Dems: Bush made “unmistakable” August gains

This is no time to get overconfident, but I sense a definate shift in the tides in the last few weeks regarding the Presdential race. So do the Dems:

President Bush has gained ground on Democrat John Kerry in the month of August because of “relatively small but unmistakable” shifts in the political environment, Democratic strategists said in a memo released Monday.

The polling memo by Democracy Corps, a group led by pollster Stan Greenberg and strategist James Carville, said the subtle gains by Bush have knotted the race again after Kerry had a slight advantage after the Democratic National Convention in late July.

“There is no doubt that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads (attacking Kerry’s Vietnam service) have had an impact on the race,” according to the Democracy Corps memo. Those attacks combined with the Summer Olympics have combined to “shift the focus away from Iraq and worrisome economic trends.”

The Democracy Corps analysis averaged numerous national and state polls to come up with its assessment that Bush is doing slightly better against Kerry, a judgment supported more by internal measures such as issues and candidate qualities.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Monday supported the Democracy Corps findings. Bush and Kerry were tied at 48 percent apiece while independent Ralph Nader was backed by 1 percent among likely voters. They are also tied among registered voters, a larger group.

Kerry has lost ground on several measures in the ABC-Post poll such as voter enthusiasm for his candidacy, his personal popularity and his ratings on such issues as education, the economy, Iraq and terrorism. Bush has gained trust on these issues during that time.

Link to the ABC-Washington Post poll.