The election is 40 days away.
FOX News Opinion Dynamic Poll
President Bush (search) is trusted on moral leadership and seen as the better candidate to handle terrorism and Iraq, and Democrat John Kerry (search) is strong on the issues of health care and the economy, according to a new national FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters shows Bush ahead of Kerry by 45 percent to 43 percent. In the three-way matchup Bush is backed by 46 percent of voters, Kerry 42 percent and independent candidate Ralph Nader (search) one percent.
Bush receives strong support from Republicans (92 percent), those living in the South (52 percent), and men (48 percent). Bush slightly edges out Kerry among female voters: 44 percent to 42 percent. Kerry receives some of his strongest support from young voters (57 percent), non-whites (62 percent), and those living in the West (49 percent).
Voters continue to say Bush would do a better job handling the situation in Iraq by 48 percent to 37 percent, and he also keeps the advantage on handling the war on terrorism (51 percent to 36 percent).
Kerry has a significant lead over Bush as the better candidate to handle health care (48 percent to 36 percent) and a very slight edge on the economy (44 percent to 43 percent).
Bush is leading Kerry 48 percent to 45 percent in a recent national poll released by NBC-The Wall Street Journal, conducted Sept. 17-19. Of the 1,006 registered voters, 2 percent support Nader and 5 percent are unsure.
In Arkansas — a state Bush won in 2000 by 5.4 percentage points — the president has the lead as well, 48 percent over Kerry's 45 percent, according to an American Research Group (search) poll conducted Sept. 15-17 of 600 likely voters. Nader had 2 percent and 5 percent were unsure.
According to a Los Angeles Times poll conducted from Sept. 17-21 of 861 likely voters, Kerry-Edwards has the lead with 53 percent in California, while Bush-Cheney has 40 percent support. The Nader-Camejo ticket received 2 percent support while another 5 percent of those surveyed were unsure. Al Gore won California in 2000 by 11.7 percentage points. When Nader was taken out of the mix, the Kerry-Edwards camp received 55 percent support, while Bush-Cheney got 40 percent.
As for the Sunshine State — which Bush won in 2000 by 537 votes — the president received 49 percent of the votes in a Quinnipiac poll (search) taken from Sept. 18-21. Kerry received 41 percent support among the 819 likely Florida voters, Nader received 5 percent and another 5 percent were unsure. An American Research Group poll of 600 likely Florida voters conducted Sept. 17-20 gave Bush 45 percent and Kerry 46 percent. Nader received 2 percent and another 7 percent were unsure.
Another ARG poll of 600 likely North Carolina voters gave Bush 49 percent, Kerry 44 percent and another 7 percent were unsure. Bush won that state in 2000 by 12.9 percentage points. The poll was conducted Sept. 13-16.
And in Iowa, a state Gore won by .3 percentage points in 2000, Bush has 47 percent support among the 602 likely voters surveyed by Research 2000 for KCCI-TV, Kerry got 45 percent, Nader got 3 percent and 5 percent were unsure. That survey was taken Sept. 19-21.
Kerry canceled plans to begin broadcasting television commercials in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana and the perennial battleground of Missouri. Bush won all four states in 2000, and Kerry can't win the White House without taking a state or two from the incumbent. The Democratic candidate spent about $15 million in the four states, half of it in Missouri, as part of a strategy to stretch the battlefield into GOP territory, from Virginia and North Carolina in the South to Arizona in the Southwest and Nevada in the West.
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (search) paid $1.2 million to launch a new ad attacking Kerry's 1970 meeting in Paris with members of two North Vietnamese delegations. The ads are being run on broadcast affiliates in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Nevada and New Mexico.
The Bush-Cheney camp launched an ad Wednesday titled, "Windsurfing," which features Kerry windsurfing — one of his favorite pastimes — left and right. The Republican camp says the Democrat's position on Iraq, education and health care shift "whichever way the wind blows."
"In which direction would John Kerry lead?" asks the ad, which is set to Johann Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz."
