March 09, 2004,
By now you've read about new polls showing Democrat John Kerry leading George W. Bush in the presidential race. The most recent Gallup poll, for instance, has Kerry leading Bush by a 50-percent-to-44-percent margin, with third-party candidate Ralph Nader pulling two percent. Kerry leads Bush 52 percent to 44 percent in a one-on-one match-up.
The results have attracted a lot of coverage. But there are some other results in the poll that haven't gotten as much attention.
For example, Gallup found that the public seems to believe Kerry and the Democratic party have, at least so far, conducted a dirtier campaign than Bush and the Republican party.
Gallup asked, "Would you say that George W. Bush and the Republican party have or have not attacked John Kerry unfairly?" Twenty-one percent said yes, Bush and the GOP have attacked Kerry unfairly, while 67 percent said no, they have not. Twelve percent had no opinion.
Then Gallup asked, "Would you say that John Kerry and the Democratic party have or have not attacked George W. Bush unfairly?" Thirty-five percent said yes, Kerry and the Democrats have attacked Bush unfairly, while 57 percent said no, they have not. Eight percent had no opinion.
Breaking down the numbers by party, 33 percent of Democrats said Bush and the Republicans have attacked Kerry unfairly. But 53 percent of Democrats said Bush and the Republican party have not attacked Kerry unfairly.
Twenty-one percent of independents said Bush has been unfair, but 65 percent of independents said Bush and the GOP have not attacked Kerry unfairly.
Nine percent of Republicans believe Bush has been unfair, while 84 percent believe he hasn't.
Looked at from the other party's perspective, 59 percent of Republicans said Kerry and the Democrats have attacked Bush unfairly, while just 35 percent said Kerry and the Democrats have not attacked Bush unfairly.
Thirty-five percent of independents said Kerry has been unfair, while 55 percent said Kerry has not attacked Bush unfairly.
Thirteen percent of Democrats said Kerry has been unfair, while 80 percent said he has not.
In all, it appears that Republicans feel more aggrieved at the moment not surprising, given the months of Democratic campaigning and the Bush campaign's belated counterattacks. But perhaps more importantly, more independents seem to believe that Kerry and the Democrats have been unfair than believe that Bush has been unfair.
Finally, the poll had one more surprising finding. Gallup asked respondents, "Regardless of whom you support, and trying to be as objective as possible, who do you think will win the election in November?" Fifty-two percent said Bush, while 42 percent said Kerry. Six percent had no opinion.