Badgering Kerry

The good news keeps rolling in for the Kerry campaign, as the latest Gallup poll in Wisconsin shows Bush with a commanding lead:

The newest poll should hearten Republicans. President Bush holds a lead of 8 percentage points among likely voters and a lead of 4 points among the larger group of registered voters.

The week before the Republican National Convention in New York City, Bush held a 3-percentage point lead over his challenger Kerry. Now, that lead has ballooned to 8 points.

His edge is within the poll’s margin of error. But the momentum in the state in Bush’s direction — and the fact he has gotten over the 50% threshold — is troubling to Democrats. They figure Kerry probably must hold Wisconsin if he is to win the election.

Actually, according to the results of the poll Bush’s lead is just outside the margin of error. With likely voters he leads by 8%, and the margin of error is 5% on that particular poll.

Indeed, Kerry can virtually not win if he loses Wisconsin – because if Wisconsin goes, Ohio will likely go, and Florida is becoming redder by the moment. As Time magazine notes, Kerry’s electoral battlefield has dramatically shifted from 20 states to only 10. Remember that Bush wins if he does nothing more than win the states he did in 2000. If he takes Wisconsin, even a loss in Colorado won’t matter to him. If he takes Pennsylvania, well, in that case it’s all over for Kerry.

Does this mean Bush is a lock at this point? Abso-freakin’-lutely not. There are nearly two months left in the game. Things can happen. Iraq is not in good shape and our idiotic decision to leave Fallujah alone is biting us in the ass once again (as I and many others said it would). The economy is stabilizing and appears to be giving Kerry less and less traction, but things could change. The Democrats are certain to ramp up their smear campaign against the President as they become increasingly desperate.

On the other hand, the doldrums of early August are gone for the Bush campaign. The Bush lead is undeniable, and the electoral map now dramatically favors the President. States that should have been safe for Kerry like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are up for grabs, while swing states like Ohio and West Virginia are now safe Bush states.

There’s a not for Republicans to be optimistic about. However, it’s not victory time yet. It’s absolutely critical for every Republican to get to the polls on November 2nd and support the President. The future of this nation depends on strong leadership in the war against terrorism. Getting out the vote is critical to ensuring that our country stays on the right track – especially in battleground states like Wisconsin.

5 thoughts on “Badgering Kerry

  1. Bush is not leading by eight points in Wisconsin. Even other polls taken since the GOP convention don’t show a lead that large. I know enough about Wisconsin to ensure you this figure is patently false. If Bush is leading there, as he well may be, it’s by no more than three points. The demographics of the state make anything more than that next to impossible for a Republican with less than a 60% approval rating to attain.

    Your attempts to squelch Dem morale would be more convincing if you could back them up with facts. Where are you getting this that Florida is becoming “redder and redder” by the minute? Are there top-secret polls out there from the last couple weeks showing Bush with a rising lead? If such creatures exist, please lead me in their direction, because I have yet to see them. The more likely scenario is that you’re simply counting on Bush’s hurricane relief Santa Claus routine to prop up his Florida margins. This could possibly happen, but it could also backfire for reason I alluded to yesterday. You may wanna actually see how that pans out before you make the Fox News mistake of prematurely calling Florida for Dubya.

    Ohio and West Virginia safe Bush states? Only in your wet dreams. Both states will be hotly contested to the bitter end, and the lead can be expected to shift back and forth in the months to come just as it has in the months prior. I’m not holding out a great deal of hope for West Virginia, but Ohio will go Kerry barring a Bush landslide nationally (five points or more nationally will qualify).

    It’s quite humorous seeing how every political scientist cluelessly treats the poll of the hour as a prophesy for electoral conditions 50 days from now. Back in May, the Republicans all but declared victory in Pennsylvania based on a few Bush-friendly poll results. Last month, the Dems thought PA was a cinch because of reported 8-10 point Kerry leads. Unfortunately, even Kerry advisers are falling into the same trap, as visible by their cowardly abandonment of Missouri based on a single ridiculous poll showing Bush with a cartoonishly massive lead. A new IBD poll showed Kerry and Bush are now tied nationally. Such a scenario is not consistent with 8-point Bush leads in Wisconsin and 14-point Bush leads in Missouri. The reality is they’re both likely wrong.

    He who gets more jubilant or more flustered by the poll of the hour is the one likely to lose. Kerry’s ad pullout from states where he’s tied (Arkansas) is not a good sign of his campaign’s response, but the swagger Bush showed in the final stages of the 2000 campaign likely contributed to the last-minute surge against him. Voters who saw Al Gore fighting for their votes to the bitter end were more impressed than they were seeing Bush retreat to his ranch in Texas and sending Karl Rove out to project a Bush landslide. It’s starting to appear as if Bush will be just as stupidly arrogant this time, seemingly incapable of not being a cocky blowhard every time the prevailing political winds shift in his favor. This sets up a perfect scenario for “closer” Kerry to get the last word on the campaign while an overconfident Bush relaxes at the ranch.

