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A Few More Thoughts on the State of the Race

Well, those cards and letters keep coming in, so I thought I'd respond to a few of the most common questions that have been posed to me.

1. How can you deny that Bush is ahead?

I don't. My view is that he is currently ahead, but only modestly, contrary to the tone of media coverage and the findings of some polls. I have tried to explain the reasoning behind this assessment, especially as it pertains to possible problems with contemporary polls.

It's worth noting that the latest poll data on RVs--ending the night of the 12th--have Kerry up by 2 (IBD/CSM/TIPP) or Bush up by 4 (ICR). That averages out to a 1 point Bush lead, even without party-weighting the data. And Rasmussen LV data for the period ending the 12th also has Bush with a one point lead.

2. How is it possible for samples of RVs to suddenly have too many Republican identifiers? Aren't voters just shifting their party identification?

It is certainly possible that we gone from, say, a 4-5 point Democrtic lead in party ID to a 4-5 point Republican lead in the space of the last month. But color me skeptical about this 8-10 point swing in a few short weeks.

A better explanation for this sudden shift in poll samples, in my view, is that when the political situation jazzes up supporters of one party, they are more likely to want to participate in a public opinion telephone poll and express their views. An increased rate of interview acceptance by that party’s supporters would then skew the sample toward that party without the underlying distribution having changed very much, if at all.

In this case, the Republican convention, coming on the heels of the Swift Boat controversy, may have helped raise political enthusiasm among Republican partisans, leading to more interview acceptances and a disproportionate number of Republicans in recent samples.

Do I know this for sure? No, I don't, because we lack direct evidence that this is happening, just as we lack direct evidence that individual voters are suddenly and massively shifting their party allegiance. But I do know which of these explanations I find more plausible and consistent with other evidence about the general stability of party ID.

3. Does your analysis mean we shouldn't be worried about the Kerry campaign?

No, by all means worry (though don't get carried away with it). Bush is ahead, if not by much, and has clearly regained the political initiative. Kerry has to push things back in the other direction. I agree with Josh Marshall that key here for Kerry is probably Iraq. The situation is going to hell in a handbasket, but Kerry so far has not been able to convince voters he has a strong alternative. That needs to change.

Now you may return to your regularly scheduled panicking.

Comments

IRAQ...the magic word

AGAIN

The national print media is literally exploding with stories about the disaster there.

I do not know what Kerry is waiting for.

I haven't known for six months ...of waiting for him to seize the moment

THAT is what worries me and THAT failure to seize the initiative in this campaign is what the polls now reflect.

It will not get better if he doesn't get to it.

It is past time

As a former Viet Nam War protestor, I agree completely. Why isn't he? Even if he doesn't have all the answers, and who does, how can he not express outrage...

I'm not panicking, but I am disheartened. I am still optimistic that Kerry will win because of some basic fundamentals that remain unchanged. First, Dems are united and energized. Second, Republicans are split into two camps: 1) die hards who'll vote for Bush even if he eats babies on tv, and 2) moderates who'll hold their noses and vote for Bush, or hold their noses and vote for Kerry, or stay home. Those are the fundamentals of this race -Dems united/Repubs split.

Additionally, independents and seniors are trending to Kerry. The polls bounce around, and when they do I get disheartened, but I'm still firmly optimistic.

Do they publish their rate of interview acceptance data? I know for academic surveys if it goes below I think around 70% you are in trouble and your survey is worthless.

Ruy, you're always saying everything's great! You just spin and spin! And Kerry is running a terrible race! He doesn't make me feel good! Nobody likes Bush, he's stupid! Any competent Democrat would be creaming him!

I've got a 124 point plan on my website that says how Kerry should run, and 82 talking points he needs to get in his commercials. So what I've never run a campaign before. I know what I feel!!!!

Kerry is beginning to start in on Iraq as an issue. On the top stories from the campaign trail during this evening's All Things Considered, the Kerry missive was a long, extended riff by Kerry about how Bush is in fantasyland and that everyone knows that Iraq is a disaster. Now, it wasn't a blistering attack, but it's start. I see this as a new campaign rhetorical shift, along with the not-exactly-accurate-but-nice-bit-of-bs-that-the-media-will-latch-on-to link between the lapse of the assualt weapons ban and terrorism.

To Hell in a Handbasket!

Yes indeed. But to use a mixed metaphor, Kerry has painted himself between Iraq and a hard place. Iraq is the elephant in the parlor. The republicans have no reason to support Kerry on this issue when he is basically saying he can salvage Bush's catastrophic success. For democrats this was the core issue that motivated the base. They settled on Kerry as a practical matter so they could be competitive on the national security issue. But Kerry has not distinguished himself on Iraq, so it's difficult for the undecided to get motivated. Again Kerry is playing by their rules when he promotes himself as an improved version of the war president. I agree with Marshall, the time for proposing a fix for Iraq is long gone. Kerry needs to think 5 steps ahead. That's going to be extremely difficult to do in just six weeks. It's clear that the US will eventually pull out completely and it will be a devastating blow for the country. We'll be discredited for at least 20 years. I'm beginning to think that the best election result would be if Bush gets another tainted electoral victory, but loses control of the senate. Let him take the heat and go down like Nixon.

