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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women: "Kerry in a Struggle for a Democratic Base: Women
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE

WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 - It was no accident that John Kerry appeared Tuesday on 'Live With Regis and Kelly'' and recalled his days as a young prosecutor in a rape case. Or that he then flew from New York to Jacksonville, Fla., to promote his health care proposals. Or that on Thursday in Davenport, Iowa, he will preside over a forum on national security with an audience solely of women.
These appearances are part of an energetic drive by the Kerry campaign to win back voters that Democrats think are rightfully theirs: women.
In the last few weeks, Kerry campaign officials have been nervously eyeing polls that show an erosion of the senator's support among women, one of the Democratic Party's most reliable constituencies. In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted last week, women who are registered to vote were more likely to say they would vote for Mr. Bush than for Mr. Kerry, with 48 percent favoring Mr. Bush and 43 percent favoring Mr. Kerry.
In 2000, 54 percent of women voted for Al Gore, the Democratic nominee, while 43 percent voted for Mr. Bush.
Democratic and Republican pollsters say the reason for the change this year is that an issue Mr. Bush had initially pitched as part of an overall message - which candidate would be best able to protect the United States from terrorists - has become particularly compelling for women. Several said that a confluence of two events - a Republican convention that was loaded with provocative scenes of the Sept. 11 tragedy, and a terrorist attack on children in Russia - had helped recas"

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