« New Democracy Corps Poll Finds Substantial Gains For Kerry as Result of First Debate | Main | New Newsweek Poll: Kerry 49, Bush 46 »

Leading Pollster Guy Molyneux Explains Why the Media Is Overestimating Bush's Lead

Guy Molyneux is a highly respected analyst and pollster who serves as a Senior Vice President and Partner of Peter Hart Research Associates. In an article now available on the American Prospect's website he presents an extremely important analysis of why the media is overestimating Bush's lead and underestimating how close the race actually is.

As poll results fluctuate dramatically during the next several weeks, it becomes increasingly critical that Democrats understand and can articulate the real situation and challenge both media misinterpretation and Republican spin.

The following are excerpts from Molyneux's American Prospect article.

"Media analysis [of the 2004 election] is marred by a failure to take account of a phenomenon well-known to all political pollsters, the “incumbent 50-percent rule.”

Almost all poll reporting focuses on the “spread,” that is, the difference in the percentage supporting Bush and John Kerry...However, in incumbent elections, the incumbent’s percentage of the vote is a far better indicator of the state of the race than the spread. In fact, the percentage of the vote an incumbent president receives in surveys is an extraordinarily accurate predictor of the percentage he will receive on election day -- even though the survey results also include a pool of undecided voters.

[The reason is that] elections are fundamentally a referendum on the incumbent. The first step in voters’ decision-making process is to answer the question “does he deserve re-election?” Undecided voters have basically answered that question in the negative, and their undecided status reflects the fact that they don’t know enough about the challenger (yet) to feel comfortable stating a public preference.

Think of it this way: The percentage that Bush receives in polls represents his ceiling of support; he may get a little less, but won’t get more. In contrast, Kerry’s percentage represents his floor, and he will almost certainly do better on election day.

How should political journalists deal with the misleading nature of poll spreads that appear to give Bush a significant lead? ...Political reporters can and should put these results in the proper historical context, informing viewers and readers that polls showing an incumbent president receiving 49 percent of the vote are consistent with a very close election result [even if the challenger's support is several percent less].

The alternative, continuing to focus on the spread, ensures press coverage that remains one step behind the real story. If and when Kerry succeeds in narrowing or eliminating the polling gap between him and Bush, the media will report a “dead heat” when, in fact, Kerry will be positioned for victory.

And there is one final factor to consider that isn’t captured in the polls at all: the ground war. Democratic 527s such as America Coming Together are conducting massive voter-registration and mobilization campaigns that could easily add 2 or 3 percentage points to Kerry’s vote. As the Service Employee International Union’s Andy Stern has observed, this field operation is “the greatest field-goal unit in history” -- if Kerry can keep the race close, voter mobilization will give him the last few points he needs.

The polls tell us it may already be close enough.

Comments

Because of early voting and absentee ballots, it's important that Kerry establish a lead at this stage. Certainly much of the absentee/early voting will be done by committed partisans, but especially as we get into the last week or two of the election, the concrete will be setting.

There's another reason to try to build a lead. It will force Bush to attack. If he expends his ammunition in early October, he'll be shooting blanks by the end of the month. And Kerry can try to counter the lies.

I think Kerry has serious work to do to close the sale. To some degree he got lucky in the debate. He almost got tripped up with the "Is Iraq a mistake?" question. If Bush hadn't been so bad, he might have been able to embarrass Kerry.

There's another reason Kerry has to make the sale. If he wins the election, and has not established a clear agenda, he will not have a mandate to govern. Mandates are not just margins of the vote. They represent an understanding of and acceptance by the public about what is on the agenda.

Well, maybe not.

It seems to me that the major goal of the Bush team is to raise enough doubts about Kerry that the undecideds, who have already fired Bush stay home rather than hire Kerry. Should this happen, then, given current polls, Kerry would clearly lose.

I came to this site today to post the link to the American Prospect article...AND HERE IT IS ALREADY!!! An interesting and encouraging analysis.

As for the need for a mandate...explain to me how GW Bush required an electoral "mandate"? The fact the he slipped in on a technicality didn't seem to slow him down. Or was his mandate 9/11?

The idea that you can't govern without a mandate is just a theory. I don't see any evidence that it really matters after inauguration day. Either candidate will have the snipers of the opposition firing on them every day for the next 4 years if he wins -- with or without a mandate.

Since the Bush campaign has been trying mightily to make this election a referendum on Kerry, it's hard to tell what that will do to the "incumbent rule."

