The Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll (“ODP”) is out. It is here in PDF. While liberals have a deep distrust of Fox News, it’s polling is very reputable and has, in the past, not been too favorable to Bush. In fact, the ODP uses a very impressive sampling model that does not factor in party affiliation, but does break the country down into regions of urban, suburban, and rural areas making sure to survey each. The theory is that Republican voters are likely to live in Republican neighborhoods and vice versa with Democrats. It actually works pretty well and is similar to the polling Stan Greenberg and James Carville do in that respect. Another great thing the ODP does is only count Ralph Nader only when he is on the ballot in a particular state, or the issue is still not resolved in the surveyed state.
All of that said, the ODP has the President ahead 49-42-2 and 48-43 with Nader not added at all. What is most interesting in the polling are the internals. Of Bush’s supporters, 81% say their vote is for Bush with only 15% saying their vote is against Kerry. On Kerry’s side, 56% are for Kerry and 37% are against Bush. Also, 67% say Kerry is a liberal and 74% say Bush is a conservative. Considering most Americans consider themselves a moderate or conservative, that is probably a plus for Bush. What truly stands out, however, are the war questions.
In the poll, 21% of the respondents tie between the economy and war on terror being the most important issue. Iraq is second at 15%. While Bush trails Kerry 43-46 on handling the economy (the margin of error is 3%), the President leads Kerry by 15% on the issue of the war on terror and 9% on Iraq. Given that, one of the most interesting questions asked was “Given the unrest in the world, how concerned would you be about changing presidents at this time?” 66% said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned. That was 50% of Democrats, 86% of Republicans, and 63% of Independents. While we can argue over whether the Independents are concerned and, therefore, want to replace Bush, looking at the Dem to Rep handling of the question, it seems clear that a large portion of the “respondents” treated the question as a “Are you concerned changing leadership would be a troublesome thing at this time” type question.
Where the poll got interesting was on the war. 69% said the war on terror was a real war as opposed to a figurative war. The Republicans were most likely to feel that way at 87% and the Democrats least likely to feel that way at 56%. Independents were at 65%. Interestingly, this quesiton really captures the 9/11 mentality, I think. When asked if the war was being waged too aggressively, not aggressively enough, or just right, surprisingly 32% said not aggressively enough with 35% saying just right. Only 25% thought it was being waged too aggressively. When asked which candidate would “more aggressively fight the war on terrorism,” 61% said George Bush and only 25% said John Kerry.
The question in the poll that stood out was “do you think it is more important to win the war in Iraq or end the war in Iraq?” 46% said win and 46% said end. Republicans at 69% said win and only 23% of Democrats said win. Among Independents, 46% said win and 45% said end.
All in all, the internals of the polls are strong for Bush. If nothing else, 52% of Indepenents and 79% of Republicans think Bush will win the election. 19% of Independents and 62% of Kerry supporters think Kerry will win. If nothing changes dramatically for Kerry in the next few days, his support will dwindle and “following the leader” syndrome will set in.