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The Race is Still Kerry's to Lose
The latest Democracy Corps poll
has Bush ahead 49-46 in a 3-way matchup. The survey is conducted by Democratic partisans James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, but it's pretty much in line with most other polls (except Gallup). The Democracy Corps survey also includes a generic question about Presidential preferences: "Now let me ask overall, do you think the country should continue in the direction Bush is headed or go in a significantly different direction?" Bush doesn't do as well on the generic question: the split is 47-51, against Bush's direction.
Since the same group of people were asked both questions, this means that 2% of voters are currently supporting Bush but think he needs to take the country in a different direction. And 5% of voters think we're heading in the wrong direction, but aren't supporting Kerry. So there's a majority that has doubts about Bush, but haven't been sold on Kerry yet. The debates will be Kerry's best opportunity to convince the swing voters that he's an acceptable alternative to Bush.