Washington, D.C. -- President George W. Bush has accomplished what challenger Senator John Kerry could not: He successfully used his party's convention to boost his standing in terms of both the public's view of his personal qualifications and total share of the vote. POLITICAL STUDY (INCLUDES ADDITIONAL SAMPLE) Bush-Cheney Break Longstanding Tie Since John Kerry became the Democratic Party's de facto nominee in March, the two parties' candidates have been running in a statistical tie. While Kerry was able to use the Democratic convention to improve the public's views of his personal qualities and lock in his existing supporters (see below), he did not virtually gain any additional net votes between the July and August surveys. By contrast, this first AP/Ipsos poll conducted after the Republican convention shows that Bush and Cheney have increased their support among all registered voters by 6 percentage points, thus pulling significantly ahead of Kerry-Edwards for the first time (51%, 43% for Kerry-Edwards). The edge gained by the Republican ticket is even wider when looking at likely voters (52% Bush-Cheney, 43% Kerry-Edwards). As noted in previous Ipsos-Public Affairs reports, if Kerry wants to pull ahead of the incumbent, he would need to mobilize his soft supporters - people who are generally the least likely to be relied upon to come out on election day - less well-educated, working class women, and especially those in the South. Majorities of gun-owners (69%), people who attend religious services weekly (61%) and who are or live in a household with a veteran (58%) all support Bush-Cheney. Among registered voters, "persuadables" who support neither candidate strongly or are undecided, have swung slightly from supporting Kerry last month (38% Bush, 45% Kerry) to being evenly split now (43% Bush, 39% Kerry). Patterns Of Change In Bush Support Support for Bush-Cheney has particularly risen among:
- Those aged 50-64 (52%; from 44% in August).
- Whites (57%, from 50%); non-whites continue to favor Kerry (24% Bush, 67% Kerry).
- People with a high school education or less (52%, from 41%), especially men (55%, from 40%) - this tends to be a changeable group.
- The South (58%, from 46%), and the Oil Patch in particular (69%, from 48%).
- Rural residents (59%, from 48%).
- People with moderate household incomes.