Despite the fact that three recent polls have revealed little difference in public opinion of the abilities of President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to handle terrorism, on CNN's The Capital Gang on August 8, weekly panelist and National Review Washington editor Kate O'Beirne claimed, "George Bush still, in all of these polls -- even the polls showing a head-to-head tie -- enjoys a big advantage with respect to waging the war on terror, keeping America safe."
Kerry has dramatically narrowed the gap with Bush on the issue of terrorism, according to three recent polls. As Media Matters for America has noted, a Washington Post/ABC News poll published on August 2 showed Bush had a statistically insignificant three-point lead over Kerry (48 percent to 45 percent), when registered voters were asked "Who do you trust to do a better job handling the US campaign against terrorism?" (margin of error: three points). The same poll a week earlier had shown an 18-point gap on the same question.
On the question "Which do you trust to do a better job handling ... terrorism and homeland security?" a March Newsweek poll revealed that Bush led Kerry by 21 points. Yet a new Newsweek poll that asked the same questions showed Bush leading Kerry 48 percent to 43 percent as of July 30: Kerry had narrowed his gap to only five points (margin of error: four points).
A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics poll released August 5 also showed Bush with a six-point lead over Kerry when registered voters were asked "Which candidate do you think would do a better job on ... the war on terror?" (margin of error: four points). The same poll taken July 20 and July 21 had shown a 15-point gap on the same question.
Even in the USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll -- the only recent poll to show Bush leading overall -- showed that, on the question of "who would better handle ... terrorism," Kerry had narrowed the 18-point gap in the July 19 - July 21 poll to 13 points in the July 30 - August 1 poll (margin of error: three points).