I am cautiously optimistic.

Guy Molyneux's analysis is actually extremely accurate. I am not sure with the special dynamics of this election what will happen (the war president and all), but it is clear that in prior elections what he said would be totally on point.

Mandates for a Clear Agenda

Bush won 2000 without a mandate (I will conceed the election to make a greater point that even with his win he still can not have been said to have had a mandate). Are we now reinstituting the mandate requirement for governing b/c a Democrat has the potential to win? Just curious, b/c if we are, then you might want to let Bush in on the fact that, 9/11, Iraq, and war on terror excluded, he has no mandate for many of the radical changes he has made to domestic policy in the areas of deficit spending, the environment, proposals to partially privatize social security, tax, rules for overtime pay, etc. Kerry has a massive lead in polls in turns of domestic policy. The only thing holding Bush's numbers up are the war on terrorism numbers. Nearly every poll I have seen says this.

Overseas Ballots

If you think the Republicans have a demonstrable lead in overseas ballots this year, I point you to an NBC News story on this subject and blogging that has been covering the get out the vote issues. First, any belief that some how he is going to get as high a military vote as he did in 2000 I will argue is mistaken. These guys are being hammered (kerry wasn't lying about the body armor issue, the backdoor draft, not being allowed to just do their job (ie, half ass military offensives) and something he didn't mention, the percentage of reservist refusing to show up, and other issues I don't want to get into) If you think none of this is going to reduce Bush's percentage in the armed services then I would like to drink some of your coolaid. Will he get a lead- yeah- will he be the same or higher than 2000- I can't see it. There are also more foreign voters who are worried about (according to the NBC report and a few others) the credibility of the US in the world. There has been a massive increase of new voters abroad that favors Kerry. The only bright spot for Bush maybe Israel, but even this isnt a guarantee except among the Israeli hardliners who are US citizens. There was a reason they wanted to suppress the vote abroad, and it certainly wasn't cyberterrorism.

Kerry being Lucky

You keep telling yourselves that. In fact, I hope you get thinking that for the next four weeks.

Undecideds staying home

More wishful thinking not borne out in the polls. The only undecideds who are considering staying home are actually Republican leaning undecideds who can't bring themselves to vote for Kerry. I can't see that happening with either true independents or Democratic leaning independents.

Viewership of Debates

I leave you with these two points: a) 19 to 25 percent of the voters surveyed have said they are persuadable to vote for either candidate although they may have choosen one candidate or another for the purpose of polling. Guy Molyneux's analysis comes into play with these voters. If they were going to be solid for Bush, they would be so by now. This is why he is weak. To understand this you have to understand American politics- there are two things that affect elections- incumbency and money (and third is probably ethinicity, sexual orientation and race). Its just demonstrably more difficult to take out an incumbent than a challenger. I won't go into the reasons why. I know you like to think Bush and Karl Rowe can walk on water, but they are subject to the same dynamics as are other incumbents. His numbers are just not good for a guy who is a war President. Whether Kery can capitalize- who knows- Thursday (and frankly the two weeks leading up to Thursday certainly show he can as well as the facts on the ground of Iraq). But what is clear is that there is something to capitalize on.

b) A simple number 62 million people watched the debate this year. 62 million. That's a lot more than the 2000 debate. If you don't think in a country that is as apolitical as this country is that this means a heavy voter turn out- then I would again ask you for some of that coolaid. I would add that I believe I read that the number is third who said they would be influenced by the debate/s.

