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More Great News in the Battleground Poll
by Bruce Walker
15 April 2004

The Battleground Poll shows the economy and the war on terror are the keys to the election.


As I have noted in several past articles, the Battleground Poll is the most accurate, most balanced and most understandable of all the myriad polls which float in and out of the daily news.  One Republican and one Democrat polling organization collaborate to provide a detailed, objective and accurate analysis of public opinion. The Battleground Poll does not ask questions like “Which would you prefer more, reelecting President Bush or preventing Armageddon?” 

The last of four Battleground Polls in the Bush Presidency was released yesterday, and the fundamentals six months before November 2004 are encouraging.  President Bush has a plurality of support of forty-three percent, greater than the combined totals of John Kerry and Ralph Nader.

As the questions delve into the reasons why voters are not supporting President Bush, worry about health care, education, tax cuts for the rich, and the environment -- issues which almost inevitably will put a Republican candidate at a disadvantage -- are trivial issues to the vast majority of Americans.  Environment, for example, receives a paltry four percent of the vote in that poll question.  The economy and terrorism are clearly keys to this election.

Three critical indicators, reflecting two different values, strongly favor the President.  Thirty-eight percent of Americans strongly favor President Bush, while thirty-six percent strongly oppose President Bush, a positive plurality of two points.  Twenty-six percent of Americans strongly favor John Kerry, while twenty-seven percent strongly oppose the Senator, giving him a negative plurality of minus one point. 

That likeability or favorability shows up in another question, which asks people what they think of President Bush as a person. A whopping forty-four percent of Americans strongly like President Bush as a person, but a piddling nineteen percent of Americans strongly dislike him as a person. 

The ratios do not change when people with less intense feelings are included.  Sixty-four percent of Americans approve of President Bush as a person, while only twenty-seven percent disapprove of him as a person.  The polarization of American opinion, long sought by the Left in this election, has worked, although not in the way Leftists wished: Americans really like this man.

The second value relates to the honor of President Bush.  Asked in different ways, Americans agree that President Bush is “honest and trustworthy” and “says what he believes” to a significantly greater degree than John Kerry.  Those numbers dovetail perfectly with other polls showing that Americans believe in the integrity of President Bush. 

The negatives about President Bush all revolve around current problems, not the man in the White House.  People are understandably anxious about the economy and worried about terrorism.  These fears are constantly hyped by the Leftist establishment, which creates a two edged sword for them.

The economy, of course, is growing stronger each month.  Every significant measurement of economy health is positive and improving.  When that reality sinks into American consciousness, voters who want to vote for President Bush but are considering not because of the economy will swing to the President. 

The war on terrorism has endured some heavy bumps in recent weeks, but that too will inevitably change.  When good news comes, as it surely will before November, Kerry and the Democrats will be stuck in the same situation that Howard Dean faced after Saddam Hussein was captured: they will have nothing meaningful to say at all.  A campaign of pure negativity cannot endure hopeful signs.  Kerry, at some point, will have to propose real plans or be quiet.

Whichever approach he makes, Kerry will be committing Hare-Kerry.  Why?  Because of the most important and least noted response to this Battleground Poll and to the three preceding Battleground Polls.  Question D4, in the cleanup section of the poll, asks an absolutely critical question.

It asks the whether the person interviewed considers himself “very conservative,” “somewhat conservative,” “moderate,” “somewhat liberal,” “very liberal” or “unsure / refused.”  There is a striking consistency in all of the last four Battleground Polls, and these should hearten any conservative’s spirits.

We are the majority.  Not only are we the majority, but we are the majority by a huge landslide of opinion.  A whopping sixty percent of Americans call themselves “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative” and thirty-seven percent of Americans call themselves either “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal.”  The number of people who call themselves “moderate” is a tiny two percent, as is the number of people who did not answer. 

President Bush is “somewhat conservative” by honest and objective political analysis.  His “compassionate conservatism” is almost exactly what the vast majority of Americans want.  John Kerry is one of the most liberal members of Congress.  Most Americans just do not know that yet, but they will. 

How will the votes shake out then?  Consider the question toward the end of the poll, when voters are given the chance to vote all over in the 2000 election for Bush, Gore, Nader, Buchanan or other, fifty percent of Americans vote tomorrow for President Bush, but only forty-one percent would vote for Al Gore and three percent for Ralph Nader. 

Election 2000, which Democrats have insisted on endlessly replaying, would be a Republican landslide if held again.  That is because Americans know Bush, Gore, Nader and Buchanan now.  Soon, Americans will know John Kerry as well.  When that happens, they will flock to the decent, honorable man who shares their own political philosophy. 

Bruce Walker's articles can be found at the Conservative Truth
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