Election Update: Convention, National Polls And U.S. Economy

Lauren Breitenother

Convention Wrap up: With the close of the Republican National Convention, President George W. Bush accepted his Party’s nomination. In his acceptance speech, the President promised to continue many of his programs and continue the progress American has experienced over the past three years. Bush also reflected upon September 11th and applauded the bravery of the American troops and America’s success in Afghanistan and Iraq. He proudly spoke of the importance of education and the successes his administration has had thus far. Bush intends to continue creating accessible healthcare for seniors and the middle class, particularly small business owners and their employees. Kerry’s acceptance speech for the Democratic Party Nomination this July centered upon the need for change. He promised a better economy, especially for the middle class, bipartisanship and environmentally friendly legislation. If elected, Kerry promised to reform the intelligence system immediately. This action would be in response to the faulty intelligence over the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as well as September 11. Others also criticized the Bush administration for “misleading us into war,” and lacking the necessary credibility with foreign leaders to create allies. Rather, Kerry promised, he will gain allied support in Iraq to lessen American’s physical and financial burdens. In response to Bush’s criticism that he is “wishy-washy” in his opinions and voting records, Kerry explained that he sees “complexities … because some issues just are not all that simple.”

In the Polls: This Presidential Election season has shown our nation is closely divided. Following the Republican National Convention, Polls indicated that Bush had gained ground. However, the pollsters disagreed over Bush’s margin of victory from eleven points (Time and Newsweek), nine points (Fox) but a mere two-point lead according to Zogby. Bush’s rise in the polls is far more significant than the single digit rises that Kerry received after the Democratic National Convention this summer. More recent Newsweek polls now show that Bush has 49 percent of registered voters, while Kerry holds only 43 percent.

National Guard Controversy: The debate over President Bush’s Texas National Guard performance or lack thereof has been on the forefront of the election, just as Kerry’s war record has caused much controversy. Recently, a Pro-Kerry 527 has placed ads asking for proof that Bush served. The administration has relied upon army medical records as proof of Bush’s service. CBS recently released a much-contested document from Bush’s squadron commander Lieutenant Col. Jerry B. Killian, stating that Bush received preferential treatment and was unfairly awarded an honorable discharge. Experts have determined that the paperwork is most likely false due to a variety of reasons, including a questionable signature and type keys not available when the document was supposedly written.Dan Rather has adamantly defended the documents, “If any definitive evidence comes up, we will report it.”

Economy: Kerry has continuously criticized Bush’s handling of the economy and his three tax cuts, which Kerry believe only benefits the rich. The Bush administration has maintained that the economic downfalls were inherited from the Clinton administration and were exacerbated by September 11th and by corporate corruption scandals. The administration further contends that the economy is improving under Bush’s plan with “1.7 million jobs in the last year.” In his speech at the Republican National Convention, he exclaimed, “We have seen a shaken economy rise to its feet.” If elected, Kerry proposes he will reinstate many of Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthier tax brackets and half the federal deficit. Bush will continue his current economic theories and work to allow more freedom for personal spending.