Sunday, November 10, 2002
RACIAL POLITICS : "He won overwhelmingly because white folks voted for that man. Black folks didn't vote for that man." This quote is from Gayle Andrews, a McBride campaign consultant in an article from today's NY Times titled Democratic Analysts Blame Some Losses on the Failure to Win Moderate Whites. What the Democrats may be finding out is that there is a consequence to their campaigns of the last few election cycles where they exploited racial antagonisms for political gain.

In other words this may be the political fallout for the 93%+ black vote they had garnered in 1998 and 2000. While Bill Clinton was the public head of the Democratic Party they were able to get away with demagoging race in black churches and precincts across the country without suffering voter backlash from critically important white moderates. But with Bill Clinton gone and a very popular Republican now president, the Democratic Party is now paying a high price for their racial demagoguery. What the NY Times story points out is that it wasn't that black voters didn't turn out in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Maryland, or across the country for that matter - they did. The problem for the Democrats is that white voters turned out in greater numbers than ever before, and more than ever before they voted against the Democrats. (In Texas, 72% of whites voted for Republican Governor Rick Perry.)

What the Democrats are finding out, the hard way, is there is a cost for branding Charles Pickering a racist and a bigot, even though his local NAACP supported him. There is a cost for suggesting white Republicans encourage lynching of black men and the burning down of black churches. There is a cost for denigrating an entire state (Florida) with a lie that there was an orchestrated campaign to prevent blacks from voting, when there was not. There is a cost for placing billboards in inner city communities declaring THEY VOTE, WE DON'T. There is a cost for waving flyers on national TV declaring Republicans are deliberately trying to keep black people from voting when they know it to not be true. There is a cost to all of these racially divisive, politically motivated and morally wrong activities - and that cost is the loss of support of the voter in middle, primarily the white voter in the middle. Democrats may start to realize that getting 93% of the black vote isn't that great when they are losing 65%+ of the white vote. And the corner they have boxed themselves into is to keep that 93% of the black vote they have to continue with the racially divisive rhetoric that drives moderate white voters away from the Democratic party.

While it may not be apparent for several more election cycles, the Democrats may have peaked in 2000 when they maxed out the black vote at 93% with little negative backlash in the moderate white community. Election 2002 may be the beginning of a reversal, as more and more moderate whites leave the Democratic party. And with the black vote maxed out at 93% that leaves the Democrats in big trouble. And it is a trouble of their own making, for it is the Democratic Party that has become the party of racial divisiveness in America today and they are finally starting to pay a price for it at the ballot box.

(Before you think I think the Republicans are saints when it comes to racial politics and its history in America, please read my comments from two weeks ago.) JM 5:17 pm

Friday, November 8 2002
FISKATHON: It's hard to keep up with the deluge of lefty pablum on the editorial pages these days, so we're looking for some help. Feel free to deconstruct some of the more outrageous liberal claims (otherwise known as "fisking" in honor of the loopy left columnist Robert Fisk) and send them to us. Here is a small starter list for you:

Be Careful What You Ask For - Nicholas Kristof, NY Times
Democrats Pay Price of Cowardice - Derrick Jackson, Boston Globe
Democrats Will Be Back - John Judis, The Guardian
Bring Me the Head of Terry McAuliffe! - Arianna Huffington

I'd like to tackle Paul Krugman's column this morning. It's symptomatic of what's wrong with the elitist liberal intelligentsia, namely the refusal to acknowledge the political and ideological consequences of Tuesday's vote. Republicans did well not only because of a superior get-out-the-vote effort but also because Americans made the basic decision that national security is an overriding concern, one that Democrats by and large failed to convince the public they would take seriously enough.

To Krugman, however, the vote on Tuesday was the result of a stupid electorate being misled by "the real conservative bias of the media" and a well funded Republican propaganda machine headed by President Bush. Krugman writes:

"What hasn't changed is the fundamental wrongness of this administration's direction. Too many pundits, confusing politics with policy or engaging in sheer power worship imagine that a party that wins a battle must be doing something right. But it ain't necessarily so. Political victory doesn't make a bad policy good; it doesn't make a lie the truth."

When Democrats win elections, it's a mandate for policies. When Republicans win, it's because the public has been sold a bill of goods. This is denial, pure and simple. It's also supremely arrogant. Krugman continues:

"Some of my friends are in despair. They fear that by the time the political pendulum swings, the damage will be irreparable. A ballooning federal debt, they say, will have made it impossible to deal with the needs of an aging population. Years of unchecked crony capitalism will have destroyed faith in our financial markets. Unilateralist foreign policy will have left us without real allies. And most important of all, environmental neglect will have gone past the point of no return."

