When Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, noted on his August 18 show that Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is leading President George W. Bush in polling on specific issues, New York Post Washington bureau chief Deborah Orin falsely asserted that "on most of those issues, it is pretty close. And on one issue it is not close. And that is, 'Who do you think would do a better job in the war on terror?' And that's the issue where the president is still clearly, clearly ahead."
As Media Matters for America noted when Dick Morris (whose column appears in the New York Post) similarly claimed that a "strong majority" of Americans think that Bush would do a better job than Kerry on handling the war on terrorism, several recent polls show that Kerry has narrowed the gap and is now in a statistical tie with Bush on the terrorism issue.
Furthermore, Orin's claim that Bush and Kerry are "pretty close" on most other issues conflicts with recent polling data that show Kerry with a strong lead on domestic issues such as the economy, education, the environment, and health care. Among those findings:
On handling the economy, Kerry leads Bush by nine points (51 percent to 42 percent) in a TIME magazine poll conducted August 3 through August 5, by 11 points (52 percent to 41 percent) in a ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted July 30 through August 1, and by seven points (49 percent to 42 percent, within the margin of error) in a Newsweek poll conducted July 29 and July 30.
On education, Kerry leads Bush by 13 points (52 percent to 39 percent) in the ABC/Washington Post poll, and by eight points (48 percent to 40 percent, barely within the margin of error), in the Newsweek poll.
The Newsweek poll also indicates a significant lead for Kerry on a number of issues not addressed in the other polls: Kerry leads Bush by 17 points (53 percent to 36 percent) on "American jobs and foreign competition," by 30 points (59 percent to 29 percent) on the environment, and by 27 points (53 percent to 26 percent) on stem cell research.