Some additional polls have materialized in Southern and border states after the selection of John Edwards for the Democratic ticket. They mostly show opportunities for the Dems but not a significant bounce from the Edwards pick. In NC, setting aside that silly Gallup poll that got so much national play, Mason-Dixon this week gave Bush-Cheney a 3-point lead over Kerry Edwards. On Saturday, a poll for the Raleigh newspaper put the Bush margin at 5 points (49 percent to 44 percent). While these are not particularly good margins for the Republicans, they are also not significantly different from the pre-Edwards picture.
A Survey USA poll for media organizations in South Carolina last weekend did appear to show a bit of a bounce — with Bush now leading by only 7 points, 51 percent to 44 percent — but I’ve got to think this Republican state is on the fringe of believability as a battleground state (North and South Carolina are very different politically, by the way). The same firm did work for Virginia media just after the Edwards pick and found a 5-point Republican lead. Ditto for Arkansas, already considered a battleground state, where the Bush margin was only a sliver, 2 percent. A caution about Survey USA: they are more aggressive than some in pushing undecideds to declare a lean, so they are capturing what may be fleeting changes in sentiment. In Tennessee, Zogby reported the shocking news this week that the race was tied, though I tend to question the methodology used in his web-assisted polling. His Arkansas poll also showed a 2 percent GOP edge. Kerry continues to enjoy small leads in Florida in various surveys. In Missouri, Survey USA has Bush up 2 and Zogby has Kerry up 3.
Again, I believe the Republican ticket can and will win most of these states, but they’ll have to pay attention to them. That was what Kerry was trying to accomplish, at least in part.