October 14 2004
GET YOUR DEBATE ANALYSIS HERE: Let's be honest:
scoring a debate is a very subjective exercise. Those who
favor a given candidate will almost always tend to view
their candidate's performance in the best possible light
and to find flaws or faults in the opposing candidate's
performance. Last night is a perfect example.
one hand, liberals are convinced that Kerry looked "more
presidential than the president" last night and
that Bush was "on
the defensive from the outset."
the other hand, conservatives think President Bush delivered
a " sensational
performance" last night and that Kerry seemed "haggard,
tired" and "lifeless."
other words, both sides think their guy won - which would
naturally lead most people to conclude the debate was a
draw. But was it really?
this week Dana
Milbank reported on the different tactics of the two
campaigns: the Bush campaign believes "the election
will be determined more by the turnout of each party's faithful"
while the Kerry campaign feels "the election will be
determined as much by centrist 'swing voters.'"
saw these tactics on display last night. Kerry went out
of his way to speak to middle-class voters in Wisconsin
and Ohio about jobs and healthcare. He also did his best
to counter President Bush's strongest appeal to the middle
class (the tax cuts) by arguing that any tax relief the
middle class has gotten under president Bush has been offset
by the rising prices of tuition, healthcare, and gasoline.
Bush spoke to the issues in the language of conservatives:
low taxes, fiscal sanity, a culture of life, the sanctity
of marriage, standards and accountability in education.
both Kerry and Bush did a good job of making their respective
cases to their target audiences. Overall, however, I think
President Bush did a better job of improving his position
in the race.
inherent problem with John Kerry's strategy is that the
middle-class "swing voter" he needs to win in
critical states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and
Iowa is decidedly more conservative than he is - especially
on cultural issues.
just a very tough sell for a lanky, ultra rich liberal from
Massachusetts to show up in Ames, Akron or Appleton with
a shotgun and convince people he's one of them. On abortion,
gay marriage, and gun control (just to name a few) these
voters are more in tune with President Bush than John Kerry.
less than three weeks when voters close the curtain on the
booth and make a choice for president they'll ask themselves
four basic questions (not necessarily in this order):
Who do I like?
2) Who do I trust?
3) Who is going to keep the country safe?
4)Who is going to help me find a job to provide for my
order and importance of these questions will be different
for each voter, of course, but my hunch is that right now
President Bush wins three out of four of them with middle-class
voters in Wisconsin and Ohio.
the extent this election turns on the Carville Doctrine
(it's the economy, stupid), John Kerry has a chance to win
the votes of people who may not like him or trust him as
much as they do President Bush.
I still firmly believe this is a national security election
at its core and that in order for the average middle-class
voter to even get to the question of jobs and healthcare
they first have to be satisfied that John Kerry will keep
the country safe. I'm not convinced he's fully passed that
test yet with the American people as a whole, let alone
middle-class voters in Ohio and Wisconsin.
I'm wrong. Maybe John Kerry has made the sale on the War
on Terror and national security - even though the internals
of the polls don't show it. But if, over the course of nine
months, a convention, three debates and tens of millions
of dollars in advertising, John Kerry still truly hasn't
convinced the American public he'll fight the war on terror
and keep them safe, there is little reason to believe he'll
be able to do it over the course of the next 18 days. -
T. Bevan 11:45 am Link
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October 13 2004
STATE POLLS: We are getting dozens of emails
asking, questioning, complaining how we do our state polling
averages. In an ideal world we would like to have four or
five post debate polls in all the battleground states. While
there are many states where we do have plenty of post-debate
polls (Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, etc...)
we also have several states where we have one or no post-debate
the power of averaging increases with the number of quality
non-partisan polls in the average. With many states we are
in an in- between period where we have to balance keeping
as many polls as possible in the averages while also keeping
the polls that are included in the average as current as
possible so as to reflect real-time changes in the race.
and Wisconsin are two states that currently reflect this
difficulty. In Minnesota we have two polls taken Oct 8 -
Oct 11 and then the next most recent poll is in September.
Wisconsin is similar as there are only two nonpartisan polls
Minnesota situation is complicated because one of the two
polls is the Minnesota
Star-Tribune Poll which habitually skews to the
Democrats. In reality, the Star-Tribune poll is
good news for President Bush because it
shows movement of four points toward the President since
their last poll. Given the Star-Tribune's track
record, a five point lead for Kerry probably amounts to
a dead heat race in the real world. (The Star-Tribune
called for a 10-point Gore win in their final 2000 poll.