Here's the web address of ACT again, mentioned in the post:
http://acthere.com/
I wonder if that's the Guy Molyneux I knew at Harvard, but at any rate, he mentions the work of ACT as among the potentially decisive elements in the race, and contacting them at the above address, which I gave a few days ago, and will try to periodically update, where people can work to assist their important work in swing states whether you live in one or not, contacting them on the web.
I differ with Guy's overly optimistic argument that Bush's poll numbers represent a 'ceiling', although there is SOME logic to his argument. The challenger has much more to gain, if s/he makes a positive impression on voters, from those undecideds, as in this election, who really don't think the incumbent deserves another term. I would NEVER assume that Bush's poll numbers represent a ceiling; but it is reasonable, all things considered, that if the polls show a dead heat, Kerry probably would have a slight edge on election day. If those who Democrats have recently registered are polled, however, they would count as RVs like any other, and, as recent registrants, might if anything be more likely to vote but perhaps not be counted as LVs. But they WOULD be picked up in RV polls, so we shouldn't make the mistake of counting them twice.
If, as of just before election day, the RVs show a lead while the LVs remain a dead heat, I would indeed give Kerry the polling edge -- which would just mean the Republicans would be forced to steal yet ANOTHER election. What would really pose problems is the conceivable possibility that the media spin will be overcome and Kerry could have a lead big enough so the Republicans won't be able with invisible ballot box stuffing by electronic machines and other old-fashioned methods to tip the scales. But that may be hoping for too much.
Bob Herbert's Oct 1 column (available at nytimes.com -- just enter "Bob Herbert" in your search of the last 30 days) on studies showing massive overvotes in African American precincts unexplainable by 'nonconspiratorial' excuses is MUST reading and should be distributed to colleagues with the ACT address to highlight the need for more vigilance in this area. The whole electronic voting machines -- not only Nevada but Russia have receipts -- when simply producing a paper ballot from the machine which can then be deposited in a box would be cheap and solve the stealing problem. As Malcolm X rightly said, however, we wrongly label as "problems" what are in fact "SOLUTIONS to a problem".

niq: Not so fast. Drudge is reporting that the latest Newsweek poll of 1013 registered voters shows Kerry up 2 in both a head to head and a three way.

As if on cue

NEWSWEEK


Kery 49

Bush 46

I think Ruy's wired

niq..a flaw ...

This election's turnout will be somewhere between 114 and 118 million as against 105 in 2000

Anothrr flaw...62.5 million viewers first debate another of many indicators that this will be the hightest turnout since 1992 ..my bet is even higher


Granted that is what Bush/Rove want but Bush/Rove don't always get what they pray for...

A VERY important recent posting at the following web address cites a late-breaking Newsweek poll that shows Bush's lead disappearing ENTIRELY, in a poll taken since the debate. This will surely be posted in its entirety here, or should be, but in the meantime, check:

http://drudgereport.com/flash1nw.htm

I'm not a fan of the drudge report, this is just a summary of the NEWSWEEK poll.

Very encouraging post this Guy Molyneux item.

I kinda recall similar explanations in the 2000 electiion, but I needed to be reminded.

It ain't over and Rove will pull something I'm sure, but this supports Zogby's view that it's still Kerry's to lose.

Oh ye of little faith....

BTW, I do hope you Kerry supporters have been donating whatever you can afford.

New Newsweek poll has Kerry leading Bush.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6159637/site/newsweek/

With a solid majority of voters concluding that John Kerry outperformed George W. Bush in the first presidential debate on Thursday, the president’s lead in the race for the White House has vanished, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. In the first national telephone poll using a fresh sample, NEWSWEEK found the race now statistically tied among all registered voters, 47 percent of whom say they would vote for Kerry and 45 percent for George W. Bush in a three-way race.

Removing Independent candidate Ralph Nader, who draws 2 percent of the vote, widens the Kerry-Edwards lead to three points with 49 percent of the vote versus the incumbent’s 46 percent. Four weeks ago the Republican ticket, coming out of a successful convention in New York, enjoyed an 11-point lead over Kerry-Edwards with Bush pulling 52 percent of the vote and the challenger just 41 percent.

The picture of Shrub says a thousand words.

Good news fellow Democrats! Newsweek, which only a couple of weeks ago reported in its poll that Bush was ahead 52-41, has just released a new poll which shows Kerry ahead 47-45 in a three man race and ahead 49-46 in a two man race.

Oct. 2 - With a solid majority of voters concluding that John Kerry outperformed George W. Bush in the first presidential debate on Thursday, the president’s lead in the race for the White House has vanished, according to the latest NEWSWEEK poll. In the first national telephone poll using a fresh sample, NEWSWEEK found the race now statistically tied among all registered voters, 47 percent of whom say they would vote for Kerry and 45 percent for George W. Bush in a three-way race.
Removing Independent candidate Ralph Nader, who draws 2 percent of the vote, widens the Kerry-Edwards lead to three points with 49 percent of the vote versus the incumbent’s 46 percent. Four weeks ago the Republican ticket, coming out of a successful convention in New York, enjoyed an 11-point lead over Kerry-Edwards with Bush pulling 52 percent of the vote and the challenger just 41 percent.

