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Now Available: Latest Democracy Corps Analysis By Stanley Greenberg and James Carville

The latest strategy analysis by Democracy Corps is now available on the D-corps website. The report is based on Democracy Corps September 6-9 survey of 1004 likely voters and features an extended analysis by leading strategists Stanley Greenberg and James Carville of where the campaign now stands and what the polling data suggests Kerry should do. Here are a few key excerpts:

1. The president has a lead of about 5 points, if we look at the average of all the public polls done after the convention; the Democracy Corps poll completed last Thursday shows the president with a 3-point lead. In any case, Bush is at 49 percent with the former estimate and 48 in our survey. At the height of Bush’s convention bounce, he is just at the edge of electability. His position is simply not that strong. If his bounce recedes, as it did for Kerry, and if Kerry takes the race to Bush, the president could easily be endangered again.

2. A majority of the country still wants change. By 53 to 41 percent, voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction; by 51 to 46 percent, they want to go in a significantly different direction than Bush. The mood for change is even greater among independents (57 to 35 percent) and battleground state voters (55 to 40 percent). 14 percent of the electorate is comprised of Bush voters thinking things are going wrong.

3. Part of the stability of this race are the grave doubts voters feel about George Bush. These doubts about Bush are largely undiminished in the last month: Bush favors corporate interests over the public interest (60 percent serious doubts), is too ready to go to war (58 percent), spending too much abroad and neglecting home (54 percent), and made mistakes in Iraq that shortchange America at home (54 percent).

4. While Bush has gained on having plans for Iraq and it bringing more security, a stable majority says the war was not worth it. Just 43 percent believe we are making progress there, and this is before recent developments in Iraq, with increased fighting.

5. And on the economy, voters by nearly two-to-one reject Bush’s assertion that the middle class is making gains .... Bush could not be more out of sync, even as he is compelled to make the case for progress.


I had no idea that major polls like Gallup et al were so far off on the 2000 election. We would expect a Republican-only pollster to be biased. When, however, we see ostensibly objective pollsters like Gallup over estimate Republicans again and again without changing their methodology to create a more accurate result, then the conclusion that they’re knowingly stacking the deck becomes inescapable.
And I never thought I was so naïve.

how on earth can anyone think iraq is improving...its a joke...

i just heard on radio show...that nearly 100k insurgents.

go read my blog....click my name :)

i owuld like someon to comment on WP stroy about the increase in voter registration, inlcuding an historic rise in 18-34 yo registration.

also to parphrase kitty kelly, bush won't lose, he stoop to anything to win....what do you think the october suprise will be?

Psychologically speaking, Kerry has about two weeks left to break the "frame" created and controlled by George Bush before the election freezes into a lock.

Experts who study how public issues become framed in people's minds, like Susan Bales of the FrameWorks Institute, say that you can't change views merely with evidence. You have to change the frame. If Kerry doesn't have the nerve to take on Bush, voters will conclude that he lacks the nerve to protect America.

The ordinary citizen is gulled by the stagecraft and numbed by the details. If Kerry just tries to explain the particulars, he plays policy wonk. Kerry is toast.

The electioin was... excuse me, is... ours to lose. There is a spot-on article about "framing" right now on common dreams. Check it out.

It's almost impossible for a campaigner to reframe an incumbant's position. They aren't on a level playing field. I do believe Kerry will win because the dynamics of the race are unchanged so far. People don't like where Bush has lead the country. It will take the debates for Kerry to reframe the issues.

One cliche I am getting really fed up with is the one about the election being "ours to lose - Kerry's to lose - Bush's to lose - Gore's to lose, etc."

What a bunch of baloney! There are a million unknown factors leading into how people are going to feel and act on Nov. 2. This "ours to lose" meme just leads to breast beating and recrimination anytime there is setback.

Add in the fact that this line is one of Nader's prime rationales for his behavior in 2000 and this year, and I think I'll puke if I hear it again.

Even IF Kerry starts the frame breaking process, who in the Dem corner has the power to get the press to start repeating it? Seems to this humble soul that THAT is the key element in winning the election...winning the press. It's not happening. Hell, even NPR is passive aggressive against Kerry in inuendo and connotation. We need to become a heavyweight in the press wars. Today.

This poll was taken a week ago. Combine that with the IBD poll and the Rasmussen poll and its very possible that the race has become closer to 50-50 since this poll was taken.

Finally, some sane analysis.

I've been trying to say this all along. The fundamentals are in Kerry's favor, much the same way in 1980 that although Carter was ahead by a tiny bit in the polls the fundamentals were against him.

