November 2 2004
FLORIDA GOES, OHIO ON THE WAY: Florida is
called. Watching the updates on Ohio, Bush's lead has grown
from around 131,000 votes to over 145,000. No telling which
counties these ballots are coming in from, but it certainly
looks as if the Dem GOTV in Cleveland and Toledo is coming
up short. With 70% reporting in, time is running out for
Kerry to turn it around. Anything could still happen, of
UPDATE: Of course, as soon as I say something,
Kerry ticks up two points in Ohio! It's now 51-49 Bush with
74% in. Ohio is the whole ball game right now. We'll now
soon enough. Stay tuned..... -T.
Bevan 11:01 pm
SENATE SEAT GOES REPUBLICAN: FOX has called it
for Burr. And Vitter is hanging on at 51% in Louisiana with
75% reporting. - T. Bevan 9:59pm
FIRST BATTLEGROUND STATE FALLS: Pennsylvania goes
to Kerry, and Specter defends his Senate seat. Florida is
next to go, Bush is up 5 points with 89% reporting. That
leaves Ohio. Bush is currently up 6 points with 46% reporting,
but his lead is only 138,528 votes. Cuyahoga County, where
the Democratic stronghold of Cleveland is, only has 33%
reporting. Kerry currently has a 20-point lead in Cuyahoga,
so Kerry can certainly make up a lot of ground there.
- T. Bevan 9:57pm
UPDATE: So far, the GOP has picked up open seats
in SC and GA, and held onto OK. Burr is up 6 on Bowles at
the moment in NC and Bunning has pulled ahead of Mongiardo
by two - at least for right now. Dems have picked up IL
and Betty Castor is locked in a tie with Mel Martinez for
the other open seat.
up four on Thune with 13 percent reporting. Last but not
least, Coors is ahead of Salazar in CO, but only 1 percent
has reported. - T. Bevan 8:57pm
NUMBERS ? Why were the exit polls so badly off
the mark? Why did it take the nets so long to make calls
in places like VA, NC and SC? Read this from Kerry
SABATO SAYS EXIT POLLS C [11/02 09:29 PM]
Sabato was just on one of the DC-area local stations,
and just said something shocking - the reason it took
forever to call Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina
is that the exit polls had them for Kerry.
also said that the exit polls also had at least two other
states "wrong" — which is not to say they
had the wrong winner, but that they had results that were
immediately detected as out of whack.
there was some sort of purposeful deception with the leaking
of bogus exit polls, it would make Dan Rather and Memogate
look like small potatoes. - T. Bevan 8:36pm
beats Carson. - T. Bevan 7:39pm
and North Carolina go to Bush.
IN GOV: Daniels running
ahead of Kernan by 11. It's
done. - T. Bevan 7:35 pm
CALL IN SC?: Bush leads in South
Carolina by 13 with 16% reporting but no call from the
nets. Meanwhile, NJ called immediately.....
- T. Bevan 7:31pm
IN KY SENATE BATTLE: This
one looks like it will go down to the wire. -
T. Bevan 7:03pm
SENATE: Bayh wins. We don't care about the Senate
race, tell us who the new Governor is..... Oh yeah,
Leahy won, so did Isakson. Bunning trails in early returns.
- T. Bevan 6:22
Get your updated Virginia numbers here.
This very second it's Bush 54%, Kerry 46%.
- T. Bevan 6:18pm
POLL INFO: This
head-scratcher could be the story of the night:
polls suggested that slightly more voters trusted President
George W. Bush to handle terrorism than Sen. John Kerry.
But most voters said the country was headed in the wrong
direction, and those voters overwhelmingly backed Kerry."
Bush leading 55%-45%
in South Carolina. The link is being updated constantly
so don't blame me if the number has changed. - T.
BLOOD: CNN reports Bush wins Indiana, Kentucky
and Georgia, Kerry wins in Vermont. - T. Bevan 6:05
COMMENTARY: Looks like we're in for a very long
night - and possibly much, much longer. A couple of updates:
the national exit poll, Kerry leads Bush 51-48. In Wisconsin
he's up by three and in Ohio and Florida he leads by one.