Kerry: More of the Same Distortions from Bush
http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/002816.html#more

George Bush spoke today to the National Guard Association of the United States. John Kerry released the following statement in response to the president's remarks:

“Today, we heard more of the same distortions from the President about the situation in Iraq. George W. Bush keeps saying that things are getting better even when we all know that’s just not true. The fact is, no matter what he says, all of us can see for ourselves what’s happening in Iraq – we can see it on the front pages and on the nightly news. But why would we expect George Bush to level with us about Iraq? He never has.

“So I’ll be straight with you: things are getting worse. More than a thousand Americans have been killed. Instability is rising. Violence is spreading. Extremism is growing. There are now havens for terrorists that weren’t there before. And the Pentagon has even admitted that entire regions of Iraq are now controlled by insurgents and terrorists. The situation is serious – and we need a president who will set a new direction and be straight with the American people.

“The bottom line: it was wrong for America to go it alone. And now every American is paying the price. Almost all the casualties are the sons and daughters of America. And nearly 90 percent of the cost is coming out of your pocket. The price-tag so far: $200 billion and rising every day. That’s $200 billion we’re not investing in health care and education. That’s $200 billion we’re not investing to make sure no child is left behind. That’s $200 billion we’re not investing in new and better jobs. That’s $200 billion we’re not investing in homeland security, to protect our airports, our subways, our bridges and tunnels.”

Kerry just needs to keep pounding this simple message to win.,,,George W. Bush has NOT earned our TRUST, is a FAILURE as President, and should be FIRED !

Bush has been misleading the public, distorting fact, and contriving false realities on virtually every major issue to try and hide his POOR to ABYSMAL performance on the economy, jobs, healthcare, the environment, Iraq and more.

Perhaps Kerry is reading Juan Cole whose superb article nails the issue on why Bush failed in Iraq and is not winning the war in terror.

http://www.juancole.com/2004_09_01_juancole_archive.html#109487993311862124

There's plenty of ammo on how/why Bush FAILED on other key issues.

THK has cleverly opened a gaping hole in Bush's credibility with her spot on characterization of inattention and indifference as a false sense of Bush strength. Bush sees everything in black and white which shows arrogant stupidity and should be alarming to Americans i.e. Bush is inattentive which is dangerous so cannot be trusted.

More importantly THK has served up a distinguishing contrast who said of her husband, "His value in understanding complexity and not being afraid to face it and take action and follow through have been a trademark throughout his life."

I believe more Americans would prefer this type of person in charge as President.

I think the Kerry campaign now has the right message and just needs to pound it home !

Frisby -- Ruy is not saying everything is great. He is saying that there are many reasons for the current numbers and that it certainly appears Bush is ahead.

The key questions are (1)to what degree is Bush ahead?; and (2) does this constitute a death knell for Kerry? Ruy looks at the findings of two of the latest polls and concludes that on balance, if Bush is ahead, it is only by a small margin. With two months to go, a small margin is something that Kerry can surmount.

Now this does not mean that I am unconcerned. We have a complete incompetent in the White House right now and more people -- if only by a hair -- seem to be fine with that. This fact alone is very upsetting to me when so many of the issues are on Kerry's side.

Much has been made of Kerry's inability to express thoughts with simplicity. But that perspective obfuscates the media's complicity in creating a situation when a Bush victory assumes an air of inevitability, thus dampening the spirits of the rest of us.

I urge you to transform the concern you feel - which I share -- into working for the campaign, writing letters to the media, and getting all those ideas you have out there. Work to help get Kerry elected and stay away from panic. It will do us no good and we MUST win in November.

I think that the major problem here is that too much attention is being paid to these national polls....and obviously since they are all over the place some of them must be unreliable.

However, I think the real point is that regardless of which poll is right, the key still remains the state to state results. But there is this contradiction where so much of the race becomes this psychological game of 'who's got momentum' and if you're the one on down trend, then the focus is on perceived failure and weekness...and this whole game is played out on the national front.

So I think what Kerry or the DNC or MoveOn needs to do is put some money and energy into a national effort. In other words, stop just spending money in the battle ground states and take Bush on Nationally.

I know strategists think this is a waste of time and resources, but I think it is definitely needed to rev-up supporters/leaners in both Blue and Red states. Even though they can pretty much write these states off from an electoral perspective, gaining support in these states helps build and maintain support with regard to these national polls, which can shift the momentum back to Kerry so the headlines will stop being about him losing.

As a voter in California, it would be refreshing if a little attention was thrown this way. I don't get my news from TV - so I don't see John Kerry on TV, but I do watch 3 or 4 shows, and I can tell you that I have yet to see any Presidential Political advertisement yet.....it's hard to imagine that average democratic voters have really seen enough Kerry here to get excited.

I think the key to this race now is to capture some National momentum.....does anyone else think this is a valid theory????

Question: How are younger people polling?

If I'm between 18 and 29, and Iraq is melting, and neocons are rattling sabres for Iran, can the draft be far away?

No way I vote for this bastard now in office. I'd take my chances with Kerry - at least he has seen combat.

So question still stands - Where & how do young people poll and are they reflected in the numbers?

