August 6 2004
BAD JOB NEWS FOR BUSH: Today's jobs
report release for July is bad
news for the Bush campaign because it calls in to question
the sustainability of the economic recovery.
growth in the U.S. stalled dramatically last month, according
to the Labor Department, with the economy adding just
32,000 nonfarm jobs, well short of economists' estimates.
The weak reading, which followed June's anemic 112,000-job
gain, sent stock futures reeling and bond prices rallying.
month of disappointing job numbers can be written off as
a statistical aberration, however a second consecutive month
of very disappointing job growth, coupled with job revisions
downward for May and June, certainly calls into question
the underlying strength of the economy.
graces for the White House are that the report at least
showed job growth and not job losses, and the unemployment
rate dipped to 5.5%. These two factors coupled with the
very strong job growth in the household survey will give
the Bush campaign some PR ammunition to blunt the underlying
negative news in this job report.
only two more reports to be released before the election,
next month's jobs report now takes on a much higher level
of importance. And if the August report, released the day
after Bush's acceptance speech in NYC, underperforms
to the same extent as this report or actually shows job
losses, the Bush campaign is going to have a very difficult
time suggesting that everything is all roses with the economy.
the other hand, if next month's number comes in with decent
growth or surpasses expectations it should neutralize the
potential for the Democrats to make headway in attacking
the President on job growth. The U.S. economy is like the
largest supertanker you can possibly imagine, and even if
the economy is truly weakening, the perception that
it is weakening will probably not become apparent to the
public until well after the election.
month's report has huge significance in that regard because
a good report will allow for credible arguments that the
June and July numbers were simply blips in a steadily improving
job market. However, a third consecutive subpar job number
will give the Democrats, the Kerry campaign and the press
plenty of ammunition with which to attack the President.
J. McIntyre 9:03 am Link
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August 5 2004
THE POWER OF TRUTH: In August, 1997, Florida followed
Mississippi as the
second state in America to win a lawsuit against the tobacco
industry. As part of the record $11.3 billion settlement,
$200 million was earmarked specifically for an anti-tobacco
advertising campaign directed in large part at Florida teens.
A small Miami-based agency named Crispin
Porter & Bogusky (CPB) won the contract to design
and produce the ads.
that time, there had been numerous anti-smoking public service
announcement (PSA) campaigns , none of which ever had any
demonstrable impact on reducing teen smoking.
the contrary, teen smoking remained as popular as ever and
companies like Philip
Reynolds and Brown
& Williamson continued to spend hundreds of millions
of dollars annually cultivating a cool, teen-friendly image
with brands like Marlboro, Kool, and Camel.
over the course of their research CPB learned that tobacco
marketers had achieved an incredibly powerful influence
over teen behavior. They had done this by shrewdly ingratiating
their product and brands with the teen audience by playing
on teens' sense of invulnerability/immortality and their
innate desire to rebel against authority.
decades worth of adveristing - coupled with the relentless
glamorization of cigarettes in movies, magazines and among
teen idols - tobacco companies had crafted a product image
that was a near-perfect symbol of "coolness" and
of this, teen smoking had become more or less impervious
to traditional PSA's. If anything, the preachy "smoking
is bad for you" message of public health ads only reinforced
the imagery and the emotions tobacco companies were already
leveraging to sell their brands to kids.
Crispin Porter + Bogusky made another critical revelation
during their research. They found one thing that cut through
all the emotion and psychology of teen consumers. One thing
that mattered more than being "cool," that wielded
more influence than peer pressure, and that teens disliked
even more than being preached to by their parents. The thing
teens hated above all was the idea that they were being
manipulated and lied to.
took this insight and made it the center of their anti-tobacco
advertising campaign which they branded, rather appropriately,
TRUTH. Thus CPB changed the paradigm of the anti-smoking
message from a preachy public service that most teens could
care less about (i.e. "smoking is bad for your health")
to a personal affront to the teens themselves (i.e "big
tobacco companies are lying to you").
the way, If you want to see just how powerful advertising
can be when a smart message is married to a brilliant execution,
TRUTH spot that aired in movie theatres all across Florida.)
new CPB ads began undoing decades worth of programming by
tobacco companies. When teens eventually bought into the
idea that big tobacco was orchestrating a conspiracy to
manipulate them into using products that would eventually
kill them, their behavior changed rapidly.
for themselves. So does the
reaction of the tobacco companies - all of whom lost
a significant amount of control and influence over the single
most important demographic capable of ensuring long-term
profitability. The campaign was so successful CPB was tapped
American Legacy Foundation to launch the strategy nationwide.
what does any of this have to do with politics, you ask?
