Voters Want More Specifics From Kerry; Poll Shows Democrat Losing Ground to Bush
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, July 27, 2004; Page A01
A majority of voters say they know little about John F. Kerry's positions on key issues and want the Democratic presidential candidate to detail specific plans for handling the economy, Iraq and the war on terrorism when he addresses the Democratic National Convention and a nationally televised audience on Thursday, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The survey suggests that the stakes for Kerry and the Democrats as they began their convention in Boston could not be higher. In barely a month, Kerry has lost ground to President Bush on every top voting issue in this year's election.
A growing proportion of voters say Bush and not Kerry is the candidate who most closely shares their values, and four in 10 believe the Democrat is "too liberal." Bush has even narrowed the gap on which candidate better understands their problems, an area in which Kerry has led.
The poll suggests that negative ads by the Bush-Cheney campaign that have been airing since early March, as well as attacks by Republican officials, have been increasingly successful in planting the image of Kerry as an unreliable leader who flip-flops on the issues -- perceptions that Democrats will work hard to reverse at their convention.
Utley wants Kerry and the Democratic Party to talk about domestic issues, specifically education and "what they plan on doing about health care for middle-income or lower-income people."
"I have to face the fact that I will never be able to have health insurance, the way things are now. And these millionaires don't seem to address that," she said.
And you want to hear the weirdest thing? More and more people think Bush is doing a bad job, but they'll still vote for him:
Kerry has slipped even though Bush remains unpopular with many Americans. Currently half of Americans approve of the job he is doing as president and 47 percent disapprove. Fewer than half endorse the way he is managing the economy, the situation in Iraq and health care. More broadly, a majority of Americans -- 53 percent -- say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, a 21-point increase since Saddam Hussein's government fell to U.S. forces 15 months ago.
As John Stewart might say.... Whaaa?