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New National Poll Shows Neck and Neck Race for White House

A new Zogby America poll of nationwide LV's conducted Sept. 8-9 has Bush at 47 percent and Kerry at 45 percent in a head to head match-up, within a 3.1 percent m.o.e.


This contributes little to the discussion of facts, but...let me say what a good pick-me-up your blog is, Ruy. For those of us who care deeply about this election and its repercussions (but haven't the time to parse the details), I count myself fortunate to be able to visit your site and routinely catch "the rest of the story." Believe me, I pass it on to all my Donkey friends.

From Zogby's notes for the survey: "Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion and gender to more accurately reflect the voting population. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups."

As noted by others in previous posts, Zogby and some others are weighting party ID a little bit in their polls, while Time, Newsweek, etc. aren't. I didn't see in the notes to this poll what the exact weighting for Dems/Reps/Inds was.

This whole debate over whether to weight party ID or not is starting to get a little play in some of the media - the local NPR station in NY had a segment on it yesterday. Here's an off-the-cuff observation: one would think that there would be some sort of established standards for an industry that's been around for many decades. If a pollster is going to weight other factors, why would he/she exclude party ID from (at least to some extent) the same treatment? The arguments that I've heard that party ID should be a "floating variable" don't make much sense if every other major demographic attribute gets weighted. One can sum up these polls with this motto: buyer beware - read the fine print.

In any event, the numbers are starting to settle in the wake of the GOP hatefest. It looks like Bush has established a 2-4 point lead. Kerry still has the issues environment on his side, so I remain optimistic that we're going to win. BTW, Jeff's post from yesterday about the demographic changes in the electorate over the past four years was great...I was aware of nearly all of those things, but he put all the pertinent data in a summarized and understandable format.

My dream result is:

*Kerry wins big, bigger than any thought

*The pro Bush polls are exposed and ridiculed

*The good polls are vindicated by being closest

I think Kerry is in a great position to surge ahead based on such things as:

A strong debate performance

An uprising in Iraq going beyond the present upsurge

A North Korean bomb test if he can convincingly make the case that it is due to Bush fumbles.

I think the important point in the Zogby press release also explains the apparent Bush Junior bounce during/right after Goppie confab.

When Kerry was significantly ahead around 12 weeks ago (I don't have exact #s because Gallup site requires a subscription), Gallup's #s indicated people who considered Economy most important issue were about 35-45% of the LVs and they supported Kerry like 55-38; people who considered War on Iraq most important were ~30% of LVs and they favored Kerry about the same; people who considered terrorism the most important issue were like 9% and they were like 80-10 for Bush. [I may be mistaken...these may have been Zogby #s]

In this most recent Gallup you talked about a few days ago, the terrorism-most-important issue percentage was much higher. Apparently, many people who thought it a trailing issue were moved to think it's the most important (or, less likely, an odd but immense sampling error on either the newer or earlier poll).

If, however, the numbers were accurate, that would explain all the Bush bounce. And if it's true, it's very tractable. Zogby's press release even states it explicitly:

“Kerry has got to re-focus his campaign to address economic anxiety and other issues that are obvious concerns for voters. Kerry leads among those who say that their top issues are jobs and the economy (50%-39%), education (48%-37%), the war in Iraq (50%-36%), and health care (50%-34%). But, among those who say that the ‘war on terrorism’ is their top concern, Bush leads by 41 points (66%-25%).

“Right now all the talk is on the ‘war on terrorism.’ Kerry has to change the talk.”
I agree. He needs either to convince people he has the key to terrorism OR change the talk. Given the highly-emotive/low-rationality decision basis of most of the terrorism-focused voters, I suspect appealing to them is a long stretch. In general, they are like amoebae, you just refocus them to consider things that affect them and their families and communities and nation everyday like jobs, income, pointlessly dead soldiers, and remind them that the Sissy-Boy in the White House is an AWOL incompetent who couldn't manage a McDonalds (if he ever bothered to show up for work or even get the required physical).