Need I point out how out of touch Krugman is with the rest of America? His friends and his fears are confined (thanks goodness) to the Upper West Side cocktail party circuit and a cadre of like-minded academics.

More to the point, Krugman offers no new advice, no policy alternatives for Democrats other than ratcheting up the same failed class warfare rhetoric. As Democrats reflect upon Tuesday's election and try to recalibrate their vision and message for the future, they would be well advised to ignore the rantings of Paul Krugman. - TB 12:44pm

DEFENDING GEPHARDT: I don't think I've ever defended Dick Gephardt, so this is going to be a little weird - but here goes. The conventional wisdom on the left seems to be that Gephardt's decision to pursue a Presidential bid is, to put it nicely, delusional. Memo to liberals: Lay off Dick! Things could have been a lot worse:

1) Yes, he failed to win back the House a couple of times. Okay, four times. But sandwiched between Republican waves of '94 and '02, he did manage to add seats to the Dem minority, including 1998 when everyone thought the Dems would get crushed.

2) The problem with House Democrats isn't the leadership, it's the caucus. Liberals are now poo-pooing Gephardt's decision to support the President in the War on Terror as being a factor in Tuesday's debacle. But nobody is talking about how Jim McDermott and David Bonior's visit to Baghdad had about 500 times the impact on the outcome of Tuesday's election. Gephardt did his best to put a moderate face an on otherwise extremely liberal caucus. You want to see an election nightmare? If Democrats make Nancy Pelosi the face of their party there is a good chance that's exactly what they'll get in '04.

3) Along those same lines, Gephardt may be damaged goods with the rank-and-file party members who control the nominating process, but in reality he would make a much better Presidential candidate than some uber-lefty like Howard Dean or Al Gore version 9.0. Gephardt has the credentials to make a solid case on behalf of the Dems on economic issues, the environment, health care, prescription drugs, etc. without the virulent antiwar baggage that - while it may excite the base in the primaries - will most likely turn off Independents and swing voters in the general election. The bottom line is that if the economy recovers it doesn't matter who the Dems nominate. If it doesn't, the economy is the best, and perhaps only avenue of attack and Gephardt has as good a chance as any of the current Presidential aspirants on the Democratic side to make this case.

There's no spectacle quite like watching a political party eat its young - or in Gephardt's case, its old. This year is going to be no exception. All the Democratic leaders need to take responsibility for what happened on Tuesday. But scapegoating Dick Gephardt is shortsighted and foolish, and could lead to much bigger problems for the Democrats in the long run. - TB 9:32 am

Thursday, November 7 2002
GOP TURNOUT :
We just received this email from an RCP reader, it is a very interesting take on why Republican turnout was so high Tuesday.

The Republican success Tuesday was due to turnout and it appears that the GOP supporters were out on the ground volunteering in record numbers. While the NJ switch and the Wellstone death rally may have influenced independents and nudged the GOP faithful to vote, the strong GOTV effort was already gearing up before either happened.

The Florida debacle in 2000 was the major motivation, but pundits do not appear to understand the real reason why. They want to focus on anger, but anger fades. Clearly Democrats were angry in 2000 as well. But Democratic anger didn't show up at the polls this week. The GOP effort wasn't caused by anger over 2 years ago. It was caused by the lesson learned. Florida opened GOP eyes to the true nature of the opponent.

While I think that Democrats have considered Republicans to be evil for a long time, I know that Republicans did not view Democrats the same way. They thought liberals might be foolish and misguided, but not mean. The problem with liberals was that they let emotion and simplistic thinking override their better judgment. Good Americans, just a little misguided.

But 2000 changed that impression for a lot of Republicans. Eight years of Clinton corruption might have been written off as a reflection on the Clintons themselves. But Florida gave us lawyers celebrating when they had misled election commissions into disenfranchising soldiers. It was a state supreme court willing to bastardize the law beyond recognition in pursuit of victory no matter what. It was blatant ballot manipulation to change votes. And Missouri and Philadelphia and Milwaukee and vote fraud as far as the eye could see.

So by the end Democrats were outraged and Republicans were outraged. But Democrats have always thought that the GOP was made up of evil, mean-spirited, racist a**holes. Nothing new. No new source of motivation for future elections.

