October 8 2004
the first debate President Bush had settled into a 5-6
six point lead in the race as measured by the RCP Poll
Average. Since the debate, the national polls have tightened
considerably and heading into the second debate tonight
the RCP Average shows President
Bush holding a small 1-2 point lead.
is only logical that we are now seeing Kerry's movement
in the national polls carrying over into the first post-debate
polls at the state
level. This tightening of the race prompted us on Tuesday
to move Iowa from Leaning Bush to a Toss Up, and on
Wednesday to move
Ohio from Leaning Bush to a Toss Up and Pennsylvania from
Toss Up to Leaning Kerry.
is no question that the situation for Senator Kerry has
improved dramatically in the last week. From an Electoral
Vote standpoint, however, he is still facing an uphill battle.
suggesting that the race basically boils down to Florida
and Ohio stands. However, it looks as if the aftermath of
the hurricanes may have given President Bush a decisive
edge there, so in reality it is now all about Ohio. If Kerry
doesn't win Ohio he will not be President.
balance, President Bush still holds the better Electoral
hand because the evidence is massing that he has successfully
moved Wisconsin into his column. Because of the very real
potential to win Wisconsin, Bush can now lose Ohio and still
have a reasonable chance for victory.
Ohio/Wisconsin swap garners Kerry 10 Electoral Votes and,
using the 2000 results as a template taking into account
reapportionment, that would leave Kerry the winner, 270-268.
Because the U.S House of Representatives splits all ties
in the Electoral College, Bush likely only needs 269 votes
to be reelected.
more than anything else gives Kerry the slight advantage
in New Hampshire which moves the Electoral tally to Kerry
274 - Bush 264. So if Bush does lose Ohio, but brings in
Wisconsin, he will have to swing FIVE Electoral Votes
has four different scenarios through which he could gain
these votes. The best bet right now looks to be Iowa's 7
Electoral Votes where two
post-debate polls show Kerry ahead by one, and a Democratic
post-debate poll shows Bush up 3. (Minnesota is also
a possibility, but the truth is if Minnesota goes for Bush,
Iowa will already be in the President's column.)
number two is to win New Mexico's 5 Electoral Votes. Right
now, the post-debate polls there show a dead heat, Gallup
shows Bush up 3 while the Albuquerque Journal has
Kerry ahead by 3.
next target is New Hampshire's 4 Electoral Votes and the
1 Electoral Vote available if the President can carry Maine's
2nd Congressional district. Post-debate NH
polls show Kerry ahead slightly and a post-debate poll
in Maine shows Kerry would win the state, but if the election
were held today Bush
would probably pick up 1 Electoral Vote by winning CD2.
last shot for the President to grab those needed 5 EV's
comes from Oregon, though in all likelihood if President
Bush ends up in a position where he needs Oregon's Electoral
Votes to get reelected, it probably won't happen.
of these different options depend on the President holding
on to the rest of his 2000 states, which in this type of
election scenario seems likely, though Nevada could be the
one state where Kerry could steal back those 5 Electoral
Votes. The one post-debate poll there shows Bush
leading by 4.
line: Kerry has effectively used the first debate to get
himself back in the game, but he continues to remain at
a structural disadvantage in the Electoral College. The
quartet of Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico could be
where this election is decided. If Bush does have a hold
on Wisconsin, then even if Senator Kerry wins Ohio, he will
also have to win both Iowa and New Mexico
to deny Bush four more years.
and Florida are must wins for Kerry and Bush respectively,
a Bush loss in Florida or a Kerry loss in Pennsylvania means
the election is over.) J.
McIntyre 10:11 am Link
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October 7 2004
& NOTES ON POLLS & THE EC:
A heads up to those who haven't noticed: we've added two
new pages to the site. The first is a
summary page of all the polls we post to RCP every day.