If Bush wins, he'll be the first incumbent to win with poor fundamentals. And the right-wing rationale for not voting for Kerry is pretty flimsy, dissolving on the slightest inspection.

As the race tightens, I think more and more centrists will conclude that even if Kerry's not wonderful, they at least don't have anything to lose by voting for him.

It might not be the most enthusiatic Democratic win, but I still think it'll be a win.

Reality Check....

Gore/Leiberman almost beat Bush/Cheney in 2000 winning the popular vote by 583,000. It came down to Florida...we know the story.

For 4 years Bush has been misleading the public, distorting fact, and contriving false realities on virtually every major issue. His performance on the economy, jobs, healthcare, the environment, Iraq and more has been POOR to ABYSMAL.

Bush/Cheney are now facing KERRY/EDWARDS who have the TALENT, EXPERIENCE, and TRUST to execute and deliver on a much better plan for America and Americans.

Kerry has the right message that correctly characterizes the miserable FAILURE as the ''EXCUSE President'...

"This president has created more excuses than jobs, never wrong, never responsible, never to blame. President Bush's desk isn't where the buck stops -- it's where the blame begins."

George W. Bush is a FAILURE, has NOT earned our TRUST, and should be FIRED.

Can someone tell me how Kerry/Edwards can lose ?

Just remember that at the end of the day, the "people" usually get the government that they deserve.

We can talk all day about what Kerry should do. The basic question is will he do anything?

BR nailed it in a earlier post. I'm praying that we can still pull this out of the fire with guile and commitment; but the critical point is immediately ahead. If the voters don't begin to move by October 1; they won't move.

If you read the K-E blog and actual quotes from the speeches by Kerry and Edwards they ARE re-framing the debate and going at Bush aggressively.

But they can't do it alone. Not when the media ignores them and insists that a 7% margin for Kerry deserves a headline of "Bush Inches Up."

With the numbers and analysis presented here, I remain dumbfounded that this race is even CLOSE. I sure hope we are seeing a redux of 1980, where the incumbent just falls flat and hard at the very end. Anything else is almost unimaginable. By a margin of 53-41% voters want a change? Then why is THAT not the polling results? Do people actually think things through? I am not convinced. As someone posted earlier, the voters get what they deserve. Frightening.

Regarding framing: This campaign must stop wringing its hands and use the ample ammunition it already has. It should not cede any issue to BC04. We need to push simple and accurate facts, and wrap them up in memes that the he said/she said media can't resist.

The economy.

Bush promised that his tax cuts (almost all of which went to the rich) would create 6 million jobs. Instead, he has lost 1 million.
MEME: Where are the 7 million jobs, George?


We have very effective points to make about the Bush record. We CANNOT give up on this central issue.

(per Chalmers Johnson, on Alternative Radio), Al-Quaeda had a total of 5 successful attacks worldwide before 9-11, and has had 18 successful attacks since (on Bush's watch).

MEME: "Who says we are winning?"

Our ports, factories, airports, chemical and nuclear plants, electrical infrastructure have been ignored in favor of chasing ghosts in Iraq.

MEME: ""He took his eye off homeland security."

The former Soviet Union's nuclear materials have been at risk of disappearing into the underworld, to surface in the future in who knows whose hands.

MEME: "He chased imaginary nukes in Iraq while ingoring 1000's of real nukes which have or may fall into the hands of terrorist."

MEME: "He let Osama get away."

Obviously, there are more, for health care, education, Social Security, the deficit, the back-door draft, ignoring the needs of veterans an cutting the benefits for active duty troops.

WPE... it might then mean that one of those stats is wrong... but which one?

I agree that bush cant be in the lead if the majority of the people want him removed.. so which is wrong? I have no idea.. and hence I am left to support kerry purely on my desire to have bush removed from the whitehouse and my knowledge that Kerry will be an excellent president.. nothing to do with polls.

The thing that is so frustrating is that there is SO much that the Kerry campaign isn't taking advantage of because they seem to insist on playing nice.

--Bush's flip flops on the reason for going to war.

--Bush's "major combat in Iraq is over" speech on the aircraft carrier. Oops. Guess he was wrong on that.

--The infamous seven minutes where the "strong and decisive" President sat reading "My Pet Goat" after learning that the WTC had been attacked. Decisive? Strong?

--A net loss of 1 million jobs during his presidency...worst since Hoover.

