It looks like the electoral race has tightened in the Election Projection 2004 survey of state polls, with the race being a 274 Bush – 264 Kerry race. This is about what I’d predicted earlier in the year, and represents a rough equilibrium in the race.
However, I think VodkaPundit’s map is closer to the poll numbers this time. He shows Ohio narrowly in the Kerry camp, and Wisconsin and Iowa going for Bush. What he doesn’t account for is Colorado. If Amendment 36 passes, that means that Colorado could split its electoral votes. In that scenario, Kerry gets a narrow win against Bush.
However, I’m thinking that Ohio will remain Bush territory. The last two state polls showing a Kerry lead were all well within the margin of error, and were taken after Bush’s disastrous debate performance. Ohio was looking like a solid Bush state, but it’s gone back into the swing state column now. The weak jobs report this month isn’t going to help Bush much, but I suspect that his much stronger showing in the debates will. All in all, Ohio is a toss-up at this point.
On the other hand, I see Wisconsin being oddly red this year. The last few surveys of the Badger State have have shown Bush ahead by a minimum of 3 points with likely voters. It could be Kerry’s support of the Northeastern Dairy Compact souring him with dairy farmers in that state or it could be the shift of 9/11 Democrats and security moms, but it appears as though Wisconsin stands a very good chance of going for Bush this year.
Iowa is much closer, with Kerry holding the narrowest of leads in the last three surveys. Again, all these polls were taken after Bush’s horrendous performance at the first debate and may reflect that rather than Bush’s better performance in the second debate. Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota are all states where Kerry’s lead is razor-thin, and Bush could easily sweep those states up.
Right now this race comes down to Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. If those states go red, John Kerry is toast. If Bush pulls out a surprise in Pennsylvania, Kerry’s also toast, but that seems very remote. If Kerry pulls an upset in Ohio, Bush isn’t toast, but it would be difficult.
What’s odd is that the amount of statistical noise is actually increasing. One of the big problems is the Zogby poll which is a massive statistical outlier from the rest. As I’ve mentioned before, Zogby uses an artificial partisan balance from 2000 to fit their data. The current Zogby tracking poll has Kerry up by 3 which doesn’t jibe with The Washington Post tracking poll or the Rassmussen tracking poll that shows Bush up by 5 and 4 points respectively.
My money is on the Rassmussen tracking poll and the WaPo getting it right and Zogby being way off in their assessment of the race due to their artificial weighting mechanism. The rough consensus is that Bush leads by anywhere from 2-5 points, which is roughly where it has been since the GOP convention. I wish I could make a more accurate state prediction, but I don’t have a large enough sample of polls that show the results of the second debate to make that assumption yet, and probably won’t until late this week or early next. Based on the tracking poll results, I would not at all be surprised if Bush’s electoral vote situation improves in states like Ohio.
This election is a frustrating one, as every time I’m ready to make a call, something shifts. This election will most certainly come down to the ground game, and that’s why it remains imperative that every Republican get on a phone bank, go door-knocking, volunteer for a candidate and get voters to the polls. The Democrats are already flooding states with fraudulent ballots, and Republicans will have to get one live voter to the polls for every deceased one the Democrats dig up in the cemetaries of swing states.
We are going to win this election, because we know the stakes. Every 9/11 Democrat, every security mom, every solid Republican, every evangelical, every American has a stake in this race and in a victory for the President. By keeping up the pressure and running a good ground game, we can and will win this election.