Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Trail Mix

A couple of notes from the campaign trail.

The War Room at Salon.com notes that Bush may be losing some support from his evangelical Christian base:

Evangelical Christians — who accounted for an estimated quarter of voters in the 2000 election -– skew for George W. Bush, without a doubt. But even if a small percentage stays home in November, that’s bad news for Bush. Getting evangelicals to the polls in November is why Bush is talking up the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage again.

But a Reuters story [on May 18] suggests that like millions of other Americans, evangelical voters will make their decisions in November based on more than the issue of gay marriage. They, too, are feeling alienated, let down, and misled about the disaster in Iraq. And, like many of their fellow Americans, what’s happening in Iraq may prevent them from turning out for Bush in November. They most likely won’t turn to John Kerry. But they may just stay home.

This prospect makes Republican fear-mongering over controversial issues like gay marriage all the more likely. But will the trick work? A New York Times story over the weekend suggested it may not. There may be opposition to gay marriage among religious voters, but people in the pews don’t seem to be galvanized by it. As a befuddled Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition, told the Times: “I don’t see any traction. The calls aren’t coming in and I am not sure why.”

Maybe it’s because many voters, evangelical or otherwise, get that America has bigger problems right now than who’s getting married at City Hall, even if Bush tries to convince them otherwise.

Highlights from the Zogby poll of May 16:

Bush’s job approval is down to 42 percent. His approval on Iraq is down to 36 percent. Kerry is up by five points in the horserace (47-42). Right track/wrong track is at 54/40. The percentage who say it’s “time for someone new” is at 53 percent. Kerry favorability is at 55 percent. Bush favorability is at 52 percent. Bush and Kerry are tied in the red states (45-45).

Kerry leads in the Blue states (49-38), the East (53-36), the West (45-44), the central Great Lakes (47-41), and among progressives, (81-12), liberals (79-12), moderates (55-30), Hispanics (59-39), African-Americans (85-6), Democrats (84-9), and Independents (46-37).

Bush leads in the South (47-43) and among conservatives (71-19), Whites (46-42), Asians (63-37), Republicans (81-8), and Libertarians (80-0). Not exactly a majority coalition. [TNR Campaign Journal]

I’m reminded of the Roadrunner cartoon where Wile E. Coyote is stuck on the edge of the cliff, clinging to a tiny tree with the bottom of the canyon thousands of feet below. He breathes a sigh of relief until he hears the soft clink of a small stone falling away as the tree begins to come loose, followed by another and another….