In the polls

Published July 12, 2004 2:06PM (EDT)

Is John Kerry getting the Edwards bounce the Bush campaign predicted? It depends on which wire service you're reading. The Associated Press reports that the great gains the Bush campaign predicted Kerry would get after choosing Edwards haven't yet materialized. Their poll -- part of which was conducted before the Edwards announcement -- shows Kerry trailing Bush 45 to 49 percent. But Reuters insists that Kerry did get a bounce from Edwards, citing the latest Newsweek poll, which puts Kerry-Edwards ahead of Bush-Cheney 51 to 45 percent. So who's right? Did Kerry get a bounce or not?

It's too early to tell what the Edwards effect on the presidential race will be; the announcement probably needs more time to percolate into the public consciousness, as many polling respondents say they're still getting to know Edwards. But almost all of the post-announcement polls show the Kerry campaign on top, including an NBC News poll that gives Kerry a 54 to 43 percent edge over Bush.

A plethora of new state polls are also out, including a few that give John Kerry the edge in some key swing states. A June Rasmussen poll out of Iowa shows Kerry leading Bush 48 to 44 percent. An American Research Group poll that includes Ralph Nader gives Kerry the lead in Michigan with 50 to Bush's 43 percent and Nader's 2 percent. Another ARG poll of New Mexico voters puts that battleground state into the Kerry column 49 percent to Bush's 42 percent and Nader's 3 percent. But Rasmussen shows Kerry barely leading Bush in Maine, 46 to 45 percent. Another Rasmussen poll gives Missouri to Bush 48 percent to Kerry's 44 percent. Bottom line: Right now, Kerry's electoral map doesn't add up to the magic number without Ohio or Florida.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

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

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