The press is trotting out the CBS polling
to show Bush with a wide lead among veterans as proof (Military Veteran Support For Kerry Drops Dramatically: Poll
) that the slime-attacks are working. But if you take a look at the polls among this group prior to the Swiftie's action, it's not quite the slam-dunk:
Aug Conv. July June May
Bush 55% 46% 47% 52% 54%
Kerry 37% 46% 41% 37% 41%
So, it's back to the same lead by Bush among veterans, if in fact it ever changed. Rasmussen
, polling at the same time that CBS polled their subset or 1000 even following the DNC event, found the same as it ever was:
In their even more recent polling, Rasmussen
found that even though 83% of adults have seen or heard about the ads, only 9% said Kerry's military service was more important than his political career. Overall, the favorable/unfavorable opinion of Kerry's military service (50/41) seems about equal to the partisan opinion.
Depending on the polling that you choose, a small subset of the voters, swing-vets, have swayed toward Kerry, and then back again to Bush, but even then, their is conflicting polling that shows there was no swing toward Kerry in the first place, and that the division on Kerry's military service reflects the wider partisan division.
Let's say that there was some movement toward Kerry, and as NewsMax says, up to that point, Bush/Rove had not yet made an issue of make an issue of Sen. Kerry's anti-Vietnam-War protests, and mostly ignored the group "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth." That the effectiveness of Kerry's wrapping himself as a military hero during the Dems convo changed the numbers, and Bush/Rove responded by having some of their Texas funders funnel $100K's into the SVFT's coffers to jumpstart the TV advertising effort.
Then it's worked, reached saturation among those targeted, and the numbers are back to where they started. yet, the SVFT is now gathering many more donations, $300K in one day this week from rapid partisan Republicans in a Dean-style internet funding frenzy from places like FreeRepublic. But, as the polling shows, this issue only resonates with a small sub-set of the population, and the ads, having already reached a saturation level of 83% nationally, are not going to be effective any further.
But where this will lead? Rove is used to having control, but now that he's jumpstarted the GOP 527 effort, he's not going to be able to put it back into the bottle, not with internet fundraising. Ideally for Rove, he'd cut off funding before this gets much closer to the GOP convo, in time for the "moderate" message that the GOP want to portray in NYC step forth, but Rove's no longer in control of the group. The SVFT's have got the money source now, and I think there's a very good shot that their going to an extreme will backfire on Bush.
As for Kerry's campaign, they might have caught off gaurd, but it's more likely that they just failed pulling off a hat-trick. Kerry had reached into this Vet group and snagged away swing-voters there by highlighting Kerry's military service. You've got to go after your opponents base somewhere, and this probably looked as good as any other group, mostly comprised of F-You men dissatisfied by Bush's invasion of Iraq, as the Democracy Corps polling has shown. SVFT to the GOP rescue, bringing the polls are back to where they were, but SVFT is just getting started.