Yes, you read that correctly ... Kerry ahead of Bush in (gasp!) FLORIDA and OHIO!!!
Ruy Teixeira has posted a discussion of new polls in those four states. An Ohio ARG poll shows Kerry ahead of Bush by seven points among likely voters, an almost unbelieveable development in that particular state. The Florida poll puts Kerry up by only three points in that state, which is basically the margin of error and nothing to get all that het up over. The Wisconsin poll shows Kerry ahead of Bush by nine points, and the Oregon poll gives Kerry the edge with four points.
But what I find most encouraging is the growing surge among independent voters breaking toward Kerry in these particular states. In Florida, especially (according to Teixeira), Kerry is leading Bush a whopping 31 points among independents. In Wisconsin and Oregon, respectively, Kerry leads Bush 13 and 15 percentage points among independents.
Wise heads have been reasoning all along that this election will be decided by unaffiliated, independent voters.
We want to feel hopeful, but we also don't like becoming chumps, which this sort of early polling has a tendency to turn us all into. Does anyone remember, for example, how Harvey Gantt was polling against Jesse Helms in 1990? Gantt was supposed to win that race comfortably. But people have a way of lying to pollsters, sometimes to cover their own embarrassment about who they're planning to vote for. There's bound to be a significant "Bush embarrassment factor" in some of these early polls, just as there was a pro-Helms chagrin in 1990. It's painful sometimes to own up to one's secrets.