No Change in Presidential Race Despite Attack Ads

by David W. Moore

Bush approval at 49%

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Despite extensive publicity given to attack ads that criticize Democratic candidate John Kerry's service in Vietnam, a new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds no change in voter preferences. President George W. Bush receives 50% support among likely voters, compared with Kerry's 47% -- identical to results in a similar poll two weeks ago. Among registered voters, the race remains a virtual tie. 

Since May, the race between Bush and Kerry among likely voters has varied within a small range -- with Kerry having a six-point lead in early June, and Bush a four-point lead at the end of July.

Although Bush's lead in the current poll is within the poll's margin of error, Bush has maintained this lead in three successive polls, with a combined sample size of more than 2,000 likely voters. This consistency of support suggests that Bush enjoys a real, though small, lead among likely voters nationally.

The race is tighter among registered voters. Kerry receives 48% support to Bush's 47%, while the numbers were reversed in the Aug. 9-11 poll. In the July 30-Aug. 1 poll, each candidate received 48% support. All these results suggest that little has changed since the Democratic National Convention took place in Boston during the last week in July, and that neither candidate has an advantage among all registered voters.

With independent Ralph Nader mentioned as a candidate, Bush gets 48% support among likely voters, compared with 46% for Kerry -- a two-point lead well within the poll's margin of error.  Among registered voters, each major candidate receives 46% support. Nader receives 4% of the vote each among likely and registered voters, but this is probably a high estimate given that he will not be on the ballot in all states on Election Day.

The poll also shows Bush's job approval at 49%, down from the 51% measure in an Aug. 9-11 poll. The decline is well within the poll's margin of error, which suggests that Bush's approval rating has remained essentially unchanged since early May, when it was also at 49%. It has averaged slightly over 48% in the 10 polls since that time, with a high of 51% in early August and a low of 46% in early May.

TV Ads Critical of Kerry's Vietnam Service

The vast majority of Americans have either seen or heard about the political ads that show Vietnam veterans criticizing Kerry's war service. Forty-three percent say they have actually seen the ads, while another 38% say they have not seen the ads but have heard about the charges the veterans have made. It is quite likely that many people who say they saw the ads were referring to parts of the commercials shown in TV news programs, because the ads were being aired in just three states.

As you may know, some recent television commercials have shown veterans of the Vietnam War criticizing John Kerry's service in Vietnam and his Congressional testimony about the war after he returned from that country. Which of the following applies to you – you have seen these commercials, you have heard about the charges made in these commercials, but you have not seen the actual commercials, or you have not heard about the charges made in these commercials?

    


Seen

Heard charges, not seen

Not heard about the charges

No
opinion

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

43%

38

18

1

 

Kerry has responded by charging the Bush campaign of being behind the commercials, though Bush himself says they are not part of his campaign but funded by outside groups. When asked if they think Bush is responsible for the ads, half of Americans say yes -- 21% say he is "very" responsible, while another 29% say "somewhat" responsible. Forty-four percent say Bush is not responsible -- 22% "not too" responsible and another 22% "not at all" responsible.

How responsible do you think George W. Bush is for the fact that those commercials have been run – very responsible, somewhat responsible, not too responsible, or not at all responsible?

BASED ON –524—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM A

 

Very
responsible

Somewhat
responsible

Not too
responsible

Not at all
responsible

No
opinion

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

21%

29

22

22

6

Should Bush denounce the commercials? So far, the president has denounced "all" ads by groups outside the campaigns, but has refused to single out the ad criticizing Kerry's service. A majority of Americans, 56%, say he should denounce the specific commercials, while 32% disagree.

Do you think George W. Bush should – or should not – denounce those commercials?

BASED ON –480—NATIONAL ADULTS IN FORM B

 

Yes, should

No, should not

No opinion

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

56%

32

12

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,004 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Aug. 23-25, 2004. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Results based on likely voters are based on the subsample of 709 survey respondents deemed most likely to vote in the November 2004 general election, according to a series of questions measuring current voting intentions and past voting behavior. For results based on the total sample of likely voters, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points. The likely voter model assumes a turnout of 55% of national adults. The likely voter sample is weighted down to match this assumption.

For results based on the sample of 876 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

2. Now, suppose that the presidential election were being held today, and it included John Kerry and John Edwards as the Democratic candidates and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as the Republican candidates.  Would you vote for – [ROTATED: John Kerry and John Edwards, the Democrats (or) George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the Republicans]?

