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Zogby Poll: Bush and Kerry Statistically Tied

Bush leads Kerry 46-45 percent of nation-wide LV's, with 8 percent undecided, according to the new Zogby International Poll conducted 10/1-3. The poll also found that 59 percent of respondents said Kerry won the first presidential debate, compared to 21 percent for Bush.

As pollster John Zogby noted, "The post convention bounce for Bush is over and his biggest hurdle is among undecided voters who give him a 31 percent positive job performance rating and a 69 percent negative rating. Only 13 percent of undecided voters feel that the president deserves re-election (his lowest yet) while 37 percent feel it is time for someone new."


I'm thinking most of the undecided aren't going to be able to vote for Bush, so who else are they going to vote for? If there are still "undecided" voters after the third debate, they're just going to either stay home or vote for Kerry, because if they tune in to the third debate, they aren't going to be able to truthfully say that they don't know enough about Kerry to vote for him.

If Independents favor Kerry and there are more Dem's than Rep's, how can Bush be leading in any poll?

This is assuming that roughly the same percentage of each party suports their candidate (~90%).

The thing that frightens me the most is the (lack of) ethics of the Bush administration, as evidenced by its actions. From conflict of interest to hiding facts to rewriting facts to secrecy to misuse of science --it is really firthening. Take a look at the website http://www.howbushoperates.info/ for a short introduction to the unethical operations of this administration. By their deed shall ye know them.

"Only 13 percent of undecided voters feel that the president deserves re-election . . . " Reminds me of the recent Daily Show skit where the guy says the world will come to an end if Bush wins but he's still undecided. In the immortal words of Charlie Brown, "Good grief."

What's odd about that Zogby poll is that he shows virtually no movement from his own pre-debate polls. Sept. 8-9 showed a 47-45 Bush lead, becoming 47-44 in the Sept. 17-19 version. With the current, post-debate poll at 46-45, the differences among the three are not much more than noise.

How is it that Zogby is not picking up significant movement from the debates, whereas the big media-bought polls showed an arguably unrealistic big swing to Bush, and now a big one back again to Kerry? Could it be that the respondents in the first day or two of the poll were hesitant to state any change of preference based on the initial spin or their own responses to the debate (assuming their responses mirrored those in all the instant polls)? If that's so, then polls on later days should show a more pronounced swing to Kerry.

Many people might be reluctant to state a conclusion about their vote based on one debate alone, but that would at least suggest a rise in the number of undecideds, which clearly didn't happen. If Zogby pushed the undecideds hard to state a preference, why would they fall back into the pre-debate pattern?

I'm not necessarily criticizing this result at all -- it may well be an accurate characterization of the electorate at this moment, and it is pretty consistent with most of the other post-debate polls -- but it does take some explaining when compared to Zogby's pre-debate polls.

Any hypotheses out there?

Once again, that web address for anyone interested in helping not only voter reg in the swing states but the battles to stop regs from being disqualified:
As for the voter reg article in the NY Times, I'm not sure how, but some figures on how many of these are Democrats and how many Republicans and how many Inds would be interesting. As I said, considering that Nevada is such a small swing state (only 5 electoral votes), over 200,000 new registrants in Clark County (Las Vegas) alone should have a massive impact, and they talked a lot about Ohio also. The article suggested, contrary to what I reasoned in my previous post, that new registrants almost certainly have LOWER turnout on the average than RVs as a whole. The major exception would be concern about the draft, and here Bush's comment that he believes in an all-volunteer army should not obscure the fact (other than his untrustworthiness) that a draft of some kind to require service OTHER than in the military, like the domestic national guard without the danger of being sent overseas, which would ALSO have an opt-out provision for military service in non-combat areas for a shorter time perhaps (hence "voluntary" or claimed so) IS a very real possibility as a way of boosting military recruitment, something lagging behind needs. This recognition should be a MAJOR motivator for millions of votes, if made clear in a wide range of media venues. (I hate to sound negative, but as a progressive leftie I have to voice my suspicion that we might have a return of some kind of draft with EITHER party, but that doesn't tell us what impact it will have on the election).

