John Kerry and George W. Bush have both had their share of problems recently.
The war in Iraq isn’t going as well as we would like it to and American troops getting killed in a war zone continues to raise questions about our mission there and how we intend to finish the quest to establish freedom and democracy in Iraq. This has generally not been good for President Bush and is often cited as the reason by some readers for supporting John Kerry.
John Kerry’s campaign has been bogged down with questions about his actions as an anti-war activist during the Vietnam war and he has been the brunt of jokes on late night talk shows for getting a $1000 dollar haircut.
National polls show the race is very tight between the two candidates. A recent advertising campaign has given President Bush a lead in one national poll but it is apparent the race is likely to be very close with events and news reports swaying public opinion.
FedSmith.com took a poll of readers a few days ago to gauge the current opinion of readers on this race.
In the first match-up, we included Ralph Nader on the list as a candidate. In that contest, readers preferred Kerry over Bush by 49% to 41%. Nader was the choice of 2% of readers while 5% were undecided and 3% selected the “other” option.
In a race that did not include Ralph Nader, Kerry topped Bush by 52% to 43% with 5% selecting “undecided” as the option.
In a similar poll taken last February (the results are outlined in a link on the left hand side of this page), Kerry topped Bush by a 12% margin.
In reading the comments from hundreds of readers, several trends stand out. Supporters of George W. Bush often cite the war on terror as a reason for their support. Supporters of John Kerry also frequently cite the war on Iraq as the rationale for their support but obviously have a much different view of the military conflict there. These readers often cite the lack of weapons of mass destruction as their reason for supporting the probably Democratic nominee.
Bush supporters also cite his integrity and inconsistencies in the policy positions of his likely opponent.
A number of Kerry supporters cited their belief that he will be better for their careers and for government service. Some supporters seem lukewarm in supporting Kerry personally but will vote for “anybody but Bush.”
Here are a few of the comments.
An electronics technician from the FAA in Kansas City says: “I wouldn’t vote for anyone from Massachusetts. Especially not a friend of Ted Kennedy”
A federal retiree from Venice, FL supports President Bush with this statement: “John Kerry is a disgrace to the USA. He stands for nothing beneficial in any way to the citizens of the USA. I considered him a traitor during the Vietnam War, and he does not deserve to be a US citizen, much less the President.”
A human resources manager with the Dept. of Health and Human Services in Dallas writes: “Our current President is doing the best he can with the hand that was dealt to him by the previous administration and the tragic event of 9/11. The terriorists are not through with the US and I shudder to think of what could happen to us if John Kerry or any of the other candidates were elected.”
A human resources assistance from the Dept. of Agriculture in Beltsville, MD had this comment: “I love George Bush, I think Kerry is a total liar and a jerk !”
A supervisory electronics engineer with the Navy in Point Mugu, CA supports Bush: “I keep reading that all civil servants vote democratic. Not in this part of the country.”
A mechanical engineer in Cape Canaveral, FL also supports Bush: “Bush has proven himself to be a steadfast leader in times of extreme difficulty for the US and the world at large. John Kerry appears to lack core values and this could prove dangerous in the global war on terrorism.”
And an employee of DCMA in Wisconsin added this comment: “I only vote Democratic when I need a good laugh. The attacks of September 11 proved that this is no laughing matter.”
Kerry supporters also had their say in the opinions they sent in. Here is a sampling of comments from these supporters.
A workforce specialist with the Dept. of Labor in Seattle said: “Would you vote for the candidate who wants to eliminate your job? That’s the decision me and my coworkers are facing as our New York, Kansas City, Denver and Seattle offices of the US Department of Labor will be eliminated if this Administration’s plans become a reality.”
A personnel manager with the Dept. of Defense in Bremerton, WA commented: “If Mr. Kerry is not elected, Govt. service as we know it will be completely destroyed. Mr. Bush has been hell-bent on ruining DOD for well over a year now, and is getting closer every day”
A professional affair coordinator in Beaufort, SC writes: “I think Bush has gotten this country into a mess!!!”
A human resources specialist with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Hadley, MA supports the Massachusetts senator: “An inept boob instead of a distinguished U.S. Senator and real veteran? It’s distressing that you have to ask, and even more distressing that many will somehow prefer the boob.”
An employee of the Dept. of Energy in Dallas doesn’t like either choice but is going for Kerry: “I am voting against Bush, not for Kerry.”
A Navy employee in Maryland says: “Clinton and Bush both lied, but Bush’s lie about WMD is getting our folks killed. I am voting for anyone but Bush.”
A civil rights analyst from HUD is a strong Kerry supporter though and sent in these comments: “John Kerry is the best candidate to lead us out of this quagmire of lies, deceipts, and loss of lives and an economy that is in the toilet. George Bush’s administration is the most corrupt since Nixon and then followed by his father and Reagan. This country cannot afford another four years of this mess; however, we all know that the money talks. Money and oil bought Bush’s selection for the first term. John Kerry is the man.”
And, as noted in the introduction, a few people haven’t decided who to vote for. An accounting technician from Limestone, ME wrote: “I feel like neither of the candidates will look out for things important in my job, my life, my retirement. in the scheme of things, the country is falling apart and it doesn’t feel like anyone cares…..”
A Dept. of Labor analyst from New York City says: “Lets see….increasing taxes with Kerry or spending our taxes in the Middle East OR both being against same sex marriage. I will vote for neither. Both are crooks!!”
And a systems analyst for the Social Security Administration in Baltimore isn’t happy with the candidates: “What a sad place this country is when these are the choices that our democracy produces to run for Presidency!!!!”
Thanks to all readers who took the time to vote in our latest poll and for sending in comments.
Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47