Radiohead -- I concur. I think some national attention by the Dems is requisite if we are to recpature the motivation of the base. Without a motivated base, we will not be able to benefit from turnout, which will ultimately determine the election outcome. As noted in my previous post, a key challenge will be how to overcome the seeming inevitability of a Bush victory. The psychological effects on the overall Kerry voter base are crucial considerations.

Delilah - are you in an ignored state too??

Radiohead -- I am in the belly of the beast: Texas. No doubt this state will go handily for Bush. That said, I live in Houston and I am not the only person driving around with Kerry-Edwards bumperstickers. I think the cities will go for KE while everything else will go for BC. But clearly, we do not see the advertising that is viewed in battlegrounds. We need to go national at this point... I agree with you!

Surely there is historical data on whether or not shifts in the polls correspond to shifts in party ID. For instance: did the last-minute shift towards the Republicans in 2002 correspond to an equal shift in party ID? If it did, that's bad news for Democrats, because it means the polls are probably right to include more Republican identifiers right now, as Bush climbs in the polls -- it's evidence that shifts in voting intentions corresponds to shifts in voter ID, and pollsters may be picking up on a change in the latter as well as the former, and are therefore right to include more Republicans in their polls. If it did not, then that suggests party ID is stickier than voting intentions, and the polls are exagerrating Bush's lead. It's an intriguing theory, that people are more likely to participate in polls if they think their guy is ahead, and definitely worth trying to measure empirically. If true, it means the entire phenomenon of the post-convention bounce may be at least partly an illusion. Conventions would, on this theory, serve mainly to create an image of momentum in the media which then fire up people in that party, leading them to participate more eagerly in polls.

I wonder if the perception of the campaigns are different for observers in battleground vs non-battleground states. Don't a lot of the pundits live in safe states that don't get the ad blitzes?

Is the Kerry campaign sluggish or is the media portrayal of it sluggish? What channel actually gives the campaign good coverage. When 50,000 showed up in Oregon, PBS showed a picture indicating a small crowd behind Kerry.

Um, there IS no strong alternative to Iraq is there? Except get out and let it go to hell of course...

About the polls, when they show that Bush's support among Repubs. is stronger than Kerry's support from the Democrats, they don't seem to show the anti-Bush sentiment.

Let's face it, some people will vote in this election just to get Bush out. In that sense, shouldn't there be a poll about the anti-Bush feeling?

We interrupt Fine Statistical Parsing Part 38 for a Real World Newsbreak...

The big problem that Senator Kerry has right now is that he has not communicated to the people of Ohio exactly what his plans are," said Paul Tipps, a Columbus lobbyist and former state Democratic party chair. "This state is very much John Kerry's to win. But he hasn't done it yet."


We now return you to your regularly scheduled arcana

No there is NO strong alternative on IraQ..in fact there is NO GOOD ALTERNATIVE on Iraq..

To his credit Ruy has been urging Kerry to take a real stand soon...

The advice fell on deaf ears.

Now it may be too late and may be too late for the simple reason that I do not believe that most voters appreciate just how TERRIBLE the BEST of our options is..

Now for JFK to deal with IraQ he has do first deal with that fact and that the fact that he has shilly shallied for so long on this...

May wind up costing him the election..

So I really don't much care whether Gallup's LV's are sound nor do I care that their party affiliations are skewed...

Kerry is behind because Kerry has failed.

That is what the polls show ...+1, +4 -3 ..

None of that matters not a wit

CONTACT THE CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS COMMITTEE (5 Dems, 5 Repubicans) TO DEMAND THAT THEY VOTE FOR A FULL INVESTIGATION OF THE ETHICS COMPLAINT AGAINST TOM DELAY AT THIER SEPT. 20, 2004 MEETING.

The complaint covers three areas:
1) DeLay's soliciting a bribe from Westar Energy in return for an amendment to the energy bill that would have resulted in millions of dollars in savings for the company;
2) DeLay's use of his PAC, Texans for a Republican Majority to launder corporate money, converting such funds into hard dollars that were donated directly to candidates for the Texas State Legislature; and
3) DeLay's use of the Federal Aviation Administration to track down a plane carrying Texas legislators who had left the State to avoid voting on DeLay's partisan redistricting plan.

***

ETHICS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
http://www.house.gov/ethics/CommitteeMembers.htm

10 Members = 5 Dems + 5 Republicans

THE REPUBLICAN MEMBERS:

JOEL HEFLEY - Colorado
2372 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
202-225-4422 voice
202-225-1942 fax
http://www.house.gov/hefley/contact.shtm

DOC HASTINGS – Washington
1323 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4704
(202) 225-5816
Fax: (202) 225-3251
http://www.house.gov/hastings/district.html

JUDY BIGGERT – Illinois
1213 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-3515
Fax: 202-225-9420
http://judybiggert.house.gov/contact.asp

STEVEN LATOURETTE – Ohio
2453 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone - (202) 225-5731
http://www.house.gov/latourette/contact.htm

KEN HULSHOF - Missouri
412 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-2509
Phone: (202) 225-2956
Fax: (202) 225-5712
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bio/?id=360&lvl=C


Learn more about the ethics complaint at http://www.citizensforethics.org/activities/20040615 /
.

