. Bush’s poll gains have come by adding Democrats and independents to a solid base of Republican support.

Mr. Bush enjoys stronger backing among self-identified Republicans compared with Mr. Kerry’s support among Democrats. In one major poll, 11 percent of Democrats say they will vote for Mr. Bush.

Mr. Bush made a giant leap forward among independents in a Sept. 6-8 CBS News poll, which had him with 39 percent of the independent vote last month but with 48 percent this month. Mr. Kerry’s share of independents went from 44 percent last month to 39 percent in the latest survey.

Mr. Bush also has erased the so-called “gender gap,” now enjoying a five percentage point edge among women in the CBS poll, which last month had Mr. Kerry with a seven-point lead among women. The Sept. 7-9 Time magazine poll found “surprising Kerry slippage among women — long a Democratic mainstay,” with 45 percent now for Mr. Bush and 44 percent for Mr. Kerry, reversing Mr. Kerry’s 50 percent to 36 percent advantage among women a month earlier.

The ABC News/Washington Post Sept. 6-8 poll found Mr. Bush “has gained ground particularly among men, among veterans, among independents and in some cases among white Catholic voters. The latter two are the quintessential swing voters in American politics.”

Among veterans, that poll showed, Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry ran even at 46 percent each after the July Democratic convention. After a month of ads by a group of veterans critical of Mr. Kerry’s Vietnam record, however, Mr. Bush now holds a commanding 55 percent to 37 percent advantage among veterans.


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