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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 September, 2004, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
Can Kerry beat Bush?
John Kerry delivers a speech during a campaign appearance in the Great Hall at Cooper Union
Two opinion polls suggest that US presidential candidate John Kerry is behind his political rival President George W Bush by a full 10 points.

A rise in the opinion polls was expected after the high profile of the Republican Party's conference in New York - but senior Democrats are calling on their candidate to reinvigorate his team or risk losing the election on 2 November.

BBC News Online wants your photos from the campaign trail

Democrats say the President's post-convention bounce in public opinion polls will be short-lived.

They vow a non-stop, two-month offensive to make up for any lost ground.

How could Mr Kerry reinvigorate his campaign? Can Mr Bush sustain the bounce in opinion polls? Send us your views

This debate has now finished. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

It all boils down to how effectively Mr Kerry can communicate that message
Douglas Shambo, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
This election is a referendum on how well Mr Bush has done during his presidency. Mr Kerry can beat him if he can get his message out and remind US voters of those things at which the Bush administration has failed: the economy, the war in Iraq, securing the country against terrorism, the deficit, Social Security reform, everything American voters care about. It all boils down to how effectively Mr Kerry can communicate that message, and counter with his own solutions. If Americans knew about Bush's failures and Kerry's programmes, how could they vote for Bush?
Douglas Shambo, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

When a soldier (somebody's child) dies thousands of miles from home in the service of their country, Bush talks like he knows what it's like, yet he hid when he had the chance to face the enemy. He also hid on September 11th, (we didn't see him for two days!), and he's still hiding now from the attack on John Kerry's war record - like Vietnam, he lets others do the dirty work for him. Americans are about to vote for the most powerful man on earth. They would do their country a great service by remembering these simple facts, not the latest sound byte.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK

There are many interesting parallels between John Kerry's campaign and his career in the Senate. The harder he struggles to explain his position on Iraq, the economy, you name it, the more he confuses the electorate. I've never seen such a well-educated and mannered politician struggle so mightily to articulate who he is and what he believes in. If he can't, why should I vote for him? "Anyone but Bush" simply won't do.
Angelo Morata, Chicago, IL, USA

He just comes across as a whiner
Charles Carter, USA
I think not. The swift boat ads highlighted Kerry's flaws but not in a way you might think. Here in the US large Democratic donors have been pouring millions of dollars into ads making out GW is stupid, inarticulate dishonest and he has handled it with grace. The first sign of criticism in such ads against John Kerry resulted in him taking his bat and ball home. He just comes across as a whiner and nobody likes those!!!! George W has proved himself to be smarter than a lot people gave him credit for. Obviously being a Harvard and Yale graduate and a fighter pilot is not enough for some people.
Charles Carter, USA

The answers are not in the polls, especially one conducted by a very Republican leaning magazine. Kerry will win because the turnout by voters who were unlikely to vote in past elections will be overwhelming. America is angry with its leadership and that's what's going to give Kerry the victory.
David Brown, Dallas, TX

Fear may keep George Bush in the White House, but John Kerry can still convince Americans that it's better to vote their hopes.
E. Michael Desilets, Los Angeles, CA USA

Today the US casualty count hit the 1000 mark. I think that says it all. I'm casting my vote for Kerry. George Bush has filled enough caskets.

There has never been a time in my voting life that an incumbent has drawn this much ire. While Mr. Kerry may not be the perfect candidate, the unending slander, labels, and belligerent attitudes toward him by much of the opposition belittles the election process and the Republican party. Mr. Kerry does have some good ideas and we should give him consideration. It is time to get out of a ballooning deficit, a war that the president, in my view, is not being entirely truthful about, and a position in the world that is becoming detrimental.
MkB, Worcester, MA, USA

I'm afraid it's all downhill from here. Anything Kerry does now appears as desperation. The Democrats have made the same mistake in this election as they did in 2000 - they've under-estimated Bush "strategy". He may not be the best public speaker in the world, but he's not the fool the Democrats make him out to be either.
Jay, Nashville, USA