As for the polls, several interesting or odd points stand out. Before the debates, the results varied over a range of about 10 points difference in the gap between Bush and Kerry. Now not only the gap has closed, but the "gap gap". The total range is only four points for FIVE separate polls mentioned here, all since the debates: Carville, Zogby, Gallup, LA Times, and NEWSWEEK, all with a gap of (+2 to -2) all within the margin of error. Funny, I would have though the opposite would be more likely -- that after a sudden disturbance like the debate in the relative popularity of the candidates, the "gap gap" would be wider after showing more consensus, but that's not what happened. Also interesting is that the Democrats (Carville and Zogby) show Kerry doing slightly worse (-2 and -1 respectively) than the commercial polls, who show him tied or with a statistically insigificant edge.
That makes me a little suspicious of the commercial poll swings. Both Carville and Zogby show maybe a few percentage points, which seems more realistic -- after all, there was no cataclysmic poll swing after the famous Nixon-Kennedy debates, certainly not in excess of 10 points in the poll ratings!
I like the new aggressiveness of the Kerry ad that says "Bush lost the debate and now he's lying about it". Somewhere there needs to be a clear explanation of the global test and A CONFRONTATION, POSSIBLY BY EDWARDS IN THE DEBATE, WITH THE FLIPFLOP SPIN, AS THE "MERE SPIN" THAT IT IS. You don't want to be plagued in the final two or three weeks of the campaign with that as an issue when the focus should be on the deficit, jobs, tax cuts for the rich, the environment, and the Medicare scam. Establishing in a quick media debate of less than 10 days that the flipflop spin is often erroneously cited about Kerry and, along with that point, a "mere spin" no more true of Kerry than of Bush or others is crucial soon so that it will be as close to a wash as possible as an issue as they enter the final phase of the campaign.

ABC/Washington Post has Bush by 5, a one point bounce for Kerry.

Approval at 53%, which is a good enough for the president to win comfortably.

BTW, the economy is clearly doing better than Iraq, so I think convention wisdom is wrong that Kerry will do even better in future debates.

My conclusion: This could be Kerry's high point, because this last debate focused on the president's weakest point.

Of course, maybe I should have capitalized "could", and also admit I'm biased.


I particularly like that last point. If Kerry is going to nail Bush on his selective misrepresentation of his views, now is the time. I'm really happy to see him doing it.


I don't think it's the days since the debate thing. I'm really not sure what's driving it. Some could be weightings. Maybe Gallup, Newsweek, et al. weight in some way that creates more variability? From an academic standpoint, there ought to be some really interesting work flowing out of this set of polls once the result is known.

did anyone see the latest WaPo poll? Bush still leads by 5 with LV.

Bush's lead is down to 3% among RVs in the new ABC/WP poll. And, Kerry's support is very high among occasional voters.

New pew research poll. They give bush the lead 49-45. However, this is an unweighted poll as far as D,R, and I's. I decided to weigh it to the 2000 and 1996 results, and this is what i got.

With Party weighting. It is Bush 45.93, Kerry 44.34, with over 9 percent undecided. Only a 1.59 percent lead for Bush.

39- Democrats 39-
Kerry – 85 Bush -9

Kerry 33.15
Bush 3.51
Undecided 2.34

35- Republicans

Bush 90 Kerry 3

Kerry 1.05
Bush 31.5
Undecided 2.45

26- Independent’s

Bush 42 Kerry 39

Bush 10.92
Kerry 10.14
Undecided 4.94

Totals: Bush- 45.93
Kerry 44.34
Undecided – 9.73

The big media polls are crap. Kerry gained maybe +2 from this first debate. He will probably gain another +2 from the next two debates.

Prediction:Barring an October surprise, Kerry uses the debates to estabish himself as a viable commander in chief and goes on to win by a small margin (48% Bush, 51% Kerry). On election night the polls show an average Bush lead of +1 or +2.

More good news for Kerry. CBS/NYT polls has the race even, with each man getting 47%. That's downs from an 8 point Bush lead before the debate. There seems to be no question that the more people see of Bush/Kerry side by side, the more they lean Kerry.

I just saw an ABC-Washington Post poll that shows Bush ahead among likely voters 51-46 but that the lead is only 3 points among registered voters. I don't know how accurate this poll is but it does show the importance of turnout. In conjunction with the NY Times article on Sunday that showed that hundreds of thousands of new voters have registered in Battleground states we MUST make sure that these new voters get to the polls.

sorry i guess i got the gallup numbers reversed in my mind in the last comment, but the rest of the substance is right, on the issue of the "gap gap".
Again, Kerry/Edwards AND in the media the flipflop spin needs to be forcefully confronted as the "mere spin" that it is, and soon

I believe Zogby's poll is still the most accurate of any organization. They were the only pollster to correctly predict the outcome of the 2000 election. They came remarkably close to Gore's actual count.

The reason Zogby hasn't shown a big post-debate change is because he showed the race accurately after the GOP convention. The fact is, there WAS NOT a huge Bush bounce after the GOP convention. Zogby is right; the polls showing a big swing to Bush and then back to Kerry were never accurate in the first place.

I'm all for these new polls, though. It puts doubt into the minds of the Bushies and allows Kerry free positive coverage. It's about time our media doesn't slime Kerry.