This is a tight race...the margin for error is slight..the numbers of persuadables are relatively few...

And the election is now what it was in March..Kerry's election to lose..

We're still waiting and if things don't change PDQ...

On Novermber 3d ...

"How in the hell did he lose it?"

Not because Gallup didn't shoot straight with their polling data..

Not because of LV's, RV's, infernal internals, bounces big, bounces small

But because Kerry lost it.

John Mcc... I agree with you to some degree. We cannot sit around analyzing the polls and if the ultimate test on Nov. 2, then surely it will be Kerry's fault. That said, I don't think the situation is dire and I don't think Kerry is running a terrible campaign right now. I think he is sticking to the issues and his tie-in of Iraq with the economy is not a bad move. Thus, I am not personally ready to discuss failure as Kerry's fault (you of course are free to do whatever you like).

Mind is a mess... I meant to say "If the ultimate test on Nov. 2 ends in failure..."

Deliliah, that's sweet of you to say that, and I love your name. But my original post was sarcastic. I actually believe in the exact opposite of what I said. I think Kerry's gonna win, he's run a good race, he's made mistakes, he's recovered, he'll do that again.....that's life, that's politics. He's a smart and tough politician, which is what is needed in this difficult year.

It's to soon to panic. There has not been enough time for the ,so called, Bush bounce to evaporate. I am not worried about a thing Kerry is going to win this thing. The electorate is not dumb enough to reelect this madman.

Just to remind everyone how these polls are inaccurate, here is a rundown of some major national tracking polls on the weekend before the 2000 election:

(ABC News tracking poll)

Bush, 48 percent

Gore, 45 percent

Nader, 3 percent

Buchanan, 1 percent

Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 1,280 LV, MoE 3 percentage points

(CNN-USA Today-Gallup tracking poll)

Bush, 47 percent

Gore, 43 percent

Nader, 5 percent

Buchanan, less than percent

Nov. 1-Nov. 3, 2,222 LV, MoE 2 percentage points

(MSNBC-Reuters-Zogby tracking poll)

Bush, 46 percent

Gore, 42 percent

Nader, 6 percent

Buchanan, 1 percent

Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 1,206 LV, MoE 3 percentage points

(Voter.com Battleground tracking poll)

Bush, 46 percent

Gore, 37 percent

Nader, 5 percent

Buchanan, 1 percent

Oct. 30-Nov. 2, about 1,000 LV, MoE 3 percentage points

don't get me wrong...

but: GET OFF YOUR DUFFS and CANVASS, PHONE BANK, DONATE, talk to your folks and your friends, rip influential films like Uncovered and Hijacking Catastrophe and pass those out like candy. copy powerful articles from internet and pass them out like candy...

anyway, best of luck. we can do this it just takes some killer grassroots work. pass it on!

"The latest Democracy Corps strategy memo from James Carville and Stan Greenberg notes "there is striking stability in the essential structure of the presidential race. Voters still want change, they are upset with Bush's direction on Iraq and the economy, and they have serious doubts about Bush. And they respond strongly to Kerry's vision, defeating Bush's convention message by 7 points which is 10 points better than the race between Bush and Kerry."

The bottom line: "Despite the changes of August, Kerry’s message for America is still significantly stronger than the Bush message, which should be taken up by progressives with considerable confidence in its efficacy... Amidst the fog of conflicting poll numbers, convention bounces and many distractions, voters remain ready to respond to strong Democratic campaigns in 2004."

http://politicalwire.com/

Full Text Here....
http://www.democracycorps.com/reports/analyses/Prevailing_Democratic_Ideas.pdf

Kerry has the credentials and would probably make a good President, but he's a lousy campaigner and running a poor campaign. I was pulling for John Edwards in the primaries. Just like Bobby Kennedy, he has star quality, charisma, passion, intensity and an ability to connect with the "common man". Why can't the ticket be reversed ! What were the voters thinking in the primaries ? That Northeastern liberal patrician formula just doesn't work anymore. This is going to be McGovern, Mondale and Dukakis revisited.

Ron

Well... Kerry was elected and thats how it has to be... but look at it this way... even if you think Kerry is a total waste of time, if you dont vote for him, you will have to live with Bush in your face for the next four years.

You cant afford that I am sure... sooooo... for right now, Kerry's the man and thats fine by me... and I am sure he will win. Join the team and help him to win.. please!!!!!

Kerry was nominated, he hasn't been elected yet ! I didn't say Kerry was a waste of time, that's spinning ! I'm only conveying the frustration that lifelong Democrats are feeling at this point. Even Bill Maher on Larry King Live last night voiced the same seniments. I'm from Texas, and I know how the Bush family operates, from the gutter into the sewer ! Bush should be on the defensive, not Kerry. America as of now, is on the edge of a precipice. Heaven help us if November 2000 is repeated again !

"Kerry was nominated, he hasn't been elected yet ! I didn't say Kerry was a waste of time, that's spinning "

Didnt mean it in that light Ron... was merely stating, in a wordy way, that we can win with Kerry, once we will give him all the support that we can conjure up..

I agree that bush should have been on the defensive months ago but kerry is simply not getting the kinda traction which would place bush in such a position.

