Zogby: Kerry Still Leads Where it Counts
by Chris Bowers, Tue Sep 07, 2004 at 04:05:13 PM EDT
At the same time, Mr. Kerry's lead in Pennsylvania slipped to its weakest since the Zogby polls began in May. Mr. Kerry was ahead there by 2.8 percentage points, inside the margin of error. In four of the five prior polls, Mr. Kerry's lead was outside of the margin; his lead hadn't fallen below 6.5 points in any of the prior Zogby polls.
All told, Mr. Bush's numbers improved in 12 of the 16 states, most notably Tennessee. That state, which has been volatile in prior polls, gave the president a 9.6-point lead. In the mid-August poll, Mr. Kerry was up 1.9 points.
Still, Mr. Kerry picked up ground in Minnesota, Washington, Michigan and New Mexico. His leads in the latter two states moved outside of the margin of error. In Washington, his lead has been outside of the margin in every poll since early June.
And, of course, even with his convention-time gains, the president is still short of the strongest results he got in earlier Zogby polls. At one point in June, Mr. Kerry was ahead just nine states to seven -- and Mr. Bush led the Electoral College analysis, 285-253.On the one hand, of course Bush is closing the gap. He made up ground before the convention, and he made up ground--even moving ahead nationally--during the convention. However, Kerry remains in a strong position. He leads in four of the six "red" states that are his best chances for pickups, FL, MO, NV and NH, (OH and WV are the other two) even though Bush just had his convention after and the last three weeks of free media were decidedly negative for the challenger. It would be too much to assume that this is Bush peak, since the attacks will keep coming and history does not tell us what always happens in the future. If at what is very possibly Kerry's low point he still leads in the Electoral College, then it is not hard to be optimistic about this election.