Many Republicans, however, had never paid close enough attention to understand how politics is a religion for so many Democratic activists. That the reason the Democrats always opposed every effort to clean up vote fraud was because that vote fraud was a significant factor in many elections. Republicans started listening to David Horowitz and other former Democrats about the nature of the people who run the opposition party. They weren't just outraged. They were learning a powerful lesson. The anger fades, but the lesson stays learned. Writing a check was no longer enough. You have to man the polls and turn out the vote. Don't let it get close enough for them to steal.

Ten years ago, I doubt many GOP supporters would have agreed with the statement "most Democratic political activists are willing to cheat to win an election." After 8 years of Clinton, the 2000 election, Florida, and now NJ, Minnesota, South Dakota, etc., the number of GOP voters who honestly believe that has soared to a very large number indeed.

That's why they were out there this year and why they will be there in 2004 and 2006. They aren't so much mad as they have their eyes wide open and don't intend to be fooled again.

Some liberals will want to argue moral equivalence and try to claim that the GOP is just as bad. I think it is a ridiculous claim, but in any event irrelevant to the point . There has been a massive shift in the belief systems of GOP voters. Regardless of whether it is justified or not, it is real and it affected the last election.

There is a lot of truth to this, and of course it will get very little coverage in the mainstream media. JM 1:30 pm

GEPHARDT IS DONE:
Dick is the first casualty of war. McAuliffe will most likely be next. The news should have progressive pundits like Joe Conason, David Corn, and Bob Herbert jumping for joy, since they seem to be eager to exact a pound of flesh and move on to begin reconstructing the party from the left. The conventional wisdom that "parties out of power run to their base" seems to be taking shape, with the above mentioned liberal chattering class complaining that the Dems' big mistake this year was not being more anti-war and anti-tax cuts. In my opinion this is a path leading not to redemption but possibly to political suicide.

The Dems will unquestionably go through a difficult period of soul searching in the next 6-9 months as they seek answers in this year's election and look toward selecting a standard bearer for 2004. Much depends on what happens with the economy and the War on Terror over the next 18 months, but I think we will see a brutal struggle for the soul of the Democratic party and one that will result in a rift that may not be possible to reconcile before the next election. We'll have more on this a little later.

THE NUMBERS: UPI has the generic numbers on Tuesday's vote: 53-47 in favor of the Republicans. Some are arguing that despite this spread - which, by the way, is pretty darn close to the spread in the generic poll released by the NYT on Sunday - Tusday's election doesn't represent a fundamental shift in the electorate toward the GOP. After all, Republicans took control of the Senate by squeaking out victories in New Hampshire and Missouri by a total of less than 50,000 votes. There is some merit to this view, but if you look a little deeper you see that Republicans made big gains at the state and local level all around the country. This may or may not signal some long-term "fundamental shift" but it's pretty clear that the Republican message was strong enough to move the needle in their direction this year from top to bottom all across the country. - TB 9:59am

Wednesday, November 6 2002
THE MORNING AFTER:
After ten cups of coffee and less than an hour's sleep, here we are surveying the landscape after an historic election.

As one might expect, there's a mixture of anger and melancholy swirling around among Dems out there today. Take this headline, for example, over at the always vitriolic BuzzFlash: "Memo to Gephardt: Don't Even Think About Running For President. Think About Retiring."

The last line to today's NYT editorial strikes a wistful, almost pathetic tone:

"Our best hope, as this strange and messy year of decisions ends, is that the people who have won will always remember the large number of hands that were waving on the other side."

The far-left web site Common Dreams takes a slightly different tack, blaring a headline that reads, "Election Fallout: World in Fear of an Emboldened Bush."

The folks over at Democrats.com, on the other hand, seem to be taking last night's vote rather well:

"Election 2002: The Bush regime consolidates power through the accepted forms of political corruption -- character assasination [sic], a corporate news media that refuses to cover Democratic policy alternatives and a flood of special interest money"

And finally, The Washington Monthly could hardly wait to capitalize on the Dems' defeat last night as an excuse to plug their mag, sending out emails this morning saying "Let The Recriminations Begin." The email begins:

In looking for the cause of the Democrats' historic electoral defeat, a good place to start is the November cover of the Washington Monthly.

