John Kerry Now Leads in Florida, President Bush Losing Ground Elsewhere

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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John Kerry Now Leads in Florida, President Bush Losing Ground Elsewhere

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 13, 2004

Washington, DC ( — In a battle of competing polls in battleground states, John Kerry finds himself with a fresh new lead in Florida. Elsewhere, polls are beginning to show a bounce for Kerry that he didn’t receive immediately following the Democratic convention.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Kerry taking a lead in Florida with a 47 to 41 percent advantage over the president. Ralph Nader polled 4 percent in the latest survey.

The previous poll, in late June, showed the two tied at 43 percent apiece in the state that decided the 2000 presidential election.

Meanwhile, Kerry and Bush remain statistically tied among likely voters in Ohio according to a survey by the American Research Group.

A total of 48% of likely voters say they would vote for Kerry if the presidential election were being held today and 45% say they would vote for Bush. A total of 2% of likely voters say they would vote for Ralph Nader and 5% of likely voters are undecided.

The previous ARG poll found Bush having a 5 percentage point lead in a state he must win to recapture the presidency.

Although the polls are giving Kerry’s team a new confidence, observers say Bush can expect to receive his own bounce in the polls following the Republican convention. The race is also expected to tighten in the two months leading up to November’s vote.

"After Kerry’s pick of Edwards, the Democrat convention highlighting Kerry, and all the big momentum they were supposed to have, Kerry only leads by a couple of points? This is trouble for him because between their convention and Election Day, challengers always lose ground,” Bush strategist Matthew Dowd told the Associated Press.

Greg Haas, a Democratic strategist in Ohio, told the Associated Press that there is a problem with the Kerry campaign setting expectations too high following the recent polling data.

"You always have to strike a balance between recognizing a good moment and setting the bar so high that in a couple of weeks, particularly after the Republican convention, you’ve created an image that you’ve lost momentum,” Haas said.

In other polling, an ARG poll shows Kerry opening up a lead in New Hampshire. The poll, released last week, has the Democratic nominee ahead 49 to 42 percent.

An EPIC/MRA poll in Michigan has President Bush gaining ground. The latest poll shows Kerry with a 7 percent lead, whereas the previous poll had the president down by 11 points.

A New Jersey poll, conducted by Strategic Vision, shows Kerry leading by nine percent in a state Al Gore won in 2000.

The Bush campaign understands the importance of several key battleground states and their ability to turn the election. That’s why it has increased advertising buys in states such as Florida, Ohio, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin.