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Presidential Campaigns May Play Cameo Role

THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Events outside Bush's and Kerry's direct control are more likely to influence voters.

May 02, 2004|Ronald Brownstein | Times Staff Writer

- Bush still may become the first president since Herbert Hoover to suffer a net loss of jobs over his full term, with losses especially severe in high-wage manufacturing jobs.

- Increasing doubts about the situation in Iraq may be outweighing growing confidence about the economy.

- Bush scores nearly as poorly as his father in 1992 when voters are asked whether he understands the problems of people like them.

- Kerry has more money and a more favorable public image than Democrat Bill Clinton at this point in the 1992 campaign against President George H.W. Bush.

Equivocal

- The country's intense partisan polarization means Bush's rating isn't likely to fall very far, but may not rise much either.

- Although Bush has regained the lead in most national surveys, three new polls show him and Kerry essentially tied in 17 battleground states both sides consider most likely to pick the next president, even after a massive Bush advertising blitz.

- Sense of optimism about the country's direction is increasing in polls, but remains slightly below the level where an incumbent president is favored for reelection.

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Source: Times research. Graphics reporting by Ronald Brownstein

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