President Bush’s service in the Air National Guard has been heavily covered in the media for the last few weeks, while John Kerry’s anti-war activities have yet to be put through the media grinder. Expect the mainstream press to suddenly “discover” the audio from Kerry’s Senate testimony at some point.
Today’s Washington Post has the first survey I’ve seen on the actual impact of the Vietnam era service of both candidates on this election. The National Annenberg Election Survey at the University of Pennsylvania released its first findings on Friday, and concluded that the Vietnam records of Sen. John Kerry and President Bush “matter chiefly to Americans who have already made up their minds against the particular candidate.”
Q. After John Kerry returned from service in Vietnam, he demonstrated against the war, he testified in Congress against it, and he threw his campaign ribbons away in protest. Do you approve or disapprove of Kerry’s antiwar activities?
17% THOSE WHO DISAPPROVE AND SAY IT WOULD MATTER A ‘GREAT DEAL’ IN HOW THEY VOTE
Q. Some people say that when George W. Bush was in the Texas Air National Guard in the ’70s, he often did not show up for duty. Bush says he did fulfill his obligations and has presented records which he says prove that he did. From what you have heard or read, do you think he fulfilled his military obligations, or do you think that he did not fulfill them?
12% THOSE WHO SAID “DIDN’T” AND SAY IT WOULD MATTER A ‘GREAT DEAL’ IN HOW THEY VOTEI disagree to a certain extent with their conclusion based mostly on the level of coverage of the two issues. The Bush ANG service story has pretty much run its course, while the Kerry anti-war activities have yet to be serious focused on. Bush’s numbers show that he’s pretty well ridden out the storm on the issue, while Kerry’s are starting as an overall negative before the story has been widely told. Once the story takes it’s moment in the spotlight it’s hard to imaging his numbers improving.
Update: Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus note that if “war hero” is the answer to every question about Kerry’s foreign policy positions that is going to get old real fast. Based on the stump speeches I’ve heard, those who like long and tedious seem to be Kerry’s target demographic…