President Bush has moved past Sen. John F. Kerry in three of the most hotly contested Midwestern battleground states despite continued doubts about the country's direction and the president's policies, new Los Angeles Times polls have found. . . .There is a chance that the Nader/Camejo campaign will attract more than one fifth of the voters who "want a new course" and yet cannot believe that Kerry would provide it.
In Missouri, Bush leads among registered voters 46% to 44%; in Wisconsin, he leads 48% to 44%; and in Ohio, the president holds a 49% to 44% advantage, the surveys found.
Like a national Times poll released Wednesday, the surveys underscore the difficulty Kerry has had converting a general desire for change into support for his candidacy. The Massachusetts senator trails Bush even though a majority of voters in all three states said the country is not better off because of Bush's policies and "needs to move in a new direction."
But while Bush is drawing support from virtually all the voters who back his policy direction, Kerry is attracting only about four-fifths or fewer of the voters in the three states who said they want a new course. . . .
Times polls in June showed Kerry and Bush tied in Wisconsin, Kerry holding a statistically insignificant one-point advantage in Ohio, and the president leading 48% to 42% in Missouri. Compared to those numbers, the race has tightened somewhat in Missouri and edged slightly toward Bush in Wisconsin and Ohio. . . .
In Ohio, Bush's overall approval rating remained mired at 47%, unchanged from June, with 50% disapproving. And in Missouri and Wisconsin, slightly more voters disapproved than approved of his handling of the economy; the dissatisfaction peaked in Ohio, which has lost 230,000 jobs since Bush took office, with 52% disapproving. (emphasis added, Ronald Brownstein and Kathleen Hennessey, "Bush Leads Kerry in 3 Key States," August 26, 2004)
Hence the Democratic Party's battle to exclude Nader/Camejo from the ballots -- even in Ohio, where "Ralph Nader's Ohio supporters on Wednesday turned in petitions with 14,473 signatures to Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, nearly three times the 5,000 signatures needed to get Nader on the state's Nov. 2 presidential ballot as an independent" (emphasis added, "Signatures Exceed Count Needed for Ohio Ballot," Indianapolis Star, August 19, 2004).
The Butler County Board of Elections ruled that only 24 of Nader's 633 petition signatures -- less than 4 percent -- were valid in the county.See, also, Mary Lolli, "County Rejects Most Nader Petitions" (Journal News, August 27, 2004). And who says the Republicans support the Nader/Camejo campaign? In Butler, Board of Elections Deputy Director Betty McGary, a Democrat, and Board of Elections Director Robert Mosketti, a Republican, collaborated with each other to disqualify the signatures.
Butler was the first major Ohio county to verify its share of petitions carrying a total 14,473 signatures submitted by Nader backers to Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell Aug. 18, said Dan Trevas of the Ohio Democratic Party [firstname.lastname@example.org/614-221-6563 x129], which has asked election boards to scrutinize Nader petitions. . . .
"Boy, they sure don't want anyone to have a choice, do they?" Kevin Zeese, national spokesman for the Nader campaign, said Wednesday. He called the Butler County ruling "disgusting."
Carlo LoParo, spokesman for Blackwell, said that "a 95 percent error rate is extremely high, and perhaps unprecedented." (emphasis added, John Kiesewetter, "Nader Campaign Set Back: Butler Co. Accepts Only 4% of Ballot Petition Signatures," Cincinnati Enquirer, August 26, 2004)
The Democrats' "Anybody But Nader" campaign is nationwide, as documented, for instance, by Patrick Martin in "Democrats’ Drive to Keep Nader off Ballot: a Reactionary Attack on Democratic Rights" (WSWS.org, August 26, 2004), encompassing not just battleground states like Michigan but also such one-party states as Illinois. Intellectuals such as Medea Benjamin and Ted Glick have argued that the Green Party should adopt a "safe state" strategy. However, a "safe state" strategy is not even feasible, much less strategic, since the Democratic Party is bent on kicking Any Prominent Leftist off the ballot everywhere, as it always has and will be.