Poll: Bush Has Slight Lead in Pa.

Among the one in five voters who say terrorism is their No. 1 issue, Bush holds a huge 7-1 lead in support, 86 percent-13 percent. Kerry leads by 2-1 among those who say either the economy or Iraq is the top issue in their vote, and by 24 points among health-care voters. As in the list above, Kerry wins on more issues — but Bush wins bigger on his issue, the nation's response to terrorism.

On other issue measures, Pennsylvanians are slightly less satisfied than all Americans with the nation's direction overall (54 percent dissatisfied, compared with a 49 percent-49 percent split nationally), and slightly less likely to say the war in Iraq was worth fighting (46 percent say so, compared with 51 percent nationally). These differences probably owe much to the partisan divisions, with more Democrats in Pennsylvania.

On the economy, 43 percent of Pennsylvanians say most people in their state are worse off since Bush took office; that's essentially the same as the national reading. That group favors Kerry by 8-1, while Bush wins the rest by 4-1.


In Pennsylvania as nationally, Bush prevails on more personal attributes. Registered voters in the state by a 20-point margin say Bush has taken a clearer stand on the issues (it's similar nationally). They also say by 17 points that Bush is the stronger leader, and by 12 points that he'd "make the country safer and more secure."

Kerry, by contrast, leads in just one attribute, +10 on "understands the problems of people like you." But he is more competitive on others — i.e., evenly matched on "shares your values" and about even on "better qualified to be commander in chief." Nationally Bush leads in both of these.


In the most basic measure of a public figure's popularity, 48 percent of Pennsylvania's registered voters have a favorable opinion of Bush, while 42 percent have a favorable opinion of Kerry. Neither, though, is particularly popular: Bush's favorable rating exceeds his unfavorable score by five points and Kerry's net favorable is +4.

As in other measures, that's perhaps a bit worse for Bush than it was nationally last week (+12 favorable) and better for Kerry, who had a six-point net negative favorability rating nationally.

For / Against

As is the case nationally, Kerry is receiving more of a negative vote than an affirmative one: Fifty-four percent of his supporters in Pennsylvania say they're more against Bush than for Kerry. Among Bush's supporters, by contrast, 81 percent are mainly for him, rather than against Kerry.

Still, Kerry does better, and Bush worse, on enthusiasm in Pennsylvania than nationally. Fifty-one percent of Bush's supporters in the state are "very enthusiastic" about his candidacy, compared with 63 percent in last week's national poll. Kerry's support is 47 percent very enthusiastic in the state, compared with 39 percent nationally.

As last week's national poll found, it's possible to move enough voters to make a change in the horse race — but it's not easy. In Pennsylvania, just 15 percent say there's any chance they might change their minds, and 6 percent say there's a good chance of it — a very small pool of moveables (about the same as nationally). They're also hard to reach: Moveables are following the race less closely and less apt to be sure they'll vote.

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