Kerry stands chance — the plot thickens

Forget the Mars rover that actually works or the honorary knighthood that will be bestowed on Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The news story this weekend that made me choke on my coffee was that John Kerry stands a chance against George W. Bush.

Not that that would be a bad thing, but with conservative pundits shouting down the opposition as already beaten, this came somewhat unexpectedly.

But there seems to be at least a chance. According to a Newsweek poll, Kerry would win the presidential election against Bush if the election were to be held today. Fox News projected 49 percent voting for Kerry and 46 percent for Bush.

The most interesting numbers are that 52 percent of voters don’t want to see Bush re-elected, while 44 percent do. This is backed up by another poll done by Newsweek: 44 percent of questioned potential voters expressed dissatisfaction with the president, while 52 said he is doing a good job. This is the lowest approval rating Bush has received since taking office. Bearing in mind that this poll was conducted on Friday and Saturday, merely days after the State of the Union address on Tuesday — arguably Bush’s most important speech of the year — it does not look good for our current commander in chief.

When considering the nature of the State of the Union speech, the drop in approval ratings does not surprise me too much. On Wednesday, I spoke to somebody who lives in a rural area in Kentucky and she nailed the opinion a lot of Americans seems to share: “He needs to take a good look around,” she said. “All is not well in the union right now.”

Seeing how her family and a lot of her relatives live on social benefits, she has a point and knows what she is talking about. Even if the economy is coming out of recession, this does not necessarily mean individuals are doing better. Rather, corporations are making more money while cutting down expenses that often are saved by paying employees less or giving them less benefits.

If all of us worked three jobs and still barely got by because the pay was so bad, the economy would still flourish. But that does not mean “the world is changing for the better” like Bush said in his speech Tuesday. What it means is that the wealthy are making more profits while more and more people fall into poverty.

Kerry seems to be doing very well lately because he is the most eloquent of the Democratic candidates who promises to change such trends. In his recent campaign speeches, he often suggested changing tax code guidelines. These guidelines have swelled from four pages to several hundred pages and are now full of tax loopholes for the wealthy.

Naturally this will gain the support of those that could possibly save money. Bush himself knows this approach quite well, but still has to learn that if you offer cuts to five percent of the population, the remaining 95 percent will probably not look upon it too favorably.

For the rest of the population that makes enough to get by, the lies embedded in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union might be enough ammunition to knock him out this November.

The shocking news revealed by recently retired weapons inspector David Kay speaking to Reuters was that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and haven’t been since the late ’80s. Bush said in last year’s State of the Union speech that the country was in possession of “biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax — enough doses to kill several million people,” one of many statements that have proven to be untrue and will play a large part in the upcoming election.

Sadly for Kerry supporters, though, polls done before the New Hampshire primary have historically not been very conclusive of the outcome. The democratic candidacy, let alone the presidency, is not won yet. But this also means the Bush team will have to work a lot harder than it probably expected.

Sebastian Meyer is a junior majoring environmental science and is an Oracle Opinion Editor.