Pew Research Poll Out

"The Republican incumbent has a slight lead over Kerry — 49 percent to 44 percent — among likely voters questioned in the Pew Research Center poll released Monday."
"The Pew poll of 1,002 registered voters, including 810 likely voters, was taken Oct. 1-3 and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 4 percentage points for likely voters."
"But almost half of the 1,002 registered voters in the poll — 48 percent — said Kerry changes his mind too much to be a good commander in chief and four in 10 say he would give allies too much say in foreign policy decisions."

We can see the effect of the Republican talking points on Bush. The talk-radio effect.

And why would the MOE be different for registered and likely voters?

AP Story on Pew Poll

I don't know if anyone is noticing, but the narrative when I do a google search of the major American media, despite the polls, are trying to minimize the fact the race has tightened. The narrative seems to be a long the lines of either pointing out segments in which Bush is ahead or pointing out aspects of polls in which Bush is doing well. When they talked this weekend about Kerry's 2 point lead, it was called a tie. When they are talking about polls showing Bush with a lead, even if it is a small lead, they say Bush has widened his lead. If one reads the numbers closely, they are nothing new and are adding nothing new. They are just being spun a certain way. This is why I am concerned in the long run about the way the media controls the narrative. I read abook called What Liberal Media which brings up my concern that I believe will have to be addressed by the progressive movement long after this election, and that is the right ward swing of the media. It's been mentioned by several other bloggers, but the fact that so many of the reporters seek to create a narrative that is almost a forgone conclusion strikes me as difficult for ourside. For example, the poll coming out tomorrow showing Bush with a 5 point lead- Why do I suspect it will be given more weight than other polls? If the goal is truly to give a fair and balanced view why not simply say the polls are showing different things and why hasn't this been the narrative throughout or better yet just show what we all know (all of those of us who are honest that is) - that the two candidates are in all likelihood tied. I read something about the proprietary nature of these polls, and I got to say I think that plus their sensationalistic nature, plus need to create a dominate narrative are a henderance to Kerry right now.

I think that the polls are showing that Kerry played well to the electorate but it is still a really check him out sort of attitude before committing to him as the next president.

All I know is that I think that he is going to do very well in MN. Kerry signs are currently unavailable due to the demand locally. Also there are large numbers of Kery Edwards signs being reported stolen in the red areas (primarily western MN). In MN sign theft/vandalism is generally a sign that the republicans are running very scared. I am very hopeful that the debates will result in real bounces for Kerry in the swing states.

I completely agree with Cloudy above about aggressively confronting the flipflop spin. The GOP has been running a scam, and I wish the DNC would kick its teeth in. I get e-mail all the time at http://www.kerroniraqwar.com from people who say that when they do door-to-door voter persuasion work, they keep running into people who say they're undecided or for Bush because they're worried about Kerry's "flip-flopping." I've also heard from formerly undecided voters who say that they've decided to vote for Kerry since they've seen the site and seen that the flip-flopping thing is a hoax. I wish the DNC would more aggressively defend Kerry and expose the RNC's tactics for the scumminess that it is.

W. even kept invoking the flip-flopping myth during the debate, so he believes the public has bought it — or he's so befuddled that *he's* bought it, I'm not sure which. I wish the DNC would blast them to smithereens on this crap, but meanwhile, Kerry's doing a good job of cutting through the spin as much as anyone can. And we'll keep doing what we can at http://www.KerryOnIraqWar.com/video/index.html to expose the Flipper video hoax and fight the spin. Thanks to those who've helped get the word out, and please keep doing it, lots! It is making a difference, and can make much more of a difference if we get the word out more widely. (Meanwhile, is there any chance the DNC is actually going to call the RNC to account for any of its BS?)

Contradicting Ruy Teixeira's assurances of the last several months that Ralph Nader's entrance into the race would not adversely affect the Democratic ticket this time around, John Zogby says what a lot of others have been saying. Nader is cutting into Kerry's vote.

The question now is, what does Kerry do about it. He can't afford to use his precious campaign funds to speak to such a small audience with television. I think the best course of action would be for surrogates to hammer away at the fact that Nader owes the GOP big-time for getting him on so many ballots.

That has to be embarrasing to Nader and his supporters, many of whom, I'm sure, are not aware of the fact that right wing reactionaries have been holding them up. That hammering should be done now, especially in Florida, by someone like Bob Graham and in Ohio (if Nader made that ballot) by Dennis Kucinich. Time is of the essence.

So, although Zogby, Gallup, LA Times, and Newsweek have polls showing a statistical tie, how come the WaPo is trumpeting their own poll (along with ABC), which is saying that Bush is ahead by 5 points. I am beginning to think that NONE of the polls are really reflecting reality on the ground.

Based on the somewhat arbitrary polling methodologies, along with no integration of the voter registration efforts (thanks to groups like ACT), I am beginning to think that Kerry is in a position to win, and win huge.

