CBS is reporting that the president has widened his lead over Kerry since its last poll, which was taken immediately after the Republican National Convention. Bush now enjoys a nine-point lead over the challenger.
The breakdown of voters is particularly interesting. It seems that a full 20 percent of self-described liberals are supporting Bush, as are 39 percent of union members. Women favor Bush over Kerry by 49 to 42 percent, and independents favor the president by roughly the same margin.
Democrats enthusiasm for their candidate continues to fade. Only 40 percent claim that they "strongly favor" Kerry, down from 54 percent in July. By contrast, 63 percent of Republicans "strongly favor" Bush--this, too, however, is down from July, when 70 percent claimed to do so.
Terrorism continues to be the presidents strong suit. Half of those surveyed expressed "a lot" of confidence in his ability to protect the country from another terror attack, compared to only 26 percent for Kerry. 54 percent continue to believe that the Iraq war was the "right thing" to do, up from 49% in August. The same percentage believe that U.S. forces should remain in Iraq "as long as it takes" to create a stable environment there.
What is perhaps most striking is overall voter assessments of the candidates. Kerry has only a 31 percent favorable rating, compared to 47 percent for Bush. The unfavorables are closer--Kerry 42 percent, Bush 38. But a solid majority (60 percent) are uneasy about how the Democrat would handle an international crisis, and only 30 percent think that Kerry says what he believes (compared to 55 percent for Bush). Fifty-seven percent say they have no clear picture of what the Senator intends to do if elected president, while only 44 percent say the same of the president.