It's much too early to speculate on the possible ramifications of last night's vote. It may very well lead - in the short term at least - to a shake up of the Democratic leadership. One this that does seem clear, however, is that George Bush's stature is significantly enhanced. His tireless campaigning over the last two weeks almost single-handedly nationalized the election (something no one thought possible) and energized Republicans all around the country. The GOP is now in the enviable position of controlling the House, Senate and White House for the next two years, but it's a position that also carriers a great deal of responsibility and risk. - TB 12:49pm

Tuesday, November 5 2002
TALENT WILL HOLD ON:
FOX reports Democratic pollster Mark Mellman reports Carnahan cannot over take Talent. JM 1:48 AM

THUNE MOVING: With 73% reporting, Thune has taken the lead. JM 1:23 PM

MO, SD and MN: Thune seems to be making a charge in South Dakota to close his 3,000 vote deficit, but in Missouri if the remaining 5% are from St. Louis Talent could be in trouble. He's up by about 1.2% right now. JM 1:18 AM

MISSOURI: Carnahan has pulled to within one point with 94% reporting, are the Dems making a late run to keep control?

CHAFEE PROOF GOP MAJORITY?: They just called Allard the winner in Colorado. Talent is up six points with 65% of the precincts reported. Johnson did just uptake from 50% to 51%, so maybe that may be one win for the Democrats (besides the expected in AR.) Minnesota may be a while before we know who wins. But a Talent win, with Colorado going to Allard gives the GOP control. JM 12:20 am

Jim Angle on FOX News just reported the White House feels confident that Coleman will win in Minnesota. MSNBC reported Daschle has accepted the fact he won't be Majority Leader, apparently the results already reported in SD are from the urban areas and the rest of the results are liable to lead towards Thune. MSNBC also said Daschle was worried about Missouri. Allard looks good in Colorado. Maybe I'm jumping the gun, but it sure looks like a GOP sweep given the results we have seen so far. New Senate 52 Rep - 47 Dem, 1 Jim Jeffords. That's not even counting Louisiana. JM 11:59 pm


DOLE:
The CNN call for Dole here is obviously good news for Republicans, would like to know how NH, MN, and SD are breaking. JM 9:23 pm

FLORIDA AND NEW JERSEY:
The relatively quick calls of Florida and New Jersey for Bush and Lautenberg has to be considered much better news for the Republicans than the Democrats. Whether this is a trend that can be extrapolated to other races we will have to see. JM 8:53 PM

EARLY REPORTS: Regarding these early exit poll numbers reported from Drudge, my advice is to not read too much into anything, too early. The number of rumors and reports flying around is ridiculous. If there is any trend it seems like incumbent seats are taking a beating, something I said to perhaps watch out for this morning. As far as a break toward either party, at this stage with the current info, there doesn't seem to be any partisan trend one way or another. JM 4:56 pm

VNS NUMBERS :
Drudge has the VNS numbers and we've also posted them to our home page. If they are accurate and they hold up, it looks like it's going to be an anti-incumbant year across the board. Incumbent party candidates are currently losing in NC, MO, CO, AR, MN and GA. The only exception so far is TX where Cornyn looks to be leading over Kirk. We don't have numbers on SD, NJ, SC, or NH, but we wouldn't be surprised to see the trend hold in these races. This could possibly lead to incumbent party losses in NH and SD and may also produce some very tight races for Graham in SC and Lautenberg in NJ. We've already heard some unconfirmed reports that it's quite close in NJ. - TB 4:09 pm

SENATE RACES PARTISANS SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT: I have thought for a while that if there was going to be a dominating theme to this election it was that more seats (Senate and Governor) were going to switch party than the pundits anticipated. (The politicians have disgustingly rigged the House to the point where it's almost impossible for an incumbent to lose.) And leaving aside the idea of whether or not there is a mini-GOP wave, I still think the anti-incumbent or party switching theme will definitely manifest itself today. And that should make Republicans very nervous about the final results in New Hampshire, Colorado, North Carolina and Texas. And the Democrats ought to be very concerned about South Dakota, Minnesota, Georgia and even New Jersey. Don't be totally shocked if the party in power loses many, if not all of these races. (Arkansas and Missouri are already almost definite switches for each party.) JM 11:57 am

FINAL ZOGBY POLLS:
If you look at the final Zogby polls in the competitive Senate races (MN, MO, SD, GA, TX, NC and CO) Republicans picked up a total of 27 points or 3.86% per state on average. Now, Zogby still has the Democrats probably retaining control of the Senate (because he didn't poll in New Hampshire we don't have his opinion on that race). Based on his final results he sees GOP pickups in SD and MO and Democratic gains in CO and AR, a wash. The question is what to make of his final polls showing almost a four point move toward Republicans in the close Senate races on election eve.

