According to a tracking poll conducted in battleground states by the Arab-American Institute and Zogby International, George W. Bush has slightly improved his standing among Arab-Americans--hitherto thought to be safely in the Kerry camp. Worse, John Kerry's ratings have gone down in recent months.
Here are some highlights:
* The percentage of Arab-Americans who feel Bush deserves to be reelected has risen from 24.5 percent in July to 31.5 percent in September;
* When matched against John Kerry, Bush's Arab-American support has risen to 31.5 percent in September (from 24.5 in July) while Kerry's numbers have slipped back to just below his April 2004 level, to 20 percent;
* In a three way Bush-Kerry-Nader race, Kerry still holds the lead (by 47 percent to Bush's 31.9 percent to Nader's 9 percent), but that has narrowed since July, when Kerry had 51 percent to Bush's 24 percent to Nader's 13 percent).
The pollsters conclude, among other things: "Overall, the most significant factor accounting for the change in President Bush's numbers is the consolidation of his support among Arab Americans who identify themselves as Republicans."
But also: "It appears that the President's upswing and Senator Kerry's slight decline can be attributed to the same factors that moved the rest of the US electorate: Bush's post-convention bounce and Senator Kerry's stalled campaign."