Halperin just said on ABC that exit polls showed Bush with
a 51% job approval rating. -T. Bevan 6:01 pm
Monday, November 1 2004
THREE GENERAL TRENDS: Where do things stand one
day before the election? Very, very close. The national
horse race numbers have gotten extremely tight, including
a couple of polls in particular that don't bode well for
President Bush. Gallup and Fox News (as of this morning)
have shown movement toward John Kerry in the final days
and now have the race dead even.
as we've been loading all the various internal numbers from
these polls into our averages I've gotten the sense there
is another story, one which would seem on the surface to
be much more in President Bush's favor.
with the generic Congressional vote. Right now the RCP
Average has Republicans with a 0.5% advantage. If you
track the change in each poll individually, with the exception
of Gallup the movement seems to be favoring the GOP:
2002, there was a dramatic move toward the GOP in the final
days before the midterm election which was a harbinger of
a big night for Republicans. This year the move is much
smaller, and it isn't clear at all whether any favorable
momentum in the generic congressional vote will benefit
President Bush. It could very well be that Republicans have
a good night on Tuesday in a lot of places - except at the
top of the ticket. Nevertheless, movement toward the GOP
is obviously more beneficial for President Bush than seeing
the polls move against his party in the final days.
look at the latest right track/wrong track numbers:
only one exception (Newsweek), the polls show people are
generally feeling better about the direction of the country.
RCP Right Track/Wrong Track spread stands at -8.0%,
which is the first time it's been under negative double
digits in quite some time.
it's widely accepted that the RT/WT number this year isn't
as tightly correlated to the national popular vote as we've
seen in the past. Because of the war in Iraq, terrorism
and cultural issues like gay marriage, there is a certain
level of anxiety in the country and even supporters of President
Bush may respond that they feel like we're headed in the
this question is usually asked among respondents using the
loosest possible screen (either all adults or registered
voters) so it does gauge the general mood of the country
and it's certainly better for President Bush that the RT/WT
number is improving heading into tomorrow as opposed to
going in the other direction.
look at Bush's job approval. Fifty percent is generally
recognized as the "magic number" on job approval
for incumbents to win reelection. As most of you know, this
is because the job approval number traditionally correlates
most closely with the candidate's final popular vote total.
It also just makes common sense: a majority of the country
is probably not going to vote a person out of office if
they think that person is doing a decent job as President.
now the RCP Average
of the 8 most recent polls taken over the last 5 days shows
President Bush right on the cusp: 49.8%.
all job approval numbers, Gallup is generally seen as the
"gold standard." In their final poll they have
Bush at 51% job approval among likely voters but only 48%
among registered voters.
again, it's important to look at the change in these polls
relative to each other to get a feel for which direction
Bush's job approval number is heading:
the exception of Gallup (which as previously mentioned is
a pretty big exception), Bush's job approval has held steady
or increased across the other seven polls taken recently.
Again, this may or may not be indicative of tomorrow's outcome,
but as a general trend the President's job approval numbers
seem to be working slightly in his favor.
finish with the traditional caveats about these being national
numbers (as opposed to key battleground state numbers) with
small sample sizes, blah, blah, blah. Certainly this race
will be won or lost in the trenches of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
Wisconsin, and the rest. But the to the extent we can use
national polls as pieces of the overall picture and tools
to find threads of commonality in the dynamics of this race,
these three trends look favorable for President Bush despite
the tightening in some of the horse race numbers. -
T. Bevan 10:00 am Link
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October 31, 2004
PUNDIT PREDICTION ROUND UP: Here's a round
up of the pundit predictions on this year's election, in
Barnes - Weekly Standard
Blankley - Washington Times
Brazile - Dem Strategist
Buchanan - MSNBC
Carlson - Time
Carlson - CNN
Clift - Newsweek
Cook - Cook Political Report
Eastland - Weekly Standard
Hart - Hart Research Assoc.
Hunt - Wall Street Journal
Kristol - Weekly Standard
McInturff - Public Opinion Strat
McLaughlin - McLaughlin Group
Novak - Chicago Sun-Times
O'Beirne - National Review
O'Donnell - MSNBC
Shields - CNN
Snow - Fox News
No big surprises, except for Tucker Carlson
who predicts a Kerry win. -
T. Bevan 2:24 pm Link |
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October 28 2004
BONES TO PICK: We've been so busy posting
polls that it' been difficult to find time to write. But
I've got a couple of bones to pick with two columns that
ran in the Washington Post yesterday and today.
start with Richard Cohen. Just a scant five weeks ago Cohen
was proclaiming himself "Purple and Proud Of It"
and chastising fellow liberals for their Bush hatred and
nevertheless cannot bring myself to hate Bush or, as someone
here told me, to consider his possible reelection as a
reason to leave the country. In fact, Bush haters go so
far they wind up adding a dash of red to my blue, pushing
me by revulsion into a color I otherwise would not have....
bump into these anti-Bush alarmists all the time. Recently
an extremely successful and erudite man I much admire
told me he viewed the upcoming election as something akin
to September 1939, the time when World War II started
and, among other things, European Jewry was all but snuffed
out. I add that bit about the Holocaust because the man
I was talking to had been born a European Jew. I could
hardly believe my ears."