2A. As of today, do you lean more toward – [ROTATED: Kerry and Edwards, the Democrats (or) Bush and Cheney, the Republicans]?

 

Kerry/ Edwards

Bush/ Cheney

OTHER
(vol.)

NEITHER (vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

Likely voters

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

47

50

--

1

2

2004 Aug 9-11

47

50

*

1

2

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

47

51

*

*

2

2004 Jul 19-21

49

47

*

2

2

2004 Jul 8-11 ^

50

46

*

2

2

2004 Jun 21-23

48

49

*

1

2

2003 Jun 3-6

50

44

1

2

3

2004 May 21-23

49

47

*

1

3

2004 May 7-9

47

48

1

2

2

2004 May 2-4

49

48

*

1

2

2004 Apr 16-18

46

51

*

2

1

2004 Apr 5-8

45

48

1

4

2

2004 Mar 26-28

47

51

--

1

1

2004 Mar 5-7

52

44

1

2

1

2004 Feb 16-17

55

43

*

1

1

2004 Feb 6-8

48

49

*

1

2

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

53

46

--

*

1

2004 Jan 9-11

43

55

*

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registered voters

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

48

47

--

2

3

2004 Aug 9-11

47

48

1

2

2

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

48

48

*

1

3

2004 Jul 19-21

49

45

*

3

3

2004 Jul 8-11 ^

51

44

*

2

3

2004 Jun 21-23

49

45

1

2

3

2004 Jun 3-6

49

44

*

3

4

2004 May 21-23

48

46

*

2

4

2004 May 7-9

50

44

*

3

3

2004 May 2-4

47

47

1

2

3

2004 Apr 16-18

46

50

*

2

2

2004 Apr 5-8

48

46

1

3

3

2004 Mar 26-28

46

49

*

2

3

2004 Mar 5-7

50

45

1

2

2

2004 Feb 16-17

51

46

*

2

1

2004 Feb 6-8

49

48

*

1

2

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

51

46

--

1

2

2004 Jan 9-11

40

57

--

2

1

2003 Nov 10-12

46

52

--

1

1

2003 Sep 19-21

48

47

1

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

^ Vice presidential candidates Edwards and Cheney added beginning with the July 8-11, 2004 survey.

Q.2/2A CONTINUED

           

Kerry/ Edwards

Bush/ Cheney

OTHER
(vol.)

NEITHER (vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

National adults

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

48

47

--

3

2

2004 Aug 9-11

47

47

1

2

3

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

50

46

*

1

3

2004 Jul 19-21

48

46

*

3

3

2004 Jul 8-11 ^

51

43

*

3

3

2004 Jun 21-23

48

46

1

2

3

2004 Jun 3-6

48

44

*

4

4

2004 May 21-23

48

44

*

4

4

2004 May 7-9

51

43

*

3

3

2004 May 2-4

47

46

1

3

3

2004 Apr 16-18

46

49

1

2

2

2004 Apr 5-8

46

47

1

3

3

2004 Mar 26-28

46

48

*

3

3

2004 Mar 5-7

50

45

*

3

2

2004 Feb 16-17

51

44

*

3

2

2004 Feb 6-8

48

48

*

2

2

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

52

44

--

2

2

2004 Jan 9-11

40

57

--

2

1

2003 Nov 10-12

44

53

--

1

2

2003 Sep 19-21

47

48

1

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

^ Vice presidential candidates Edwards and Cheney added beginning with the July 8-11, 2004 survey.

Are you certain now that you will vote for [John Kerry/George W. Bush] for president next fall, or do you think you may change your mind between now and the November election?

 



Vote for Kerry, certain

Vote for Kerry, may change mind

Vote for Bush, may change mind



Vote for Bush,
certain




No
opinion



NET: "swing voters"

 

%

%

%

%

%

 

Likely voters

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

39

8

6

44

3

17

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

42

5

5

46

2

12

2004 Jul 19-21

43

6

7

40

4

17

2004 May 21-23

42

7

7

40

4

18

2004 Mar 26-28

40

7

7

44

2

16

2004 Mar 5-7

45

7

6

38

4

17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registered voters

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

39

9

8

39

5

22

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

42

6

7

41

4

17

2004 Jul 19-21

41

8

9

36

6

23

2004 May 21-23

37

11

11

35

6

28

2004 Mar 26-28

34

12

11

38

5

28

2004 Mar 5-7

40

10

9

36

5

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National adults

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

39

9

9

38

5

23

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

43

7

8

38

4

19

2004 Jul 19-21

39

9

10

36

6

25

2004 May 21-23

37

11

11

33

8

30

2004 Mar 26-28

34

12

13

35

6

31

2004 Mar 5-7

39

11

10

35

5

26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: "Swing Voters" include those who are uncertain about their vote choice or have no opinion as to whom they would vote for.