This will be a close election, but the economy will, like always, determine the result
Dave, Colorado, USA
Yes, Kerry can beat Bush. The only reason Bush has a chance is because of 9/11. People forget that Bush didn't actually win the election in 2000. There are many reasons for conservatives, moderates, and liberals to want Bush out. Kerry is a weak candidate, but Bush is even weaker. This will be a close election, but the economy will, like always, determine the results. This economy is at best sluggish - despite what the current regime says. And Americans know it.
Dave, Colorado, USA

I think Kerry can win - if he starts a full-on assault of Mr. Bush's record over these disastrous four years. Kerry has already won the vote of die-hard Democrats and those in the anti-Bush camp - I know my absentee ballot will be filed on his side. But this election will be won with the swing voters, and currently Kerry hasn't come on strong enough to win them over.
Eric, Leeds, England

You know what the sad thing is... since I have been able to vote, in four elections now; it seems as if I am always choosing between the lesser of two evils. I wish we could have some men or women of moral character, intelligence, and ingenuity to vote for... on both side of the ticket! I don't think I would be proud to say either Bush or Kerry is my president.
Molly McGrath, Long Beach, California

Sure, John Kerry can win... but not as long as his campaign consists of "Hey, vote for me because I'm not that other guy"... and that's been his campaign strategy for the last year.
Darryn, Chicago, USA

While Bush contends that his foreign policy is resolute, Kerry must attack it as the reckless and dangerous policy that it is
Rick James, Helsinki

In order to beat Bush, Kerry's team will need to attack Bush in the same way that he is being attacked by the Republican election machine. While Bush contends that his foreign policy is resolute, Kerry must attack it as the reckless and dangerous policy that it is. On domestic issues he must turn around the sentiment on things like tax breaks and education. The tax breaks need to be attacked by providing specific details of the tax breaks given to individuals. (Rupert Murdock's billion dollar tax break comes to mind.) And they should change the slogan "no child left behind" to "no rich child left behind". They will also need to smear Bush's military record and start malicious whisper campaigns about his youth. Unfortunately if Kerry's team does this it will divide the country, if they don't they will lose.
Rick James, Helsinki

The election here is run like a game, who has the best line, who baited who, who said the best lie in the most convincing manner and so on. Unfortunately, it is not a game, our lives depend on it, and the fact that Bush has had a miserable tenure as a president seems to be lost in this nonsense. How can anybody be worse than Bush, the world is a far more dangerous place in the last four years, and so is our domestic agenda, no matter how the Republican convention has spun it. We Americans make our own destiny; God forbid if we put Bush back in, we will get four more years of this misery.
Ajit Nagrkar, NJ, USA

Kerry's inability to identify a positive buzzword to characterize himself and the principles he stands for has allowed his candidate to define him as an insecure narcissist with a backbone of jello
Jon, Chicago, USA

I'm amazed with how successful the Bush campaign has been in labelling Kerry as a flip-flopper, when in all reality, hoity-toity Massachusetts liberalism has consistently reared its ugly head in Kerry's voting record throughout his impotent and inconsequential political career. Kerry's inability to identify a positive buzzword to characterize himself and the principles he stands for has allowed his candidate to define him as an insecure narcissist with a backbone of jello - and people are buying it. Kerry, out of desperation, is trying to come up with a witty slur for Bush. "W stands for Wrong" just sounds ridiculous. Poor Kerry campaign. Kerry can't even surround himself with competent political advisors - heaven forbid he gets elected and has to choose a cabinet. The Kerry campaign is going down in flames.
Jon, Chicago, USA

Kerry never had a chance. He was always a weak candidate, and his deficiencies are getting more obvious. More than half of those intending to vote Democrat are voting against Bush, not for Kerry. This reminds me of Dole in 1996 - the basic appeal was anti-Clinton, and the result was a fiasco. As it is, the big players in the Democrat party are not sorry to lose. Hilary and the others would prefer to run against a non-incumbent in 2008.
Charles, USA

There are people in our country who will vote for Kerry just to get rid of Bush
Ivy, Baytown, TX
The opinion polls do not ask the 50,000 angry college students at the University of Texas. They do not ask the community college students. They ask middle-class people. No one knows how many people are going to show up for this election, but there are people in our country who will vote for Kerry just to get rid of Bush. It's sad, but it's the truth. Kerry is the lesser of two evils.
Ivy, Baytown, TX