Well when you combine these poll results with the NY Times/CBS and USA/Today/Gallup generic polls showing burgeoning GOP leads of 7 and 6 points, it is hard not to conclude that the late break this election is for the Republicans. The real question is just how much of a break towards the GOP has occurred? We don't think those seven close Senate races moved 4 points towards the GOP, primarily because we didn't believe many of the original polls Zogby put out on Sunday. Strickland up 9? Johnson up 5? Carnahan ahead when every other poll had Talent ahead? None of this is to say that Carnahan, Strickland and Johnson can't win - they definitely can, only we don't think Talent and Thune picked up 9 and 10 points in the last three days. So while a 4-point move towards Republican candidates in these races is probably high, it is not unreasonable to think that maybe there has been a 0.5% - 2.0% move towards Republicans. And when you are talking about 5-7 races that can very easily be within 1%, that can be the difference between the Democrats picking up three seats and the Republicans picking up 3. Unlike two years ago where the late polls showed big movement towards Gore and the Democrats, the polls today show small movement towards the GOP which is why we think they will retake the Senate and pickup up 5-10 House seats. JM 10:52 am 11/5

THAT WAS FAST!:
It's only 10:04 in the morning (eastern time) and we've already received our first email about problems with voting. We've got an unconfirmed report that computerized voting machines in North Carolina are malfunctioning (pulling up Bowles when Dole is pushed) so they are switching over to manual ballots. I hope this isn't an omen, but I have a feeling this election is going to be a complete and total nightmare - unless you're a lawyer in which case you will be reaching a state of nirvana right around the time the polls close this evening. NOW I'm going to vote. - TB 10:09 am

THE MORNING OF: Mickey Kaus and Josh Marshall have their predictions up. We posted our final predictions late last night. Here are some final thoughts to go along with our predictions:

The truth of the matter is that with so many races within a point or two, if there is even the slightest wave for either side - which is usually what happens in these elections - then a number of Senate seats will fall to one party. It will be highly unlikely that these 10 or so seats split 50/50. That being said, we think the evidence suggests there is a move, however slight, in the direction of the GOP. And we think this move is going to make the difference in enough close races to give the GOP a two seat pick up. Conversely, we haven't seen any evidence of a move toward the Dems in the last 24-48 hours.

We also sense there is an anti-incumbent undercurrent to this election that will affect the outcome of the races in Arkansas, South Dakota, Georgia, Missouri. The only exception we see to this trend in the competitive races is in Colorado, where we think Allard will be able to stave it off just barely because of Colorado's Republican tilt and some serious help from Bush and the RNC.

The wildcard here is turnout, particularly African-American turnout in North Carolina, Missouri, Georgia, and Texas. To win these races the Dems will need HUGE African-American turnout, as much or more as they had in 2000 - which was record setting in some places. Maybe it will happen again, but we think the odds aren't in favor - not only because there is bad weather today in parts of Texas, Missouri and Georgia - but because with the exception of Ron Kirk (and the anti-Jeb Bush vote in Florida) we just don't see the evidence that African-Americans are fired up enough to go vote for Max Cleland, Erskine Bowles and Jean Carnahan.

We also think this GOP mini-wave is going to lead to some decent Republican pick ups in the House - about eight seats. I guess we will know soon enough. I'm off to cast my vote. Do the same thing wherever you are. -TB 9:36 am

Monday, November 4 2002
EARLY ELECTION EVE THOUGHTS:
The Democrats are desperately pursuing this "Baltimore leaflet" story on all the cable channels which supposedly shows how the mean old white Republicans are back at it trying to keep black people from voting. I know this is part of the Democratic Party modus operandi, but this smacks to me as a bit of desperation on the Democratic side. The late polls, on balance, are showing movement towards the GOP, and we suspect this late tactic by the Democrats will be a little too late to make any difference.

We see the GOP winning Senate races in Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, Missouri and Georgia. We think Shaheen will eke out a win in New Hampshire, though if there is any big tail wind for the GOP that will be enough to give Sununu a win. Pryor will win in Arkansas. Dole is liable to hold on in North Carolina, though she is doing her best to lose an easy Republican seat. So, there it is: Republicans pickup two seats and take back the Senate. In the House, the Dems have given up, and the GOP should pick up 8 seats. Which after Gephardt boasted two months ago that the Dems might pick up 30-40 seats, that would be a HUGE win in a mid-term election. The Democrats will do well in the Governor's races, though Bush (FL) and Erhlich (MD) will win in close contests. JM 8:11 pm

MORE MINNESOTA DEBATE:
The reason I think Coleman won the debate is because he was more appealing to the voters who are going to decide this election. Mondale did a good job of keeping his base fired up (the 35% of the electorate on the left), but I don't see where he made headway with the 30% of the voters in the middle. Coleman's repeated "call to change that tone in Washington" appeals to the independent voter in the middle who is so sick of bickering partisan politicians.