--Tax cuts for the rich, while 15 % of Americans are without health insurance

All of this stuff is readily understandable (even for our simple-minded electorate) and easily exploitable. But for some reason no one on the campaign trail ever really talks about it in any kind of powerful way.

If nobody's referenced this yet - check out Annenberg's latest report, as of today's date, particularly in terms of the "persuadables" - decent news for us

Jim -

The Kerry campaign IS going after all that, but it is getting, seemingly, marginal coverage.

Still, I think the nets are going to give the campaign increasing coverage over time, hopefully maintaining at least a marginally fair stance.

I was a fervent Dean supporter and then switched to Edwards, but I think Kerry is the best candidate to take on Bush and I think he would make a very fine President, one that most Americans could be very proud of. Just try going abroad now and being proud of Bush...

I agree with WorstPresidentEver. Every time I hear snippets from Kerry's speech, he is talking about all of the points that Jim mentions above. The level of MondayMorningCampaignManaging that Dems are engaging in is out of control.

BR -

You wrote:

"Psychologically speaking, Kerry has about two weeks left to break the "frame" created and controlled by George Bush before the election freezes into a lock.

Experts who study how public issues become framed in people's minds, like Susan Bales of the FrameWorks Institute, say that you can't change views merely with evidence. You have to change the frame. If Kerry doesn't have the nerve to take on Bush, voters will conclude that he lacks the nerve to protect America.

The ordinary citizen is gulled by the stagecraft and numbed by the details. If Kerry just tries to explain the particulars, he plays policy wonk. Kerry is toast.

The electioin was... excuse me, is... ours to lose. There is a spot-on article about "framing" right now on common dreams. Check it out.

Posted by BR at September 15, 2004 03:29 PM

I couldn't agree more without correcting your punctuation and spelling, which, I might add, I really want to do.

Want to do something right now to influence the campaign? I just faxed, called and emailed Carville and Greenberg, asking and pleading with them to join the Kerry camp full-time!! Yes, they have been part-time advising-but as we all know they are the only ones to actually won two elections nationwide for a democrat since 1976!

I went to their poll site and found the following info for them:

Please guys, fax and call now-plead with these two to drop what their doing and work full-time for Kerry!! This is our best chance!

Just Do It!!

RE: Monday Morning Campaign Managing

Well, dammit, someone has to do it!

Boston sure isn't.

you guys have brought a knife to a gun fight with John Kerry. Survey USA has a new poll out tonight showing Bush winning New Jersey! What is the world coming to. They also have him losing only by five in Illinois now. I thank my lucky stars that Kerry and company keep talking about Vietnam and the National Guard. Honorable mention also goes to Dan Rather over at CBS News. Nice credibility.

Allan, I dunno what the hell polls YOU'RE looking at, but everybody from Zogby to Rasmussen, hell even Republican-leaning Gallup says Kerry is trouncing W in IL and NJ. Gore's margin in both states was bigger than W's in Alabama and Georgia. I find it ludicrously unlikely that such huge portions of those states' electorate could sudenly make that dramatic of an ideological shift so quickly.

A fuck it, yer just another Republican like that BJ Clinton asshole.


Not only that, but Bush is within 6 points in New York! What is the world coming to, indeed!

Stupid Dems, "bringing a knife to a gunfight". Good stuff.

Creature, it's gonna be a landslide. Lots of long faces at the DNC, but that'll be good for you. You need to reevalute things while you're in the wilderness, and you will be in a political wilderness (maybe for 10 years). Decide its time to come up with an alternative to all the hate and the same old class warfare, race baiting, and scaremongering. A new vision, a New Deal, a New Frontier, a new brand name.

Not something you can change overnight, it'll take some time. But you'll have at least...

4 More Years!


With Iraq going the way it is, and the economy barely hanging in there despite the massive infusion of stimulants (monetary and fiscal), be careful what you wish for. Winning this election would be the worst thing to ever happen to the Repigs, especially if they hold both houses of Congress. Who do you think is going to get blamed for losing Iraq? for the next terrorist attack?

If our county could afford "4 more years of hell," I would almost want Bush to win. Why should he get to skip town and let others clean up his mess? Not that that would be out of character....


Fair enough, "pride goeth before destruction". I take your point.

But, what if we actually have a chance at a democracy in the MIDDLE of the Middle East. You don't think that's going to change the whole dynamic! I know you Dims (repigs?) like to ridicule what you call a reverse domino theory but you guys wanted unilateral nuclear disarmament, remember?

You're right, once we run the show, its all on us. Powell said "you break it, you own it" and truer words were never spoken.