We always highlight the most recent national and battleground
state polls at the top of the front page, but there are
a lot of other polls coming off the wires all day long and
the number is growing daily. For example, here's a list
of the polls we've posted so far just this morning:
- Kerry 48, Bush 47
PA: ARG - Kerry
48, Bush 46
National: Marist - Bush 49,
Kerry 46, Nader 1
National: Reuters/Zogby Tracking
- Bush 46, Kerry 44, Nader 2
FL: Quinnipiac -
Bush 51, Kerry 44
News9/PMR I4 Corridor Poll - Bush 48, Kerry 41
UT Gov: Salt
Lake Tribune - Huntsman (R) 49, Matheson (D) 33
Marketing Services - Allen (D) 58, Summers (R) 22
Marketing Services - Michaud (D) 51, Hamel (R) 21
NH Gov: UNH/WMUR
Granite Poll - Benson (R) 43, Lynch (D) 43
IL: Rasmussen -
Kerry 52, Bush 41
IL: Research 2000
- Kerry 55, Bush 38
IL Senate: Research
2000 - Obama (D) 69, Keyes (R) 24
a comprehensive (if not somewhat overwhelming) look at all
the polls around and an important addition to our 2004 election
second new page is a
map of the RCP Electoral Count. The count currently
stands at Bush 264-Kerry 220 thanks to a couple of changes
yesterday: Ohio moved from leaning Bush to toss up, Pennsylvania
moved from toss-up to leaning Kerry, and we split out the
one electoral vote at stake in Maine's 2nd Congressional
District into the toss-up category. John is going to discuss
these changes in a bit more detail later.
ON CHENEY: Thanks for all the email on my posts
regarding Dick Cheney yesterday. For the record, I've been
assured by those on the right that I'm being hysterical
and making way too much of Cheney's "I've Never Met
You" remark. Likewise, those on the left have assured
me that I will burn in hell for being such a shameless GOP
shill and an apologist for the evil incarnate that is Dick
Cheney. - T. Bevan 10:45 am
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October 6 2004
GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE CHENEY-EDWARDS MEETING:
So Cheney and Edwards have
met before. Now we have two possible interpretations
of Cheney's statement last night. The first is that Cheney
honestly didn't remember his brief encounters with John
Edwards at the Annual Prayer breakfast 42 months ago or
the alleged handshake in the Meet the Press greenroom and
that he was thinking specficially about having met Edwards
at work in the Senate. The second interpretation is that
Cheney flat out lied about never having met Edwards before
to do the most possible damage to him in last night's debate.
many on the left are inclined to believe the latter scenario
because it fits nicely with their partisan image of Dick
Cheney as an evil, manipulative person and a compulsive
if, like the vast majority of the country, you don't believe
Dick Cheney is a compulsive liar, then the first interpretation
is the only one that makes any sense.
first that Cheney didn't need the remark at all. He was
already beating up on Edwards pretty good at that point
in the debate and he certainly didn't HAVE to say it. Furthermore
Cheney's point about Edwards' attendance in the Senate would
have been more than effective enough without it. The most
reasonable explanation is that Cheney said it because he
thought it was true.
Cheney would have had to have been suicidal to knowingly
assert a falsehood in such a widely televised event that
was so easily verified. It took the Kerry campaign all of
about six hours to dig up video of Cheney and Edwards shaking
believing Cheney was acting with malice and deceit only
makes sense if you already think he is either a brazen,
compulsive liar or a complete moron. Otherwise, it is logical
to assume that what we saw Cheney do last night was to make
an honest mistake.
of that being said, it was a remarkably bad gaffe with potentially
serious consequences. The Vice President needs to step up
immediately and defuse the situation.
credibility is one of the fundamental cornerstones of any
candidate's electability. It is certainly critical to the
reelection of the current administration.
over a year now the Democrats have been doing everything
withing their power to paint President Bush and Dick Cheney
as purposefully misleading the country with respect to a
whole host of issues, but most importantly Iraq.
gaffe last night, though made over a seemingly trivial issue,
gave the Democrats ammunition for their case and a chance
to exploit it for maximum possible gain - which they've
already done quite effectively with
Edwards spent the better part of 90 minutes last night trying
to convince the country that Dick Cheney hasn't "been
straight with the American people." In my opinion it
wasn't a very convincing argument, but it certainly doesn't
help things that today we're discussing a misstatement by
the Vice President that's been flatly contradicted.
needs to get out if front of this now, admit he honestly
didn't recall meeting John Edwards and/or clarify that he
was speaking specifically about meeting Edwards at work
in the Senate chamber. The quicker Cheney does this, the
quicker the whole thing will go away. - T. Bevan
2:29 pm Link
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CHENEY-EDWARDS DEBATE: Bottom line: Cheney dominated.