A leader articulately persuades the populace to pursue a new course. A politician says only what his focus groups tell him to say. With Kerry's focus groups being made up of poorly informed Americans, this is truly a case of the blind leading the blind. Kerry's only way to make a name for himself and gain any momentum is to take some controversial stands, stick to them, and work at convincing the American people to agree with him. If he fails to take any risks, we'll be stuck with G. Bush for four more disastrous years.
Ralph Barbour, American in Australia

Virtually any democrat could defeat George W, unfortunately, John Kerry is not one of them. He has made the mistake, as others here have said, that he let George W. define him. I still don't know who John Kerry is, but the more I hear and listen, the less I like him.
Cliff, Scottsdale, USA

The Democrats lack a certain ruthlessness in their campaign that will ultimately sink Kerry's bid
Justin Kim, New York, NY, USA
The Democrats lack a certain ruthlessness in their campaign that I think will ultimately sink Kerry's bid. Kerry can't run on his charisma like Bill Clinton could, so they need to come out with a clear focused campaign message that isn't afraid to go strongly negative on Bush. So far, the Republicans have been so smart about their campaign and the Kerry campaign so weak, it isn't surprising that Bush has been more than holding his own. Just looking at the state of the economy should make voting for Kerry a no-brainer. It boggles the mind that the Kerry campaign has managed to do so poorly.
Justin Kim, New York, NY, USA

There are a few fundamental flaws in the campaign of John Kerry. First, a large number of his 'supporters' are voting with an 'anyone but Bush' attitude. Second, he has always defined himself by the four months he spent in Vietnam - a war that was much more divisive than the current war in Iraq. Add that to his voting record which seems to change with the weather, and no concrete agenda for the future and it is a wonder that he is still in the race. He promises jobs, and economic prosperity with no specifics on how he will achieve them. Also, we don't need to be more 'sensitive and compassionate' in the war on terror. Like him or not, you know where Bush stands on all issues, and what he will do. The bottom line is after 2 November, regardless of the outcome, this country will still be deeply divided for at least another four years.
Will, Hillcrest, CA, USA

I'm sad to say that most American voters really couldn't care less about facts and issues. At the Republican convention, to wild cheers and applause, Arnold Schwarzenegger declared that his hero was John Wayne; a couple of nights later, Bush stood up and did a John Wayne impersonation, and got a ten point bounce out of it. Unless Kerry can pull off an equally simple minded and successful magic trick, he's probably done for.
Gerrit, Rhinebeck, NY, USA

Here's what it comes down to; all Republicans vote, very few Dems do. I didn't vote for Bush the first go around, I will this time.

Kerry can beat Bush as long as he stays the course and sticks to addressing the American people's concerns
Monique Rawlings, Riverside, USA
I don't believe in polls. Polls are just pure propaganda. I believe Kerry can beat Bush as long as he stays the course and sticks to addressing the American people's concerns and issues. We do need a change from the current administration.
Monique Rawlings, Riverside, USA

The election isn't until early November. Anything can happen. Including, in particular, actions external to the US that could affect the outcome. It's going to be a close race right until the end. Bush has strong support. Kerry has strong anti-Bush support. The most likely outcome at this point is that Bush will squeak in again. But those who want to poll watch should look at the polls for the 15 or so "close" states, not the national voter polls.
Randal Lord, USA

There is not a chance that Kerry will win! His inability to communicate even a basic plan has already sunk him.
Kyle, NJ, USA

It's not just a question who will win but rather by how much of a margin. The American masses have made up their minds a long time ago. Four years is too much of a sampler. Everything will depend on how the events in Iraq will unfold closer to the elections and how much more beating the US economy can take. The American voters are lulled into a sense of complacency and must be jolted into action.
Rum Singhawansa, North York, Toronto, Canada

The debates might change people's opinions, but unfortunately the electoral college is in Bush's favour.
Jim, US

Kerry will kneel at the altar of the UN
Sean, Washington, USA
Kerry scares me much more than Bush does. Bush is a known quantity. Bush has admittedly made some mistakes, and it wouldn't have hurt him to apologize on several issues. Bush stands for some things I don't agree with like taking away a woman's right to choose. No uterus, no opinion. Kerry will kneel at the altar of the UN, and consult France and Germany on every foreign policy decision. It would be nice to be on the same page with the rest of the world regarding our foreign policy, but it must not be the determining factor in our decisions. I'm certainly not for higher taxes, it's clear to me that the government doesn't know how to spend the money it's getting now.
Sean, Washington, USA