I submit that it has everything to do with politics.
this strategy is similar to the ones Democrats are currently
using against George W. Bush. Our failure to find large
stockpiles of weapons has given the Democrats just enough
wiggle room to make the case to the public that Bush lied.
Through simple discipline and repetition, the Dems have
been making the charge stick - even without a single shred
of supporting evidence.
to a Gallup poll taken July 19-21, over the last 13 months
percentage of people who think Bush misled America on the
WMD issue has risen to 45% from 31%. It just goes to
show the power of the emotional reaction people have when
someone tells them they've been lied to.
- and this is the real genesis of this post - I think CPB's
experience working to understand and unravel big tobacco's
influence on teen behavior is a fitting analogy to the decades-long
influence of the Democratic party over African-American
I submit that if Republicans are smart, they should employ
the same strategy CPB used with the TRUTH campaign to break
through the four decades' worth of liberal programming that
continues to motivate African-American to blindly vote en
masse for Democrats.
reason I mention all this is because President Bush made
a pass at this strategy last week in his speech before the
Urban League. Here
is what he said:
going to ask African American voters to consider some
the Democrat party take African American voters for granted?
(Applause.) It's a fair question. I know plenty of politicians
assume they have your vote. But do they earn it and do
they deserve it? (Applause.) Is it a good thing for the
African American community to be represented mainly by
one political party? That's a legitimate question. (Applause.)
How is it possible to gain political leverage if the party
is never forced to compete? (Applause.) Have the traditional
solutions of the Democrat party truly served the African
just like a big tobacco CEO recognizing the potentially
devastating effect of questions that - if respectfully asked
and honestly answered - could lead to the disintegration
of behavior patterns he's spent decades crafting, Al
Sharpton took to the stage at the DNC days later to deliver
a blistering response.
didn't want Bush's questions to go unanswered, nor did he
want to run the risk of having African-Americans answer
those questions honestly for themselves. So Sharpton did
it, in his own divisive way, and claimed it was on behalf
of the entire African-American community.
is the truth: from tax cuts to small business incentives
to social security reform to school choice down through
social issues like gay marriage and the belief in faith-based
charitable organizations, the values and ideology of the
Republican party have a lot to offer African-Americans.
if Republican outreach to African-Americans is going to
be limited to the President asking a few direct questions
before black audiences, nothing will change. Against the
likes of Kweisi Mfume, Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson and Al
Sharpton, that's the equivalent of bringing a pocketknife
to a gun fight.
need to pound this message home - not once every two or
four years in the 90 days before an election but every day
and everywhere. They should establish a 527 to start communicating
to African-Americans and explaining how Republican ideas
and policies match their personal interest.
again, that won't be enough. A thousand positive ads can
be nullified by a
single Mfume slur appealing to black insecurity and distrust.
Republicans need to hit people like Mfume in the mouth -
figuratively speaking, of course - and expose them for what
they are: divisive hate mongers who serve themselves before
the interests of the African-American community.
importantly - getting back to the Crispin Porter & Bogusky
example - Republicans need to shift the political paradigm
under which African-Americans operate. They can do this
by pointing out, backed by a substantial body of evidence,
that the Democratic party has been lying to African-Americans
well-intentioned the the Democratic party's policies may
have been over the last 40 years, as a practical matter
the results of those policies have been, for the most part,
disastrous for black culture and black families.
however much good-will the Democratic party may have earned
with African-Americans during the Civil Rights movement,
the party now uses fear and distrust over racial issues
as a primary motivator and a tool to obscure the fact that
they're largely a party of failed ideas with nothing new
to offer the black community.
a smart, creative, and no-holds barred communication strategy,
Republicans can make a very persuasive argument that many
of the Democrats' policies over the last 20-40 years haven't
empowered African-Americans but enslaved them again. And
not only do Democrats today take African-Americans for granted,
but party leaders meet any dissent from liberal orthodoxy
with the ruthlessness of fascist dictators - or even, one
might go so far as to say, of slave masters. -
T. Bevan 10:45 am Link
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August 3 2004
THE DANGER WE FACE: "One essential
lesson of the last century is this: There are times when
the international community must take a side - not merely
stand between the sides. For when good and evil collide,
even-handedness can be an ally of evil."
hear liberals across the country beating their breasts and
wailing, "there goes our stupid, Bible-thumping President
again with his dangerously simplistic rhetoric about good
these aren't the words of George W. Bush. They're from the
speech President Bill Clinton delivered to the much-heralded
UN Millennium Summit on September 6, 2000.
the rest of the passage:
faced such a test and met it when Slobodan Milosevic,
tried to close the century with a final chapter of ethnic
slaughter. We have faced such a test for 10 years in Iraq.
