Man Without Qualities

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Some Very Odd Polls

The most recent NPR Poll taken over 2-26 through 3-1 shows President Bush with various net negative ratings - including that by a wopping margin of 14% people think that the country is on the "wrong track."

But the same poll also shows President Bush beating John Kerry in a one-on-one (no Nader) by 47-45%. Those are essentially the same "wrong track" and hypothetical election results shown in another recent poll.

The number of people thinking that the country is "on the wrong track" should be very telling. The big negative gaps in these polls - the NPR Poll shows only 40% think that the country is "on the right track" - should correspond to a huge problem for the incumbent. Yet, the same polls both show President Bush narrowly winning over John Kerry.

What's going on?

Well, for one thing, some (but not all) other polls are not consistent with such large percentages responding that the country is "on the wrong track." For example, the often Republican-hostile CNN/Time Poll for 2/5 - 2/6 reported that 60% of respondents think that things in the country are going "very or fairly well."

So, one major poll shows 60% of the nation responding that things are going "very or fairly well" - and another poll taken at virtually the same time (a twenty day lag) shows that only 40% think the country is on the right track. Of course, it could be that 20% of the country changed its mind in 20 days.

Does the reader believe that?

UPDATE: The Democratic primary media coverage has been acting on polling results like a bar magnet held to a television screen. But a new poll shows that distortion seems to be ending (Via Viking Pundit - who has all kinds of interesting posts today):

President Bush has regained the lead from Sen. John Kerry in the latest IBD/TIPP Poll as the boost the challenger got from the Democratic primaries wears off and the incumbent starts his own campaign in earnest. The nationwide poll of 863 adults taken last Monday through Thursday showed that, among 743 registered voters, Bush leads Kerry 45% to 40%, with 6% going to Independent Ralph Nader. In a two-way race Bush leads Kerry 46% to 43%. A week earlier, Bush trailed Kerry in IBD/TIPP polling by a 44%-41% margin. But the president reclaimed support in his traditional strongholds. Bush now leads Kerry 56% to 33% in Republican-loyal, or "red," states, 51% to 38% in the South and 49% to 40% in the Midwest. Bush's lead in swing states, however, has narrowed to 1 point from 4. But Kerry's lead in Democrat-loyal (blue) states has shrunk to 9 points from 12, and his advantage in urban areas has narrowed to 10 points from 18. In suburban areas, Bush's lead widened to 18 points from 13. In rural America, a traditional Bush stronghold, Kerry ran even in the week-earlier survey. But now Bush is back up by 14 points.

And, as noted below, Senator Kerry is doing his darnedest to normalize these polls, too.

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