Among the three-quarters (74 percent) of registered voters who say they watched at least some of Thursday’s debate, 61 percent see Kerry as the clear winner, 19 percent pick Bush as the victor and 16 percent call it a draw. After weeks of being portrayed as a verbose “flip-flopper” by Republicans, Kerry did better than a majority (56 percent) had expected. Only about 11 percent would say the same for the president’s performance while more than one-third (38 percent) said the incumbent actually did worse that they had expected. Thirty-nine percent of Republicans felt their man out-debated the challenger but a full third (33 percent) say they felt Kerry won.

Kerry’s perceived victory may be attributed to the fact that, by a wide margin (62 percent to 26 percent), debate watchers felt the senator came across as more confident than the president. More than half (56 percent) also see Kerry has having a better command of the facts than Bush (37 percent). As a result, the challenger’s favorability ratings (52 percent, versus 40 percent unfavorable) are better than Bush’s, who at 49 percent (and 46 percent unfavorable), has dipped below the halfway mark for the first time since July. Kerry, typically characterized as aloof and out of touch by his opponents, came across as more personally likeable than Bush (47 percent to the president’s 41 percent). Sixty-one percent of Americans who watched the first presidential debate on September 30 say Sen. John Kerry won; 19 percent say President George W. Bush won and 16 percent say they tied, according to the latest Newsweek Poll which was conducted after the debate ended. Fifty-six percent say Kerry did better than they expected; 11 percent say so for Bush. Thirty-eight percent say Bush did worse than expected; 3 percent say so for Kerry, the poll shows.

The debate erased the lead the Bush/Cheney ticket has held over Kerry/Edwards in the Newsweek Poll since the Republican convention. In a three-way trial heat including Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo, among registered voters Kerry/Edwards leads Bush/Cheney 47 percent v. 45 percent with 2 percent for Nader/Camejo. In a two-way heat, Kerry/Edwards leads 49 percent v. 46 percent for Bush/Cheney, the poll shows.

A 62-percent majority of viewers says Kerry seemed more confident and self-assured (26% say so for Bush) and 51 percent say Kerry had better command of issues and facts (37% for Bush). Forty-seven percent say Kerry seemed more personally likeable (41 % for Bush) and 49 percent say Kerry came closer to reflecting their own views on most foreign policy issues (43% for Bush). The two were nearly even on several other points, including who came across as a strong leader (47% Kerry, 44% Bush) and who had a better plan for dealing with the situation in Iraq (45% for both). Forty percent of viewers thought Kerry was too wordy and 57 percent thought Bush was too repetitive.

From what I just read I don't think niq is correct.

If the undecideds stay home Bush will lose. He's not at 50%, and how does he get there without picking up those undecideds? According to a Newsweek Poll coming out tomorrow (10/3) Kerry has overtaken Bush's 11 point lead after the convention and turned it into a 2 point lead for himself. That's a 13 point swing. And, big AND, I know Democrats are outworking Republicans in registering voters particularly here in Florida as was noted in this post. Therefore Bush HAS to get undecideds to vote for him - not stay home. Like Zogby said months ago - this election is Kerry's to lose. This election will go to Kerry unless he makes some sort of gigantic error or there is some sort of "Rove" surprise.

Well, apparently the new Newsweek poll is going to show not only a dead heat, but Kerry actually leading by 3 points.

I agree with Mr. Molyneux's analysis. I've always felt that if Kerry is within in the margin of error of a given poll, it actually signifies that he's winning.

The new Newsweek poll is the first major media poll conducted after the debates. Kerry leads Bush 49 to 46 in a two way race. In the 3 way Kerry leads by two!! This is really good news considering that after the Republican convention Bush lead Kerry by double digits in this poll. The race is on!!! Only two days left to register those voters in the swing states guys.

3 things about Newsweek poll:

a) Question: Since it says Thursday through Saturday- does that mean that at least one day was pre-debate polling?

b) I think the poll reflects in part a change in their methology with a parity for Dems and Republicans so I am not sure how much of a real change of the dynamic it is- ie, this is still a close election

c) I am more interested in the battleground state numbers especially of Florida (I think Kerry maybe helped in that this was the first major week w/o a hurricane sucking up media space so he is surging at right time to came that battelground state's attention) and also of Ohio (I think Ohio will come more into play with the domestic debate b/c this is where Kerry's chance in that state exist.)

