majority of voters say they know little about John F. Kerry's positions on key issues and want the Democratic presidential candidate to detail specific plans for handling the economy, Iraq and the war on terrorism when he addresses the Democratic National Convention and a nationally televised audience on Thursday, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.Kerry's incoherence in stating his "clear" positions is starting to be noticed.
The survey suggests that the stakes for Kerry and the Democrats as they began their convention in Boston could not be higher. In barely a month, Kerry has lost ground to President Bush on every top voting issue in this year's election.
A growing proportion of voters say Bush and not Kerry is the candidate who most closely shares their values, and four in 10 believe the Democrat is "too liberal." Bush has even narrowed the gap on which candidate better understands their problems, an area in which Kerry has led.
The poll suggests that negative ads by the Bush-Cheney campaign that have been airing since early March, as well as attacks by Republican officials, have been increasingly successful in planting the image of Kerry as an unreliable leader who flip-flops on the issues -- perceptions that Democrats will work hard to reverse at their convention.
The latest Post-ABC survey suggests that voters are impatient to hear from Kerry on key issues in this campaign, presenting Democrats with an opportunity to show their nominee in a favorable light. More than half -- 54 percent -- say they are unfamiliar with Kerry's positions; only one in four is similarly uncertain where Bush stands. Nearly half of all Democrats -- 46 percent -- and a majority of political independents say they are not sure what Kerry stands for.