The Bush legacy is so poor, the man such a danger to the world that Kerry really must win. Thankfully he has a record of coming from behind to smash the opposition. It's time he untied his hands and exposed Bush for what he is. If he does that and manages to connect with ordinary people, he will win.
Richard Washington, London, UK

Unfortunately, these polls are reasonably accurate but this is, as you mention, a bounce. What they don't take into account is a huge turnout. I believe that this could be one of the BIGGEST voter turnouts in a century. The election has been reduced to insults on both sides, regardless of whose mouth it comes out of. It's become a divided country not seen since Nixon & Vietnam. Bush is just a scandal (he's due for a big one) away from having it all unravel.
Scott, Orlando, FL

Kerry needs Bush to make a mistake in order to win. But Bush is disciplined and focused. Also, Bush has outlined an agenda for the future. Kerry is too focused on his 4 months in Vietnam.
David, Philadelphia

The people who instigated the Beslan tragedy have assured a second term for Bush.
Kate, NJ, USA
The images seared into the collective US mind from Beslan will sustain the bounce through November. When children are victimized, most adults are instinctively galvanized to respond decisively against the perceived victimizers. It would take a time machine and a revision of current history for Kerry to win now. The people who instigated the Beslan tragedy have assured a second term for Bush.
Kate, NJ, USA

A country that would elect George W. Bush is in a sad state of affairs. Sadly, we are such a nation. We mistake stubbornness and oversimplification for "true grit" and "leadership." We grasp on to a spin word like "flip-flop" to save ourselves from having to confront complex issues. We will elect someone who destroys our collective intelligence because we find it comforting. We will remain fat, stupid, bloated with our own wealth and power, until someone else constructs a nation strong enough to exploit our obvious weaknesses. Of course Kerry should win; he, at least, hasn't destroyed our economy, our jobs, our educational system, our lands, our confidence. But we don't care; we want rhetoric; we want simplicity. We'll get it.
KMJ, Atlanta, GA

Mr. Bush will be able to sustain his momentum and will go on to win the November elections. Mr. Kerry is a weak leader who has absolutely no agenda - he nods his head to whatever the audience says. We need a leader who can think and act, not one who can hear and nod.
Arun, Morgantown, USA

Opinion polls like the news is open to manipulation - Kerry still has a chance. Don't count him out. There are people that don't like Bush's policies - more people than you would think. This election is a time for people to vote...and hopefully the election is fair and that the President is chosen by the people. If Bush gets four more years, the people in the world need to realize it is likely there will be more wars and more distortions of the truth. Not all of us in the United States buy into the tactics that have been used in the last four years. Keep your fingers crossed for Kerry.
NK, Provo, UT, USA

The shock of Bush's apparent lead will get these voters off their seats and into the polling booths
Peter, Vancouver, Canada
On the contrary, the latest Time poll (showing Bush ahead by 10 points) is exactly what the Kerry campaign needed! The vast majority of Americans don't actually want Bush to win but don't bother to vote. The shock of Bush's apparent lead will get these voters off their seats and into the polling booths.
Peter, Vancouver, Canada

As an American living abroad, I am saddened by the comments made by my countrymen - on both sides of the fence. It's no wonder campaigns are no longer thoughtful and longsighted when the voters themselves decide in the heat of the moment, make fallacious cause/effect statements and treat the election as more of a football game than a vote for the kind of society they want. Vote whichever way you will - but think about what it means long-term, and not just for you, but for your less fortunate American neighbours and the world.
INS, Oxford, UK

This election is far from over - Kerry has yet to have three debates with Bush. Kerry must focus on jobs, education, and the cost of Bush and his foreign policies to America. The debates are crucial, and Kerry must be brutal. (He should also wear his medals).
Rob, Northfleet, UK

Not a chance! The American people know that the job of their President is to defend and protect them as well as their Constitution. How can a man, like Kerry, who cannot even run an effective campaign for his own election, defend and protect an entire nation of 250+ million people.
Doria Densitt, IL, USA

