Kerry closes the gap on security issue

Bush is seen as invulnerable on national security; never mind that his record is a catastrophe — he nonetheless has succeeded in conveying the message that he’s “strong” and “stays the course.” So it’s refreshing to see that Kerry is dramatically closing the once yawning gap between them on this issue.

Democrat John Kerry, whose nominating convention highlighted his war service and focused on national security, has narrowed the gap on President Bush’s strong suit of protecting the country, according to an Associated Press poll that shows the race remains tight….

In the AP survey conducted Tuesday through Thursday, 43 percent said Kerry would do a better job of protecting the country — a gain of 8 percentage points for the Democratic presidential nominee from a similar survey in March.

Kerry improved his standing on the issue with a demographic group that tends to lean Republican: men under age 45.

Bush still has the advantage on the issue, with 52 percent saying the Republican incumbent would do better in protecting the nation. But Bush’s percentage on the issue has dropped 6 percentage points since March, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs, and the latest survey was taken as he faced questions about dated intelligence for increased terror alerts

Sweet. The polls aren’t necessarily showing a post-convention bounce for Kerry (how could they, with such a polarized electorate?), but they are showing a dramatic increase in the number of people who now say they believe he is fit to serve as president. This is great news when it comes to swing voters.

bush’s predictable dirty-tricks surprises are duds so far, and if he doesn’t pull off a major miracle over the next 11 weeks he won’t win. Right now, especially with today’s embarrassing jobs report, he’s got precious little to point to in terms of results and achievements.

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