« New Polls in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Oregon | Main | Kerry Up by 8 in Washington State Poll »

Was the Republican Convention Bigger Than 9/11?

Those who defend the sudden tilt toward the Republicans in registered voter samples as a real political trend and not any kind of sampling problem, like to point toward the post-9/11 period as an example of a recent shift in the party ID distribution. If it happened then, they say, why shouldn't we give full credence to the shift we're seeing now?

But there is a very serious problem with this logic. After 9/11, despite the immensity of the rally effect behind the president and his party, the shift in party ID toward the Republicans was substantially less than what we're seeing now. What polls showed then was not a shift toward a 4-5 point (or more) Republican advantage in party ID--like we're seeing in some current polls--but rather a simple reduction in the Democratic edge or at best parity. Moreover, even this modest shift took place over several months, rather than over several weeks, like the shifts we've seen in some recent polls. (Note: these Republican gains were given back in a year or two, so the Democrats this year have had their a party ID edge at about the same level they had in 2000 and early 2001.)

Given this, how believable is it that we would now be getting not a gradual reduction in the Democratic party ID advantage (as we did after 9/11) but a much more sudden, much larger shift in party ID to produce an actual Republican advantage of 4-5 points or more? Are we really to believe that the GOP convention was such an earthshaking event that it had a bigger effect on the underlying sentiments of the electorate than did 9/11 and Bush's six months of 80+ approval ratings in the post-9/11 period?

And this from a convention that poll data said was viewed with a distinct lack of enthusiasm by the public! According to the Gallup poll, Bush's acceptance speech, which the media fawned over so ostentatiously, was not rated any better by the public than was Kerry's--in fact, it received slightly worse ratings. Kerry's acceptance speech was rated excellent by 25 percent and good by 27 percent; Bush's was rated excellent by 22 percent and good by 27 percent.

In terms of whether the Republican convention made voters more or less likely to vote for Bush, there were almost as many saying the convention made them less likely to vote for Bush (38 percent) as said it made them more likely (41 percent).

That was actually quite a poor performance. The Democratic convention this year had a substantially better 44 percent more likely/30 percent less likely split. In fact, looking back to 1984, which is as far back as Gallup supplies data, no candidate has ever had a more likely to vote for/less likely to vote for split even close to as bad as Bush's this year.

Well, what about the tone of the convention? Did voters think the Republicans got that one right? Nope. Just 39 percent thought the GOP maintained the right balance between criticizing the Democrats and saying positive things about themselves, compared to 50 percent who thought they spent too much time criticizing the Democrats. By contrast, in 2000, 45 percent thought the GOP maintained the right balance in their convention, compared to 38 percent who thought they spent too much time criticizing.

Can anyone seriously maintain, then, that this year's GOP convention was such a blockbuster that it could produce a surge in Republican party ID that dwarfs that produced by 9/11? It just does not compute.

Still not convinced that party-weighting should at least be considered to correct for sudden partisan imbalances in polls? I close with the words of Charlie Cook in his latest online column:

...Pollsters acknowledge variances from one poll to the next in gender, race, income and education, and they correct for it, but refuse to acknowledge that partisan numbers fluctuate just the same, and need to be corrected.

My own view is that samples should be weighted by party to the average party breakdown in a combination of the polls for the last several months, linking it to a very large sample of combined surveys to reduce sampling error. While this method might be a bit sluggish if party identification is changing dramatically, it would mean that when a candidate is gaining or dropping, it is most likely because they really are, not because of a sample that is too tilted in favor of one party or the other. If Republicans are indeed gaining in party identification, it will show up after a couple of polls in the average.

You tell 'em, Charlie.

Comments


Charlie Cook's patented Dynamic Partisan Weighting scheme (weighting to the rolling average of party identification in a string of recent, previous polls) is akin to the stock market analyst's 50-day rolling average stock price--it flattens out spikes, at the cost of slowing down acknowledgement of change. That's a worthy approach to weighting by party identification--and very different than Ruy's proposal to weight every poll back to what the exit poll found to be the actual electorate's party identification four years ago. That's not smoothing out spikes. That's squashing all change entirely.

Ah shure wish we had some data on whether hardwire users skew Republican, as opposed to cellular users. The kids I see around the Berkeley campus are always talking on their cell. Oh, maybe they are talking to the Campus Christian Crusade for Swift Boat Liars hot line. But maybe they are a bunch of Democratic voters who will never be accessed by Zogby, Gallup, Pew, CBS, . . . Wish we could test this but it is getting late.

Yes, the Republican convention was bigger than 9/11. Why would a national tragedy cause anyone to change party affiliation unless you concede that Dems are inherently weak on national defense (which of course they are but would Dems acknowledge that)?

The conventions, on the other hand, are massive political infomercials designed to present a favorable image. Ours (Republicans) was more successful presenting the image that appealed to many voters.

Simple as that.

4 More Years!

Again, I wonder why voters aren't asked questions that presumably get at hard facts, such as, did they vote in 2000, and what their party affiliation was at that time. It seems pretty unlikely to me that most voters would be much inclined to lie about this or get this wrong. Even if they were now in a rapture over a candidate that inspires them to identify with a different party from before, I don't see much reason for them to rewrite their history of voting -- it's almost more of a compliment to a candidate to declare that he's made you change your mind about your party. (It might be trickier to rely on which candidate one voted for, since that, I think, would tend to be a more charged issue. It is also a choice exercised in the privacy of the voting booth, whereas party identification is typically a matter of public record).

And, of course, we have hard numbers about party identification in previous elections against which we can do the appropriate adjustments.

