In the polls

Published July 6, 2004 6:36PM (EDT)

Even though President Bush's campaign team is creating the expectation that John Edwards will give the Kerry camp a temporary bounce in the polls, the latest University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey shows a lot of Americans have yet to make up their minds about the North Carolina senator. From the survey's press release: "John Edwards begins his campaign for vice president today with a solidly favorable balance of public opinion behind him, at least among those who have opinions, but half the public has no clear view of him, the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey shows.

"Thirty-one percent of the public, interviewed from last Thursday through last night, said they had a favorable opinion of him, while 17 percent were unfavorable. Another 29 percent said their view of him was neutral, and 22 percent said they did not know how to rate him. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points."

And although Republicans are reminding Kerry that he was once reported to say, in the heat of the primary campaign, that Edwards couldn't win his own state, the polls suggest he just might help Kerry there. According to a May WRAL/Mason-Dixon poll, a Kerry-Edwards ticket is in a dead heat with Bush-Cheney in North Carolina. Without Edwards, Bush holds a solid 7-point lead.

Even without a national Edwards bounce, the Kerry campaign continues to hold its own against the Bush juggernaut this week according to a new American Research Group poll. In a two-way race, Kerry leads Bush 49 to 45 percent. With Nader in the race, Kerry gets 47 percent, Bush 44 and Nader 3. In a new Gallup poll, meanwhile, Kerry holds double-digit leads over Bush with minority voters, but Bush wins out with white voters. 53 percent of white respondents favored Bush and 41 percent favored Kerry. 81 percent of African-Americans and 57 percent of Latinos polled, however, said they would vote for Kerry. Though strong, these numbers are a tad lower than Al Gore's in 2000.

In battleground country, a new poll from Michigan indicates that the race in that battleground state is a lot closer than other recent polls have shown. The Detroit News poll shows Bush leading Kerry by a statistically insignificant 1 percentage point, 44 to 43 percent. But 5 percent of respondents favored Nader, who has not yet managed to make it onto the Michigan ballot. The latest Rasmussen poll from California, however, shows Kerry leading Bush by 14 points, 52 to 38 percent. Looks like Bush isn't getting a Governator bounce in the Golden State.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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