In the polls

Published July 21, 2004 9:24PM (EDT)

A fresh Investor's Business Daily poll confirms that the presidential horserace is still tight, though it gives a slight edge to John Kerry. In a two-way match up, Kerry received the support of 44 percent of respondents to Bush's 41 percent. In Arizona, Kerry also holds a statistically insignificant 42 percent to 41 percent lead according to an Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication poll. With a 5-percent margin of error, though, the poll doesn't tell us who's truly leading in Arizona.

President Bush might have a spoiler of his own in the Libertarian Party's candidate for president, a new poll out of the Midwest indicates. The Los Angeles Times reports: "Democratic strategists have long fretted that Ralph Nader could draw votes from their presidential candidate. But a new survey suggests that President Bush faces a potential threat of his own from a more obscure spoiler: Michael Badnarik."

"In the survey, conducted in three Midwest battleground states, some voters who said they would choose Bush over Sen. John F. Kerry in a two-candidate race also said they would pick Badnarik, the Libertarian Party nominee for president, if he were added to the ballot.

"The survey was conducted in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin by the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. It will be made public today.

"The numbers for Badnarik were small: He drew 1% to 1.5% of the vote in a four-way race with Bush, Democratic candidate Kerry and Nader, an independent. But analysts said the results suggested that the small-government Libertarians could attract enough conservatives disaffected with Bush's leadership to swing a tight race, just as Nader attracted discontented liberals in 2000.

"  The survey suggested that the Libertarian had potential to steal support from Bush where it could hurt most: among much-coveted independents.

"In Wisconsin, the survey showed that 8% of independents would back Badnarik. That cut Bush's performance among independent voters in the state from about 50% to 43%.

"'Those voters, without even knowing the candidate, are so upset with Bush they are willing to say, 'I'm going to vote for a Libertarian,' Jacobs said."

But if John Kerry loses this election, Hillary Clinton has the support of a large portion of the Democratic Party's most loyal for the 2008 presidential nod, according to a new Associated Press poll. A quarter of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention said that they would support the New York Senator in 2008. Only 17 percent said the same thing of John Edwards.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

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

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