Plante: Our first viewer D.M. writes Ive heard of post-convention bounces in the polls, but didnt Bush get a big pre-convention bounce? Does it mean anything long-term?
DiVall: Well, actually the polls show Bush maintaining the same margin hes had for the last for or five weeks anywhere from six to ten points. Theres one poll that shows it to be a little bit larger than all the others - which we kind of discount those out line polls. The fact of the matter is; Governor Bush has consolidated his base. Hes in a position now to reach out to the key swing voters and we have to hope we can maintain this edge after the Democrats conclude their convention. As you know, whoever heads into Labor Day with the lead has won the Presidential election for about the last fifty years. So thats the trend we have to hope we can duplicate.
Plante: Im like the only person I know whos going to watch the conventions, notes Lily. So do they really matter when November comes?
DiVall: Well I think that for those people who tune in, particularly those who decide to watch this years conventions, are going to see a different type of Republican Party, a much more optimistic, inclusive party. I think youll hear that with Colin Powell tonight, who will also issue a challenge to Republicans to be more inclusive and to take on more responsibility. I think there is something there. Obviously not all Americans are going to watch it, but I think that for those who do, it does form an initial impression of the party and help them consider the nominee under the particular image they see during the convention.
Plante: Is Dick Cheney a help or hindrance to the ticket? Annette Louise wants to know.
DiVall: I think he is a significant asset. He represents the establishment, conservative wing of the party. He is going to help us address our problems on the governance issue. Hes a solid campaigner, but more importantly, people have seen him as Secretary of Defense, someone who is the voice of reason, somebody who has the quiet authority that he exudes. He knows how Congress operates, and that will be a significant plus for Bush, once they win the election.
Plante: S. Fierstein wants to know what you think will be the defining issue of the campaign?
DiVall: Thats an interesting question. I dont think there is a defining issue at this moment. I think there perhaps is more of a theme or an attitude, if you will. I think that whats going to be interesting to note at the two convention is how they include people in dealing with other peoples problems. The Democrats tend to look at the government. Republicans are saying faith-based institutions, charities, different community programs can also address problems. Im not sure theres a defining issue, so much as a sense of we can do greater. The Bush theme is renewing Americas purpose; that we can take on more responsibility, that we can help others. I think its that kind of tone that is strikingly different from Republicans in the past. Well see if a defining issue emerges in the next three months of the campaign.
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