I know many are saying that Kerry is too laid back and not agressive enough and such.. and while, if it was my campaign, I would do all of the above, somehow Kerry just cant bring himself to function in this manner.

Surely Kerry has heard the concerns of his supporters but yet, not much seems to have changed. He's still quietly going about the job, meandering from place to place and delivering his usually peaceful message.

I am not sure that we will ever be able to do anything about this approach so my conclusion has been that kerry knows something special that we dont know. Therefore, he is either waiting to deliver this surprise or he has a tremendous sense of confidence in the amriican people to quietly remove bush from the precints to the white house around nov 2.

But lets keep campaigning, getting out the votes, inspiring fence walkers to step over on the kerry side. etc... etc.. etc.

It wont surprise me if at some point in Dec or Jan. I read an article which purports that its sites like these that propelled kerry to victory and inspired the nation to vote.

It seems that millions of people are now reading blogs and are commenting freely on issues which arise from time to time. I am of the distinct opinion that blog spots are creating a better educated public by the level of debate and analyses which they produce and foster.

Likewise, I have a sneaky suspicion that the traditional news media are being sidelined when people need a more balanced look at issues. The traditional media has lost the trust and respect of its public and these sites are therefore filling the void which the media have created.

Personally, I peruse the blogs for hours, everyday, looking for opinions, informed analyses and educated comments on the issues. I scan the traditional media for the headlines and I believe that I am not unique in this mode of operation.

I would like to draw attention to the following document. It shows the absolutely outrageious bias built into the last Time poll. On page 19 in answer to question F12 the respondents revealed that in the 2000 election they had voted for Bush over Gore by a margin of 53 to 41!!!! So that was the reason for the Bush lead of 11 points over Kerry. Hard to believe? Check it out:

http://www.srbi.com/condensed-data-2004-5.pdf

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/9/14/21582/5109

Check out the link above- a poster at Daily Kos has done some analysis, and concludes that the TIME poll is bunk. Jerome and Chris over at MYDD have picked up on this, too.

Could we observe a moment of silence in honor of the death of an icon?

Dan Rather self-immolated this week in the tradition of a Vietnam era Buddhist monk. Yes, Dan is toast and it occurs to me that CNN may be considering a fatal overdose suicide of their own by continuing to employ Carville and Begala after the dynamic duo announced they were official advisers to the Kerry campaign.

What a delicious year 2004 is turning out to be!

Kerry goes down Nov 2., thus writing the appropriate final chapter on Vietnam.

Rather finally gets exposed for the ultimate partisan journalist pretending to be an impartial journalist that he really is.

CNN, in a breathtaking, damn the torpedoes rejection of ethical behavior shows that the ends really do justify the means, hallelujah!

Sorry.

Back to your regular programming.

4 More Years!

The following is from AP story on the battleground states:

Kerry advisers said Tuesday said that his weaknesses in Wisconsin, Minnesota and other former Gore states seem to be partly a result of lower-than-expected support from blacks. Blacks overwhelmingly favor Kerry, but not by as much as he needs.

Aides said Kerry has stepped up his speeches to black groups, including to the Congressional Black Caucus (news - web sites) last weekend.

This is so very unacceptable. Any explanation from Ruy?

When I'm Edwards' running-mate in 2012, I'll be sure to put in a strong word picking Ruy as our top pollster. Not that we'll need too much polling advice, coming off a strong eight years under Kerry, but I'm not taking any chances.

Edwards/Biobrain 2012!!!


P.S. Hey Ruy, any chance you could run a few polls with my 2012 ticket in mind, or is it a tad premature for that? Just thought I'd ask.

I think a lot of us have been approaching this election as if we just have to show everyone how much Bush sucks. The problem is, what we really have to show them, is that Kerry sucks less. We could have t shirts that say that, I'm sure. No really, we need to convince people that Kerry could do better.

Americans don't like to lose, so it puts Kerry in a kill-the-messenger situation if he states that the US has already lost Iraq. Worse, Bush can say, look, I'm a dry-drunk ex-Yalie with presenile dementia and you still endorsed my plan, John. You and I both knew I was lying about my justifications for the war. Hell you were once a DA. Indeed, Bush has made himself radioactive by ruining our economy, tax code, social equity, the environment, and our relations with most of the world. There is almost nothing but bad news to deliver about his accomplishments. A stronger America? I'd settle for a less-fucked-up one.

Kerry is the superior product.

Bush has a superior marketing campaign.

If Kerry wants to win, he has to make his issues THE ISSUES, and he has to take on the war more firmly. He has to say BUSH HAS MADE A MESS OF US POLICY IN THE MIDEAST AND THE WORLD.

Bush is marketing himself as the coolest CIC ever, and if you don't attack that head on, you are screwed.

Stop panicking people. You're a bunch of worry-warts.. and that's a valid criticism of us liberals. We worry because we care... but it hurts us sometimes too. You can't fight and advance a vision of leadership if you're worrying and criticizing all the time.

Have some confidence and at this point if you don't have something good to say, then please STFU.

Kerry is a great candidate... one of the most liberal to come around in decades. His vision for this country is night and day to George Bush and the Republicans in Congress. Get out there and fight for him and the Democrats and STOP THE BITCHING.