Kerry should stop pussyfooting around the issues
M, Dallas, TX, USA
I don't know what everyone's so afraid of. As far as I can tell, nothing has changed. People are still poorer (except for Bush's friends), the war is still a disaster, and Bush is still a worldwide embarrassment for the whole country. Kerry should stop pussyfooting around the issues and go for him head-on. The facts are on his side.
M, Dallas, TX, USA

Polls have no sense this early on in the campaign, especially a survey of less than a thousand people. However the more we learn about and see Kerry, the less competent he seems.
Alexis, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sadly, I don't think he can. Bush seems to have learned from Michael Moore that ridicule is a pretty powerful weapon, as seen by the hundreds of souvenir flip-flops at the convention.... Frankly I never understood why the Democrats went for Kerry as their candidate anyway, he seems to have a complete inability to look or sound in touch with anything. Would have been very interesting to see whether a Bush-Dean contest would have been any closer...
Ruth, UK

Kerry more than likely has my vote, but that won't be enough to save him. Without question, Kerry is more intelligent than Bush, but unfortunately, Kerry is going to get smoked in the debates. Kerry's wishy-washy record will sink him; he has changed his stance so many times that anything he says is bound to contradict something he has said before.
Brent , Philadelphia, PA, USA

Kerry will not win because he was the wrong candidate for this time. If the Democrats truly cared about all the American public, they would not have presented the U.S. voters with the most liberal senator to oppose a strong conservative. They needed to pick someone closer to the middle ground, which they did not. So, most Christians, people with conservative or moderate values and business leaders will not vote for Kerry. The Democrats lost a perfect opportunity and it looks like they are starting to figure that out.
Aaron, Waco, TX, USA

If people feel like Kerry lacks definition, all he has to do then is beat Bush in a debate on every issue possible because Bush won't have his speech writers to save him in that situation.
Ezekiel Phayze, Leicester, UK

He needs to be a bit more upfront about what exactly his policies are
Paul Phillips, Birmingham, UK
Whilst I'm no great fan of George Bush, at least you know where you are in terms of his views and his policies. I reckon that if Kerry is to have a chance, then he needs to be a bit more upfront about what exactly his policies are and how his approach would differ from that of George Bush and the Republicans.
Paul Phillips, Birmingham, UK

The problem with Kerry is that his campaign is aimed at not offending the establishment. He is happy to hope that Bush might lose it but not willing to risk doing anything to win it.
Nicholas Simpson, Malta

If the Democrats had focused on the best candidate instead of just being anti-Bush at any cost they might have had a chance.
Michael Chittum, San Francisco, USA

Kerry has been found out as being just another indecisive liberal do-gooder. If he got elected he would probably be about as effective as Jimmy Carter. Most Americans realise that all of the conciliatory rhetoric will just be taken as weakness by Bin Laden and co. I suspect that Bush will be elected with a clear majority. Kerry is no more likely to be elected than Neil Kinnock was in the UK in 1983.
Andrew, Cardiff, UK

America must regain the respect, trust and admiration of the world
Robert Bond, Kingston, Jamaica
Kerry must hit back hard at Bush and the Republicans. America must regain the respect, trust and admiration of the world. Bush and his cronies have squandered America's social capital around the globe. I hope that Kerry can stand up and fight.
Robert Bond, Kingston, Jamaica

It worries me that Bush may be re-elected. US voters seem to think that Bush will protect them from terrorism. I think that he is more likely to incite more. The US voters and politicians need to stop and think for a minute. What is it about their foreign policy that drives other nationals to hate them so much, that they would even think of becoming a terrorist? Maybe they should take more time to look after their own economic situation and take a more reconciliatory approach with their foreign policy.
Katrina Kirkpatrick, Glasgow, Scotland

I think it is time for regime change in the USA. However, if Bush is re-elected then I would like to see the UK distance itself from his obnoxious policies.
Carolyn Little, Coventry, UK

Does it really make any difference? Every politician makes promises the same way and breaks them exactly the same way. So doesn't matter who gets elected.
Farhan, Manchester