The bottom line is I think Mondale's arguments appealed to the Minnesota of Hubert Humphery (and Walter Mondale), 40 years ago, whereas Coleman appeal was to those voters in the middle who will choose the next Senator. Maybe I'm totally off, but I think Coleman wins by 4-6 points. JM 5:57

LIDDY MAILS IT IN: We've never been particularly impressed by Liddy Dole's candidacy and we've always thought this race would end up being very close. It is. We currently have Dole winning by four but after reading this story in today's Raleigh News & Observer we think it might be even closer. Here's the lede:

On the last Sunday before a historic election, Elizabeth Dole went to church to pray, and Erskine Bowles went there to preach.

There's a nifty picture of Bowles with his former primary opponent Dan Blue working the African-American church circuit in the Durham area hard to motivate turnout for Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Liddy went to church and then spent the rest of the day "running errands, making thank-you calls and staying out of the public eye." Excuse me? I'm all for going to church on Sundays but did someone forget to tell her she's in a serious dogfight for this Senate seat? We don't have the slightest clue what she was thinking. -TB 3:45 pm

MORE DEBATE: My turn. Peggy Noonan eloquently agrees that Coleman won the debate. Was it a knockout? No. But from my perspective Coleman won in ways big and small, from his physical appearance to his respectful demeanor to the centrist angle he argued on every issue. To me this contrasted greatly with Mondale's rhetoric, which not only sounded outdated and vague, but actually played to Coleman's hand. Mondale kept pointing out issues that "divided" the two candidates and used words like "right-wing" and "hardline" while Coleman kept referring to "working together", "changing the tone" and "getting things done." Mondale's rhetoric may play well to his base, but I just don't think it will do the job with Independents.

The question on technology was particularly telling. Mondale seemed lost and stumbled through an answer that basically amounted to yet another endorsement of more funding for education. Coleman worked quickly to the point, calling technology the "great equalizer" for people in rural communities and talked about his recent visits to a tech company and tech seminar and then touched on the application of wireless technology as the mayor of an urban center. In fact, as ironic and counterintuitive as it seems, Coleman's knowledge and articulation on a variety of issues in many ways made him look like the more experienced of the two candidates.

In the end I found myself wondering how a 25-54 year old undecided Minnesota voter would feel after the debate. Which candidate captured their imagination? Who looked more like the person fit for the job? I just didn't get the feeling that Mondale's performance will inspire very many of these people to go to the booth tomorrow and pull the lever for him. -TB 3:08 pm

COLEMAN-MONDALE DEBATE: My early reaction was that Coleman was great, and Mondale did OK in the sense that he didn't make any mistakes. I'm a little surprised by the early reaction of the national pundits on CNN and FOX who seemed to think Mondale did pretty well. The debate makes me more confident that Coleman will win tomorrow. JM 12:28

ZOGBY: We have gotten a ton of email asking us what to make of the latest round of polling from Zogby. The answer is "not much." Dick Morris writes a conspicuously uncritical piece in today's New York Post that treats Zogby's latest polls as something akin to the Word of God..

Morris failed to mention that Zogby's Colorado poll was at odds with three other contemporaneous polls in the field by anywhere from 8 to 13 points. Nobody in Colorado has this race more than 1-4 points in either direction. Not even Dem flack pollsters have it this far out.

The same problem exists with Zogby's poll on the Illinois Governor's race. We are based in Chicago and you can't find anyone within 200 miles of here who thinks this race is close. There is just too much evidence to the contrary. And in the Florida Governor's race, Jeb Bush himself said he"honestly thinks that the race is closer" than Zogby's 15 points.

Now, this isn't to say that Zogby won't necessarily end up nailing these races. He might. Perhaps he's developed some methodology that all other pollsters are unaware of (but only in certain states) that allows him to get a better read on the outcome. I seriously doubt it. More likely is that he's produced a few outliers in this batch which, assuming he uses the same methodology in all state polls, should rightfully make people skeptical of all of his results. Especially somebody like Dick Morris, who just recently railed about the growing unreliability of polls in general. - TB 10:05 am


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