msnbc.com
updated 7/23/2004 9:45:01 AM ET 2004-07-23T13:45:01

Sen. John Kerry might like to be faring better in head-to-head polls against President Bush, but the momentum is certainly with the Democrat as he heads toward Boston to pick up his party's nomination late next week. So for the fifth consecutive week, Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards hold the lead in MSNBC.com's White House Derby.

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Even though the broadcast networks see little on which they are willing to spend programming time during next week's Democratic confab, Kerry and running mate John Edwards will enjoy plenty of coverage from newspapers, cable, the weekly news magazines and on the Web. As party stalwarts -- Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and many others -- trot one after the other to the Fleet Center podium, political junkies will get a hearty helping of Bush-bashing sound bites.

Meanwhile, the president will be lying low, leaving counterattacks to Vice President Dick Cheney and a special Republican "war room" in Boston. But they are unlikely to get nearly as much attention as the Dems, who seemed unfazed by bad ink they got over the Sandy Berger probe and their star-studded New York fund-raiser.

Some good news for Bush
There was some good news for Bush in an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Friday: Bush is receiving a slightly better job rating than he did in the late June survey, and he certainly continues to hold his own in the overall horse race where the Republicans are locked in a statistical tie with the Democrats and Ralph Nader gets 2 percent.

The Kerry media splash is likely to follow him and Edwards out of Boston as they embark on their 3,500 mile, 21-state "Believe in America" tour. In fact, Republicans themselves have already set the expectation of a 15-point post-convention bounce in the polls for the Democratic duo.

But Bush and Cheney need only wait a month until their party's convention offers the voting public at least an equal number of Kodak moments and a strong chance that they'll be back at the front of the White House Derby.

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