People don't know what Kerry stands for
Tom Hunsberger, Canada and Mexico
Kerry has been too soft on Bush and that makes him look weak. After all, this is a president who is throwing away American (and Iraqi) lives just to make his circle of supporters richer. It is Kerry's obligation to remind the American people that Bush fabricated a link between 9/11 and Iraq in order to justify this war. But instead, when he talks about Iraq, it's the same old drivel about "democracy" and "freedom". People don't know what Kerry stands for - and they're ready to accept the big lie perpetrated by Bush.
Tom Hunsberger, Canada and Mexico

The presidential election will be won by the candidate with the most Electoral College votes, not the popular vote. Bite your lip and hunker down. We're in for 4 more years of Bush.
Chuck Kulig, Chicago, USA

Kerry has had the full might of Hollywood on his side, significant media support (save Fox News I believe), invoked Vietnam, and yet Bush is still ahead in the polls. No, there is nothing Kerry can do to reinvigorate his campaign after playing all his trump cards already. Thank God.
Ben, Leeds, UK

It is hard for me to believe that folks are still supporting Bush after hearing what his military service record is, after hearing about why we really got into the war with Iraq, how much money Halliburton is making in Iraq at the taxpayers' expense and how Bush ignored the warnings before 9-11. I just wonder what our once courageous country with the values of truth, justice and liberty is heading for if we stay the course we are following now. People should wake up and look around instead of just swallowing the lines the current administration is feeding to people who will innocently believe that it is the truth.
Jan, Portland, OR

If everyone who dislikes Bush actually votes, he doesn't stand a chance
Anna, Toledo, USA
It really surprises me that George W. Bush even has a chance of winning this election. I live in the US and have only met one person who actually likes Bush. Everyone else hates him and is embarrassed that he's the president. I think if everyone who dislikes Bush actually votes, he doesn't stand a chance.
Anna, Toledo, USA

Of course Kerry can't beat Bush. John Kerry will tell the public whatever he thinks they want to hear, he just forgets there is a record of what else he's promised. He's a goner
Greg, St. Petersburg, FL

God forbid that Bush will win. This country cannot withstand another four years of him. We are a great country with wonderful, hard working people who are losing everything to Bush's rich and powerful cronies. Not only that but now Americans are hated all over the world because of him and that is not the real America that the world should see.
Lynn Anderson, Clinton, TN, USA

Europeans do not understand Americans or their voting
Grant, Atlanta, GA, USA
I have long held the belief that Europeans do not understand Americans or their voting. This is proving to be true once again. Bush now has a double digit lead over Kerry while the European media shows favouritism towards Kerry. However, it is the American public that chooses the next US President and until Europeans spend a little more time trying to understand the differences between America and Europe and stop expecting us to be like them, they will continue to misunderstand and misrepresent our politics and our intentions, especially on the world stage.
Grant, Atlanta, GA, USA

I hope he can pull it back. I am certainly afraid that if Bush is re-elected America will never regain its standing with the rest of the world in regards to peace and the ability to carry out diplomacy.
Christine, Dayton, OH, USA

No, he can't and won't. Our country hasn't been attacked on our soil since Bush had the spine to address the terrorists and take the fight to them. John Kerry is delusional. He thinks we can bargain with terrorists - fight a "more sensitive" war. If John Kerry wins the presidency, we will see a repeat of such incidents in the US and the UK and other places in the world, because the terrorists will see him as weak.
Kathy Dean, Pennsylvania, USA

I would certainly hope that no-one has made up their minds at such an early stage
Rachael, Macclesfield, UK
I would certainly hope that no-one has made up their minds at such an early stage; it's a long time until November. But I also sincerely hope that voters consider the way in which other nations view the election. Granted, the President's first and foremost duty is to his own country, but surely the nigh on universal dislike of him and his policies should cause alarm bells to ring in the mind of any intelligent American. It's all very well Bush promising to keep America safe, but if he continues to put other nations' noses out of joint in the arrogant way he has done so far, that job may be much harder than he supposes.
Rachael, Macclesfield, UK

Kerry will lose due to the fact he is weak, can not stand on his own legislative record, and as Jay Leno said, even his hobby depends on which way the wind blows.
Anne Days, United States

I think both of them have their own advocates and have the same chance to be elected. But I think Mr Bush has more chance to be re-elected.
Mohsen, Iran

