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Youth Is Fleeting for Bush

Makes you wonder what else the commission investigators missed or got wrong.

The Bump: Future and Past

A heads-up, bounce-watchers: Measuring Bush's convention bump is going to be a tricky bit of business, thanks to the Labor Day weekend. Bush gives his acceptance speech the evening of Sept. 2, and on Sept. 3, millions of Americans head out for one last end-of-summer fling, making it tough on pollsters to find people at home for those post-convention surveys. Look for some bold surveyors to phone their way right through the doldrums -- garbage in, garbage out, we think -- and others to look for creative ways around the problem.

If Kerry's convention is any guide, there may not be much of a bump to measure. Seven major media polls registered anywhere from a one percentage point drop to a four percentage point uptick in support for the Democratic nominee among registered voters. This left Kerry with a modest lead -- three to seven points -- in all but one of the seven surveys. The exception was the Gallup poll, which found Bush up by one percentage point in a three-way race among registered voters. (The average bump up for modern presidents is somewhere in the neighborhood of seven percentage points, if you're keeping score.)

Bouncelet for Teresa

First Lady contender Teresa Heinz Kerry got a bit of a bump after her Boston debut. In a Post-ABC News poll conducted immediately prior to the convention, 27 percent of voters said they had a favorable view of the sometimes prickly Pennsylvania philanthropist, compared to 34 percent in a survey conducted the weekend after. Four in 10 still don't know enough about the Democratic challenger's wife to offer an opinion.

Men and women bumped up about equally when it came to Heinz Kerry. And when the bouncing stopped, men divided equally (29 percent favorable versus 28 percent unfavorable) while women tilted positive (39 percent versus 20 percent).

Poll Vault: [Expletive Deleted] Potty Mouths

As cathartic as it may be, Americans might not want to follow Vice President Cheney's profane example when engaging in a frank exchange of views with others. While most Americans aren't particularly offended by potty-mouthing, as recently as 1996 one in five were ready to call in the law on blasphemers.

Q I am going to read a list of things that some people consider to be morally wrong. For each item, please select the number that best indicates how wrong you, personally, think it is when people engage in that behavior: Swearing or using offensive language

22% Wrong for all and should not be legally tolerated

33 Wrong for all but should be tolerated

22 Right for some, but not for me personally

6 Right for me, but not necessarily for others

4 Right for all

14 Not a moral issue

Source: Survey by the University of Virginia's Post-Modernity Project conducted Jan. 27-April 14, 1996 and based on personal interviews with a national adult sample of 2,047. Data provided by The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut.

In the wholesome early 1950s, Gallup asked married respondents:

Do you object to your husband or wife saying "damn" or "hell" when among a group of adults?

44% Yes

50 No

7 Qualified answer/No opinion

Source: Conducted by the Gallup Organization, Nov. 11-16, 1951, and based on personal interviews with a national adult sample of 2,019. Data provided by The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut.

Contact the Poll Watchers at polls@washpost.com

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