A new poll out of Florida shows Kerry trailing Bush by eight points but that's down from 24 points four months ago. With Florida Sen. Bob Graham on the ticket, the gap closes to three points.
The poll also shows that the more ads Florida voters see, and the more they know about the candidates, they less they like. Both candidates have seen their unfavorable ratings rise. Less than half, or 49 percent, view Bush favorably, and his unfavorable rating is at its highest point, 39 percent. Kerry's unfavorable rating, meanwhile, now is higher than his favorables, with 42 percent having an unfavorable opinion, and 32 percent seeing him positively.
Four months ago, almost a third of Floridians said they didn't recognize Kerry's name. Now, 99 percent of those polled said they recognize Kerry's name, but the change has accompanied people looking at him in a negative way, perhaps pointing to the power of the Bush-Cheney ads that have sought to define Kerry for those voters unfamiliar with him.
A Pew poll shows "public support for war in Iraq has been unaffected by the murders and desecration of the corpses of American citizens in Falluja. However, continued turmoil and violence in Iraq may be taking a toll on President Bush's approval ratings. More Americans now disapprove of the way he is doing his job than approve, though by only a slight margin (47% disapprove vs. 43% approve). Just four-in-ten approve of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, his lowest rating ever and down from 59% in January. Bush's evaluations on other issues -- the economy, energy and even terrorism -- have fallen as well. And by a wide margin (57% to 32%) the public does not think he has a clear plan for bringing the situation in Iraq to a successful conclusion."
"Nonetheless, nearly six-in-ten Americans (57%) continue to believe that the United States made the right decision in using military force against Iraq, which is unchanged from a mid-March Pew survey. However, public attitudes toward most aspects of the U.S. mission in Iraq have turned more negative since January, in the aftermath of the capture of Saddam Hussein."