Swing States Swining Bush

McPaper USA Today has a piece on the latest polls showing Bush ahead in key swing states. The Gallup poll of likely voters found that Bush was ahead in Wisconsin and Iowa, and tied in Pennsylvania. The survey of registered voters (which has a lower MOE) shows Kerry with leads in those states.

As much as it pains me to say it, I think Kerry’s pollster is probably right when he says the likely voter survey is a bit skewed towards Bush – although not as much as he’d like to believe. I don’t think Iowa is seriously in play for Bush. Wisconsin is a potential Bush pickup, especially considering that Gore won that state in 2000 on the most razor-thin of margins. If Wisconsin goes to Bush, it will be a major blow to Kerry, and negate potential loses in West Virginia and/or Nevada.

If Pennsylvania goes Bush (not likely, but not impossible), Kerry is toast. A 21-electoral vote deficit in the Kerry camp could negate a potential Bush loss in Ohio. The only way that Kerry could have a chance is to beat Bush in Florida, and if that doesn’t happen, this election will be essentially over. Pennsylvania is one of Kerry’s must-win states, and if Bush can get enough traction there it will force Kerry to campaign in a “safe” blue state.

All in all, the electoral picture continues to favor Bush. This should be the high-water mark for Kerry, but his reaction to the Swift Boat controversy and his inability to articulate a coherent message at the convention have left him bleeding at the polls.

My guess is that Kerry is going to respond by going negative – which is going to backfire badly. The Democrats have been hammering Bush constantly practically since he got into office. What more can they say about him? If anything, the Democrats shot their wad a long time ago. They’ve called him illigitimate, a moron, a tool of the Saudis, a tool of Israel, a warmonger, Hitler, a terrorist, Satan, etc. At that point what else do you have to go on?

The constant chorus of attacks have made such negative attacks old news – we’ve seen in all before. One almost wonders if the Bush Administration didn’t plan it that way. Furthermore, these attacks leave Kerry further off message, and further segment the notion that he doesn’t have a plan for the country other than hating Bush.

I have a feeling that Bush is in a much stronger position than he was at the beginning of August – not so much because of what he is done, but because Kerry is one of the worst Democratic challengers since Dukakis. Bushes tend to do well against dry Massachusetts liberals with a predilection for military posturing, and one wonders if “reporting for duty” isn’t Kerry’s Dukakis-in-a-tank moment…

6 thoughts on “Swing States Swining Bush

  1. Are you referring to the three Gallup Polls showing Bush and Kerry tied among registered voters in PA with Bush leading narrowly in WI? This same batch of polls showed Kerry leading Bush by six among both registered voters and likely voters in Iowa. Either we’re looking at different sets of polls analyzing exactly the same states or one of us is reading the information incorrectly.

    Furthermore, it amuses me how a slight upsurge in Dubya’s popularity is always viewed as the end of the Kerry campaign, even though Kerry has led this race narrowly at almost every juncture of the year 2004. The GOP will have a good couple weeks with their convention, but Bush still has ugliness on the horizon, particularly when the body count in Iraq reaches the dubious milestone of 1,000, which it likely will in September.

    As for the state-by-state horse race, it is so tight right now in Ohio and Florida that the electoral picture that “favors Bush” could easily produce a 311-electoral vote victory for Kerry. The desperate climate of both the economy and the Republican Party in the state of Ohio leads me to believe Kerry has little chance of losing there barring a major mishap.

    Reading the CNN poll you linked to a couple days ago, there is definite reason for concern in that Kerry operatives appear to be stupidly conceding Arkansas and pulling ads in longshot Southern states like Louisiana and Virginia. The Dems must get beyond this electoral strategy of winning just enough states to get 270 EVs. If they ignore 25 states of the union in their campaign, they will continue to lose Presidential elections and Congressional elections in those states.

  2. Either we’re looking at different sets of polls analyzing exactly the same states or one of us is reading the information incorrectly.

    They’re the same polls, but the ones showing a Bush lead are polls of “likely” rather than registered voters.

    No doubt Florida and Ohio are tight, but at the end of the day Kerry can’t get any traction against Bush in either of those two states. It’s going to likely come down to turnout, and the GOP is well organized in both states. Given what the polls showed in Florida with Jeb Bush and what the actually outcome was, it’s a good bet that Florida will go to Bush on November 2nd.

    The fact is, Kerry can’t elucidate a clear position on anything, he can’t answer the Swift Boat charges (especially the ones regarding his Winter Soldier testimony which even McCain has said is a legitimate issue), and he’s a fundamentally unappealing candidate. Were Bush not weakened Kerry wouldn’t have a shot, and even so Kerry’s chances continue to decline.

  3. “At the end of the day, Kerry can’t get any traction against Bush in either Ohio or Florida.”


    Kerry has been shown with more poll leads than losses in each of these states over the summer. Kerry has nothing but traction in Ohio where manufacturing jobs continue to be erased at warp speed amidst a message from the Bush administration that it’s for their own good.

    I acknowledge your point that Florida is likely to be less strong for Democrats than polls indicate, although I don’t necessarily believe the Jeb Bush-Bill McBride election of 2002 is a one-size-fits-all case study of how Republicans will by landslide margins even when polls indicate they’re close. A more likely scenario is that hundreds of thousands of Floridians will be falsely confirmed as felons and denied their voting rights, among other GOP dirty tricks, that will make this tough to win barring a landslide of enough Democratic votes that the GOP can’t cheat their way to victory. In Florida, that margin may be as high as 300,000 votes.

  4. Chris, in Leon County (Tallahassee) alone, a list of 7,000 “felons” deemed inelligible to vote cited 33 actual felons. With 6,967 “November 2 felons” in only one medium-sized Florida county, simple arithmatic makes it quite clear that the GOP will intentionally or unintentionally take thousands of votes away from their opponents before the polls even open. I wouldn’t like my odds if I were John Kerry.

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