The Note

Langer also reports, however, that the President holds the confidence of the American people by a 14-percent margin over Kerry to keep the United States safer and more secure. He also scores better than Kerry on having a "clear plan" to deal with terrorism; just four in 10 say they think Kerry has one.

Bush's overall approval rating stands at 47 percent in this survey, and 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the job he's doing. In the head-to-head matchup among registered voters, Kerry leads by 4 points -- just outside the margin of error -- when Ralph Nader is in the mix. Kerry leads by 8 points -- 53 percent to 45 percent - without Nader.

Washington Post Polling Director Rich Morin joins Dan Balz in laying out the poll's results. LINK

"The shift is potentially significant because Bush has consistently received higher marks on fighting terrorism than on Iraq, and if the decline signals a permanent loss of confidence in his handling of the fight against terrorism, that could undermine a central part of his reelection campaign message."

A little perspective: The latest Harris poll, conducted June 8-15, showed President Bush leading Sen. Kerry, 48 percent to 42 percent. The latest poll by Investor's Business Daily and the Christian Science Monitor showed Bush and Kerry basically even, 44 percent to 43 percent, respectively, and Bush gained a little ground with Nader in the mix: 43 percent to 40 percent, with Nader taking 5 percent.

The Los Angeles Times' Rainey examines the dispute between pollsters and political consultants over the stability (or lack thereof) of party identification. Recall that early June L.A. Times survey showing a 13-point gap in the number of respondents who identified themselves as Democrats versus the number who identified themselves as Republicans. LINK

"At its root, the dispute over The Times poll exemplifies differences between how independent polling organizations and politicians view survey results and party preferences."

"Independent pollsters think many voters have relatively unsettled political party allegiances. When asked to name the party they favor, they might be swayed by recent news events or even by questions asked earlier in a survey, the pollsters say."

"Political operatives, in contrast, tend to believe that party identification is more static. They say they can predict at any given time, with some precision, the party breakdown among the nation's voters."

Interesting lesson: partisan pollsters often adjust for party membership, while news pollsters usually do not.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush-Cheney re-elect:

Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times doesn't seem all that taken with the "staged" event on "healthy marriages" in Cincinnati yesterday. LINK

"But neither the Groveses nor Mr. Bush directly addressed the subject for the day, strengthening marriage, or whether ACT had helped keep the Groveses together. Nor did the Groveses address whether the Bush "healthy marriage" initiative would help people like themselves."

We're pretty sure it played better on Ohio TV than it did this morning's New York Times.

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank Notes "President Bush and Vice President Cheney Monday took fresh news of an improving employment outlook to Ohio and Nevada, states that are considered crucial for the two if they are to continue their own employment for another four years." LINK

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