Nice spin by the trolls. But the GOP is dreaming if they think the Kerry smear fest in New York changed any minds about Bush. His disapproval ratings remain dangerously high and he remains in big trouble with independent voters which is scaring the GOP.

Forget about the so-called platitudes and hyperbole and “flip flops” of Kerry. Those things are nothing more than empty talking points the Republicans are desperately throwing out in order to take the eyes of the American people away from the central issue of this election. They know they have a really lousy product to sell and their only strategy is to throw mud on Kerry and pray some of it sticks.

But the American people won't be distracted because they know this election is about one thing and one thing only: a referendum on the presidency of George W. Bush and his war in Iraq.

For the moment, let’s forget about Dubya’s domestic legacy to the American people … you know, the skyrocketing deficits brought on by massive tax breaks for the wealthy, the crummy economy, the net loss of jobs due to outsourcing and poor economic growth, seriously weakened environmental and labor regulations, the Pharmacare fiasco, No Child Left Behind debacle, etc., etc.

All of these “accomplishments” pale in comparison to the centerpiece of the Bush administration’s time in office: Operation Iraqi Freedom. Let’s review President's Bush’s many “accomplishments” in Iraq:

1. 1030+ American soldiers dead and thousands more wounded with no end in sight.

2. Thousands of Iraqi civilians dead and thousands more wounded with no end in sight.

3. Iraq, which has been seriously destabilized by growing insurgency comprised of Shiite fanatics, Sunni militants, and an growing assortment of terrorists, is now according to the latest National Intelligence Estimate on the verge of an all out civil war with no end in sight for the violence.

4. Current cost to the American taxpayer for the Iraq fiasco is $200 billion (the sum of what has been spent and what is anticipated to be spent) with no end in sight.

5. With the exception of a handful of increasingly nervous members of the “Coalition of the Willing” (Spain gone, Poland remains, Costa Rica pulling out, UK reducing its troop commitment, etc.), Bush’s policy in Iraq has isolated America from its traditional allies and friends.

6. Growing Muslim anger worldwide over the American invasion and presence in Iraq resulting in potentially many more recruits for the terrorist ranks of Al Qaeda and like minded groups.

Nice job, George. And what is the point of all of this, Mr. President? Why was this extravagant expenditure of blood and treasure necessary? WMDs? Sorry, Mr. President, there were no WMDs to be found. How about the capability to make WMDs at some point? Well, based on that rationale, the U.S. better be prepared to invade the 30 or 40 other nations in the world that have WMD capabilities superior to those that existed in Iraq. Of course, while 135,000 American troops are tied down in Iraq, and American prestige in the world has plummeted to an all time low, North Korea and Iran go on their merry way towards acquiring and building nukes. Not the kind of nukes that exist in the creative mind of Dick Cheney, mind you, but real honest to God nukes that actually go boom. What about the link between September 11 and Saddam? Sorry, again, but there was no link. Uh … well, how about freedom? Well, sure it’s nice we put Saddam in jail because he is a real shit, but was it worth the cost of destabilizing a volatile and strategic region of the world to the point of where it is spiraling dangerously out of control? The Iraqis sure don’t seem to very grateful to us these days that we brought freedom to them at the barrel of a gun. Even Poppy was smart enough to keep America from stepping in that one.

There is absolutely no doubt the invasion, occupation and reconstruction of Iraq under the Bush administration has been a strategic disaster of the first order for the United States. This ill-conceived and ill-executed adventure has been marred by the incompetence and arrogance of Bush and his minions at every step. It’s coming apart so fast now that even GOP senators such as Graham and Lugar are alarmed and publicly expressing their concerns despite the fact the election is only six weeks away. Hardly a ringing endorsement for the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq when senior members of the GOP are publicly losing confidence.

Its not as if Bush wasn’t warned. There were plenty of people who told him that going into Iraq was a bad idea and I am not talking just about the lefties or Michael Moore or the peaceniks. Old GOP foreign policy hands from the time of Reagan and Bush I such as Scowcroft and Powell warned him along with a lot of the uniformed brass at the Pentagon. Somehow I doubt that General Zinni was ever much of a flower child, but he sure as hell wasn’t very happy with Bush’s brilliant idea to go into Iraq. No, our boy Dubya was warned by the experts, but none of that mattered to him because Cheney and Rummy and Wolfowitz and all those other neo-cons told him that American troops would be greeted with flowers by the grateful Iraqis.

Bush reached for Iraq and it has turned to shit in his hands. And now that it has, and anyone with half a brain can see that it has, does Bush take even one iota of responsibility for the mess. Nope. Other than admitting to “miscalculations” (you know, I added 4 and 2 and I’ll be darned if I didn’t come came up with seven), he has demonstrated absolutely no sense of responsibility for the disaster he has created. Good men and women are coming home in flag draped boxes because of the choices their commander in chief has made, and all he can say to their families and the American people is “Freedom is on the march in Iraq”. It would be like JFK saying, “Despite some initial setbacks at the Bay of Pigs, Cuba is confidently moving towards democracy.”

Of course, JFK assumed responsibility for the Bay of Pigs. LBJ ultimately assumed responsibility for his policy in Vietnam and did not seek another term. Good grief, even Reagan assumed responsibility for the security situation that led to the bombing of the Marines in Beirut.

But not President Bush. He has demonstrated time and time again that he is incapable of assuming responsibility and holding himself and others in his administration accountable for their failures. And that is what makes him unfit to be the commander in chief.

That’s why his disapproval rating remain dangerously high. The American people are going to do for him what he can't do for himself ... hold him accountable. And that’s why he is going down to defeat in November.