Actually, I thought John Edwards acquitted himself pretty
well last night - and he still got killed. Cheney was in
total command during the first half of the debate - which
was really the only part that mattered - and he pounded
on John Kerry's record from every possible angle.
got in what I thought were a number of sharp blows that
left Edwards looking frustrated and helpless. The first
was when Cheney derided John Kerry's "global test"
remark from Thursday night and then said:
little tough talk in the midst of a campaign or as part
of a presidential debate cannot obscure a record of 30
years of being on the wrong side of defense issues."
questions later Dick Cheney eviscerated John Kerry's record
on defense issues and finished with a devastating critique
of both John Kerry and John Edwards' decision to vote against
the $87 billion to support the troops:
couldn't figure out why that [the vote] happened initially.
And then I looked and figured out that what was happening
was Howard Dean was making major progress in the Democratic
primaries, running away with the primaries based on an
anti-war record. So they, in effect, decided they would
cast an anti-war vote and they voted against the troops.
if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard
Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to
a few minutes after that, in an extremely deft move that
capitalized on Cheney's previous point that John Kerry was
unfit to lead the War in Iraq because of his willingness
to disparage and demean our allies, Cheney took Edwards'
rebuttal and knocked him all but senseless. If this were
a prize fight the ref would have had to step in and give
Edwards a standing eight count. Here's the full exchange:
The vice president suggests that we have the same number
of countries involved now that we had in the first Gulf
War. The first Gulf War cost the American people $5 billion.
regardless of what the vice president says, we're at $200
billion and counting. Not only that, 90 percent of the
coalition casualties, Mr. Vice President, the coalition
casualties, are American casualties. Ninety percent of
the cost of this effort are being borne by American taxpayers.
It is the direct result of the failures of this administration.
Mr. Vice President?
Classic example. He won't count the sacrifice and the
contribution of Iraqi allies. It's their country. They're
in the fight. They're increasingly the ones out there
putting their necks on the line to take back their country
from the terrorists and the old regime elements that are
still left. They're doing a superb job. And for you to
demean their sacrifices strikes me as...
Oh, I'm not...
... as beyond...
I'm not demeaning...
It is indeed. You suggested...
No, sir, I did not...
... somehow they shouldn't count, because you want to
be able to say that the Americans are taking 90 percent
of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in this effort if
you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution
the Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future.
win when they take on responsibility for governance, which
they're doing, and when the take on responsibility for
their own security, which they increasingly are doing.
Cheney took some tough, pointed shots at Edwards' record
Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that's
not very distinguished. You've missed 33 out of 36 meetings
in the Judiciary Committee, almost 70 percent of the meetings
of the Intelligence Committee.
missed a lot of key votes: on tax policy, on energy, on
hometown newspaper has taken to calling you "Senator
Gone." You've got one of the worst attendance records
in the United States Senate.
in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of
Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most
Tuesdays when they're in session.
first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage
this morning that the Kerry campaign is holding up this
picture as proof that Cheney's final sentence was a
lie. I don't think so, especially if you acknowledge the
universally accepted notion that "meeting" someone
involves face-to-face contact and the exchange of some form
of expression like a handshake and/or a "hello."
This pictures shows the two men in close proximity to each
other but in no way disproves Cheney's statement last night.
If it turns out the two have met at some point
in the past then "yes", you'd have to say Cheney
wasn't telling the truth.
in all I thought it was a good old fashioned drubbing. I'm
not sure this debate is going to matter one iota in the
final analysis, but given the president's performance last
Thursday combined with the favorable spin for Kerry and
post-debate bump in the polls, for reasons of momentum and
enthusiasm Dick Cheney needed to win the debate last night
decisively. That's exactly what he did. - T. Bevan
6:29 am Link
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October 5 2004
THOSE POST DEBATE POLLS: We now have nine post-debate
polls and the results are very intriguing. Heading into
the debate last Thursday the President was leading by around
5 1/2 points in
the 3-Way RCP Poll Average, which as of this afternoon
shows President Bush leading Senator Kerry by 1.6%. So in
the 3-way RCP Poll Average it looks like Kerry received
about a 4-point post-debate bump. The Head-to-Head
Poll Average shows a similar boost, as Kerry has moved
from trailing by a little over four points to only 0.3%
what is interesting about Kerry's post-debate "bump"
is that over half of the post-debate polls actually show
very little to no bump for Senator Kerry.
or No Post-Debate Bounce
firms with 3-Way and Head-to-Head poll results have
been averaged, so as to produce, one "horserace
suspect the Kerry camp would have rather seen seven or eight
out of nine of these polls showing movement towards Kerry
of less magnitude, rather than three out of the nine polls
showing a big swing with the other two-thirds relatively
unchanged. In my mind this makes it a little more likely
that this might be a temporary bump for Kerry as opposed
to a more permanent change in the race. J.
