In the wacky weekend polls

Published October 23, 2004 8:25PM (EDT)

Those of you addicted to election polls are used to this by now, but ... the new national numbers out this weekend on the presidential race are not of one mind, so bear with us here:

A Newsweek poll released today calls the presidential election a 46-46 tie among registered voters nationwide, eliminating the 5-point lead the magazine's survey handed Bush last week. But Bush still leads among likely voters 48-46.

That likely voter number is puzzling, however, in light of the following statistic: with only 10 days to go, Newsweek reports that a full 77 percent of Kerry supporters say Nov. 2 will be "the most important election of their lifetime." That's a statement only 27 percent of Bush supporters are willing to make, and (one would expect) a promising sign for a strong Democratic voter turnout.

Newsweek also reports that the President's approval ratings are in serious trouble: only 46 percent of Americans had a favorable impression of his job performance, and only 40 percent are satisfied with the countrys direction.

America's other major newsweekly, Time Magazine, comes to a different conclusion. Declaring "Bush opens 5-point lead against Kerry," it reports that the president leads 51-46 among likely voters, and by a blowout-worthy seven points among registered voters. And in absolute contradiction to Newsweek's poll, Time concludes that Bush has gained 4-points since last week, and that his approval rating is now at a comfortable 53 percent.

Two other national polls continue to show a tight race, but still give Bush a slight lead. Zogby's tracking poll of likely voters calls it 47-45 for Bush for the second day in a row, and Rasmussen gives BC '04 a 48-47 advantage.

In state polls, Ohio University's Scripps Survey Research Center gives Kerry a solid lead in the Buckeye State. Among registered voters, hes up 49-43, among likely voters, he's up 50-46. The Democratic ticket receives 94 percent of the support of self-described "strong Democrats,' and a full quarter of the support of self described political conservatives.

In Florida, the polling firm Insider Advantage calls the race a tie at 46 percent, Kerry's best showing in nearly a week.

Three state polls put Kerry down in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin -- states with a combined 27 electoral votes. While two of those polls were conducted by Strategic Vision, a Republican polling firm, the results aren't totally out of line with how other pollsters see the race. Strategic Vision puts Bush up 49-46 in Wisconsin, and 48-47 in Iowa. In Minnesota, Rasmussen gives Bush a 2-point lead, 48-46.

Finally, a new poll by the Honolulu Advertiser bizarrely shows the race a tie in Hawaii at 43 percent. The state has four electoral votes, and until today, wasn't considered to be remotely in play for the Republicans.

By Jeff Horwitz

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