Wednesday, January 07, 2004

New poll: Bush up, Dean down

This USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll is stunning on so many levels (story, poll results). First of all, the attacks on Dean are taking some steam out of his campaign and now Wesley Clark has pulled into a statistical tie. Meanwhile, Bush’s approval ranking is at 60% and satisfaction in the way things are going in the United States (Q #14) is at a nine-month high of 55%.

There is an undeniable trend in the Democratic field for favorable/unfavorable/”never heard of” numbers: as the “never heard of” numbers go down with time, the “unfavorable” numbers go up. In other words, the more Americans know about the Democratic candidates, the less they like.

For example, in November 33% of Americans said they’d never heard of Howard Dean; in this latest poll, that’s down to 17%. But the undecided vote went emphatically into the “unfavorable” column: in the same time period, Dean’s “favorable” rating went up 2% and his “unfavorable” went up 15% (from 24% to 39%). The trends are similar for the other candidates, with Clark doubling his “unfavorable” number from 13% to 26% between September and January.

Another question (Q #13) sure to please Karl Rove: in a Bush/Dean matchup, 47% of likely voters said they were certain to vote for Bush, but only 20% said the same about Dean. Although I’m sure Democratic voters will coalesce behind their nominee, that’s a wiiiide margin of support.

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