The UN has approved a fair blueprint spelling out what
Iraq must do. It must be enforced for the credibility
of the UN is at stake."
of points worth noting. First, it seems a bit odd that President
Clinton would choose to cite Kosovo in a speech before the
United Nations as an example of the international community
"meeting the test" given that the bombing campaign
was undertaken without the support of the UN.
Clinton said that for 10 years we had faced a test in Iraq
- but he didn't say we had "met" the test. Indeed,
by his own preceding example of the challenge being "met"
in Kosovo with the use of military force to prevent genocide,
Clinton implies that with our inaction on Iraq we had failed
to meet the test, thereby putting the credibility of the
UN "at stake." Needless to say, eight of those
ten years occurred under Clinton's watch.
that as it may, despite Clinton's flowery rhetoric about
good and evil, the most telling thing about his address
was what he didn't say. The theme of Clinton's speech, delivered
to the largest-ever gathering of leaders from around the
globe, was "the making and keeping of peace."
Yet there was not a single mention of the growing threat
of terrorism or the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism.
the litany of attacks of which we're all now painfully familiar,
dating back to the first attack on the World Trade Center
in 1993 all the way through the foiled "Millennium
Plot" in December, 1999 (now touted as one of the Clinton
administration's major successes in the war on terror),
Clinton stood on the world stage in the fall of 2000 and
made no mention of al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.
Clinton focused attention on the numerous examples of heart-wrenching
civil strife and conflict around the globe ("from Burundi
to the Middle East to the Congo to South Asia") that
international leaders like to wring their hands over and
that liberals like to sit down and draft up humanitarian
must also work with just as much passion and persistence
to prevent conflict, recognizing the iron link
between deprivation and war. In too many places, it is
easier for children to find guns than textbooks So we
must build on our initiative to provide free meals for
9 million children around the world, encouraging families
to send their sons and their daughters to school. Too
many countries are crippled by debt, so we must further
our efforts with the G-7 and other creditors to reduce
the debts of developing countries that invest the savings
in basic needs. Too many nations face a tidal wave of
infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS,
which cause one quarter of all deaths in the world. So
we must intensify our work together to promote prevention
and to stimulate the development of drugs and vaccines."
get me wrong: poverty, third-world debt and AIDS are important
issues that deserve a great deal of our time and energy.
But for the President of the United States to stand before
the entire world in late 2000 ostensibly speaking about
"the making and keeping of peace" and to not mention
the threat of terrorism is beyond negligent and mind-numbingly
defenders might say the Millennium Summit wasn't the right
forum to discuss the threat of terrorism - to which every
American should reply, "No, you're wrong. It was exactly
the right place, the right time, and the right audience
to speak out about the gravest threat facing America and
the rest of the civilized world."
type of do-gooder gobbledygook in Clinton's speech to the
UN would be comical if it weren't so tragic. Five weeks
after Clinton gave his address, 17
U.S. sailors died when al-Qaeda operatives attacked the
this was nothing more than history repeating itself. In
March of 1996, the Clinton Administration organized a much
publicized anti-terrorism conference in Sharm el Sheikh,
Egypt dubbed the "Summit of Peacemakers."
meeting were held. Much was discussed. Lots of attention
was devoted to trying to settle the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. There were lots of photo-ops with smiley faces
the end, the
group issued a final statement where all parties agreed
coordination of efforts to stop acts of terror on bilateral,
regional and international levels; ensuring instigators
of such acts are brought to justice; supporting efforts
by all parties to prevent their territories from being
used for terrorist purposes; and preventing terrorist
organizations from engaging in recruitment, supplying
arms, or fund raising."
good. Except a short three months later al-Qaeda operatives
U.S. servicemen died and hundreds more were wounded
in the Khobar Towers bombing.
of the problem, of course, is that throughout the 1990's
and up until September 11, 2001, neither Bill Clinton, nor
George W. Bush, nor the American public had come to realize
or accept that we were at war with terrorists. Perhaps more
accurately, we hadn't realized that terrorists had declared
war on us.
of the gravest dangers we now face as a country is forgetting
this fact or to start believing the struggle we're in is
something less than a war. It would be far too easy for
us to return to the days of summits, speeches and photo-ops,
where much was said about fighting terror but little was
accomplished. The days when everyone got along but nothing
fear is that given everything I've heard John Kerry say
about the war on terror and looking at the people who would
fill a Kerry administration, that's exactly where we'll
end up should he win this election. If he does go on to
win, for the sake of the country I hope he proves me wrong.
