Celinda Lake

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of the Washington research firm Lake Snell Perry & Associates, was Thursday's guest. Here are excerpts from her remarks:

On what voters perceive as the country's top issues:

"The war has jumped over the economy as the No. 1 problem. People think the war is going very, very poorly."

On the impact of the war in Iraq on rural America:

"[Democrats] are doing record well with rural women right now ... because 44 percent of the [soldiers] being killed are from towns of under 10,000. That really is unnerving rural America."

On voters' view of the economy:

"Fifty-one percent of the voters say the economy is getting worse. It has to be unbelievably frustrating to the administration when the statistics ... show the economy getting better. These sentiments are particularly true in battleground states."

On President Bush and congressional elections:

"He has no coattails at all in congressional races. There were the Reagan Democrats; there is no such thing as a Bush Democrat."

On the impact of the $80 million in Bush campaign ads attacking Senator Kerry:

"The one thing relentlessly driven home in their advertising is flip-flopper.... Steady and consistent in times of risk [is what] people really want. It is the steady and consistent [image] that's the most important thing for Kerry."

On same-sex marriage as an election issue:

"The one group of voters that are key to [Democrats] that are still bothered are the strictly Catholic, noncollege, older women. And they really are anti-gay marriage. We are going to need a strategy ... on the issue, particularly in battleground states."

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