It looks like this is going to be a close race. According to one poll Kerry is five points behind Bush
; in another both Kerry and Edwards have double-digit leads over Bush
. Meanwhile according to Zogby, Kerry sqeaks by in "blue" states and gets crushed in "red" states
A majority of voters in the survey also reject the filibuster strategy employed by Senate Democrats against some of President Bush's judicial nominees. This is consistent with polling results under President Clinton when voters rejected Republican efforts to block judicial nominees. Fifty-three percent of Blue State and 59% of Red State voters felt the Democratic filibuster of judicial nominees was wrong while 35% of Blue State and 32% of Red State voters feel a minority of Senators are right to use whatever means to necessary to block the nominees.
While the issue of gay marriages dominates the news in San Francisco and Boston, a majority of Americans remain opposed to the idea. Fifty-two percent of Red State voters and 50% of Blue State voters support such a constitutional amendment while 43% of Red State voters and 44% of Blue State voters disagree. Voters gave Bush a decided edge when asked who would do a better job of dealing with Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gaddafi, North Korea and Iran. Bush was the clear choice among Red State voters (53%) and Blue State votes (47%). Only 31% of Red State voters and 35% of Blue State voters felt Kerry would do a better job in dealing with rogue states and leaders.
This emphasizes two things that I've stated before: firstly that Kerry's support right now is soft, whereas Bush's support is now rock solid. This played out before in polls, but now it plays out on a state-by-state level. Kerry needs to work on shoring up his support in the blue states by going after Bush on red meat issues.
The second is that we don't have a very good message right now. Even our core support feels that the Democrats are weak on defense. We've exacerbated this problem by trying to take the emphasis off of defense and onto social issues. We all know how well this worked in 2002. We need to go aggressive on this and other "Republican" issues (fiscal responsibility, for example). If we have no message on this, the voters who consider these issues will go with the Republicans' lousy message over our non-message.