No, Kerry has reached the point of no return. With most American cities over 60% in belief that Bush will win the ticket care of SurveyUSA, a lot of Dems will be staying home and doing nothing. The energized conservatives of the suburbs and countryside will do the rest.
Matt Hodge, Kyoto, Japan

At the start of the campaign I would have had my money on Kerry but after hearing and seeing his speeches I now think Bush will stroll it.
Sean Steemson, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

I'm certainly hoping that Bush doesn't get re-elected.
Ben, Swansea, Wales, UK
I'm certainly hoping that Bush doesn't get re-elected. Although I am fearful that the extravagant, highly sleazy and brain washing republican campaign will win Bush a second term! But sadly I'm not entirely convinced that the Kerry and the Democrats would be that much better!
Ben, Swansea, Wales, UK.

I want Kerry to win. I want him to take the commanding lead role. But Kerry seems to be a slow and retired. I fear his own 20-yr. records could hurt him. He should stop his flip-flopping talk and show clearly where he stands, but I doubt if he can change his personality in a short time.
Frances, California

I believe Kerry must win. Bush's policies are not just inept, but down right dangerous to US and the world. I'm patiently waiting for the debates to boost Kerry back up where he should be to win. I'm ashamed that so many of my fellow Americans would condone the infantile, mean-spirited, and slanderous attacks Bush has piled upon a person. The Republican convention was like watching kids in a playground. br />Jamie Kelly, St. Louis. USA

Two polls out of how many? Then there are the polls that still show them dead even. Along with the polls that show Kerry ahead. Yes, Kerry can, and will beat Bush. He has to. This country, dare I say, the world, cannot afford four more years of Bush and his destructive policies. Unlike Bush, Kerry has been a gentleman in his quest for the office of President. The gloves have now come off, the truth will now come out and anyone unafraid of the truth, will vote for Kerry in November.
Renee, San Diego, CA. USA

George Bush is far from perfect, but that hardly justifies his replacement by an unaccomplished backbencher who is no more honest, and some say considerably more dishonest, than he is.
Shan Greville, Opocno, Czech Republic

It would be foolish to say that the election is won or lost for either side this early
John, New York, USA
The numbers may look disappointing for Kerry supporters coming as they do right after the Republican convention (especially as the Democrats didn't get the same bounce after theirs) but it would be foolish to say that the election is won or lost for either side this early. If a week is a long time in politics, two months can be a lifetime. We should look to the debates as being the first real deciders for this knife-edge election.
John, New York, USA

I think both candidates' policies are similar in many respects. Still, Kerry could make good what Bush messed up - he could heal the rift with many European countries. He should also point out how he would change the US's dependency on foreign oil, and how he would improve life for the average (i.e. not rich) American. But please, John Kerry, don't dumb down to George W's level to ingratiate yourself with American voters!
Paulina Smid, London, UK

I'm afraid I have no faith in the US electorate and I predict that there's enough people who'll be swept up in the Bush camp's jingoism, fear-mongering and slander to outweigh the ones who can see through him.
Nick, Birmingham, UK

No. He can't, he won't, and he shouldn't. I did not vote for Bush last time, but I will vote for him in November. I don't agree fully with either candidate, but I don't trust Kerry as far as I can throw him. Bush has proven to be steadfast in his beliefs and in this war on terror. The only way Kerry can reinvigorate his campaign is to flip-flop some more to say what he thinks voters want to hear.
Sandy, Ohio, USA

Most people I talk to happen to believe that another four-year term for Mr. Bush could be devastating for world peace and stability. If Bush really wins this election, then it would be more Kerry's and Democratic Party's failure to deliver the right message to the public than Bush's victory. Bush has been shameless and has crossed all moral limits to use 9/11 to his political favour and cover his failures by his constant hammering of "Only I can save the world and US from terrorists".
Rakesh, London, UK

How could Kerry reinvigorate his campaign? Answer: He can't. As the campaign gets more intense the voters will see more of the candidates. President Bush is a known card. The true Kerry has been more or less unknown. Now his previous 20 years in the Senate will be scrutinized. That legacy will not fare any better than his 4 months in Vietnam.
Mikael Gennser, Stockholm, Sweden

Kerry would have a chance if he told the voters what he would do differently from Bush. He could also stop the Swift Boat Vet attacks by releasing his complete military record. It will not be easy for Kerry. I think far more than the well-executed Republican convention, voters are sliding to Bush because of the recent atrocity in Russia. In that event who would you want for President? A man with a backbone or a man who vows to would fight a more sensitive war on terrorism?

