Thursday, April 29, 2004

Slipping Away

Support for the war in Iraq is eroding quickly, according to the lastest CBS/New York Times poll:

Asked whether the United States had done the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, 47 percent of respondents said it had, down from 58 percent a month earlier and 63 percent in December, just after American forces captured Saddam Hussein. Forty-six percent said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, up from 37 percent last month and 31 percent in December.

It’s not all roses and moonbeams for Kerry, though.

The diminished public support for the war did not translate into any significant advantage for Mr. Bush’s Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. The poll showed the two men remaining in a statistical dead heat, both in a head-to-head matchup and in a three-way race that included Ralph Nader.

Support for Mr. Bush is stronger in other areas vital to his re-election, including his handling of the threat from terrorism, which won the approval of 60 percent of respondents.

[edit]

The survey held hints of trouble for Mr. Kerry as he seeks to introduce himself to an electorate that knows relatively little about him. While 55 percent of Mr. Bush’s supporters said they strongly favored the president, only 32 percent of Mr. Kerry’s supporters strongly favored their candidate.

Sixty-one percent of voters said Mr. Kerry says what he thinks people want to hear, versus 29 percent who said he says what he believes. The Bush campaign has attacked Mr. Kerry for months on that score, portraying him as a flip-flopper with no convictions.

On the same question, 43 percent said Mr. Bush says what people want to hear and 53 percent said he says what he believes.

Which means that Rove and Cheney have been successful in getting the poison into the well. Which means the public needs to hear more from John Kerry than reactions to Rove and Cheney.