Bush Leads Kerry in Bellwether "Show Me" State

2/4/2004

BOSTON, MA – President George W. Bush led Senator John Kerry by 11 points in an inevitable November 2004 match-up, according to an exclusive Suffolk University poll of likely voters in Missouri. The poll, released today, was conducted from February 28-March 2, 2004.

When asked, "if the final election for President were held today and the candidates were George Bush, John Kerry, or Ralph Nader, toward whom would you vote or lean," exactly 50% chose Bush, while 39% selected Kerry and 5% chose Nader. A total of 6% of respondents were undecided or decided on another candidate.

"This is great news for President Bush," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center and adjunct professor of the master of political research class, who conducted the poll. "Historically, the state of Missouri has successfully elected the eventual President in every election except one. Those are great odds to have on your side at this point."

The only time in history that Missouri erred was in the 1956 Presidential Election when the "show me" state chose Democrat Adlai Stevenson over eventual winner Republican Dwight Eisenhower.

In the Suffolk poll, Missouri voters trusted George Bush to do a better job with various prominent issues, including the economy, Iraq, the U.S. campaign against terrorism, and education. On the other hand, John Kerry was trusted more to do a better job in the areas of health care, creating jobs and balancing the budget.

Respondents also believed the U.S. involvement in Iraq has increased domestic security (54%-35%) and that it will increase the long-term security of the U.S. (50%-36%). However, 47% of respondents said that the Bush Administration exaggerated its evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, while 42% said that the Bush Administration did not exaggerate its evidence.

In an open-ended format, 20% of respondents said that the economy was the most important issue followed by health care (13%), and a third place tie between education (8%) and fighting terrorism (8%).

Regarding gay marriage, voters overwhelmingly opposed same-sex marriage by a whopping 68%-22% margin and marginally favored civil unions (45%-43%). A U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as consisting only of a union of a man and a woman was overwhelmingly supported by a 58%-32% margin.

"The difference between Massachusetts and Missouri is like night and day," Paleologos said. "In our Massachusetts survey, respondents were split on same-sex marriage and overwhelmingly supported civil unions. In Missouri, respondents were split on civil unions and overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex marriage."

In a possible match-up for Governor, Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt led incumbent Democratic Governor Bob Holden 38% to 31%, with 30% undecided/other. In addition, Congressman Dick Gephardt may have eliminated himself from the Kerry Vice-Presidential sweepstakes by showing only a 39% favorable rating and a 46% unfavorable rating in his home state.

Suffolk University, located on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, with campuses in Madrid, Spain and Dakar, Senegal (Africa), is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by its teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty. Suffolk offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 areas of study. Its mission is to provide quality education at a reasonable cost for students of all ages and backgrounds, with strong emphasis on diversity. Suffolk has a combined enrollment of more than 7,500 full-time and part-time students at its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences and Sawyer School of Management.

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