Thursday, September 2, 2004

GOP speeches elicit strong responses

By Gregory Korte
Enquirer staff writer

Cheney goes on offensive
Senator, wife heap praise
Speeches elicit responses
Young voters get own event
Bush enlists Buckeye aid
Protest arrests set record
Notes from New York
Election special section
Convention blog watch
Convention photo gallery

Remarks by:
Rob Portman
Elaine Chao
Mitch McConnell
Those Cincinnati-area swing voters who see terrorism as the greatest issue facing the country were even more likely to vote for President Bush after Wednesday night's Republican convention speeches by Sen. Zell Miller and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Those who see the nation's most pressing problems as closer to home were unimpressed, according to a focus group of swing voters conducted in Cincinnati by pollster Frank I. Luntz for the cable channel MSNBC.

Pollsters have found overwhelming majorities trust Bush more on national defense, while similar proportions favor Democrat John Kerry on the economy.

"Terrorism is the issue. When the airplanes are down, it even means the economy. It's everything," said Doug Campbell, a 43-year-old computer network designer from Sycamore Township. He voted for Bush in 2000.

"It doesn't matter what your domestic policy is if you don't have any homeland left to defend," said Allison Rasmussen, a 45-year-old financial planner from Anderson Township. She voted for Al Gore.

But others weren't buying the emphasis on foreign policy and national security. "They want us to think it's the most important issue, but it's not," said Pamela Miller, a 48-year-old marketing consultant from Montgomery. An independent, she supported Gore in 2000.

"There's a linkage here between national security and a move toward Bush," Luntz said.

Indeed, when Cheney talked in his speech about tax policy, his approval from Democratic swing voters dropped through the floor.

Using hand-held dials to gauge the reaction of 17 swing voters assembled at the WCET studios in the West End, Luntz noted a sharp drop from Democrats when Cheney said Americans were "overtaxed" when Bush came into office.

"They don't buy it," Luntz said. "He's very polarizing."

On Sen. Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat who defied his party to speak at the GOP convention, swing voters were again driven to extremes. Words they used to describe his speech, which mocked Democrats on national defense: "powerful," "slow," "hyperbole," "convincing," "on target" and "very negative."

For Luntz, Cincinnati has become a favorite place to take America's pulse.

"Ohio has every element of America in it. Big city, small town, rural. Farmers, large corporations and everything in between. ... Ohio is America, only smaller," he said.


Cheney goes on offensive
Senator, wife heap praise on Bush
GOP speeches elicit strong responses
Young voters get own event
Bush enlists aid of famous Buckeyes
Protest arrests set record
Notes from New York
Remarks by Rob Portman
Remarks by Elaine Chao
Remarks by Mitch McConnell

Ex-husband: Allen persisted
Attorney general to investigate claims
Smitherman: Tax stock options
Ky. 17 plan predicts growth
Airport's noise will dip, then escalate, officials say

Kids survive wreck, but parents killed
Question on roots gets Davis riled up
Gateway wins $1.7M U.S. education grant
Kentucky obituaries
Shopping center advances
News briefs

Persistent candidate on his way to the top
Springboro teacher resigns
Fairfield police reduce traffic control staffing
United Way hires UC to help analyze community's needs

Crash left him changed
Township 'biggie-sizes' lots
Clermont recycling expands, improves
Great Outdoor Weekend mimics 'Sampler' success
Neighbors briefs

Bronson: Springboro feels snubbed by museum
Good Things Happening: Sycamore grad still seeking marrow match

Hannah H. Hagin put family foremost

Homecoming high art for Guard and families
Soldier from local unit charged in Afghan deaths
7-year-old Iraqi patient out of Children's Hospital
Kings to honor gold-medal grad
City property tax rollback on ballot
Foundation to help soldiers
Attorneys for accused shooter face legal tangle
Worker training seems to help
Woman charged in fatal stabbing
Loveland derailment cleared
Public safety briefs