The final margin of victory for Gore was only 2 points.)
Chicago Tribune's just-released midwestern
state polls also seem to validate the idea that President
Bush is running strong in Minnesota. Their poll has Bush
trailing by only two
points and running 2 points better in Minnesota
than they show him running in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Minnesota is without a doubt a state that is trending Republican,
it is still going to be a tough state for the President
to win, especially since Nader is unlikely to draw as much
support as he he did in 2000.
you look at all
of the the public polls in Minnesota since the beginning
of this race in March, Bush has led in only one. It
is Kerry's consistent lead in the state more than anything
else that prompted us to move Minnesota from a "Toss
Up" to "Leaning Kerry" in our Electoral Vote
the way, Bush supporters can take hope in the fact that
the one poll that has showed President Bush ahead was Mason-Dixon
(completed in mid-September ) and Mason-Dixon's Brad Coker
nailed the Coleman-Mondale race in 2002 when the Star-Tribune
and Zogby were both calling for a Mondale win.
have left Wisconsin as "Leaning Bush" for much
the same reason we moved Minnesota to "Leaning Kerry."
When you look at
all of the polls since July, Kerry hasn't led in a single
one (not counting partisan polls and Internet polls) until
this most recent Chicago Tribune poll. We would like to
see more evidence than just one 500 LV Chicago Tribune
poll to convince us Kerry has pulled back to even in Wisconsin.
this happens, we'll move the state, but until then we would
tend to view the Tribune poll as a possible outlier. Like
Minnesota, Wisconsin is trending Republican and Kerry's
"Lambert Field" gaffe is not inconsequential to
anyone who has spent any time in the Badger State.
the board the state polls are sending mixed signals. Trailing
by two points in the Quinnipiac
Poll in Pennsylvania is good news for Bush, but trailing
Kerry in all three
post-debate Ohio polls is not. CNN/USA Today/Gallup
has President Bush ahead by three
in New Mexico (a tied state in 2000 ) while at the same
time trailing by three
in Colorado (a state Bush carried by 9 points in 2000).
[Late Correction: That Gallup poll has the race in
Colorado tied, 49-49, not a three point Kerry lead.]
Chicago Tribune polls showing Bush down in Ohio and
Wisconsin is bad news for the President, but at the same
time we have Strategic Vision polls countering those with
Bush ahead 5 in Wisconsin and 8 in Ohio. Even if you discount
3-5 points because Strategic Vision is or was a partisan
polling firm, these are still good numbers for the President.
the states are where this election will be decided because
of the Electoral College, for the next week the national
polls are probably a better guide to gauge
where the race is headed. Generally speaking, the state
polls do seem to be following the national lead more or
less, with a little lag time and a few quirks here and there.
performance in the first debate effectively closed the President
's 5-6 point lead down to only 1-2 points. Since then,
the race has held fairly steady with a slight Bush lead
through two more major events: the Vice-Presidential debate
last Wednesday and the second Presidential debate last Friday
debate has the potential to cause a break out for either
candidate. A draw or a preservation of the status quo probably
favors the President marginally, though Bush supporters
will feel considerably better if they see few nonpartisan
polls in Ohio showing the President ahead. Keep your eye
on the RCP National
Poll Average, and expect the battleground state polls
to follow that lead. J. McIntyre 2:02 pm
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DEBATE NIGHT: Obviously, lots of focus on
the third and final Presidential debate tonight. But there
were also a number of debates around the country last night.
Here is a summary:
South Carolina - DeMint (R) vs. Tenenbaum (D) : According
report from Lee Bandy at the Columbia State, Tenenbaum
looked "ill at ease and tired" and didn't peform
well at all. However, The
Charleston Post & Courier gives a completely different
take, saying that DeMint's recent statements on not allowing
homosexuals and unwed mothers to teach in public schools
had him on the defensive last night and has hurt him badly.
6-12 points behind in the polls right now, so watch
to see if the gap closes.
South Dakota - Thune (R) vs.
Daschle (D): The heavyweights went
at it last night. Tough to tell from the Argus Leader
story who came out on top, though the
folks at Daschle v. Thune seem to think the winner was
clear. Again, watch for the next
batch of post debate polls.