The Progress for America Voter Fund (search), a Republican-leaning 527 group, launched an ad similar to that of the Bush-Cheney ad, which uses the same theme but with different music and is titled, "Surfer Dude"
Ad: 'Surfer Dude'
Sponsor: Progress for America Voter Fund
Track: John Kerry's hobby, windsurfing. On issues, dude.
He claims to be the "Big Kahuna" on terror but votes to cut defense and intelligence.
The Patriot Act? Whichever way the wind blows. Kerry rides the wave and Kerry surfs every direction on Iraq.
Kerry: I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it
Windsurfing. Fun on water, bad on issues. Total wipeout dude.
Progress for America Voter Fund is responsible for the content of this surfin' ad.
Sponsor: Kerry-Edwards Campaign
In response to the windsurfing ads, the Kerry camp, within hours, unleashed an ad titled "Juvenile." This was the first time Kerry has released a same day response ad.
Narrator: "1,000 US casualties. 2 American's beheaded just this week. The Pentagon admits terrorists are pouring into Iraq.
"In the face of the Iraq quagmire, George Bush's answer is to run a juvenile and tasteless attack ad.
"John Kerry has a plan for success. Get allies involved. Speed up the training of Iraqis. Take essential steps to get a free election next year. On Iraq, it's time for a new direction."
Kerry: "I'm John Kerry and I approve this message."
On Kerry's Trail...
The Massachusetts senator, who was in Florida Wednesday, was losing his voice. He acknowledged that at a town hall event in West Palm Beach, Fla., that afternoon.
"I am going to talk softly and carry a big stick," Kerry told the audience. "It's actually getting better [as voice cracks, laughter].
Later, he said: "You know that wanted dead or alive has become Usama 'Been Forgotten.'
And "W" stands for?
Kerry: "Now, on everything from Social security to Medicare from prescription drugs to retirement I believe that George Bush has made the wrong choices for America. What's happening is he's driving seniors right out of middle class — squeezing them, pushing them into places they don't deserve to be and don't want to be."
On Bush's Trail...
The president was in King of Prussia, Pa., Wednesday, where his focus was education but the news he made was on Iraq.
"My opponent is sending mixed signals. He has had many different positions on Iraq. Incredibly, this week he said he would prefer the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to the situation in Iraq today.
"You cannot lead the war against terror if you wilt or waver when times get tough ... Mixed signals are wrong signals. I'll continue to speak clearly. I'll continue to lead. And I'm confident we'll achieve our objectives and the world will be better off and more secure."
"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno":
"President Bush gave a speech at the United Nations. I don't want to say it was a hostile crowd, but they had Bush stand behind a screen made of chicken wire."
"At one point, Bush said, 'We are determined to destroy terror networks wherever they operate.' Although by 'terror network,' it's not clear if he meant Al Qaeda or CBS."
"Ralph Nader's campaign officials say that he is on the ballot in 29 states. Twenty-nine states. Thirty-one states if you count hopelessness and delusion."
"Saddam Hussein is depressed but defiant and still claims that he's the Constitutionally elected president of his country. So basically, he's the Iraqi Al Gore."
"Late Show with David Letterman":
"'Top Ten Ways CBS News Can Improve Its Reputation'
10. Stick to stories everyone can agree on, like cookies are delicious.
9. Move nightly 'happy hour' to after the broadcast.
8. Stop hiring guys with crazy names like 'Morley.'
7. Can't figure out if a news story is true? Let Judge Joe Brown decide.
6. Every time Mike Wallace tells a lie he gets a life-threatening electrical shock.
5. Newsroom patrolled by some kind of lovable but strict 'truth monkey.'
4. If it turns out the story is wrong, give away 276 brand new cars.
3. After delivering a report, correspondent must add, 'Or maybe not — who knows?'
2. Newscast consists of Dan Rather sitting down to watch Tom Brokaw.
1. 'Oh, I dunno, stop making up crap?'"
"Late Late Show with D.L. Hughley":
"Well, the presidential debates are set. And here are the rules: After John Kerry makes a statement, George Bush will have three minutes to figure out what the hell he just said."