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The Enthusiasm Gap

And what a difference a few degrees apparently make. Among those who attended some college but did not graduate, Bush is ahead of Kerry by 21 points.

• The Party Divide. The partisan gulf remains essentially unchanged from four years ago. Currently 91 percent of all Republicans are voting for Bush, the same proportion that voted for the president four years ago. Democrats are not quite so loyal-- 81 percent currently support Kerry, down from the 86 percent who supported Gore in 2000. Sixteen percent of all Democrats are crossing over to vote for Bush this year, up from 11 percent in 2000 while 6 percent of all Republicans currently would abandon Bush to vote for Kerry.

Among self-described independents, Bush has a slim five-point edge over Kerry, with independent men evenly split while independent women support Bush by eight points. Bush narrowly won the independent vote in 2000.

The Gender Divide. The survey suggests that Bush leads among men and has a narrow advantage among women, an advantage that no GOP presidential candidate has enjoyed since Bush's father in 1988. Among all registered voters, just over half of all men -- 53 percent -- currently support the president while 41 percent back Kerry. But among women, Bush holds a 49 percent to 46 percent advantage. In 2000, Al Gore beat Bush by 11 percentage points among women but lost by 11 points among men.

• The Ideology Divide. More than four in five conservatives -- 81 percent -- currently support Bush while 76 percent of liberals back Kerry. That's about equal to 2000, when eight out of 10 liberals sided with Gore and an equal proportion of conservatives supported Bush. Among self-described moderates, 2004 currently looks very much like 2000: Kerry holds a five-point edge among these voters who constitute about half of the electorate.

• The Racial-Ethnic Divide. Among registered voters in our September surveys, nearly four-fifths of black voters prefer Kerry for president, with one in seven supporting Bush for reelection. Among the small number of Hispanic voters in the surveys, five in nine support Kerry with one-third favoring Bush. White registered voters split 56 to 38 percent in favor of Bush over Kerry. These are the largest demographic group differences in our surveys and are about the same size as they were in the 2000 election, when Bush won 9 percent of the black vote, 35 percent of the Hispanic vote, and 54 percent of the white vote compared to 42 percent for Gore.

The Veterans Divide. Bush enjoys nearly a two-to-one lead among veterans and a narrower nine-point advantage among voters who live in households where at least one person is a military veteran. But among the two-thirds of households where no one served in the military, the race is virtually tied.

The differences in the vote preference of veterans depends only slightly on age, with veterans who turned 21 before 1960 giving Bush a 16-point advantage, compared to the 23-point gap among younger vets, the survey found. Among non-veterans, age has a similar impact. More non-veterans over 65 favored Kerry while the bulk of younger non-veterans supported Bush.

• The Generational Divide. Young voters, who gave Kerry nearly a two-to-one advantage immediately after the Democratic convention, now favor Bush by an 11-point margin. That is almost as large as the 57 to 40 percent gap Bush enjoys among 50- to 64-year-olds year olds. Kerry does best among 40- to 49-year-olds year olds and those over 65, who split their votes evenly between the two candidates. In 2000, voters of all ages split nearly evenly, with Gore winning a slight edge among the under-30 and over-60 crowds. The voting volatility of callow youth has been noted before, so it remains to be seen if Bush can further consolidate his recent gains among them.

The Poll Vault: Our Pet Hurricane Preparedness Tip

It's a bit too late for storm-weary Florida, but here's a forecasting tip to help protect you in the future against the worst the weather has to offer, courtesy of a July 1990 Gallup survey.

Q: In your opinion, do you think pets can sense natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or violent storms, before they occur, or not?

74% Yes

18% No

8% No opinion

Our search of the vault revealed no more information on how exactly one might use a pet as a forecasting tool; we leave it to our readers to determine the best use of Fluffy's sensitivity to weather. Most of all, we hope all our readers and their non-human animal companions weather future storms safely.

Source: Conducted by the Gallup Organization, July 19-22, 1990, and based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,242 adults. Data were provided by The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut.

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