Bravo, Tim! Kerry is going to win; don't believe the garbage being served up by the "mainstream" media. The polls are turning in our favor; keep the faith, and work your butts off for Kerry!

There should be no panicking until a week after the first debate.

"Kerry is the superior product.

Bush has a superior marketing campaign."

The Republican party is the party for corporate America not the public. This is clearly shown in the coverage of the two candidates through the "information management companies" owned by the five major media conglomerates (GE's NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Murdoch's Fox, Time Warner's CNN, etc.). I think it is misleading to refer to these information management companies as news organizations. So, with Republicans in firm control of AM radio and broadcast/cable "news" it is not surprising that just about any advertising/PR/propaganda campaign by the Republicans would appear to be a superior marketing campaign. Look at the Gore/Bush debates. Directly after these debates the view was that Gore has won. The media driven spin by the vast array of pundits for these information management companies changed the perception and historical record. Unfortunately, this is a very tough hurdle for any Democrat to get over. Simply put, these media conglomerates are shareholders in the Republican party and will help them at just about every opportunity.

We are living behind an Orwellian Curtain of misinformation that is making the American public dangerously uninformed and misinformed.

Virt

Virt,

You are so right! When the American people have the truth, they vote appropriately.

Witness Marion Barry's return to political power in DC. The heavily Dem district has made Barry the new "Comeback Kid"!

And R. Kelly(who prefers his women ripe) was invited to perform for an auxillary of the Congressional Black Caucus. Hey, maybe OJ could be chairman of the Presidents Council on Fitness in a Kerry administration.

Must make you proud!

4 More Years!

Just a note to all the armchair strategists out there: We have less than a month to register new voters in most states. Here are the registration deadlines for the "swing states." AZ 10-4; Ark 10-3; CO 10-4; FL 10-4; IA 10-23; ME election day; MICH 10-4; MN election day; MO 10-6; NV 10-12; NH election day; NM 10-5; NC 10-8; OH 10-4; OR 10-12; PA 10-4; TN 10-3; VA 10-4;WA 10-18 (in person only);WV 10-13; WI election day.

Now get crackin'!

Well it seems that, in the print media at least, the "Bush suges ahead" line has already been replaced by the "Bush and Kerry dueling in the battleground" line. 80% of the stories in the Washington Post and the NYT for the last 3 days or so have been about this.

As for Iraq, I think Kerry actually has stepped up criticism of Bush in the last week, but many outlets haven't picked up on it (the Post had only one story about a speech in which Kerry heavily criticized Bush's forein policy decisions). I think as the debates get closer, Kerry will turn the heat uip to the point where no news outlets will be able to bury it deep in the middle of the national section.

Go ahead, fellow Kerry supporters, and keep on with the rose-colored glasses about the state of the campaign.

The real facts are that we are getting our ass kicked out here and the candidates and the campaign have proven unable to turn it around. There is an incredible lack of enthusiasm for the ticket since the DNC.

My advice is to roll the dice in the debates and really go after the bastards with a very aggressive stance. The way things are looking to me; we have nothing to lose because otherwise, stick a fork in us.

My disgust with the idiots running the Kerry campaign knows no limits. It's apparent that they have learned nothing from past Democratic train wrecks.

I am one of those typical life-long Democratic activists who prayed that it wouldn't happen again this year. You have heard from many of us on the blogs. I see about another two weeks to regain enthusiasm and optimism before I sink into a funk for the baseball playoffs.

Wake up, friends, the nighmare is happening again. Kerry the "closer" has about 2 weeks to start closing. Otherwise, it's clearly too late.

And if I may go off on a rant for a moment, why is it that everybody loves to do this kind of Monday-morning quarterbacking for Kerry?

I know it might be hard for any Democrat worth their salt to believe there are people who like Bush, but as someone who lives in a red-leaning state (Virginia) let me tell you, there are plenty of people who just love him, who think Democrats are all evil godless wirdos who can't be trusted on anything.

Things are technically much worse than in 2000, but a surprising number of people aren't judging the race this year by pure economics or other hard issues. Republicans' first line of attack (in my experience) is usually some right-wing chicken little line (Civilization is desintegrating!) rather than concern about their own situation.

But all that said, people are erroneously (I think) trying to re-fight the 2000 race here. No incumbent with as precarious a lead as Bush has have ever been re-elected. Need I once again bring up the Carter lead in September 1980? As long as Bush's negatives stay where they are (as I expect they should) and as long as Bush doesn't completely rule the debates (and I doubt he will) I can't really see how he can get ahead enbough to win. He can keep the race close, if it makes him feel better, but a lot of people just don't think he deserves 4 more.

I'm getting scared!! Posters like BJ Clinton know so much more than me, I'm frightened!

And Toes is right! Kerry stinks and he's dumb and Toes could be doing much better if he were running the campaign!!!

I'm so glad that there are no so-called 'trolls' on this website and we have people like BJ Clinton and Toes to tell us what's REALLY going on out there -- because we liberals are just so disconnected from reality. Sigh - Bush really is a great man. I can just feel that pull of his leadership so strongly today.