4 more months!

Still, the main arguments as to WHY people should be for or against Kerry don't tell us WHETHER they are and WHY they are or aren't.
Ruy's point about party ID is very convincing. But the polls suggest that Kerry isn't yet leading substantially in any state not carried by Gore except New Hampshire. The polls all show a close race now with the following states to watch: NV, WI, OH, PA, WV, FL, NH and tho not mentioned, CO. Based on my electoral vote calculation, if Kerry manages to solidify his position in IA, WI, PA and NH, and carry all the solid Democratic states and those where he has consistently led until now in the Zogby polls by non-hairline margins, that gives him 264 electoral votes (tho one less if he loses the northern CD in Maine). CO has shown him very close or leading in several polls. Bush would have to carry OH AND FLA AND CO or he would lose, while if Kery manages to pull off two out of three of AK, WV and NV he could still lose those other three.
My next question is a close up look at developments in a handful of key swing states: CO, NV, WV, FL, AK, OH. Why is Kerry running so much more strongly than Gore did in CO? Why isn't Yucca mountain helping him more in NV? If Gore couldn't carry AK, how could Kerry? Is there some new issue there? And how come Zogby polls have shown, tho not now, such a close race in Tennessee, when Gore couldn't even carry the state? West Virginia seems to have a very strong ANTI-environmental vote, but almost everywhere else it is a big plus that campaign ads AND DEBATES grossly shortchange every election year. In FL, many Cuban voters were incensed about the Elian Gonzales affair in 2000, but now there might be more voters upset about the Republicans stealing the election there in 2000. Anyway, it would be good to do a survey of several polls, as Zogby does, in particular states of importance, including a breakdown of issues that are swinging voters.
I DISAGREE strongly that the flipflop issue is mere rhetoric to swing voters. Kerry's failure to counter it, strongly and sharply in a timely way could cost him the election. Bush responded (with lies, but what do you expect) within 24 hours very sharply to Kerry's NYU speech. Why has Kerry failed to be responsive to the Bush campaign while the press, critiquing inaccuracies or possible inaccuracies of Republicans at the convention (like catching McCain for critiquing Kerry for using language about Iraq that Bush had also used) has steered clear of debunking the flipflop canard. My own sense is that polls and electoral calculations aside, the best predictor of the election is what is the machine agenda, and which way are the winds of justifying the lying blowing. Even if they have to misprogram the computers, electronically stuffing the ballot box, that's the best predictor of election outcomes, and it points to the Cleland/Wellstone syndrome dictating a Bush victory. Once the press have a template to follow, like flipflop, and they do, and the candidate, a la Dukakis, dutifully goes along as long as needed, the election is pretty much a foregone conclusion. And that is MY method for predicting election outcomes.
CLOUDY

I'm gonna read that ^^^^^ when it comes out in Cliff's Notes.

Gallup showed Bush at 50 or 51 the entire month of August, and according to them he got a 1 or 2 point bounce from the RNC.

The notion that suddenly millions of people pledged the Republican party after Georgie spoke at his fraternity smoker, that's just plain damn silly.

It appears that BJ Clinton is now posting under "Hillary Smillary" I guess he is afraid to identify himself. He says Democrats are weak on defense. Yeah right, Democrats don't believe in suppoting our men in uniform because most Democrats are against the military action in Iraq. That is the standard Republican lie. If the Republicans are so great on defense why is it we were attacked on the Republicans' Watch?
If the Republicans are so supportive of our troops then why are they proposing to cut Veterans' Benefits? Oh yeah, they HAVE TO protect tax cuts for the wealthy. That is their first and ONLY priority.

It's not looking good for Kerry guys; Even the ultra-Liberal NY Daily News is getting cold feet (See Below). I even heard Don Imus (an acknowledged Kerry supporter) and Howard Finemam from Newsweek say this morning that Kerry is in danger of a Reaganesque type 1984 blowout if he doesn't turn it around soon.

IMO, it's come down to the first debate next Thurs. If Kerry doesn't do well, I think all but his most visceral supporters will get discouraged and start to peel off. It's great all this talk about polls & party IDs - but it appears that next week's debate is Kerry's best, maybe last, shot.


New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

Jersey, Ohio polls
put Dems in a tizzy
BY HELEN KENNEDY
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

WASHINGTON - New polls of Ohio and New Jersey voters yesterday hinted at disaster for John Kerry, fueling panic among Democrats. Even rabble-rousing filmmaker Michael Moore said Democrats were "a bunch of crybabies" and should buck up.

As new polls showed President Bush 10 points ahead in crucial Ohio and both men tied at 48% in New Jersey, once a supposedly safe Democratic state, the candidate proclaimed himself unbothered.

"Polls don't mean anything to me now," Kerry said. "If I paid attention to polls, I wouldn't have gotten up in the morning last December." That's when he seemed to have no hope of besting Howard Dean for the Democratic nomination.

The polls showed voters are unhappy about Iraq and the economy, but they think Bush would do a better job handling terrorism.

"They see terrorism as a more important issue than the economy or health care - Kerry's issues," said Quinnipiac pollster Mickey Carroll, who surveyed the Garden State. "The vacant skyline where the World Trade Center once stood brings the threat of terrorism home to New Jersey across the river."

Kerry's press conference yesterday - his first since early August - vividly underscored his biggest problem: six weeks before the election, nine of the 11 questions were still attempts to clarify his 2003 vote for the war.

Primary voters chose Kerry largely because of that vote, believing only a hawk could successfully face Bush. But Kerry's inability to articulate a clear position has become his Achilles heel, bogging him down in a quagmire of questions about the past instead of talking about the future.

