No new national polls today, but the state-by-state results show Bush making gains in a few battleground states as he heads into the convention.
A new bipartisan poll conducted in Florida in late August shows Bush edging Kerry by a two percent margin, and Kerry fading among some key demographics. According to the St. Petersburg Times, since March Kerry has lost his 2 to 1 lead among independents, and his formidable 22-point advantage among women voters has been cut in half.
"'John Kerry was like a blind date you hadn't yet met in March. You could project on him anything you wanted,' pollster Kellyanne Conway said of Kerry's ebbing support among women. Since then, she said, 'he's rung the doorbell to pick some of them up, and they don't like what they see.'
A USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows Bush closing on Kerry in Pennsylvania, leading in Wisconsin among likely voters, and getting beaten in Iowa.
"In Pennsylvania, Bush and Kerry each had 47% of likely voters; independent Ralph Nader was at 2%. In Wisconsin, Bush leads Kerry among likely voters, 48%-45%. Nader has 4% In Iowa, Kerry leads Bush among likely voters, 51%-45%. Nader was at 2%."
While the numbers in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are bad news for Kerry, the hopeful news for him in that same poll is that among registered voters (of which "likely voters" are a subgroup) he leads in every state. Results like this hint that voter turnout operations may decide the election.
Finally, Zogby International has Kerry polling neck-and-neck with Bush in Virginia, prompting speculation that the normally Republican state could swing in 2004. "Virginia is much like the nation -- too close to call -- with The Zogby data showing President Bush ahead of Kerry by a narrow 49 percent to 48 percent margin and well within any margin of error."
Last week, the state's Attorney General Jerry Kilgore (who happens to be a Bush/Cheney campaign chair), overrode the State Board of Elections and cleared the way for Nader to get on the ballot. Conventional wisdom is that this is bad news for the Democrats, but according to pollster John Zogby, Nader's candidacy wouldn't affect the race. "Half of Nader voters would not vote if he dropped out of the race," he said. "A quarter of them are people who would otherwise vote for Kerry. But interestingly, we're finding that a quarter are being taken from Bush."