Gee, could it be that the presence of trolls reflects their own fear?? Nooo.....they're courageous and liberals are weak. Yes, that's the truth all right. Sigh. I'm so weak.

Frisby, that was priceless.

As much as I hate to say it, this race is over. A great site run by a pro-kerry backer now has Kerry down in the electoral count by 296 to 238 http://www.electoral-vote.com/ Kerry is now trailing in states like PA and WI, tied in Maine, and barely ahead in NJ and IA. These are all states that Gore WON. In order to stand a chance at winning, Kerry has to capture ALL the states that Gore won, and also win some Bush states. All the strategists say that he will most likely need to take away one of the Big Bush states (either FL or OH) to win and Bush is pulling ahead in both of those.

To top it all off, the current attack line of the Dems seems to be about Bush's National Guard service. Sorry, but I dont see this as an issue which will get America to change its mind. I think that his campaign, now with the addition of clintonites is in complete disarray and doesnt have time to recover.

I think what the Democrats have yet to learn is about the "commoner" in America. The common man in our country makes $30k per year, likes sports, watching TV and drinking beer. Democrats continue to nominate people who the common man can NOT relate to. President Clinton was the exception. Dont forget, many still call him "Bubba." Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry dont connect with most of america. Even the attempts the Kerry campaign has made to connect with the sports theme, shows John snowboarding in a exclusive ski resort, windsurfing off an exclusive island community and skeet shooting. I ask you, can joe or jane q. public relate to this. Is it part of their lives as well.

Sorry to say it, but I'm afraid to say we are staring in the face of 4 more years.

Am I the only optimist in a party of Cassandras?

Jesus, this is sounding like 2000 all over again, a race which, need I remind everyone, we won by 500,000 votes.

To anybody who buys Tony's line about the race being over, don;t believe it for even a second. Everybody acts like just because we aren't wiping the floor with the Republicans that we're "finished." Well wake up people, there's a lot of Republicans, and there will always be people who'll vote that way come hell or high water. Just because it's not landsliding to Kerry doesn't mean anything's over.

And it frankly really irritates me when people supposedly on our side start with the doomsday talk. Did it ever occur to you that maybe part of the reason for percieved weakness might be that we don;t even seem to believe in our own candidates and message?

If you want Kerry to win, you'll stop predicting Republican wins and speak positively for your own ticket. When Carter was inching out Reagan in the middle of the '80 campaign, you didn't see Republicans talking gloomily about it being "all over."

Grow some confidence in your own convictions, and refuse to back down or accept the "Bush is certain to win" BS.

I use the electoral-vote.com website to keep track of who's up where, but a couple of caveats have to be noted. First of all, the site doesn't make any distinctions between the quality of the poll; even if it looks out of whack, it is reported as being where the state in question is (though the "Votemaster" offers a running commentary noting which of the state results look questionable.)

Second, each state is tilted to one candidate even if the poll shows him only one point or less ahead, even if it's well within the margin of error. Tony laments that Bush is ahead in Pennsylvania, but by only one point in the poll shown there--a tie, essentially. Since most polls taken for months before the GOP convention showed Kerry ahead in PA, and post-convention is often a high-water mark, I'd say there's much more reason to believe that Kerry will carry the state than that Bush will, all other things being equal. If you factor in margins of error and declare states with one-or-two point spreads to be tossups, then Bush is well short of 270 electoral votes (so is Kerry; who has more room for growth remains to be seen.)

And don't hyperventilate over Florida. Survey USA polls are often questionable (not always, but often) and other polls don't show Bush with a 6-point lead there. Even if you accept SUSA as correct, I believe that Bush led Gore by wider margins there at several points in the fall 2000 campaign and we all know how that turned out. Seven weeks is more than long enough to overcome single-digit leads in competitive states.

Oh man. Judging by some posts on this site, its obvious that Kerry has done nothing right for the entire campaign. What a pity.

It would be interesting to find someone who could itemise the things which Kerry has done or is doing that are right.

I just cant believe that some "Kerry" people are saying that this race is over. No loyalty, no commitment, no light at the end of the tunnel, no staying up until the last light is turned out. What a pity.

Some people on this site seem to be in it for the ride and once the ride gets bumpy, they are soooo keen to jump off. How weak and whimpy.

We need to stay with Kerry, irrespective of his message, his campaign, his demeanor, his mannerisms, his lack of enthusiasm... whatever. We need to stay with Kerry.

Why are the bushites staying with him even tho they know he is a disaster unfolding every second? What do they have that the Kerry people dont? Why are they with bush thru thick and thin and these Kerry supporters are walking around with towels, ready to throw it in?

I am sticking with Kerry.. no matter the results on Nov 3.... what about you?

Look, this country nor this world can afford another fours years of bush.. the world cannot continue in this chaotic state which him and blair has created... there MUST be a change in Nov and only those who see the need for a change can create it.

If you dont see the need for change, then Bush is the man... I know there are millions of people in the US and around the world who see a need for change, so it must be done.

Go campaign for Kerry... go vote for kerry...

I am campaigning for Kerry. It would be encouraging if I could get some help from the candidate.

Frisby,

Maybe it's time to change the bong water.

Toes is on your side (I'm the troll), he's just watching the flood waters rise and thinking maybe discretion is the better part of valor.