I say, go big or go home!

4 More Years

After the next two (you'll lose Congress in '06) to four years you might be gone home for a looong time..

It seems Dubya really is an asset for you (it's hard to understand it – "he, he, fuzzy math.." – but let's just face it). With him gone in '08, though, I don't see any Republican to pull another "unlikely" victory. Frist? Santorum? Giuliani and McCain won't even survive the primaries. Jeb Bush? You bet..

So, maybe Iraq will be a success in the long run. I really hope so, by the way. But the US electorate couldn't care less as the reaction on the Bushies' Olympic Games ad showed. So what if Iraq is a democracy? The people don't care, they want security. And if the war ultimately turns out to have been worthwile they'll congratulate Bush – and turn their attention to their skyrocketing morgage rates. Deficits don't go unpunished, you know.

Oh, and there are some pretty neat scandals left. Or do you think Abu Ghraib will disappair (to mention just one)? You'll face a Democratic party that will not be too eager to cooperate. Monicagate will be a sweet memory in retrospect.

So, maybe we'll be in the wilderness for some years. But there are some reasons they call this website "Emergingdemocraticmajority"...

Someone observed that Bush's bounces just keep getting smaller and smaller. A huge bounce after 9/11, a slightly smaller one at the invasion of Iraq, a still smaller one after the capture of Saddam. The convention is his last bounce. Now if Kerry will just become the aggressor they will all come to nothing!

Page 18 of the Democracy Corps analysis shows that, of those polled, 42 percent had voted for Gore in 2000, while 51 percent had voted for Bush. As we all remember, in actuality, more people had voted for Gore in 2000. I didn't see any indication that the bias of those who consented to participate in the poll was accounted for, or did I miss something?


I absolutely think Abu Ghraib will disappear. But you are right that we will face a Democratic Party not too eager to cooperate (real news flash there!).

We did pretty well in 2002, thank you very much. We'll hold both Houses in 2006 and then the real fun begins.

Bush will pivot and focus on cutting spending after the election. He'll get a lot of mileage out of facing down Repubs as well as Dems.

I can't stand Frist and agree that Jeb and McCain are not likely. As for Gulliani, you'd better worry about Hillary's seat. After retiring Hil, Rudy'll own the primaries. Keep your eye on Bill Owens and Mitt Romney. This party is evolving. We don't have to go hard on abortion anymore because ultrasounds are making that case for us.

By the time people are tired of Republican control, Dems will have to offer new agendas. Vietnam, the 60's, and JFK nostalgia will no longer be factors. Gays are really already mainstreamed and ethnic politics are less and less compelling.

Bush will make a start on a compromise to fix Social Security and the scare tactics will not resonate. By then, most will demand a real solution and demagogery just won't cut it anymore.

That leaves class warfare, but don't count on the economy as an issue. The stock market is poised to rock n roll after a Bush win. The economy is going to look real strong in 2006. If GHW Bush had won in '92, he would have gotten the credit for the already improving economy and I think you know that.

No matter, Clinton was the high water mark for the Dems. Other than Obama, who've you got in the farm leagues?

4 More Years!

Ah BJ...

I see you are still here.. seems to me like you just LOVE to keep company with Kerry supporters. I am sure you will follow your heart and vote with the folks on this site.. you will vote.. KERRY.

But let me assure you that you will hardly ever see real democracy in the middle east, so please dont mention it in your posts as any kind of possibility. Its simply not a part of the culture and it wont happen.

Things in Iraq will NEVER go well or get better as long as there is an occupation by the US of A. Would you sit back and let the army of a monster occupy the US? You have to remember that the people of Iraq and the middle east view GWB in pretty much the same light as GWB views Saddam. So nope you wont allow it and the people of Iraq wont either. The US has to draw its tail between it legs and hightail it outta Iraq at some point in the future. Its just a matter of how best to do this.

Likewise, you are right, Abu Griuab will disappear but only in the eyes of the US. You can rest assured that it wont be forgotten by any middle eastern person for centuries and centuries. You obviously have no understanding of Muslim beliefs and systems. Trust me, middle eastern peoples wont forget such atrocious behaviour. Its a violation of everything that these people hold sacred and holy.

Likewise you must also undestand that the middle east has no trust in US polices. They all think that the US uses them as pawns to support Israel. So no... dont look for success in Iraq for decades... and dont expect any real form of democracy there either. You are wasting hope, just like Bush wasted effort, money and time.

In the mean time, follow your heart and vote for Kerry. You need a better life too.