I guess I'm questioning the notion that undecideds are really ready to fire Bush-- at least in my neck of the woods (TN, but in an urban area), they're mostly Bush voters who simply feel vaguely embarrassed by the lousy job he's doing and are hoping that Kerry will validate their prejudices against anyone with a (D) after his/her name enough to make Bush their only choice. The Tennessean had five "undecided" voters watch the debate, and two remained undecided, one former Keyes (!) voter is leaning Kerry, and two broke for Bush... those last two were Bush voters in 2000 and basically only wanted enough reason to repeat that performance. My sense is that Republican-leaning undecideds will do almost anything to avoid voting Dem.

Dory asks, "As for the need for a mandate...explain to me how GW Bush required an electoral "mandate"? The fact the he slipped in on a technicality didn't seem to slow him down. Or was his mandate 9/11? The idea that you can't govern without a mandate is just a theory."

There's no theory here. Government is by coercion or by persuasion (or by some mixture of the two). Dictators certainly don't need mandates. They can govern with a 10% approval rating, as long as the 10% have guns and the 90% don't.

Dictatorships have serious drawbacks. They lose their talented people to freer societies. People cease to donate effort to maintaining the society. Corruption drains resources from productive efforts. Resentment builds, and ultimately there is a coup.

The freer the society can be, the more productive it is. So, ceteris paribus, over time free societies rise and dictatorships fall.

Bush's failure to have a mandate for his agenda has created enormous backlash. As has been pointed out, he was elected as a "compassionate conservative" and has neither conserved nor been compassionate. Only the fact that war automatically creates an agenda saved him from losing the Congress in 2002 and opening the path to investigation of corruption by Bush and cronies.

Should Kerry be elected as Anybody But Bush--i.e., without a mandate-- what next? The country faces massive deficits-- and no agreement on how to reduce them. The overwhelming majority of Republicans have indeed signed pledges against raising taxes. The country has three quarters of its combat troops bogged down "pacifying" an increasingly hostile country. There's an urgent need to get moving on global warming-- and this Congress will not do it. The temptation for the Pubbies will be to do to Kerry what they did to Clinton: delay and throw mud. The only thing preventing them from doing so is fear of backlash... which will not exist if no one knows what Kerry is going to do.

Mandates represent a national consensus. Don't be distracted by the media bloviation about what constitutes a mandate. Mandates are important, especially when control of Congress is divided.

If the last Newsweek poll was wrong (and incompetently done), why put any faith in this one?

I believe there was a swing of a few points toward Kerry, but we won't know until the tracking polls establish a trend this coming week.

Ignore polls. Get people energized, educated, and pointed toward the voting booth.

I have the feeling that the polls are very, very wrong. I would be willing to bet that people are going to be shocked by the only poll that really counts; the one on election day.

Anyone who says that the polls have not been extremely weird for the last couple of months is not being, how shall I say, candid.

The whole Newsweek poll was conducted post debate, The only polling done on Thursday was in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones -- where the debate ended at 8:30 or 7:30, leaving a small time window to begin polling post debate. West Coasters would have been polled sans spin.

Unfortunately Friday and Saturday evenings are not the best times for phone polls. It will be interesting to see what other operations find who hold off a bit, and let the media and private spinning of the event take its course. Right now we are looking for a trend -- and Kerry has to keep it in the right direction for the next 30 days.

Newsweek poll = good news but don't get cocky. "Incumbent rule" = near consensus among experts-- not that an incumbent under 50% will lose, but that an incumbent under 50% near election day is in trouble. Unpopular incumbents try to make challengers seem unacceptable. That's why the RNC was all about attacking Kerry, and why the GOP playbook since then has been more of the same. Extremely unpopular incumbents CAN win close elections but only by going all-out negative: the classic recent example here is Gray Davis' reelection in California (and we all know how that turned out-- but he did win a second term, short as it turned out to be). I think the key numbers over the next few weeks will be Kerry's fav/unfav spread: if it remains net positive AND Bush stays under 50 (AND we work hard), we're on.

I'm grateful to Molyneux & Teixiera for some intelligent sounding analyses instead of the usual tiresome cheerleading, Tim Russert style.
But I cannot shake a feeling of deja vu, wherein this stage of the conflict is so reminiscent of late in the game w/ Bush 41. They became enthralled by their own B.S.
Let's remember the media's loyalties for a moment, so when they run a poll, are they going to bad-mouth their handlers? This margin of error thing is important sounding, but the techniques are getting pretty long in the tooth. Phoning total strangers, seems to me a dubious way of finding out things. I've worked at phone banks, phone surveys, & unless you're pretty adept, yr going to get alot of annoyed peeps by this time. And somewhere the issue of cell phones in the hands of the young has been raised.
Cheers.

hope you are right!