Bel, on the other hand, is determined to go down with the ship.

Take another hit, Frisby, and consider that Kerry was not the first choice anyway. You guys lost this thing in Iowa when you sacrificed principle to political calculation.

I respected Dean, that crazy mofo, and in retrospect, he would have been able to captialize on real doubts about the war in Iraq. He would have been able to hit Bush on healthcare, unemployment, and the deficit. Kerry is too timid by half and wants to embrace the angry, energized Dems without offending the moderates and undecideds.

Do what the Black vote will do this year. Keep your powder dry and wait for 2008.

Bel is right, we all get what we deserve and you deserve...

4 More Years!

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20040915/pl_afp/us_vote&cid=1521&ncid=2043

…a new survey published Wednesday by the Annenberg Public Policy Center showed the president's approval rating among undecided voters dropping from 56 percent to 44 percent in the last month. Kerry's popularity rose from 36 to 43 percent.

The study suggested Bush had been hurt by a CBS television report last week that questioned whether he had fulfilled his obligations in the Texas Air National Guard. Democrats have charged he used family connections to shirk duty...

Would those of you who claim to be good Democrats stop going for the bait by the trolls?

No Democrat is going to post "I hate to say it, but I think we've lost because we don't know what the common man wants."

If you are doing more than abusing trolls, you're part of the problem. And if you get cozy with them, you're a whore and I have no use for you. This is WAR, and we are fighting for life and death issues.

Jackoffs who are here to practice their pithiness are useless. Pick a side and advance it.

This race, this year, is much different than any other election we ever faced. We have a heavily divided country, not 50/50 but splintered, and without a solid leader that can bring different people together we will destroy the very foundations of our democracy.

But, in light of all the negative campaigning the republicans engage in, in spite of the character assassination of those who oppose this presidency, we will prevail. I believe we will prevail simply because the focus has mainly been on likely voters. This philosophy is in disagreement with the reality that this year many eligible voters that never voted before will be voting.

Here is how I see the voting blocks this November:
1-Likely Voters - Heavy coverage, mostly used group in polling. Represents about 45% of the total eligible voting group. Recent polls have this group divided evenly between Bush and Kerry.

2-New Voters - This group is comprised of recently eligible voters due to coming of age. This group is heavily Democratic and usually has a low turn out as a group. Represents about 5% of total eligible voting group. Estimated split will be 75% Kerry 20% Bush.

3-First Time Voters - This group usually stays home during elections. Disenfranchised and usually forgotten in any campaign, this group is diverse, willing to commit, and looking for a reason or cause to belong to. This key group with its lack of representation in government, media, economics, business, or any other level, has been mobilized by respected voices in their communities. For example, P.Diddy, Russell Simmons, and others who are reaching out to the lost communities and motivating them to make a difference in this election. They are listening, and they are united. THEY ARE READY TO EXCERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE AND TO BE HEARD. This group has traditional DEMOCRATIC ideologies and tends to vote DEMOCRATIC. Represents about 40% of total eligible voting group. Estimated split 80% Kerry, 20% Bush.

4-Voting Rights Removed - This group represents voters who have had their voting right revoked for numerous reasons. In some cases, the revocation is warranted, however, as in the case here in Florida, the handling of the revoking of voting rights for some of our citizens have caused many in the news industry to take notice. As they say where there is smoke there is usually fire. This situation will surely not be resolved before the November elections, hence eliminating this group from participating. This group tends to vote against the establishment, bad news for Bush. Represents about 10% of total eligible voting group.

In the end, the numbers put Kerry solidly ahead of Bush. The Republicans are frightened of the grassroots efforts that are taking hold of the youth, the disenfranchised, and the disillusioned. They are keeping the discussion away from the many damaging issues and keying in on neutral ones to seem as if the campaigns are equal. If they are equal, all things being equal, then why change. Bad strategy though, the left out and under represented groups will turn out en mass and do the right thing for our future and the future of America.

With a strong, secure America, the world is a better place. Just look back to President Clinton's presidency. Americans were welcomed into any country, and our boarders were quickly becoming transparent. In just 4 years, we have lost almost a TRILLION dollars, lost over 1.6 million jobs, and have lost our status as the #1 power in the world.

CHANGE IS COMING. AMERICA THE STRONG WILL BE TRUE AGAIN.

Regards,

Hugh M.
Miami, Florida
Concerned Parent, Business Owner, Human

The polls showing Bush ahead are just percentage head count polls, without delineating where the heads are counted, giving us to assume there is a uniform distribution of people across our country ready to vote for Bush. If you assume (as I do) that a large percentage of the "I'm for Bush" people are in Dixie, then in the remaineder of the country there is a surplus of voters ready to vote for Kerry. Given the Electoral College, an enormous raw vote advantage for Bush in Dixie means nothing. Please emphasize to fellow Dems this point, lest they wax discouraged. Also, polls are seemingly affected by the "error of the non response," which is to say they aren't sampling among overseas voters, military people, etc, who will likely be voting against Bush. Also, I don't see sampling among young voters, who likely are appalled at the unfolding spectacle Bush presents, yet aren't on opinion surveys call sheets.