McIntyre 5:43 pm Link
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October 4 2004
PEW INTERNALS ON DEBATE PERFORMANCES: This is fascinating.
Look at the responses from 727 people who watched the debate
surveyed in the just-released Pew Research poll:
tell me what one word best describes your impression
of George Bush/John Kerry in the debate.
a lot of good and bad in there for both candidates, but
if you boil it down to the top three impressions generated
for each candidate you're left with the following nut: Bush
= honest, strong, and sincere, Kerry = confident, prepared,
and intelligent. If this is truly indicative of how the
country feels about what they saw last Thursday night, then
President Bush may have indeed come out much better than
expected and remains in a pretty strong position. - T.
Bevan 4:29 pm Link
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THE KERRY COMEBACK ON TRACK?: Last week's debate
was a crucial point in this race. After a dismal eight-week
stretch through August and September, Democrats across the
country were demoralized and beginning to lose hope. Their
candidate was well behind in almost every major poll and
teetering on the edge of becoming a national joke and an
electoral embarrassment for the party.
look a bit different now. For the moment at least, Kerry
seems to be back in this race. Of the three polls taken
after the debate so far, two show significant movement toward
Kerry (Newsweek & Gallup) while one (Rasmussen) shows
little change. We should be seeing more polls in the coming
twenty four hours that will help us get a better feel for
the overall size and strength of the move toward Kerry following
other important question is whether Kerry can sustain whatever
bounce he may receive from the debate. If recent history
is any guide, Kerry's bump may be short lived.
the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, for instance. Back at the
beginning of July, Kerry received a six point net bump in
the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll upon naming John Edwards as
his Vice Presidential pick.
Poll (3-Way, LV)
- Kerry Picks Edwards As VP
- Democratic Nat'l Convention
the very next poll (whose sample started only eight days
after the previous poll ended) Kerry's lead over Bush slipped
back to only one point.
as you can see from the chart on the right, in the next
CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken right after the DNC, Kerry
lost another 7 points (net) to President Bush. In other
words, during the most positive six week run the Kerry campaign
has had thus far (long before the Swift Boat Veterans and
the RNC) Kerry was unable to make his bump stick.
will he be able to do it this time? I'll give you two reason
for and two reasons against:
#1 Kerry's Bump WILL Last: For the first
time in this race John Kerry looked presidential. That is
an important test to pass with many moderate and independent
voters who may have been ambivalent toward him or leaning
somewhat uncomfortably toward Bush.
#2 Kerry's Bump WILL Last: If you've ever
handicapped horses at the track you know to always look
closely at past performance. Whatever you might think of
John Kerry as a person, as a politician he is a "closer."
He did it against William Weld in 1996 and he did it again
last year after being left for dead in the Dem primary.
Even at the high water mark of his campaign in July, Kerry
was a lackluster, unfocused candidate. After last Thursday
night there is every reason to believe this is a different
John Kerry: more focused, more hungry, and someone who is
going to be a formidable challenger for President Bush over
the next 28 days.
#1 Kerry's Bump WON'T Last:
Because despite the image presented to the public for 90
minutes last Thursday night, John Kerry is still an aloof,
Northeastern elitist and a generally unlikable character.
And just as his favorability ratings sank in every single
poll after the Democratic National Convention, he won't
be able to maintain enough of an aura of "likability"
to be an electable alternative to President Bush.
#2 Kerry's Bump WON'T Last:
Kerry remains an extremely vulnerable candidate on the issues
of national security and the War on Terror. Last Thursday
Kerry made a number of gaffes and exposed an internationalist
world view that a majority of Americans fundamentally disagree
with. So far those mistakes have flown more or less under
the radar, but they'll be exploited in the coming days (probably
starting tomorrow night with Dick Cheney) and erode whatever
gains Kerry made with voters in the most recent polls.
three debates and a month left to go, the only thing that's
certain about this race is that nothing is certain. There
are undoubtedly plenty of twists and turns left. - T.
Bevan 10:15 am Link
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