4. Now, suppose that the presidential election were being held today, and it included John Kerry and John Edwards as the Democratic candidates, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as the Republican candidates, and Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo as independent candidates.  Would you vote for – [ROTATED: Kerry and Edwards, the Democrats, Bush and Cheney, the Republicans, (or) Nader and Camejo, the independent candidates]?

4A.  As of today, do you lean more toward – [ROTATED: Kerry and Edwards, the Democrats, Bush and Cheney, the Republicans (or) Nader and Camejo, the independents]?

 

Kerry/
Edwards

Bush/
Cheney

Nader/
Camejo

OTHER
(vol.)

NONE (vol.)

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

Likely voters

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

46

48

4

*

*

2

2004 Aug 9-11

46

48

3

*

1

2

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

45

51

2

*

1

1

2004 Jul 19-21

47

46

4

*

1

2

2004 Jul 8-11 ^

50

45

2

*

1

2

2004 Jun 21-23

47

48

3

*

*

2

2004 Jun 3-6

49

43

5

1

*

2

2004 May 21-23

47

46

4

*

1

2

2004 May 7-9

45

47

5

--

2

1

2004 May 2-4

47

47

3

*

1

2

2004 Apr 16-18

44

50

4

*

*

2

2004 Apr 5-8

43

47

4

1

2

3

2004 Mar 26-28

45

49

4

--

1

1

2004 Mar 5-7

50

44

2

1

1

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registered voters

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

46

46

4

*

1

3

2004 Aug 9-11

45

46

5

*

1

3

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

47

48

2

*

1

2

2004 Jul 19-21

47

43

5

*

2

3

2004 Jul 8-11 ^

50

42

4

*

1

3

2004 Jun 21-23

46

45

6

1

*

2

2004 Jun 3-6

45

42

7

1

1

4

2004 May 21-23

46

44

6

*

1

3

2004 May 7-9

46

41

7

*

3

3

2004 May 2-4

44

45

6

1

1

3

2004 Apr 16-18

44

47

5

*

1

3

2004 Apr 5-8

46

45

5

*

2

2

2004 Mar 26-28

43

48

5

--

1

3

2004 Mar 5-7

47

45

5

*

1

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National adults

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

46

45

5

*

2

2

2004 Aug 9-11

45

45

5

*

2

3

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

48

45

3

*

2

2

2004 Jul 19-21

47

43

5

*

2

3

2004 Jul 8-11 ^

49

41

5

*

2

3

2004 Jun 21-23

45

45

6

1

1

2

2004 Jun 3-6

44

42

8

1

2

3

2004 May 21-23

46

42

6

1

2

3

2004 May 7-9

46

41

8

*

3

2

2004 May 2-4

44

44

7

1

1

3

2004 Apr 16-18

43

46

7

*

1

3

2004 Apr 5-8

45

45

5

1

2

2

2004 Mar 26-28

44

46

7

--

1

2

2004 Mar 5-7

47

44

5

1

1

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

^

Vice presidential candidates Edwards, Cheney, and Camejo added beginning with the July 8-11, 2004 survey.

5.  Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?

 


Approve

Dis-approve

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

2004

 

 

 

2004 Aug 23-25

49

47

4

 

 

 

 

2004 Aug 9-11

51

46

3

2004 Jul 30-Aug 1

48

49

3

2004 Jul 19-21

49

47

4

2004 Jul 8-11

47

49

4

2004 Jun 21-23

48

49

3

2004 Jun 3-6

49

49

2

2004 May 21-23

47

49

4

2004 May 7-9

46

51

3

2004 May 2-4

49

48

3

2004 Apr 16-18

52

45

3

2004 Apr 5-8

52

45

3

2004 Mar 26-28

53

44

3

2004 Mar 8-11

50

47

3

2004 Mar 5-7

49

48

3

2004 Feb 16-17

51

46

3

2004 Feb 9-12

51

46

3

2004 Feb 6-8

52

44

4

2004 Jan 29-Feb 1

49

48

3

2004 Jan 12-15

53

44

3

2004 Jan 9-11

59

38

3

2004 Jan 2-5

60

35

5

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