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Survey in PA Shows Bush Surging

In a dramatic reversal of fortune, the Republican ticket has moved into the lead in Pennsylvania, according to an Atlanta-headquartered public relations and public affairs agency. John Kerry's negatives have risen substantially with the Swift Boat debate. The Bush Campaign appears to be experiencing a pre-Convention bounce.

Those are two of the revelations from Strategic Vision, LLC, from a three-day poll of likely voters in the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania for the presidential race and the United States Senate race.

In the match-up between the two tickets, Bush-Cheney led Kerry-Edwards 47 percent to four percent, with seven percent undecided and a margin of error of plus or minus three percent. The poll was conducted prior to Ralph Nader being disqualified. With Nader included the race was tied. In a three-way contest with the Bush-Cheney ticket, the Kerry-Edwards ticket and the Nader-Camejo ticket, the percentage results were Kerry-Edwards 45, Bush-Cheney 47, Nader-Camejo one, with seven percent undecided, and a three percent margin of error either way.

"The race in Pennsylvania has changed overnight," said David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, this week. "Kerry appears to be in a freefall in this state as in others. Republicans seemed buoyed with hope and are riding a pre-Republican Convention bounce. If this trend continues, with any type of bounce after the Convention, Kerry will be in serious trouble in Pennsylvania."

In a match-up of the United States Senate race, the poll found incumbent Republican Senator Arlen Specter leading Democratic Congressman Joe Hoeffel 51 percent to 31 percent with four percent for Constitution Party candidate Jim Clymer and 14 percent undecided.

The poll gave President Bush an approval rating of 47 percent. On his handling of the economy, it gave him a 44 percent approval rating. On the war in Iraq, 48 percent said they approved of how the President was handling it.

"The President's approval numbers increased overall in the state since our last poll," said Johnson, "This could indicate a trend for the President."

When asked if they felt the country was going in the right direction or the wrong direction, 47 percent said right, 43 percent said wrong, and 10 percent were undecided.

"While still below 50 percent, more people today believe the country is headed in the right direction than in the wrong direction, all of which benefits the President."

The poll showed that John Kerry's favorable percentages were at 40, with 42 unfavorable and 18 undecided. Edwards's corresponding percentages were 46, 24 unfavorable and 30 undecided. Vice President Cheney's favorable rating stood at 45 percent, with 42 percent unfavorable and 13 percent undecided.

When asked who was better qualified to be president, Cheney or Edwards, 44 percent of the respondents selected Cheney, Edwards 38 percent, and 18 percent undecided.

"Kerry is in serious trouble with the Swift Boat debate," said Johnson. "The charges are gaining credence with voters. His ratings are definitely hemorrhaging and he needs this debate to end. Although, there is still plenty of time for him to rebound.

"His problem is that voters did not really know him well because of the compressed primary schedule unlike Ronald Reagan in 1980 or Bill Clinton in 1992," said Johnson. "Now what they are learning about him due to the Swift Boat debate seems to be defining him in a negative way and making people doubt not only his credentials but his basic honesty."

The poll asked respondents if they had heard and were familiar with the Swift Boat controversy. Sixty-seven percent responded that they heard of it, 17 percent had not heard of it, and 16 percent were not sure.

Of those who had heard of it, 48 percent said that they believed that the charges against Kerry were credible and could be true, 36 percent believed the charges were false, and 16 percent were undecided.

(Editor's Note: Strategic Vision, LLC, which is conducting polls in battleground states, including Pennsylvania, leading up to the November election, is a public relations firm who also serves governmental clients and political candidates. Its CEO, David E. Johnson, who is quoted in this article, formerly worked for the governor's office in Florida, whose occupant happened to be Jeb Bush, the President's brother.)

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