Off to the (NBC News/Wall Street Journal) Races
The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is out and it has some very interesting findings about the role economic anxiety may play in this coming election. I'll cover those findings and provide some thoughts about how Democrats should approach the issue in tomorrow's post.
But today I thought I'd say a word or two about Bush's relatively strong horse race showing in this poll (2 points ahead of Kerry), compared to other recent public polls, which has occasioned some comment. Josh Marshall, for example, noted this and wondered whether the result was "an outlier or a trend" or perhaps was due to the NBC News question being asked of all adults, instead of registered or likely voters.
The all adults hypothesis doesn't seem to fit. Gallup and ABC News (see my March 9 post) do provide figures for all adults, in addition to registered/likely voters: in the Gallup poll, Kerry of Bush is ahead by 5 points among all adults and in the ABC News poll, Kerry is head of Bush by 11 points among all adults.
So we can safely reject the all adults hypothesis. What about time frame? Is the NBC News poll much more recent, so perhaps they're catching a shift in the public mood? Seems doubtful. The NBC News poll was conducted March 6-8, the Gallup poll March 5-7 and the ABC News poll March 4-7. That seems too close to account for the difference unless you believe March 8 was a very special day indeed.
So, to answer Marshall's question, it seems more outlier than trend. We'll see what other polls have to say as they come out, but that's the way it looks right now.
Actually, there were some other interesting horse race results in this poll that are at least as worthy of attention, if not more so. The poll had two tickets matched up against Bush-Cheney. The first, Kerry-Edwards, runs dead even with Bush-Cheney. The second, Kerry-Gephardt, runs 6 points behind Bush-Cheney. Interesting.
The poll also asked people whether they preferred that the Democrats or Republicans control Congress after the next election. By 4 points, they said they preferred that the Democrats wind up in control of Congress. That may not sound like much, but in this poll, that question has not returned a pro-Democratic margin since December, 1999. Now there's a result to conjure with.