The Kerry camp said the race was hardly over, pointing to The Wall Street Journal's Zogby poll of 16 battleground states, which still had Kerry in the lead.

Moore harangued jittery Democrats, saying Kerry may not be the greatest candidate, but he can still win.

"Enough of the hand-wringing!" the partisan filmmaker wrote on his Web site.

"Stop with all the defeatism, okay? Bush is a goner - IF we all just quit our whining and bellyaching and stop shaking like a bunch of nervous ninnies. Geez, this is embarrassing! The Republicans are laughing at us."

Just to add to my previous post: if there were any concern that voters might lie or otherwise "misremember" about what their party affiliation was in a previous election, that number too might be subjected to the sort of rolling average adjustment suggested for current party identification. It might be odd to introduce adjustments for numbers that should be hard numbers, but if one wishes to minimize the effects of "memories" that change with the political tides, this is one way of doing so. And, because the underlying number IS based on the hard fact of how people actually voted, the amplitude of the variation from that number is going to be far less than for something as potentially whimsical as current party identification.

PFK,
That's a damning list, ach but sadly as is policy the Repubs who troll this list will continue to see through it denying the facts, the facts.. and! and wait for it! .. while we're at it the FACTS! ; including the 1000+ dead Soldiers and 10,000+ dead Iraqis with their silly Neucon Shrub Stepford notions of 'FFfreedom' and 'we have to protect Amuricah against the evil ones/doers' (feck! who writes Shrub's words; Tolkien?)

The Rebuff convention was a joke, not a funny one either, everyone knows it was crap. I mean, be honest, if their notion of a "moderate" is Arnold then.. eek, god help us! His speech was maybe the worst I've heard in the politik arena, I lie! it was funny actually.. erm.. Soviet Tanks in Austria etal ;) yes right.. and Arn, "Commando" was a delicate love story of father and daughter in a tough old world.. ? was it? still I guess he liked the platform? I mean, yess.. he doesn''t get much opportunity at the various Academy Awards does he? hmm.. reminds me of the last poor actor to enter the world of Politik...

Can I use this moment to apologise for being part of a proud nation that has sent you all the twit and wisdom of Pat Buchanan and everyone's favourite fanatic; Pat Robertson. They are both proud of their Scottish Roots seemingly... please, treat them nicely but put them somewhere cold and dark on weekdays.. Great list chums!

4 more years? nopes! - 4 new years!
_______________________________

Sue Niederer American Heroine (go click me link!)

EDM staff-

Thanks for the policy guidelines. And good luck with them.

As to the rolling average idea, I like it. Do we have any sense of what the numbers would look like if we used a procedure like that?

Thanks.

Cloudy-

If Kerry can hold all the Gore states (including that Maine district), then New Hampshire and Arkansas would put him over the top. He wouldn't need Nevada or West Virgina, too.

ARG has some very encouraging 50 state polling today Sep 22
http://americanresearchgroup.com/
Looking fwd to Ruy's analysis and commentary.
Also glad Ruy will filter out these trolls and their imbecilic drivel.

I second the applause for the apllication of standards for posting (though BJ-now-Smillary has already slipped through by marginally modulating his tone, though not elevating his substance) . Well-argued rejoinders from the opposition are well worth debating. Messing with trolls is a waste of all our time.

The idea of the GOP convention being a paradigm-shifting event is laughable on its face, and no polls other than hysterical Gallup suggest that. Did anyone hear Chris Heinz on Al Franken's show yesterday? When Franken mentioned the Bush camp's worry about the town hall debate -- that people might "pretend" to be undecided to get in and slam Bush -- Chris said "You mean like Gallup pretends to be a non-partisan poll"? I've never heard a campaign openly dismiss a poll before; it has to mean their numbers are showing nothing like what Gallup is yielding.

Even while thinking Kerry's chances of winning this year are excellent, I wonder if any polls prior to voting will ever show him much better than dead even or a point or two up (as in Harris). The electorate is not as 50/50 divided as the press has contended for so long (until they decided to push "Bush in a romp"), but Bush will certainly get his approval ratings, which at worst go no lower than 45-46%. Given that a certain percentage of anti-incumbent voters always seem to stay undecided till they hit the ballot box, that suggests Kerry's best hope for pre-election polls would be 50-46 or thereabouts -- and if Bush's "actual" support number is 47-49, polls would likely show even less of a margin. I'm a great believer in presidents performing at their approval levels and not a point higher, so I would be very encouraged by such a showing going into the voting. But I guarantee the punditariat would be screaming "People don't like Bush but they won't bite on Kerry, either". Precisely what they were saying about Reagan in November 1980.

Oh, just to quickly respond to one piece of troll-bait: the NY Daily News hasn't been ultra-liberal since Lars-Erik Nelson died and Mort Zuckerman made its editorial page Iraq Support Central. Bill O'Reilly, Zev Chafets and Michael Goodwin spend all their time explaining how John Kerry and Dan Rather are ruining America. And Zuckerman takes the Bush "Every move we've made is correct" stance on Iraq.

Ron Reagan live today at 3 over at WebMD...republicans are blocking stem cell research and I'm mad as hell about it (because of personal family matters)....anyway, join me & ask your questions! click the URL.