- Keyes (R) vs. Obama (D): The Chicago Tribune
that the debate was surprisingly civil and that the candidates
ended up "agreeing on much." Keyes did hit Obama
on abortion but was otherwise "reluctant" to go
on the attack. It doesn't matter anyway, this race was over
the minute Keyes accepted the IL GOP's invitation to run.
Georgia - Isakson (R) vs. Majette (D):
Sounds like this
one was a snoozer, full of back and forth charges over
voting records that left the audience thoroughly confused.
to trail by double digits and desperately needs something
to shake up the dynamics of this race. Sounds like this
debate wasn't it.
Missouri - Bond (R) vs. Farmer (D): Lots
of domestic stuff and talk of Bond's record and experience.
Farmer's big line in her closing remarks ("there's
a difference between working for Missouri and working for
Missourians") is totally unpersuasive and a loser for
her. It doesn't matter, Kerry
is packing up and leaving Missouri and a ride on Kerry's
coattails was the only sliver of hope Farmer had of beating
the incumbent to begin with.
Pennsylvania - Specter (R) vs. Hoeffel (D):
Philly Inquirer does some fact checking.
NM-2: Wilson (R) vs. Romero (D): One of
the closest House races in the country, The
Albuquerque Tribune says Romero is on the offensive.
ME-2 - Michaud (D) vs. Hamel (R): The Press Herald
it as pretty standard fare: disagreement over Iraq, taxes
and prescription drugs and agreement on clean air and water,
supporting veterans and educating children (as if you've
ever heard anyone come out against these things!). No change
in this race, Michaud
NC-8 - Hayes (R) vs. Troutman (D) | NC-9 - Myrick
(R) vs. Flynn (D) | NC-12: Fisher (R) vs. Watt (D): The
Charlotte Observer gives the round up.
NE-2 - Terry (R) vs. Thompson (D): The
Omaha Herald reports
it was a heated affair which sounded pretty similar to the
WA - Rossi (R) vs. Gregoire (D): The
Seattle Times has the goods on the town hall debate
in Yakima last night. Rossi is in an uphill battle in a
state that is becoming more Democratic by the minute. The
state isn't in play at he Presidential level, nor is George
Nethercutt making up much ground against Patty Murray, she
of the Osama-bin-Laden-builds hospitals fame.
later with more. - T. Bevan 11:45 am
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THAT VOTER INTIMIDATION CASE IN FLORIDA: A while
back I wrote two pieces taking Bob Herbert to task (here
over his outrageous claims that Jeb Bush and the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement were using a bogus vote fraud
investigation to suppress the black vote in the Orlando
the course of researching those posts I came across a
detailed article written by Jeff Billman. Billman is
a local reporter for the Orlando Weekly and he's been all
over this story since the controversy started back in May.
I called Jeff in August and spoke with him at length about
Herbert's claims to make sure I had a good grip on the story
and wasn't missing anything.
who stipulated during the course of the conversation that
he and his paper were left-leaning, confirmed to me that
the story was completely bogus and said that he was in the
process of writing a rebuttal to Herbert. Here
it is. The entire column is required reading, but here
is Billman's bottom line regarding Herbert and the Democrats'
claims of GOP voter intimidation in Orlando:
a fantastic story: Armed GOP Gestapo canvassing black
neighborhoods to make sure Dubya gets re-elected. Too
bad it's all bullshit...
would accuse this paper of pro-Bush leanings, but we have
to say it: In this case the facts aren't as sexy as a
story starring Florida as a backwoods swamp where the
Bush boys send armed thugs to intimidate black voters.
It may play in New York, but it's not true."
are a lot of stories swirling around the country right now
regarding vote fraud and voter intimidation which I'll discuss
in the future. But as far as this particular story goes,
it's total bunk. Instead, it's just another example of Bob
Herbert's despicable willingness to distort facts to play
on the racial fears and anxieties of African-Americans in
the hopes of winning a few votes. - T. Bevan 9:45
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October 11 2004
THE HEINZ KERRY GAFFE JUGGERNAUT ROLLS ON:
Truly astonishing. Teresa Heinz Kerry is like a gaffe machine,
churning out quote after quote that range from embarrassing,
to comical, to downright
irresponsible. It's gotten so bad you have to start
wondering if she really isn't a Republican mole working
to sabotage her husband's campaign.
is Teresa's latest effort (via
"John will never send a boy or girl in a uniform
anywhere in the world because of our need and greed for
gracious. Folks, it's one thing for John Kerry to publicly
adopt the hardcore antiwar activist position that Iraq is
wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time."