a difference a month makes. In today's
column Cohen far surpasses the paranoid, hyperbolic
Bush-haters he mocked in his previous column. He says the
Vice President of the United States has "morphed into
the enemy." He compares the war on terror to a "crusade"
and George W. Bush to Pope Urban II.
but certainly not least, Cohen argues that George W. Bush
should be impeached, and that if Cohen had his way each
article of impeachment would contain the name of a United
States soldier killed in action. This sentence in particular
reeks to high heaven:
over 1,000 Americans and countless more Iraqis have died
because the president insisted on going to war."
review some facts: after September 11 the President insisted
that Saddam Hussein fully disclose and disarm. The United
Nations Security Council unanimously agreed. So did Richard
Cohen, John Kerry, John Edwards, and a host of others. War
came as a result of Saddam's unwillingness to comply to
these demands, and the deaths of any and all U.S. servicemen
and Iraqi civilians fall on his shoulders alone.
is a difficult, heart wrenching thing. Cohen's column is
yet more proof that liberals just don't get it. They mistake
Bush's resolve for lack of compassion. They mistake his
courage to do what is necessary for obstinate unilateralism.
Worst of all, they now seek to use the deaths of U.S. soldiers
as leverage to blame the President and drive him from office,
yet still would have our enemies believe that they have
the will and the strength to continue the fight against
number two is from Harold
Meyerson's column yesterday:
was when Republicans were at least embarrassed by their
efforts to keep African Americans from the polls....
George W. Bush, Karl Rove and their legion of genteel
thugs, however, universal suffrage is just one more musty
liberal ideal that threatens conservative rule. Today's
Republicans have elevated vote suppression from a dirty
secret to a public norm.
it strike anyone else as ironic that Meyerson can pen these
vicious untruths and then spend rest of his column whining
about how George W. Bush is responsible for dividing America?
Mr. Meyerson needs to spend a good long time staring in
let's talk about the substance of Meyerson's charges, because
they are important. Meyerson asserts that having GOP election
monitors in heavily African-American precincts in Ohio is
a racist strategy aimed at intimidating and ultimately suppressing
African-American turnout - despite the fact that these precincts
(irrespective of racial composition) are where Democrats
have signed up the most new voters and where the potential
for vote fraud is greatest.
rational people understand that we have to strike a balance
- albeit a delicate one - between making it as easy as possible
for people to vote and also monitoring the process and enforcing
election laws. The balance between ballot access and ballot
integrity is always difficult, not only because of partisanship
but also the varying election laws between (and even within)
the different states.
when people like Meyerson start hopping up and down screeching
"racism" and "voter suppression" whenever
ANY measure is proposed to protect the integrity of the
system (whether that be monitors, showing ID or proof of
residency, etc) it makes you wonder if they're concerned
about anything other than winning at whatever cost.
HAS LOST IT: I don't begrudge Andrew Sullivan for
number of qualms with President Bush. His criticisms
of the administration's handling of the war are certainly
within reason, even if I personally disagree with many of
them. What isn't within reason, however, is this assertion:
Kerry is clearly Bush's fiscal superior."
is, to put it mildly, insane. As a fiscal conservative am
I disappointed in the performance of the Congress and the
President's unwillingness to take a tougher line on spending
by using his veto power? Of course.
that doesn't lead me to the conclusion that a person with
John Kerry's past record, his future proposals, and his
deep-seated ideological beliefs about the role of the federal
government is going to work to hold a tougher line on spending
than Bush. You can force yourself to believe white is black
and black is white, but that don't make it so.
his credit, Sullivan goes on to make the much more rational
argument that a return to better fiscal discipline is more
likely with a divided Congress:
will also almost certainly face a Republican House, curtailing
his worst liberal tendencies, especially in fiscal matters.
Perhaps it will take a Democratic president to ratchet
the Republican party back to its fiscally responsible
legacy. I'll take what I can get."