  2. I also doubt Bush’s lead is that large, but when you’re getting a poll that shows a lead outside the margin of error, it’s pretty clear Kerry has a major problem in Wisconsin. Is three points a more reasonable figure? Yeah, I’ll buy that. Given that Gore won Wisconsin by only .2%, I don’t see it as being a safe Kerry state by any reckoning.

    As for Ohio, it’s safe Bush. Look at the last round of polls – Survey USA – Bush up by 3, Gallup – Bush up by 9, Zogby – Bush up by 11, Strategic Vision – Bush up by 6. Look at the results of Kerry’s Steubenville rally. Unless the dynamics of this race change *dramatically* before Election Day, Ohio will go to Bush.

    Same for West Virginia. The only major polls there are Zogby polls, but they’ve shown a consistant Bush lead by 7-9% – well outside the margin of error.

    Furthermore, if I were Kerry I wouldn’t be trumpeting the IBD poll either given that Bush’s internals are dramatically better than Kerry’s, and even IBD says that the liklihood of a Bush win is extremely high.

    None of this means that Bush is a shoe-in, but unless Kerry can suddenly start finding a message and sell it in less than 8 weeks, he’s toast. There’s a big difference between being a good closer in liberal Massachusetts and coming up from a major deficit with a demoralized party in a national election. Quite frankly even though it’s not time for complacency yet (wait until November 3rd for that), I don’t see a scenario in which Kerry can win unless something very dramatic happens in the next few weeks.

  3. Bush was expected to win Wisconsin in 2000, but didn’t. That was before some serious job losses and an unpopular Iraqi war took place on Bush’s watch. Fear of terrorism also appears unlikely to resonate with Middle America Wisconsinites. WI will be close, but it’d surprise me if Bush carried it this time since he couldn’t last. If the race is perceived as the least bit close, Madison liberals will come out in droves for Kerry on November 2, as they did for Gore four years ago. Without a doubt, it remains the weakest link of any of the blue states from 2000, but there’s been little from the last four years that leads me to believe cheeseheads will welcome an incumbent they turned away last time. Of course, the very likely scenario of an irreversible campaign implosion for Kerry could change this dynamic.

    Ohio’s numbers don’t scare me. Of the four polls you cite, only one is concerning…the nine-point Bush lead in the Gallup Poll. Keep in mind, though, Gallup also has Bush up by 8 in Wisconsin, which both of us agree is highly unlikely. Clearly, Gallup’s numbers have been tilted disproportionately Republican the entire election season, as they were the only polling group showing negative traction for Kerry after the Dem convention. Strategic Vision is a Republican pollster, and the fact that their models can only produce a six-point Bush lead in Ohio is far from cataclysmic. Three points (Survey USA) is easily surmountable. Zogby’s polls are completely worthless, unless you believe Kerry was leading in Tennessee throughout July and August…and unless you believe poll swings as high as 18 points are plausible over a two-week non-convention period. Kerry can retake the lead in Ohio fairly easily, but whether his campaign is capable of avoiding mistake after mistake will be the deciding factor.

    The dynamics of this race have changed only mildly in the last month. Kerry has been unable to articulate himself effectively and has lost some ground while Bush briefly propped himself up at his convention. The economy is far from fluid and retail sales were reported as down for August earlier today. Embarrassing headlines from Iraq continue, and any day the situation could escalate into a crisis. Bush is standing on a phantom pedestal which has already floated back down to Earth some since his convention. A moderately capable opponent should have no problem bringing him back down completely. The question remains, however, whether Kerry qualifies as a moderately capable opponent who can overcome the mixed messages he’s getting from divided factions in his campaign.

  4. From the article: “The newest poll should hearten Republicans. President Bush holds a lead of 8 percentage points among likely voters and a lead of 4 points among the larger group of registered voters.” Source

    I think we all can say that we can’t determine anything about the 2004 election polls until October, when the statistical noise lessens as election day draws nearer.

    But as for data that supports an increase of support for Bush in Florida look here or for the entire election look here.

  5. Chris, thanks for the link. I had not discovered that website yet. The only problem is that it doesn’t support Jay’s thesis that Florida is getting redder by the minute. The polls remain deadlocked there much as they were two weeks ago. Reportedly, much of the state didn’t even see the GOP convention because of hurricane coverage.

    As an aside, if Ivan hits New Orleans as a Category Five storm, the election will be off the front page for weeks. Thousands will die if the low-lying Big Easy is hit with a Category Five.

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