Thursday, March 4, 2004

At the Starting Gate

Via TPM comes a link to the latest poll from the Pew Research Center.

Heading into an eight-month marathon to Election Day, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry already command strong support from their respective parties and will now try to win over those in the middle: ­the estimated three-in-ten voters who have not yet fully committed to either candidate. Overall, 38% of voters support Kerry and say they have definitely decided not to vote for Bush. A third of voters support Bush and say there is no chance they will vote for Kerry.

The remaining portion of the electorate (29% of all voters) have either expressed a preference for one of the candidates yet say they still could change their mind, or are truly undecided. Most of these swing voters have expressed a preference ­ 13% favor Bush, 10% Kerry ­ though they are still open to the possibility of changing their mind. Just 6% of voters are firmly on the fence at this early stage of the campaign.

The headline writers will probably pick up on the next graf:

The latest Pew Research Center national survey, conducted Feb. 24-29, shows Kerry with a slight edge in a head-to-head match up with Bush (48%-44%). The results of this survey were combined with poll conducted earlier in February (Feb. 11-16) as a way of determining the size and composition of the swing vote.

But that’s barely within the margin of error, and it’s still only March. Eat your Wheaties, gang – it’s going to be a long hike.