But the idea that we would want or need a Republican Congress
to rein in Kerry's "liberal tendencies" in fiscal
matters is basically a repudiation of the previous statement
that Kerry is "clearly Bush's fiscal superior."
also raps Bush because he "failed to grapple with entitlement
reform, as he once promised." Huh? Less than three
months into his Presidency Bush established a blue-ribbon
commission to study Social Security reform. Hearings
began in June 2001 and ran through December (even despite
that little thing that happened in September) producing
report with recommendations.
is free to bemoan the fact that these recommendations didn't
get implemented in the face of a national security crisis
and a recalcitrant Democratic minority forcing a sixty-vote
majority in the United States Senate to do any business
again, at least the President's gut instinct is to push
for much needed reform, as opposed to Senator Kerry's insistence
that the current
Social Security system is just A-OK for the next forty
years provided we just raise taxes on the rich.
the end, however, critiques of fiscal discipline and entitlement
reform are little more than noise. The vote next Tuesday
is about Iraq, terrorism, and U.S. national security and
whether John Kerry or George Bush is better equipped to
lead us forward in what is unquestionably a very dangerous
world.- T. Bevan 2:24 pm Link
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October 27 2004
HARRIS POLL: Lots of emails regarding the new
Harris Interactive Poll released today showing John
Kerry leading George Bush by one point among likely voters,
to clarify, this is an ONLINE poll, not a standard telephone
survey, which is why we do not have it included in our average.
- T. Bevan 1:24 pm
WE KNOW WHAT WE'RE FIGHTING FOR?: Here are some
very strange results from two questions at the very end
of the most
recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll:
In view of the developments since we first sent our
troops to Iraq, do you think the United States made
a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, or not?
Do you feel that you have a clear idea of what the war
in Iraq is all about--that is, what we are fighting
no idea what this means. Nearly half the country now thinks
Iraq is a mistake, yet seven out of ten say they have a
clear idea of what we're fighting for there.
you could attribute at least a few percentage points to
some hard core lefties who think they're quite clear on
what we're fighting for and it's not something they approve
of - like oil or American imperialism.
another point or two believes we are fighting to establish
democracy in Iraq - which we most certainly are doing -
but separates that particular task from battling global
terrorism and thus concludes that establishing a democracy
in Iraq is simply not worth doing.
those two reed-thin observations I'm at a loss to explain
this gap, except to say that perhaps people know deep in
their gut the stakes and importance of what we're doing
but at least a portion of the public has become convinced
through the incessant drumbeat of negative news and imagery
in the mainstream media that Iraq is a mistake anyway. -
T. Bevan 5:24 am Link
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October 26 2004
QUESTIONS WORTH PONDERING:
IS HAWAII IN PLAY?: Michael Barone says "yes",
and it's never a good thing to find yourself disagreeing
with someone who knows as much about politics as Barone.
As a result of the two recent polls we've moved Hawaii to
"leaning Kerry" from the "solid Kerry"
column, but we're going to need to see a big move toward
the President in the national polls or more state polling
confirming these two numbers before we would be willing
to make Hawaii a "toss up."
IS ARKANSAS IN PLAY? The last three polls show
the race in Arkansas surprisingly close, including a new
poll from Opinion Research Associates which has the
race tied. But two follow up stories on the internals from
the OPA poll are worth noting.
percent of voters in Arkansas list the issue of gay
marriage as "somewhat" or "very important."
In a previous OPA poll taken just two weeks ago 80% of those
surveyed were in favor of Amendment 3 which would define
marriage as only between one man and one woman. Second,
"60 percent of voters think a candidate's stand on
gun rights is important in deciding how to vote in the presidential
hard to see how John Kerry is going to pull off an upset
in Arkansas with these issues being such a prominent part
of the mix this election. Like Hawaii in reverse, we would
need to see major movement towards Kerry in the national
polls or a couple more state polls before we would believe
Arkansas is really in play, Bubba
WILL AFRICAN-AMERICANS TURN OUT FOR KERRY? This
is obviously one of the keys to the election and deserves
to be discussed in much more detail. We've all seen the
recent poll showing Bush with nearly double the African-American
support he got in 2000 and Kerry running about eleven points
worse than Gore. Now comes this
from today's St. Petersburg Times:
but strong turnout and overwhelming African-American support
for Kerry could doom his chances. In 2000, record black
turnout in Florida helped turn Florida into a virtual
tie that took Republicans by surprise. This year, the
mobilization effort is far greater, with a major focus
on getting people to vote early.
for all the anecdotal evidence of heavy African-American
turnout, there are hints that Kerry might not be doing
as strongly as he needs to be. At a John Edwards rally
in St. Petersburg on Saturday, white people held "African-Americans
for Kerry-Edwards" placards.
St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald poll released Sunday
showed Bush more than doubling his support from black
voters since 2000, with 19 percent support. That estimate
is imprecise because the pollsters surveyed fewer than
100 likely black voters in Florida, and the Kerry-Edwards
campaign says its internal polling never shows Bush in
double digits. But it mirrors a national poll released
last week showing 18 percent of African-Americans backing
ability to turnout the black vote in big numbers is infinitely
more important to his candidacy than it is for Bush to win
an extra three percent support among African-American voters
this year. If the trends we're seeing are real, then Kerry's
inability to generate enthusiasm for him - as opposed to
just stoking antipathy toward his opponent - could cost
him precious votes in important battleground states.
