Persistent criticism on the economy and his Iraq policy alike are clouding President Bush's political standing, creating vulnerabilities that combine to lock the incumbent and an unnamed Democrat in a dead heat for the 2004 vote.
An ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll finds that nearly six in 10 Americans — a new high — call U.S. casualties in Iraq "unacceptable," more than double its level when Baghdad fell last April. Bush's approval rating for handling terrorism more broadly, while still high, now matches his career low. And most continue to disapprove of his handling of the economy, a critical election-year benchmark.
There are newer troubles as well: More than eight in 10 continue to see the alleged White House leak of a CIA operative's identity as a "serious matter," and the number who think the administration is fully cooperating in the investigation has declined to 39 percent. About two-thirds still favor appointment of an outside special counsel to look into the matter.
All told, 17 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say they'd vote today for Dean, 13 percent for Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, 12 percent for Clark, 10 percent for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, 9 percent for Lieberman, 6 percent for former Illinois senator and ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, with the remaining three candidates under 5 percent. (The race is essentially the same among registered voters and unleaned Democrats.)
This does not constitute an outright Dean lead; at the 95 percent confidence level conventionally used in polling, it's within the margin of sampling error. Given the sample size, one can say with only 60 percent confidence that Dean's lead is a real one.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.