I would really be interested in hearing from Ruy—are ANY of the current polls (with current methodolgies, assumptions, etc.) truly reflective of what the results would be if the election was held today? My intuition says that Kerry would win by several points...is there any reason for me to think my intuition might be right?

Ruy -

I know you must be very busy, but we've heard very little from you during what should be a busy time for EDM.

I can find poll results - I think we all keep up with that, and the blog is rapidly descending into a poll summary. The only recent analysis has also been very poll centric.

What happened to politics without numbers? You know, for those of us who got a D- in Qualitative Methodology.

Data-crunching 101--an attempt at self-education

I just was dinging around (technical term, yes) with the results from the most recent Pew Poll, which found that 48 percent of 1,002 RVs supported Bush compared to 41 percent supporting Kerry. (http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=227)

Tell me if this was a sensible interpretation of the data, but here's what I found:

Using a combination of the Pew background data (http://people-press.org/reports/tables/227.pdf) and a handy Java applet that solves linear equations with three variables (http://alumnus.caltech.edu/~chamness/equation/equation.html), it appears that the partisan split for the 1,002 respondents is as follows:

333R, 303D, 366I (basically 33%, 30%, 36%)

By comparison, I ran the same analysis for the 9/11-14 Pew survey (again of 1,002 RVs), and got a split of:

303R, 336D, 363I

Where I'm going with this is this: if the 10/4 poll had reached the same number of self-identified Rs, Ds and Is as for the 9/11 poll (assuming that it's the sampling and not the self-identification that's changing) with the voting tendencies of the 10/4 crowd, the 10/4 poll results would have been something more like 45.4-43.6 in Bush's favor, not 48-41. One might then note that this shows a slight shift from the 46-46 split actually noted on 9/11, but by now I figure I've hopelessly tortured the data nearly beyond recognition.

Long story short, what I really wanted to explore and perhaps demonstrate is that the Pew poll didn't reach the same crowd now as before, and that if they had spoken to a similar group, the poll margin would be even tighter. Please, someone who really knows what they're doing, tell me if I'm playing along intelligently at home--mathematically, not politically, Smooth. :)

For those interested, I've posted my latest (10/4) survey of 47 Electoral College tracking / prediction / projection / forecast sites HERE.

Executive summary: A static week, with things fundamentally unchanged from the previous survey. Bush continues to lead with 284 to 291 votes, compared to Kerry's 228 to 243, a margin of about 50 votes, the same as last week.

Steady Eddie -

Zogby doesn't push undecideds at this point, so his poll has a higher number of undecideds than most polls, which do push undecideds. Also, Zogby has always weighted by party ID, while media polls and Gallup do not. This means that media polls pick up an "enthusiasm factor" from the party that feels energized. My reasoning is that the party that is most energized at any moment will be more interested in taking part in a political poll, so they will be over-represented in the polling results.

So, after the Republican convention Republicans felt enthused while Dems were downcast because of Kerry's lackluster August. Republicans responded more heavily, creating the illusion of a large Bush lead. This created more enthusiasm among Republicans, and further depressed Dems, and the result was reinforced in the next round of polls, though not quite as strongly as after the Republican convention (most polls showed the gap closing in the week before the debate).

Following the debate, Dems felt greater enthusiasm so they responded in larger numbers than before, creating a bounce for Kerry that was also mostly illusion.

This races hasn't really moved all that much in the past month, but the enthusiasm of each party has wzxed and waned, creating a false image of a large movement.

Posted by Kari at October 5, 2004 01:21 AM
Kari, I think you have hit the target for a lot of
the variation in poll numbers. Zogby has been
consistent with Bush at a 47% approval rating, dangerous for an incumbent. Polling has become
more difficult over the past few years with technology like caller ID, and more people using
cell phones to communicate. It makes it very difficult to measure the creditability of poll numbers. I would recommend watching the voter
registration numbers, and crowd sizes at campaign
events over the next few weeks. They will be as telling as the polls.

Bush's Job Approval Drops to Record Low 42%; Kerry Up By 5 Points Over Bush 47%-42%; Iraq Disapproval Rate Rises to 64%; Majority Says US Headed in the Wrong Direction and "It's Time for Someone New" New Zogby International Poll Reveals

RE: accuracy of polls. Polls are accurate to the degree that one year's vote looks like the next year's. What's different this time? New voters. If the reports are to be believed, there are something like 1 million new voters this year. And let's face it, the vast majority of unregistered voters in 200o were not Republicans. My guess is that the opinions of these new voters is just going underneath the radar of must conventional polls.

The Republicans will try voter supression techniques in places like Detroit and Miami, but I think folks are on to them.

Kerry by 2 points. And the Yankees in 5.