- T. Bevan 8:24 am Link
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TIPP CORRECTION: Earlier
today TIPP sent us their polling results which had the three
way number Bush 50, Kerry 42, Nader 2 and the head-to-head
number was Bush 50, Kerry 42. Just now TIPP has informed
us the two way information is wrong, and that the accurate
head-to-head number for the tracking dates 10/21-10/24 is
Bush 48, Kerry 41. J.
McIntyre 2:12 pm
ELECTORAL COLLEGE UPDATE: President
Bush continues to maintain a structural edge in the Electoral
College that has worked to his advantage this entire campaign.
However, the states that are producing that advantage have
shifted since the summer.
our initial electoral
analysis we suggested that the election would boil down
to Florida and Ohio, with Kerry having to win one of
those two states and President Bush simply needing to
carry them both to gain reelection. At the time we suggested
that one of the President 's advantages was the possibility
of offsetting a loss in Ohio or Florida by poaching some
of the Gore states (IA, WI, MN NM, and OR), giving the President
an alternate option of collecting an EC majority that Senator
Kerry really never had.
of today this alternate option, if necessary, for President
Bush is starting to look more and more like a very real
possibility. Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and New Mexico are
fully in play: eight days before the election Bush holds
leads in the RCP State Averages in all four of these states.
This is seriously complicating Kerry's strategy in getting
to 270 Electoral Votes. Conventional wisdom for months,
including RCP's, had been that whoever won two of the "big
three" Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida would almost
certainly become President.
While it may still be likely that whoever carries two out
of those three will win the election, it is not the cut
and dry proposition it was earlier. President Bush can offset
a loss in Ohio (and New Hampshire) by carrying Wisconsin
and either Iowa, New Mexico or Minnesota. He can offset
a loss in Florida (and New Hampshire), by winning three
of those four states. Winning Wisconsin, Iowa, Maine's 1
Electoral Vote and holding New Hampshire would also allow
President Bush to gain reelection while losing Florida.
the conventional wisdom completely on its head President
Bush could even lose all three of Ohio, Pennsylvania and
Florida and still win, as long as he was able to flip Michigan.
Granted, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where Kerry
would win Pennsylvania and Ohio yet lose Michigan, but with
a poll in Michigan showing the President ahead by five and
Mason-Dixon calling it a one point race, coupled with a
gay marriage initiative and Ralph Nader on the ballot (unlike
PA and OH), it's not totally impossible. In this scenario
Bush victories in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin could offset
the loss of Florida's 27 Electoral Votes and Michigan would
offset a loss in Ohio, leaving Kerry with a measly three
electoral vote pick up.
the Michigan option is a little far-fetched the other two
are not. The problem for Senator Kerry is he has no backup
plan to not winning in either Florida or Ohio. The problem
for President Bush is that Kerry is still very much alive
in both those states. All of Bush's backup Electoral scenarios
will be irrelevant if he loses FL and OH and Kerry hangs
on to PA and MI.
the race sits today, the President holds roughly a three
point lead in the national race. At the state level, using
the RCP state averages to allocate the Electoral College,
President Bush would win 306 - 232. However, the final movement
in the national polls will have an exaggerated effect on
that electoral tally. If Bush starts to pull away this week
and can close strong building back toward his 5-7 point
lead of September, that Electoral number could easily expand
to 352 - 186. A small tightening towards Kerry in the final
days from where we are today would indicate a dead heat
race, where many of those electoral scenarios mentioned
above could very well come into play. A strong break towards
Kerry and most of these states would flip his direction
leading to something like a 311 - 227 Kerry win.
an eye on the RCP National Average.
Eight days out it shows Bush ahead by roughly three points.
Where that number is a week from today will be the best
tell on how this race will turnout. J.
McIntyre 11:28 am Link
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WEB SITE UPDATE: Some of you may have experienced
problems with the web site recently. Last week we began
the process of adding additional servers and increasing
bandwith to handle all of the traffic we've been getting.
result is that we've been battling a few bugs: Apache test
screens popping up, some servers updating while others continue
to display old pages, etc. Needless to say, it's a been
a pain and an inconvenience for us as well as for a (hopefully)
small percentage of our visitors. We apologize. We've fixed
the problems and will continue to work to make sure RCP
runs smoothly through the election and beyond.
now back to our regularly scheduled programming.....
