Listen! Hear that s…
Listen! Hear that sound? It’s the sound of a double-digit bounce.

For the first time since the Presidential race became a two person contest last spring, there is a clear leader, the latest TIME poll shows. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 52% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 41% would vote for Democratic nominee John Kerry, and 3% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to a new TIME poll conducted from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.

Nobody I have read or heard has predicted this size of a lead following the convention. There are a few reasons that may explain the size of this lead, including but not limited to…

  • Zell Miller’s speech was (properly) perceived as a man angry at having been betrayed by his own party, rather than “vitriol” and “hate” that the Kerry campaign would like to characterize it as.
  • Bush’s speech was (properly) perceived as an optimistic vision for the future, as opposed to Kerry’s speech which was almost solely an appeal to valor of the past. Kerry’s midnight madness speech Thursday night/Friday morning, where he appealed one more time >yawn< to his Vietnam record, probably did not earn him any points at all compared to Bush’s proposals.
  • The undecided vote is a bigger percentage of the population than the polls suggest it is, and there may be many Kerry supporters who really aren’t all that dedicated to him.

That last point–that past polls may have been wrong–obviously call this and every poll into question. But at least it’s an apples-to-apples comparison to other polls like this, and whatever its faults, it at least shows a trend, outside or the margin of error, that Bush has the momentum. Big time.

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