Re ARG:

As I suspected, American Research Group finds the national popular vote count a dead head, but that Kerry would win the electoral vote if the election were held today!!!!!
Here are the results, broken down by party affiliation if you click on a state:

http://www.americanresearchgroup.com/

Moreover, I am convinced that even this poll and the Zogby battleground poll(http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-battleground04-frameset.html) understate our strength, because:

1. Bush hit his high point several weeks ago after the Rep Convention, Kerry has found his voice, the debates will help our side, and the polls will get better for us (leaving aside Republican plants like Strategic Vision, Survey USA, Gallup, and Mason Dixon, which will mislead to get Bush elected),

2. I suspect that all polls, even Zogby and ARG, actually understate the likely Democratic vote, since they undercount the young and minorities, and do not reflect such things as huge new voter registration drives and increased Democratic GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts, and

3. Traditionally, current Undecideds will eventually break about 3 or 4 to 1 in favor of the challenger and against the incumbent (moreover, we are already doing better than Bush among Independents in most critical states, and women form a disproportionate share of the current Undecideds).


WE ARE GOING TO WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pass this on to your friends.

Smooth Jazz,

as far as I can see the NY Daily News doesn't reveal what polls it is quoting. If it's Survey USA then Kerry is actually improving in NJ. And take a look at ARG and Quinnipiac: They have NJ at 50/42 and 47/43 respectively for Kerry.

It's these panic stories that make Bushs day. But not reality.

I think it would be helpful if we all took a look at a neo-con's perspective on the electorate. See "The New GOP" in The Public Interest ( http://thepublicinterest.com/ ) for a very different take on the polling numbers.

The Guardian UK has an article today about controversial polls, party ID weighting, etc. This paragraph about Zobgy's party ID weighting confused me:

"Other polling organisations adjust for height, race, and gender, but argue vehemently against weighting by party identification, saying that it is subject to change. "

http://tinyurl.com/6t3rb

ADJUST FOR HEIGHT??? Really? How odd. Are short people less likely to vote Kerry? What am I missing here?

Sep 22 (Per Political Wire)

Where The Race Stands
The American Research Group conducted polls in all 50 states. Here are the key findings:
In the weighted national popular vote, Bush leads Kerry 47% to 46%.
In states where there is a clear lead outside the margin of error, Bush has 17 states with 133 electoral votes; Kerry has 10 states with 132 electoral votes.
In states where there is any lead, Bush has 29 states with 253 electoral votes; Kerry has 20 states with 270 electoral votes.
Bush and Kerry are tied in Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Bush needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio.
Kerry needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Maine, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
Prior to these polls, the Electoral Vote Predictor had the race with Kerry at 269, Bush at 253.

The Intrade State Futures show Bush at 284, Kerry at 222.

A new Zogby electoral tally shows Kerry at 264

Wow what a reversal....we're back on top !

Electoral Vote Predictor 2004:
http://www.electoral-vote.com/

Kerry 269 Bush 253

News from the Votemaster

Thirteen new polls today and since ARG is going to release 30 new polls today I will have even more tomorrow. Before getting into today's data, a small technical note. Since there are so many overlapping polls now, something that didn't happen before, questions like should a Sept. 14-16 poll replace a Sept. 12-18 poll are starting to occur. To be consistent, I have formulated a set of rules described below. As a consequence of these rules, five of the new Mason-Dixon polls are not being included (MI, MO, OR, PA, and WI), because they do not meet the new criteria for replacing an existing poll. Only one of these changes who is ahead (WI) but since ARG is releasing a new poll for Wisconsin today, having one poll be in dispute for one day is a small price to pay for a clear and consistent set of rules about which poll is most recent.

The big news today is that Kerry is once again ahead in the electoral college by dint of his edging ahead in Florida (49% to 48%) and New Jersey (47% to 43% among RVs). However, these gains were partially offset by loses in Iowa and New Mexico. In Iowa, a new Gallup poll puts Bush ahead 48% to 43%. In New Mexico. a new Mason-Dixon poll taken Sep. 15-16 puts Bush ahead 47% to 43%, compared to Zogby's Sept. 13-17 poll showing a Kerry lead of 54% to 42%. That is a 15% switch in a couple of days, far outside the MoE. Clearly there are serious methodological issues here. These issues far overshadow the MoE, which is why I don't include the MoE in the spreadsheets. If one pollster is mostly sampling Democrats and another is mostly sampling Republicans, the MoE doesn't mean a lot.

SENATE DEMS INCREASINGLY NERVOUS AS KERRY FLAILS, GRASPS FOR A THEME:

http://www.hillnews.com/news/092204/cahill.aspx

The Hill
9/22/2004
By Geoff Earle

Democratic angst over Kerry
Mary Beth Cahill tries to soothe nerves; ‘Naturally, I’m worried,’ says Durbin


Sen. John Kerry dispatched campaign chairwoman Mary Beth Cahill to Capitol Hill on yesterday to a meeting with Senate Democrats who expressed anxiety about a string of recent campaign developments.

“We were worried after the convention,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “We’re doing fine. Naturally, I’m worried.”

Durbin acknowledged that Democrats were anxious but said Cahill’s message to Democrats was upbeat. He noted that the campaign had succeeded in securing three presidential debates through negotiations with Bush campaign officials.

getty images
Mary Beth Cahill was at the Capitol yesterday.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Durbin said that after a difficult August, when the Kerry campaign stayed off the air to conserve money because of campaign spending limits, “we do have the resources” to compete head to head with President Bush. And, Durbin said, “polls in all the battleground states are all very close.”

Retiring Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) said he was encouraged by the campaign’s tougher posture after some recent staff additions. “I feel they’re getting it straight,” he said. “Now they’re finally beginning to fight.”

Hollings sharply criticized the Kerry campaign’s early decision to hold back from responding on the issue of the challenger’s Vietnam record, saying it was “touchy-feely crap” and adding, “They don’t know how to campaign.

