“Remarkable turnaround”

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows a remarkable turnaround in 17 battleground states where polls and historic trends indicate the race will be close, and where the Bush campaign has aired TV ads. Those ads say Bush has provided “steady leadership in times of change” while portraying Kerry as a tax-hiking, flip-flopping liberal.
The ads have been one factor in wiping away an inflated lead Kerry held in those states. Most of them have had primaries or caucuses that allowed Democrats to dominate the news and Kerry to emerge as a victor. In a survey taken in mid-February, Kerry led Bush by 28 percentage points in those states, 63% to 35%. Now Bush leads Kerry in them by six points, 51% to 45%.
In contrast, there has been much less volatility in states where the ads haven’t aired. Kerry held a four-point lead in them in February; Bush holds a two-point lead now.
The Bush campaign also has begun defining Kerry before he has defined himself. In the states where the ads have run, Kerry’s unfavorable rating has risen 16 points since mid-February. In the other states, it’s up just five points. The margin of error for each group of states is +/{ndash}5 percentage points.
USA Today

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