It's something altogether different for the potential First
Lady of the United States to crawl down into the Michael
Moore fever-swamp and assert that President Bush has deployed
U.S. troops "because of our need and greed for oil."
to say, this sort of thing may get hardcore Democratic partisans
worked up into a lather but it isn't going to play so well
with voters in Ohio or Florida .- T. Bevan 10:19
KEYES, MR. RADIOACTIVE: Just how bad is Alan Keyes
doing in the Illinois Senate race? Let's just say it's hard
to imagine him doing any worse. In the three
latest polls taken during the past week, Keyes is drawing
between 20-24% of the vote while Obama is pushing close
be fair, this was never really about Alan Keyes beating
Barack Obama. The minute Jack Ryan dropped out of the race
the GOP strategy shifted from winning to trying to field
a credible challenger who could do two things: 1) keep Obama
occupied and 2) run strong throughout the state to protect
down-ballot Republicans from getting swamped. Keyes is failing
miserably at both.
Washington Post reports that Obama is so unconcerned
with the threat being posed by Alan Keyes that he's now
touring the country raising money and campaigning on behalf
of John Kerry and other Democrats:
the past week, Obama has mailed checks totaling $260,000
to Senate candidates in 13 states, including $53,000 to
the do-or-die campaign of Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle
(S.D.). He donated $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee and $150,000 to party organizations
in key states, including Florida, Wisconsin and Colorado.
Carrying his verbal assault on President Bush beyond state
lines, Obama will fly to Los Angeles this week for a Democratic
fundraiser and address rallies in Colorado and Nevada
for John F. Kerry. In a close presidential race where
turnout could prove decisive, Obama said in an interview
that he is talking with Kerry advisers about where he
can be most effective in the campaign's final days.
is huge," Obama said after a Saturday morning rally
in the hard-fought presidential battleground of Wisconsin.
"If there are selective things that we can do that
can be helpful, then we want to do them. The Kerry people
are still making determinations as to what states remain
in play. Safe to say we will probably have a couple more
travel days this month."
in Illinois, Keyes is operating in complete isolation. He's
alienated almost all of the Republican party operatives
throughout the state, starting with his wild-eyed rhetoric
about Barack Obama's pro-abortion stance (the "slaveholders'"
position, similar to a terrorist, etc) and his attack on
Dick Cheney's gay daughter (Keyes called Mary Cheney a "selfish
members of the Illinois delegation, including the Chairperson
of the Party, Judy Baar Topinka, condemned Keyes remarks
as "idiotic" and called on him to apologize. (To
make matters worse, rumors
have been swirling about the sexual preference of Keyes'
own daughter for a couple of weeks now. Keyes has refused
is how bad it has become: the other night at a GOP fund
raising dinner Keyes caused a stir by showing up unannounced
- but more importantly, I was told, uninvited. At the dinner
a sitting member Congress, speaking semi-privately to the
guests at one of the tables, jokingly referred to Keyes
as a "lunatic." Everyone at the table laughed
and shook their heads in agreement.
damage Keyes is doing to the GOP in Illinois, however, is
no laughing matter. He will be lucky to win 25% of the vote
in November and he's become not only a drag on the ballot
for Republicans but a weapon for Democrats.
give you a quick example. Beth Coulson is the State Senator
from my district. She's a moderate Republican in a moderate
to left-leaning district and always a top target of the
Democrats. Here's a copy of the latest flier from the Illinois
may very well cost Beth Coulson her seat, and perhaps a
few others as well. And on November 3rd Alan Keyes will
be sitting comfortably on a plane back to Maryland and the
Illinois GOP will be in a bigger hole than they were in
before Keyes arrived to help dig.
TERESA: Can't resist this blurb on Teresa Heinz
Kerry from Friday's
the middle of her [Heinz Kerry's] speech, Bush supporters
chimed in with a chant of "four more years."
Kerry supporters countered with "four more weeks."
Kerry told the Bush supporters, "I respect your positions,
but you must have manners."
Conover, 54, a science writer and Kerry supporter who
had backed Howard Dean, described Heinz Kerry's talk as
treated them like they were children," she said of
how Heinz Kerry talked to the Bush supporters.
are just so uncouth, aren't they Teresa? - T.
Bevan 7:45 am
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