CIVILIZED BARBARIANS: You
may have seen this quote from a column in The Guardian yesterday:
November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying,
praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably
win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and
for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy,
arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent
deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee
Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that
we need you?
yes, members of the "civilised world" are now
calling for the assassination of the President of the United
States. Members of the "civilised world" now take
to describing a person whose political views they disagree
with as "a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish,
reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching,
blinking, mouse-faced little cheat."
me a break. The European left is as rotten and rudderless
as it is arrogant and paranoid.
I could report that the political left in this country wasn't
starting to look more and more like their trans-Atlantic
brethren. I can't. Some of the behavior we're seeing from
Democrats in America at the moment ranges from comical to
bizarre to deeply disturbing:
are just a few stories from the last week pulled off the
top of my head. The list is by no means comprehensive, but
it's plenty enough for Democrats to be ashamed of. And they
fact is Democrats are angry, desperate, and absolutely beside
themselves at facing the prospect of another four years
with George W. Bush as President. Frankly, I don' t blame
so much invested emotionally, it will be a crushing psychological
blow for liberals to see Bush reelected a week from this
Tuesday. Furthermore, if Bush wins big it could be a defeat
that threatens the very foundations of the liberal movement
even that is no excuse for some of the behavior we're seeing.
It's no excuse for bending the rules, breaking the law,
and generally treating this year's election with an "anything
goes" mentality where the ends justify any means. The
country deserves - and the Constitution demands - much more
Script: In the interest of fairness I went looking
to put together a similar list of shameful incidents involving
Republicans. But aside from the currently disputed and unproven
allegations of some
Democratic registrations being ripped up and thrown in the
trash out in Nevada, I couldn't find anything comparable.
In fact, using the exact same search criteria that turned
up pages of stories involving the vandalism of Bush offices,
etc. around the country yielded surprisingly few
when applied to John Kerry. If you know of any incidents
of Republicans targeting Kerry offices or supporters with
vandalism or thuggish behavior, please send them through
so I can post them. -
T. Bevan 8:15 am Link
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October 21 2004
ROBERTSON VS. REALITY: So Pat Robertson popped
up on Paula
Zahn's show Tuesday night and said that President Bush
told him in a meeting in early 2003 Bush believed we wouldn't
suffer any casualties in Iraq. Robertson has said some bizarre
things over the years, but this one takes the cake.
mainstream media generally ignores everything Robertson
says until he unloads some ridiculous remark like the one
on Tuesday - in which case papers like The
Washington Post and The
Los Angeles Times treat his comments as front page news.
night on Larry King, however, Bob Woodward said that in
his extensive interviews with Bush conducted during the
course of writing his books (Plan
of Attack and Bush
at War), the President indicated just the opposite:
An interview yesterday on CNN, Pat Robertson, an avid
Bush supporter by the way, says he urged the president
to prepare the United States people for casualties before
launching the war and he said Bush told him, they're not
going to have any casualties. What do you make of that?
The White House denied that today.
Yes, I don't think the president would say that. Certainly
didn't believe that. When I talked to him about it, in
fact, he said, in making the decision to go to war in
Iraq, or the war in Afghanistan, he knew there were going
to be casualties and he knew he was going to have to comfort
the loved ones afterwards, so that there was kind of a
deep awareness of that. I don't think that makes sense.
fact, the President said as much in the February,
10 2003 speech he gave at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
This also happens to be same time and place the where Reverend
Robertson says Bush told him he wasn't worried about America
suffering casualties in Iraq. Bush told the group:
war is forced upon us -- and I say "forced upon us,"
because use of the military is not my first choice. I
hug the mothers and the widows of those who may have lost
their life in the name of peace and freedom. I take my
responsibilities incredibly seriously about the commitment
of troops. But should we need to use troops, for the sake
of future generations of Americans, American troops will
act in the honorable traditions of our military and in
the highest moral traditions of our country. "
that Bush's statement in Nashville doesn't totally disprove
Robertson's claim, it does indicate that President Bush
not only acknowledged previous casualties but recognized
that his impending decision to use force in Iraq would inevitably
one would think that if President Bush was (to use Roberton's
own words) so completely "self assured" of the
fact invading Iraq wouldn't produce any casualties, it seems
logical that President Bush would have shared this thought
with a few more people than just Pat Robertson. So far,
we don't have any evidence that he did.
am I calling Pat Robertson a liar? No. But I do think he
misinterpreted the President expressing optimism for the
success of a difficult and dangerous mission in Iraq. It
seems a whole lot more likely than accepting President Bush
was so deluded he would assert the impossible.
does the expression of optimism for success in Iraq automatically
lead to the conclusion, as Andrew
Sullivan puts it this morning, that Bush "had no
inkling of the possibility of an insurgency" and that
he was entertaining pie-in-the-sky fantasies regarding the
outcome of the invasion?
believe it does. But that's just me. Sullivan says he chooses
to believe Robertson, which just goes to further prove that
politics makes strange bedfellows. Who you choose to believe
is up to you. - T.