Kerry can beat Bush. ...but who cares? The question should rather be: Does the winner of this contest have the smack to make the US and the world a better place without forcing more into poverty, staring down the barrel of a gun or alienating every person who has a belief other than one accepted in the US? The US president is a primarily a mouthpiece for congress and big business. The democracy he represents is so easily distorted by the money that drives it, that it only lives in the minds of the population.
Sean, Brussels, Belgium, ex South Africa

Kerry can re-invigorate his campaign by actually discussing policies
Drew, Trinidad/France
Kerry can re-invigorate his campaign by actually discussing policies, instead of calling Bush names or hiding behind his war record. But, in my view, Democrats have never been about policy, so we can expect two more months of anti-Bush attack ads in a feeble effort to keep the poll numbers close.
Drew, Trinidad/France

Senator Kerry can beat Bush on his own issues: war in Iraq, employment stagnation and the down-sized cheap economy for American workers, the worst since the 1930's. Kerry can win by trapping Bush in his own untruths and calling him for what he is: a danger to American society and a very real menace to the rest of the world. If not, then Lady Liberty should be draped in black and the last person leaving America should turn out the already dimmed lights.
Nancy Herring, Missouri, USA

I was hoping the American public would be educated by Fahrenheit 9/11 and the widespread media condemnation of the Iraq War after no evidence of WMD was found, but alas it appears they are falling for it all again hook, line and sinker. Bush's greatest strength is his formidable alliances, which despite his countless faux pas and questionable judgement has enabled him to maintain a stranglehold on the electorate. Whilst Clinton strength was his own strength and amiable nature, the Bush presidency is proof positive that command is as much about who you know, rather than who you are and what you stand for.
Darren Coleman, Westbury, UK

Given the organised (and relentlessly nasty) front the Republicans presented last week a bounce was inevitable but Kerry can still win, let's see how the debates go. Hopefully Kerry won't make Al Gore's mistake and go soft on Bush. For the sake of the world the Democrats have got to stop being so gentlemanly and go for the throat. It will be interesting to see how Bush handles Kerry face to face when the subject of what they both did during Vietnam and 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' comes up.
Neil, Leigh on Sea

I would like to think that Kerry could win, but I fear that there are so many right-wing, war-obsessed voters in the US who will believe all of the lies fed to them by the Bush regime that he will once again win the day. My apologies to educated and liberal Americans, and I'm not suggesting that the UK population is necessarily better informed, but when we have such poor-quality democracy in the world it's easy to see why other ideologies are not too keen to embrace it.
Peter, Telford, UK

President Bush will win because of his strong leadership and management abilities. No one wants an anti-war candidate and that is what John Kerry is. If his own peers in Vietnam say he is unfit for command, then the US voters should say the same.
Jenna Ferris, Beirut, Lebanon

I truly fear that Bush scare propaganda has sunk into the poorly educated Americans who form many voters in the country. They sure will dig out Osama or something equivalent just days before the election or create a new conflict. Democrats should fight street by street to activate all the voters needed to remove this worst US government ever.
Istvan Hunanui, Chisinau, Moldova

While Kerry harps on about Vietnam Bush is out there gaining more support. Kerry has shot himself in the foot trying to use his controversial Vietnam record to try and bolster his campaign. Bush all the way.
Robert Sutton, Halifax England

He (Kerry) has made the cardinal mistake of letting Bush define him. The only way he wins is to start calling a spade a spade. Take the gloves off Kerry or you are going down to what I consider to be the worst President in US history. Do not do what Gore did in the debates 4 years ago.
Richard Phillips, USA

No. Kerry's squandered his opportunity to define himself and now Bush has now done it for him. The Democratic party is too divided in what it wants for Kerry to come up with a coherent message that Kerry can use to unite them. I would have given the man a fair hearing, but the more I watch him in action, the more pathetic he looks.
Mary K., San Francisco, USA


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