John Harwood looks at the new Wall Street Journal /NBC News poll, which shows the recent news of zooming economic news boosting President Bush's approval rating. According to the survey, conducted November 8-10 (after last week's great big growth numbers), 50% of Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling the economy. That rating, is his best on the economy in a year, and lifted his overall approval rating a couple of points — 51%, compared to the 49% approval rating Bush scored in September.
That said, Harwood Notes, "That hasn't yet substantially altered Mr. Bush's prospects for re-election in 2004. He continues to run essentially even when matched with a generically identified Democratic opponent. And he draws no more than 52% of the vote, with leads ranging from 12 to 16 percentage points, when matched against Democratic challengers former Vermont governor Howard Dean, Retired Gen. Wesley Clark and Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt."
Clark leads the Democratic pack with 17% to Dean's 15%, followed by Gephardt at 12%, Kerry and Lieberman at 11%, and Edwards at 5%.
The Los Angeles Times' John Johnson takes a very keen look at why the Democratic Party is having a tough time keeping South Carolina voters (like those in Greenville) in its column. LINK
Florida Democrats see straw poll support flag. Final decision to come Sunday. LINK
Ron Brownstein and Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times write up the logistical and financial significance of Wednesday's big endorsement. LINK
The Des Moines Register 's David Yepsen writes that Dean may have wrapped up the nomination on Wednesday with his union endorsements. LINK
Knight Ridder's Steven Thomma agrees. LINK
The Chicago Tribune's Jeff Zeleny and Michael Tackett have fun with their lead, writing, "Dean took another step on his long walk from being the 'who's he?' candidate [ … ] to becoming the choice of party insiders Wednesday when he picked up the formal endorsement of two of the nation's most politically savvy and powerful labor unions." LINK
The Washington Post 's Ed Walsh writes up Dean's purple and green endorsements. LINK
Bob Novak writes that the endorsements "instantly changed the atmosphere in Democratic ranks. The former governor of Vermont is no longer merely a plucky outsider tweaking the political establishment. More likely than anybody else, he will be nominated for president — warts and all." LINK
And the Prince darkly hints at more oppo to come.
USA Today 's Jill Lawrence writes that the AFSCME and SEIU joint announcement was a "show of force that underscored the money, manpower and sheer energy they are prepared to put into Dean's campaign." LINK
Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times has another take on the SEIU and AFSCME endorsement. LINK
The AP's Leigh Strope reports on Dean's union endorsements. LINK
Dean and Gephardt share a Des Moines Register headline in the wake of their respective union endorsements. LINK
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Deirdre Shesgreen writes that "a potential Dean-Gephardt showdown is a particularly unexpected turn of events." LINK
"In a jab timed to the AFSCME announcement, Kerry campaign workers circulated letters yesterday they said Dean wrote as governor of Vermont in which he offered support for privatizing government jobs — a position opposed by AFSCME, whose core membership includes government workers," the Boston Globe 's Mary Leonard reports. LINK