OK... good article and it makes sense. I particularly agree that it really comes down to the ground game and all reports (and personal eyewitness evidence) is that we have not only caught up to but left the GOP in the dust on this.

My question/request is for evidence to back up the assertion that the polls show the incumbents high-water mark. Can someone sight past elections, a trend of past elections, and polling that support this position?

See... http://mushtown.blogspot.com/

about 1/4th of the way down he writes

" WHY THE DODGER GAME WAS BETTER THAN THE DEBATE
The Dodger game was fun. It was great that they won, and the way they did it
- with a home run in the 11th inning - was really exciting and it was one
of the best times I ever had at Dodger Stadium.

But the best thing about the night was a very surreal political moment that
I won't soon forget.

We were sitting in the pavillion, the cheap seats, where all the rowdy
people sit and fight each other for stray balls during batting practice.
The Dodgers hosted a tribute to Tommy Lasorda, and the announcer directed
our attention to the big screen above left field. David Letterman and
Jay Leno both made a few good-natured jokes about Tommy. And then ...

And then, the President himself, George W. Bush, was up on the screen.
His head was thirty feet high. And somebody in the cheap seats started
booing. And it took about a half-second before the entire pavillion
(including me) was booing the president.

BOOOOOOOOOOOO! YOU SUCK!

I hate to say it, but it was great! I felt a little bad for Lasorda.
It was supposed to be his moment, when his years of service and devotion
to the Dodgers were acknowledged. But I didn't feel bad for very long.
I realized that there are millions of people in this country who could
have spoken for Lasorda and spelled out his accomplishments.
(Bush went on forever.) They could have chosen someone else other
than one of the most divisive and cowardly figures we have ever
seen in American politics.

Booing the president wasn't very classy, but it was fun.
I might even feel bad about it if the president ever develops a conscience.

Honestly? I'm not too worried about that. "

End Quote

For Bush does this signal the end of his asperations ?

Rasmussen shows basically no change. They phone poll 1000 people per day (This poll covers 10/30, 11/1 & 11/2, so 2/3 of this poll was taken AFTER the debate). Looks to me like Kerry still has a lot of work to do.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/

Rasmussen Reports
Oct 3, 2004

GWB 49, Kerry 45


The latest Rasmussen Reports Presidential Tracking Poll shows President George W. Bush with 49% of the vote and Senator John Kerry with 45%.

These results are based upon a survey of 3,000 Likely Voters conducted Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday afternoon. As a result, just over two-thirds of the interviews were conducted following the Presidential Debate.

Interviews conducted on Friday and Saturday show Kerry with a one-point bounce since the debate. However, in post-debate interviews, Bush still leads 49% to 46%.More...

It's funny you're touting Rasmussen now, Smooth Jazz, given that he's one of the ones who hasn't shown Bush with a gargentuan lead. As it stands, it may be true that Kerry's bounce wasn't as dramatic as first appears, but even so, given that 1/3 of the responses took place *before* the debate, it might be that the margin is even narrower.

Oh, and, while Rasmussen's LV model is likely more accurate than Gallup's, it still is a distortion that doesn't account for new voters.

Jazz,

The point is that Bush is under 50 percent even in the poll that you decide to use with a month to go before the election. People are just now starting to truly pay attention (at the point of a Kerry surge b/c he did win the debate and thats all the apoliticals are hearing- "well Kerry seems presidentia" etc), and make their decision. Where do you think they are going to go? I mean realistically- they have had 4 years with a pretty relentless message about terrorism and the administration's ability to use the powers of incumbency. Bush has no wiggle room. If people haven't come to his side with less than a month to go, they aren't going to come. It's politics 101- it's the incumbent's advantage. I know in this day and age where we like to think everything is subject to well being subjective, but there are certain things that make logical and gutlevel sense even in wartime. Even in wartime- if 49 percent of people are supporting you (and you got to know that some of that support is lukewarm support on both sides) what does this mean for you as a candidate who has had 4 years of uninterupted opporunity to show you are capable of leading. I know you, and the spinners like David Brooks to think 09.11 changed the dynamics, but this is just living in fantasy land. If people perceived of Bush as the man for the job, he would be polling better than 50 percent. And while we are at it- let's be clear- Ohio as a conservative state, Virginia as a conservative state, Florida as a conservative leaning state, Arkansas as a middle of the road state, should not even be in question at this point. The fact that they are is all that we need to know to realize where the tide is going.