“Look at the record. We’re defending a Silver Star recipient against a damned draft dodger,” he said, referring to Bush’s service in the National Guard. Still, Hollings expressed hope that the Kerry campaign would be able to focus more attention on Bush’s record as president, rather than on Vietnam-era controversies.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) admitted that “I’d like to see us farther ahead” in his home state of West Virginia. “It’s a fight.” Byrd noted that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have spent considerable time in the state, saying, “They’ve got a lot of people fooled.”

Byrd said he has advised Kerry: “Stick with the common people. Get a little dirt under his fingernails. Get it in his nostrils. Get it on his hair.”

“I have confidence he’ll win in West Virginia because the president has broken too many promises down there,” Byrd said, faulting the administration for failing to provide enough resources for clean-coal-technology programs.

Besides Cahill, Broderick Johnson, one of the Kerry campaign’s congressional
liaisons, was on the Hill yesterday. Democratic aides say Kerry campaign officials meet with House and Senate Democrats periodically. Campaign officials met with Democratic House members shortly after the August recess.

Although several Senate Democrats expressed concern about recent polls that showed Bush ahead, most put greater stock in their own political judgment about their states. Minority Whip Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dismissed a recent Mason-Dixon poll showing Bush leading Kerry 50-45 in Nevada.

“I don’t think there’s a chance he’s going to win Nevada,” Reid said, referring to Bush.

Bush has developed leads in some key battleground states. Bush was up 11 points, 54-43, in a new Ohio poll conducted by the University of Cincinnati. The president leads Kerry 50-44 among likely voters in the latest Iowa poll conducted by CNN / USA Today/ Gallup.

In Pennsylvania, a virtual must-win for Kerry, he led the president by only one point, 45-44, in the Mason-Dixon poll. Bush led Kerry 46-44 in Wisconsin in the same poll.

And with six weeks left before the election, Democrats could take heart that Bush’s lead appears to have narrowed in some national polls. The latest Battleground/George Washington University poll had Bush leading Kerry by only 49-45, with a 3.1 percent margin of error.

“We’re making progress,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.). “It’s a close race. It’s either candidate’s to win or lose at this point.”

Hollings said Kerry’s most recent statements that the president had mishandled the war in Iraq constituted an effective posture. “Look at it now,” he said. “The country’s full of terrorists.”

Hollings acknowledged that Bush would carry South Carolina if the election were held today, but he noted that Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), Kerry’s running mate, will be in the state today, and Hollings said Kerry is “beginning to really campaign.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said yesterday’s meeting was “not a grousing session, [although] we’re never at a loss for suggestions.”

Some Democrats might think the Kerry campaign is not active because most TV ads run in battleground states, Stabenow said, but she added, “I see a fully engaged campaign. … This campaign is not over.”

Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) explained that there was a “hangover” in New Jersey because of the GOP convention and Sept. 11 anniversary, but internal polls there were good for Kerry.

Cahill “wants to see all of us being as aggressive as we can. We surrogates and others need to get out,” he added.

Kudos on the new policy. I come to this website to see more technical discussions, and not to see things get mired down in the usual trolling and propaganda.

The ARG report is interesting. It claims Bush is slightly ahead in CO, IA, NV, NH, and OH, while Kerry has a small lead in ME, FL, MN, OR, and PA.

NH and IA have been typically in the Kerry column. Of the 10 above, I think Kerry will take ME, MN, OR, PA, NH and IA. Bush has been consistently ahead in OH and I think he'll take that. I think Kerry can win without FL, but Bush cannot.

Dave G,

If I were you, I wouldn't get false comfort from ARG: They are well known as a heavily Dem biased poll, and, in my humble opinion, exists to keep Kerry & his supporters from getting too discouraged.

Others that are biased towards Dems: Zogby, Pew & the Economist. By that same logic, I wouldn't pay any attention to any Strategic Vision poll, which is heavily biased in favor of Repubs.

Ruy is right to be skeptical that the GOP convention could have caused the distinct shift in party identification that the polls report. However, the GOP convention wasn't just the GOP convention this year. The Beslan hostage-taking began on the day before Bush's speech, and the actual massacre occurred on the day after, when his speech was still dominating the news cycle. Given that Bush's biggest strength is the emotional connection people made with him during a terrorist attack, it seems reasonable to suspect that some sort of not-very-logical synergy might have occurred in people's minds. If true, this is probably only a temporary lift for him.

2. I suspect that all polls, even Zogby and ARG, actually understate the likely Democratic vote, since they undercount the young and minorities, and do not reflect such things as huge new voter registration drives and increased Democratic GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts, and


I really think this is the whole point. There has been hundreds of thousands of young voters registered in the battleground states. States like WI and MN you can register to vote up to and including Nov. 2. The polls have no way of capturing these news voters. That is why Kerry will win. Book it.

===========================

1. The popular vote is tied, or Kerry is up slightly.

2. Kerry leads in the electoral vote.

3. There is no migration of voters to the Republican party, another rightwing fable.

4. The frequency and intensity of the Freeper Madness we see here is evidence that they are running scared and know they're losing.

5. Oil is going UP, the Dow is coming DOWN, the war is a complete mess, and that sound you hear is Bush circling the toilet on his way out.

Notice what SmoothJazz is trying to do.

See, every time he comes on here, he tries to make it sound like Dems are all panicking, running around like beheaded chickens, and losing even in states where Gore trounced Bush by 16 points.

Come on man, why are you even bothering? The polls you're citing for evidence of dems losing heavily dem states are the same ones that predicted MD and NJ would be close last time, and of course neither was close at all.