Bevan 10:15 am Link
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October 19 2004
STILL BUSH'S TO LOSE: With two weeks until
Election Day, we're in the final stretch. There is enough
evidence for partisans on both sides to point to why their
respective candidate will win on November 2. Bottom line:
Bush is ahead and continues to hold the superior hand, but
Kerry cannot be counted out.
to much of the punditry you may have seen or heard this
has always been George W. Bush's race to lose - and it remains
that way today. It has always been my belief that 9/11 and
the War on Terror changed the national political landscape
to give the Republicans and President Bush a structural
advantage, particularly in the first Presidential election
early signs of trouble for Senator Kerry began to appear
in the summer (ironically when many
were beginning to write Bush off) when Kerry could not
move out to a bigger lead than 2-3 points. Throughout this
entire campaign Kerry has never been able to get ahead by
more than three
points in the RCP Average, and he has only had a lead
over 2.5% three times: in mid-May at the height of the media
frenzy over Abu Ghraib, right after the Edwards pick in
early July, and right after his convention in early August.
None of these leads lasted more than a few days. Senator
Kerry should have been registering leads between 5-10 points
after his convention and VP pick, not 2 1/2 points.
nearly an entire year (starting back at the beginning of
the Dem primary race) Bush's opponents and the left-wing
527's had been pounding the President furiously, on top
of the daily media drumbeat of the "disaster"
in Iraq. All of this negativity directed at the President
succeeded in driving down Bush's Job Approval rating and
the right/direction wrong direction numbers, but it didn't
succeed in turning this President into Jimmy Carter. As
I've said before, despite this ferocious onslaught, Bush's
Job Approval bottoming out in the mid-40's was actually
a positive for the President and a sign of his underlying
strength with the electorate, not a weakness.
Bush's Job Approval finding a floor in the mid-40's and
Kerry unable to ever move ahead by more than 2-3 points,
the Democratic ticket was extremely vulnerable to counterattack.
So in August, when Republican 527-money turned their guns
on Senator Kerry, specifically with the swift boat/post-Vietnam
protest stories, Kerry began to absorb some serious body
were extremely successful in driving up Kerry's unfavorables
during the month of August, and this led right into the
Republican convention where the spotlight was put squarely
on 9/11 and the War on Terror. The end result was that as
September rolled around President Bush opened up a 5-7 point
lead in the RCP Poll Average, a margin he held for 28 consecutive
with being completely knocked out of the race, Kerry was
able to get back in the game with a win in the first debate
on September 30. In four days days after that debate Kerry
was able to pull within 1-2
points of Bush in the RCP Average. That 1-2 point Bush
lead basically held steady through the final debate in Arizona
last week. Since last Wednesday's debate, Bush has tacked
on a few points and this morning leads by 3-4 points in
both of the RCP Poll Averages.
where does that leave us? The President's
Job Approval appears to have stabilized around 50%,
with the latest from Gallup, (the most important as far
as job approval) indicating 51% approval. While the press
makes a big deal about Bush being below 50%, it is probably
the Kerry campaign that should be more concerned with that
50% number. Bush can win with a Job Approval at 47% or 48
%, but Kerry doesn't have a chance if the President's Job
Approval is at 52% or 53%.
in April I wrote:
a crude measuring stick for the state of the presidential
race, an over 50% job approval for the President should
translate into a Bush victory. A 45% - 49% job approval
will mean a close race, but I would give President Bush
these parameters roughly still hold true. At 49.5% in the
RCP Average Bush is right on the cusp of where he needs
to be to put this race away. However, on the cusp of victory
is not quite the same thing as winning, and at this stage
I would ratchet up the 45-49 leaning Bush range to 47-49.
If the President's Job Approval were to fall to 45 or 46,
as measured by the RCP Average, I think we would be looking
at a dead heat race, with the momentum clearly favoring
the challenger Kerry.
things stand today, Kerry can't tolerate any more movement
towards Bush in the national horse-race numbers or the President
Job Approval. Trailing 3-4 points nationally and a Bush
JA at 49.5% is absolutely the most Kerry can trail by and
still hope to have a chance on Election Day.
the reason Kerry still can win with these type of numbers
is because Bush is having a difficult time getting over
50% in most of the polls. The
risk to the President is the undecideds come out to vote,
and vote disproportionately for a change with Senator Kerry.