- T. Bevan 7:45 am Link
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August 2 2004
LIKELY VOTERS, REGISTERED VOTERS & ADULTS:
There seems to be some confusion over which poll numbers
we use in our RCP Polling Averages. Today's
Gallup results are a perfect example. As soon as the
results were posted yesterday, we started to receive dissatisfied
emails wanting to know why we were posting only the Likely
Voters results as opposed to the Registered Voters numbers.
is a lot of emotion among partisans on both sides in the
outcome of this election and naturally each side wants to
see the most favorable poll results pushed for their respective
candidate. Kerry supporters obviously would prefer the press
focus on the Registered Voters result which has Kerry tied
47% - 47% (or even better the National Adult sample that
has Kerry ahead 48% - 45%) instead of the Likely Voters
result we posted that shows Kerry trailing Bush 50% - 46%
in the three way race.
weeks ago, we had Republican partisans emailing us that
we had the wrong FOX News poll numbers posted when, in fact,
we had the correct Likely Voters results. These people were
incorrectly looking at the Registered Voters result which
(in a rarity) had President Bush doing better among Registered
Voters than among Likely Voters.
first thing we try to do
is to be consistent in regards to polling data. We will
always use Likely Voters numbers over Registered Voters,
and Registered Voters numbers over National Adults. The
reason is clear and simple. Likely Voters results are a
better predictor of how an election actually turns out.
In other words, they are more accurate.
on both sides of the aisle usually recognize this fact without
much argument, though you will occasionally hear complaining
from Democrats that this usually tilts the polling results
toward the GOP. But Democratic complaints really shouldn't
be with pollsters who release Likely Voters results, but
rather with the Registered Voters and Adults who respond
in the surveys but don't bother to vote. Again, when a polling
firm releases LV numbers and RV numbers we will always post
the Likely Voters result.
source of confusion is whether we should highlight the three-way
numbers with Nader or just the Bush-Kerry head-to-head results.
Unlike the issue over LVs vs. RVs, this is more debatable
and reasonable people can disagree over which series will
be more accurate. We post both sets of results here at RealClearPolitics,
but when just quoting one number from a poll we will use
the three-way with Nader.
Democrats sometimes will balk at this because usually it
works to Bush's advantage. Now if Nader doesn't end up on
the ballot in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri
and Michigan then perhaps at some point we'll switch to
using the head-to-head number as the one to quote. But given
the results of the 2000 election it seems foolish to ignore
the presence of Nader in the race.
summarize: when we get a poll like the just released CNN/USA
Today/Gallup with six different horse race numbers in the
same poll. (3-way LV, 3-way RV, 3-way NA, head-to-head LV,
head-to-head RV, head-to-head NA), we will always post the
Likely Voters result in our RCP Poll Averages and we will
highlight the three way with Nader as long as Nader remains
in the race and on the ballot in critical states.
50%, KERRY 46%, NADER 2%: It's hard to know what
to make of the Gallup poll showing a negative 'bounce' for
the Kerry/Edwards ticket. My first reaction is that everyone
should take a deep breath before drawing huge conclusions
from this one poll.
the results from the other post-convention poll from Newsweek
doesn't provide much solace for the Kerry campaign when
you read this: "Kerry’s four-point “bounce” is the
smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll."
daily tracking poll shows a similar 2-4 point bounce
poll taken July 26-29 during the Democratic Convention
gives the Kerry/Edwards ticket a three point bump from their
told, the early evidence seems to indicate that Kerry will
not receive much of a bounce, if any, from his convention
in Boston. That in and of itself isn't a killer, because
it is easily possible that given the polarization of the
electorate neither candidate will receive much of a bounce
from their convention. But the negative bounce in the Gallup
poll, will be a serious concern for the Democrats
if the other major polls confirm the same trend.
even if the other polls are more similar to Newsweek and
Rasmussen showing only a small bounce for the Kerry/Edwards
ticket, that isn't necessarily good news for the Democrats.
For while it is possible that people's opinions are so set
there will not be any big bounces from either convention,
it is also entirely possible Kerry gets a meager bump while
Bush still gets the normal big boost from his convention.
while these early polls aren't the end of the world for
Kerry - or even necessarily conclusive evidence as to what
kind of bounce Kerry may ultimately have gotten from his
convention - there is no way the Kerry campaign can spin
them as good news for their candidate. J. McIntyre
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