Plus, if you actually read the article he posted, the overall message is that the Demos are hopeful. The misleading headline belies the actual content of the article. And the "Flailing + grasping" line is SmoothJazz's own, not the article's.

Come on trolls, go back to friendly territory and quit harassing us.

How can Zogby and ARG be called biased toward Dems when analysis shows they both called the 2000 election within an hairsbreadth?
The charge goes against the numbers.
Someone here pointed out the likelihood that they probably undercount likely Dem voters with all the registration drives especially those for 1st time voters.
I suspect some Bush supporters here are whistling by the graveyard.
But... there's always that Oct surprise TBA

GH,

Nice trick - Pick one poll, heavily biased in favor of Libs, while ignoring ALL other recnt polls, including all the non-ARG/non-Zogby state polls showing Kerry getting shellacked.

As for the Dow, Morgan Stanley & CSCO were downgraded, which is taking the whole market down after a recent run. I wouldn't count on the stock market saving Kerry the Lout. As for the price of oil, it's up today because tankers couldn't replenish US stockpiles because of hurricane Ivan; Kerry shouldn't count on the price of oil staying where it is either as we move from the peak usage summer months.

Take a peek at the new GWB Ad showing kerry blowing in the wind, with his finger following the direction of the wind

Smooth Jazz - what do you mean "biased" towards Dems? Their sampling methods produce more Democratic voters? They overrepresent Democratic support with their weighting schemes?

Can you support this? I've been wrong before, but I can't understand why a firm that is positioning itself as a legitimate, non-partisan public polling firm would act in a biased manner.

Smooth Jazz,

Re Zogby. Biased? Accurate is more like it. Just take a look at Zogby's last poll before the 2000 election, and compare it with Gallup's.

Nuf said.

Fine,
If the moderators want to screen posts for offensive language, I'm on board. But that won't stop BJ from cross-dressing to feed his puny ego instead of enlisting for Iraq.
Let the moderators require registration. Otherwise you will continue to invite the smears and taunts from the junior swifty veterans of the rush-kaus school of tough-talk-no-balls-military service.

Democracy,

Prior to 9/11, I would argue that Zogby polls were as good as any other - This was before his brother, James Zogby, head of a Bush Hating Arab American Group, became very partisan towards the war. Moreover, given Zogby's contention that the race was Kerry's to lose 3 months ago, it's in HIS interest to tilt his poll to show Kerry is still in the game, if not ahead.

Add to that, you cannot trust ANY, Dem or Rep, internet interactive poll which targets subscribers. For all we know, his subscribers responding to the interactive poll are mostly Dems, which would tilt such a poll towards Kerry. His phone poll earlier this week showing GWB up by 4 is closer to reality IMO.

A final point: In the 2002 midterms, Zogby had Carnahan (MO), Mondale (MN) & Cleland (GA) all winning - In fact, they all lost. So much for Zogby's accuracy!

"Smooth Jazz's" repeated in-your-face postings on this thread today make a mockery of EDM's new posting guidelines, which unfortunately are vague enough to drive a semi through. I would encourage some tweaking by Ruy and EDM staff to set a higher hurdle.

But in the meantime, Smooth, enjoy all the new polls coming out showing Kerry neck and neck with the Chimp. Your man's sinking fast; better throw him a silver-plated, mongrammed life preserver. Here's Chris Bowers' most recent take from his "My DD" blog:

"Is The Horserace Narrative About To Change?
by Chris Bowers

"The Note certainly thinks so:

There's the fact that two of America's leading news organizations (who poll together) are about to release some horserace numbers that are going to suggest a tight race and tease out the "Kerry closes the gap with momentum" storyline for which the press hungers. (As Joe Lockhart would say, EVERYONE in Washington knows about these poll numbers ... ..)
As much as I complain about it, I'm not certain how much the horserace narrative actually helps one candidate or the other. In fact, in 2000, it is entirely possible the narrative on Election Day, that Bush would probably win a close one, might have helped fuel Democratic turnout and was also probably a factor in around 30% of Nader's supporters dropping him in the booth. Still, in an election that is almost certainly going to be tight, the "comeback kid" label is a good one to have. If nothing else, it will make Kerry look more favorable, and might lead to some Bush voters giving him a second look.

Media :: Wed Sep 22nd, 2004 at 03:51:28 PM EST :: 2 Comments"

What I'm surprised about is how few of the major news oputlets seem to recall (with Dick Morris the apparent exception) that undecideds always break heavily for the challenger or for the out-of-power party, at least in every election since 1960.

I can't recall where the numbers exactly came from, (I swear they're real, or at least very close)but look at some of these last-minute polls comapared to the actual results:

1960 Poll: Nixon 50%, Kennedy 49%
Actual: Kennedy 49.8%, Nixon 49.2%

1964 Poll: Johnson 65%, Goldwater 34%
Actual: Johnson 61%, Goldwater 39%

1980 Poll: Carter 47%, Reagan 46%
Actual: Reagan 51%, Carter 41%

1984 Poll: Reagan 61%, Mondale 37%
Actual Reagan 59%, Mondale 41%

1996 Poll: Clinton 53%, Dole 38%
Actual: Clinton 49%, Dole 41%

Even in the years when the incumbent won, most of the undecideds still went with the challenger. A tie for Bush really means a Kerry win. If Bush's position were even remotely secure, he could simply ignore his opponent (as Reagan and Clinton did in their re-elections). History and precedent are on our side.

Does anyone have the track record for these Iowa and Intrade political futures? Ruy? Posters? I seem to have read somewhere that it was no better than chance, but I could be wrong.