Sabato suggested last week he was "tempted to argue
that Bush actually needed his full 5 to 6 percent September
lead to insure a narrow victory."
disagree with that and suggest that unless there is strong
momentum towards Kerry at the very end I think Bush will
not underperform his RCP Poll Spread in the final results.
What I mean by that is if the President leads by 2-3 points
in the final RCP Poll average, I think he will win by at
least 2-3 points. In other words I don't think the President
needs a poll cushion going in to Election Day. Again, that
is assuming there is not a strong final break towards Kerry,
like the Bush DUI and the late break for Gore in 2000. For
example if Bush is ahead 4-6 points with a week to go, but
in the last three days that closes to only 1-2 points, that
1-2 point lead very well might not hold up.
reason I think Bush will meet or exceed the final poll spread
I wonder whether there is a little bit of the Howard Dean
phenomena with all the "energy" and young voters,
and all the "new" people who are supposedly going
to come out and put John Kerry in office. We heard this
type of talk with Howard Dean earlier this year and when
it came time to deliver, it was just that, a lot of talk.
I don't think the Black vote is going to come out in the
type of numbers Senator Kerry is going to need. African-Americans
certainly don't like President Bush, but they are unenthusiastic
about Kerry and that will hurt the Democrats on the margins.
The GOP learned a hard lesson in 2000 when the Democrat's
GOTV effort just crushed the Republicans. The GOP adapted
and instituted their 72 hour plan which was extremely effective
in 2002, and I suspect that will provide a powerful assist
to the President, and could be worth as much as 1-2 points
on Election Day.
three of these issues are about turnout, and at this stage
this is what the race is going to come down to in the end.
Will the President's base simply overpower Kerry's and render
the small number of undecideds a non-factor or will Kerry
get the undecideds to break his way, and more importantly
will he get enough of them to the polls on Election Day
to offset the President's lead in the polls and Bush's more
the President's position, but Bush supporters should be
wary. Kerry has kept within striking distance in the critical
battleground states and any late movement for Kerry is all
this race will need to be a dead heat going in to Election
Day. J. McIntyre 11:48 am Link
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October 18, 2004
SEXUALITY, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE: One at a time. First,
the Mary Cheney thing. There's been a lot written on this
subject and I don't have a whole lot to add, except to say
that it's clear John Kerry violated one of the fundamental
unwritten rules of politics last week. You simply do not
bring the children of your political opponents into the
you want to talk about your own family, fine. But to cite
someone else's child as an example of anything in the context
of a political debate strikes most people as offensive.
The visceral response we've seen to John Kerry's remark
has nothing to do with the issue of gay marriage or whether
people believe homosexuality is genetic or not. It only
has to do with the way Kerry offended the average person's
concept of what is decent, polite and respectful behavior.
The fact John Kerry didn't realize this at the time, and
hasn't seen fit to recognize it in the ensuing days is going
to turn off some voters. We'll see just how many.
number two: lies. I find it rather astonishing that Democrats
and some members of the media (like Mark
Halperin) continue to harp on President Bush's dishonesty
while John Kerry runs around the country telling people
the President is going to reinstate
the draft and take away senior citizens' Social Secuirty
checks. From today's
might be a good surprise for the wealthy and well-connected,
but it's a disaster for the middle class," Kerry
told the congregation at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in
Columbus, Ohio. "The president's privatization plan
for Social Security is another way of saying to our seniors
that the promise of security is going to be broken."
recent weeks, Kerry, who has complained about Bush lodging
negative and unsubstantiated attacks, has made several
cutting accusations about the president based on shaky
this is in addition to the fact that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton
and the entire Democratic national party establishment have
gone into full "Selma 1965 mode," hyping accusations
of voter intimidation and/or telling their operatives to
them up and generally scaring
the living daylights out of African-Americans all across
videotape. Sinclair Broadcasting and "Stolen Honor."
As a general principle I don't think Sinclair should broadcast
"Stolen Honor" unless they're willing to present
a rebuttal from John Kerry's point of view (though it doesn't
necessarily have to be from Kerry himself).
they're willing to present both sides of the story - which
is more than you can say about CBS and others - then Sinclair
has the right to run whatever programming they want. And
Democrats have a right to try and pressure Sinclair to pull
the show by threatening local advertisers with a boycott
of their products. That's how we do it in America.
it is a bit remarkable that we are only two weeks away from
the election and there still has been very, very little
attention paid to John Kerry's post-Vietnam record by the
mainstream media. Kerry keeps saying he's proud of those
days standing up and fighting against a war he thought was
wrong. Great. Then what's the problem with having a discussion
about those days where people can be critical of Kerry's
actions and he can step up and defend them? Again, that's
how we do it in America. - T. Bevan 3:15 pm Link
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