The post by TtRAMMELL WINTERFIRE intrigues me, and I am of like mind. I presume the "shocker" he expects is a very BLUE electoral map at the end of the night on Nov. 2.

The question I keep asking myself goes as follows:

Bush lost the popular vote in 2000, squeaked into office via legal maneuvering, and his support this time consists chiefly of people who voted for him last time. If Bush is to win legitimately in 2004, where exactly would his additional support come from? I can think of a lot of people who plan to vote AGAINST him based on his record, but not a lot who plan to vote FOR him who didn't also vote for him in 2000. 9/11 notwithstanding, he's made a lot more people mad in the past four years than he's made happy.

Can anyone point to any sizable segment of voters who voted Gore in 2000 who are likely to vote Bush in 2004? I don't see it. Any other segment of NEW VOTERS more favorable to Bush than to Kerry? I don't see that either.

Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I'm imagining a surpringly BLUE map next month.

I see the Bible of all polls,Gallup, had to relese their poll Sunday night to make sure Kerry didn't get to much of a lead 49/49..........

Yay!

This was the best birthday present I received this year:)

Just have to add that the ground war is even larger than GM alludes to. So much of this election is at the grassroots, well below the media or polling radar. In addition to the ACT GOTV, there's Moveon's Leave No Voter Behind that pilot testing in WI for the primary showed very effective. And those are only the two largest. We also have the 527 ads. Doctors, scientists, George Soros,
retired military and intel officers going around the country telling voters the stupidity and danger of this administration.

We have true conservatives, Nobel economists and moderate republicans speaking out against him. And I think most Americans do care at this point that the world is justifiably mad at us.

Now add "Going Upriver", F 9/11, etc. Moore's slacker tour,
the ACT tour of Springsteen et al. Has anyone EVER seen this kind of energy for a presidential election? No way.

The internet has never figured so predominantly in a
presidential election. Last time it was only about Gore's misstatement. This time, it's collecting money, getting information out and letting people organize and connect like never before. Polling protection groups are organized like never before. Jeb, and others, are going to learn that hell hath no fury like a voter scorned.

Finally, the unraveling of the religious right. Tom Delay and other things are coming to light. Republicans are finding themselves in a more tenable situation than Democrats with "Contract with America". Sooner or later, the pendulum had to stop going with them. And George Lakoff has come up with the verbal ammo to be sure it gets buried.

If voters give Kerry enough popular support , and the Senate as well as the WH, the two will have leverage to get more cooperatin - and fewer dirty tricks- from the house.
That's the mandate we need to be sure it isn't just JK fighting Congress without them facing the reality of public support.

I plan to continue working as hard as I can. And I will find the time to make my own, large MISSION ACCOMPISHED banner for 11/3

A very blue election map might be in the works if the analysis in the American Prospect is correct. Being one totally hooked dutchman from The Hague (Yes that place where the international courts gather), I check up on the LATimes Electoral Vote Tracker daily. What strikes me as very odd is that Wisconsin is red. Shouldn't all states that went with Dukakis in 88 be very very blue, or did the demographics in the badger state change so dramatically since then? I trust Wisconsin will turn out blue. But if Molyneux's theory is right even Mississippi might turn blue, along with the whole line of states from Minnesota down, and key battlestates like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. Kerry will break the 300 mark in the end. If he looses I'll be sick for a week, and yours is not even my president. I have a queen. She lives in the Hague too and also prefers Kerry, though she will never admit it. Greatings from over here and lots and lots of succes.

I predict a Kerry landslide, actually.

Voter turnout will be huge.

And Democrats are motivated.

Two very bad things for George W. Bush's chances.

The Republicans have been desperately trying to register as many Bush voters as possible, but the pool of anti-Bush non-registered voters was much much greater.

And after 2000...no one will stay home.

This may be the highest turnout election in 40 years.

I have read that there is an excellent correlation between the percentage support an inumbent receives in the polls prior to the election and the percentage of the eventual vote the incumbent receives. According to this theory the challenger's polling support does not matter much. The reason presumably is that elections are primarily a referendum on the incumbent. Does anyone know where I can see the data that supports this idea?

Never mind. I found Guy Molyneux's article, which had some data in it. OK, another question: who the heck is Rasmussen and where do those wacky numbers come from?