The more I read the stats from the polls and the more I read the mouthings of George Bush, the more perplexed I become and I really start to wonder about the electorate.

Today, I read that the president dismissed the report from the CIA regarding the prospects for a better Iraq. It is reported that he thinks the CIA was just guessing about the prospects of life in Iraq.

Something like this coming a president, of any country, bothers me to the core. How can any president dimiss a report from the CIA with such scant respect and in such a simplistic manner? Its begs me to wonder what is real status of the CIA in the mind of this white house and if they are really this top notched institution that I have always held them to be.

Would this be the same CIA of 20 years ago? Is this the same CIA that Bush would have "consulted" en route to both Afghanistan and Iraq? Is this the same CIA who, I am sure, would have mole planted every which way in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, the entire Middle East etc... etc... etc.

I am sure Bush is closer to the CIA than I am, so maybe he knows that the current CIA aint worth anymore than just guessing around on important issues.

Beyond bush and the CIA however, doesnt it bother the electorate that this is the kinda person who now runs things in the US? Doesnt it bother them that he shakes hands with truth and integrity from such a far distance? Doesnt it bother GOPers and the fundamentalist christians that their man talks christ but lives the devil?

George Bush has very scant respect for the people he leads and the institutions that support his tenure in the White House. He is obviously very self centred, in the style of a simpleton.

Taking these things into consideration, I cannot see how the polls can have Kerry tied with bush or even a point or two behind. Either these polls are simply WRONG, which I believe, or the electorate in the US are asleep on the job.

Again, I state the Bush' current position in the polls has little to do with Rove but alot to do with a lazy electorate. An electorate that refuses to do its own research, refuses to seek out the truth, refuses to climb out of a state of denial and hence refuses to see the value in a Kerry presidency.

It will be a sad indictment on the electorate if they choose a deceptive bush over John Kerry. The world will get to laugh again.

Its obvious then that we have to literally go house to house and wake up this drowsy electorate. Its obvious that someone will have to take thier hands and walk them to the booths. Its obvious that we will have to spoon feed them with the truth, if we expect better poll stats. and Kerry to win.

Maybe in the next 4 weeks, they will spring alive. I sure hope so.

I agree with Ruy and the team on their approach to regulating the posts here. I am not sure that they will be able achieve the stated or expected goal as it will take plenty monitoring and reading. I am not sure that good resources should be deployed to do such a mundane thing.

Thanks for your efforts EDM team.

However, I dont agree with warp to limit the posts to democrats only. I am one of those persons who think that the posts should be open to whoever dares to start typing. Its always a great idea to open a mind to opposing views on all subjects.

One of the best ways to defeat any enemy is to know how he thinks, moves, exists.. etc. I say, lets hear how the GOPers think, this ought not to demoralise us but build us up and show us what tools we need to launch a proper attack.

My only desire is for all posters to be decent in thier posts and conform to the regulations that the owners of the site request. Thats not a hard thing to do, I think we all know English.

Lets keep posting and looking for avenues by which Kerry can win this thing.


As to New Jersey: Unless 9/11 stoked a undercurrent of racially-tinged fear ("That guy with a turban on the train who was talking in a strange language on his cell phone worried me."), which is possible, then I have to wonder whether Bush could cut down Kerry's lead sizeably.

You'll inevitably have a certain percentage of Republicans here who are reluctant to vote for Bush simply because NJ Republicans are culturally and politically not very well represented by the Southern / Texan establishment. It's possible that Democrats are bleeding support amongst white working class voters in the state -- I can't really imagine any other viable explanation. If there's been an explosion in white blue-collar homeownership, that might explain it.

From what I know of the state, though, this really doesn't make all that much sense.

A point about facts: The Economist endorsed Bush in 2000. Someone above indicated that it is heavily democratic, so I wanted the record straight.

The last Gabby Hayes post wasn't mine, and I'm fairly certain one of warp resident's wasn't his.

Another page from the freeper HOW TO BE JUVENILE handbook.

Whoever is screening, there are at least two bogus posts by freepers, one allegedly by Warp and one allegedly by me.

They used as email addresses:

adem@yahoo.com
imnothere@yahoo.com

If you'll check the URL, I'm sure you'll see the same address, which you might want to block.

Additional Polling facts & question:

1) It is true that most people who are undecided trend against the incumbent (they are basically shopping right now, which means they have made a decision about the incumbent and want to feel "secure" in choosing the other guy.).
2) Several polls above are mentioned as left leaning, and as with the Economist, this is simply not the case.
3) Polls are snapshots, anyone poll alone is bound to provide an incomplete picture- its the trending of most polls that counts as we get closer to the election
4) Correlary to 3) is that most voters who are still trying to decide or leaning, but not totally decided, will not decided until October (I wont site history other than to say look it up).
5) Re: NJ. Been asking some friends in gov't there. They suggest it maybe related somehow to corruption of NJ Democratic machine w. McGreevey being the latest example coupled w/ 09/11 loses of families there. They also say that they don't expect these polls to continue to bear out in Oct.

6) Re: Fl. How accurate is the polling considering issues w/ the Hurricanes there? Is there any sympathy for Bush b/c of it? Are they able to reach voters considering conditions there?

Mystery Pollster, linked on Kaus, really tore you a new one, Tex. You should check it out and defend yourself.

Just a question: why would pollsters (lets assume they have a hidden agenda) want to skew the numbers in favor of their canidate. If anything, and its a big if, doesn't that mobilize their opposition more than their own supporters. I live in Utah, where Bush is a lock, but that makes Republican votes just as useless as Democratic ones, and from what I've heard, Dems are more likely to vote just to make the point that they are Democrats here.