Thursday, September 23, 2004

Reports Of His Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Would it be hypocritical of me to bemoan the irrational obsession with polls that the media falls victim to during the election season, and then report on poll numbers myself? Would I undermine my argument that the polls themselves are inaccurate, flawed, and in many cases methodologically unfit if I were to post a bunch of results on this site? Perhaps I can be judged in such a way, but there is a reason I am willing to walk such a rhetorical tight rope.

Some of the post-Republican Convention polls were so lopsided in favor of Bush, that many in the Democratic camp, and in the media at large, began to write-off the candidacy of Kerry. It was hopeless they said. Bush's lead was insurmountable.

But I
argued then, and again recently, that the polls are skewed in favor of Bush, and that the majority of them, if you looked farther than those widely reported, still showed a dead heat despite the fact that they do not accurately account for the true magnitude of Kerry's support.

Now even more of the polls have begun to reflect the reality of a closer race. So I will publish the results of these imperfect animals, albeit reluctantly, in an effort to assuage the fear and pessimism of many of the Kerry faithful and would-be swing voter converts. I do this to balance out the earlier over-reaction to the inflated, and possibly manipulated, post-convention bounce for Bush.

Perceptions affect turnout, as I have
argued before, and it is important for loyalists and fence sitters alike to believe in the viability of a candidate. In pursuit of this, I will borrow liberally (pun intended) from my favorite Australian blogger, Tim Dunlop from the Road to Surfdom. Thanks again Tim, for your fine work, and please pardon the plagiarism (this is too good not to report):



In the last five national polls, the race continues to be virtually tied, with no more than a three point margin. The polls average to a 1.8% Bush lead.

NBC/WSJ—THREE POINT RACE: Tonight’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Bush leading by three points 48- 45 even including Nader, within the margin of error.

ARG—ONE POINT RACE: The American Research Group poll released the morning (ending 9/21) has Bush ahead by one point: 47-46.

Kerry leads in the battlegrounds including Florida, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington, and is tied in Wisconsin and West Virginia.

In Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio, Kerry is within two points of Bush.

Women support Kerry over Bush 50-42.

ZOGBY—THREE POINT RACE: In the Zogby national phone poll ending Sunday (9/19), Bush led by a scant three points, 47-44, inside the margin of error.

Bush’s job approval is stuck below 50%: "President Bush’s overall job performance rating has virtually remained the same as our last two polls at 47%, with more than half of respondents continuing to express their disapproval." [Zogby release, 9/21/04]

IBD/CSM—ONE POINT RACE: In the newest Investors Business Daily/Christian Science Monitor poll from TIPP (ending 9/18), Bush leads by a single point: 44-43 among registered voters

The poll shows Kerry leading among independents 39-36.

DEMOCRACY CORPS—TIE: The Democracy Corps’ newest survey shows a tie: 49-49 (ending 9/21).


The newest Zogby/Wall Street Journal Interactive (ending 9/17) shows Kerry winning in 11 of 16 key states (ending 9/17), and comes to the conclusion that Kerry would win in the Electoral College with the current numbers. American Research Group comes to the same conclusion [, 9/20/04;, 9/22/04]


According to CBS/New York Times (ending 9/16), 51% say the nation is going in the wrong direction, as do 53% of independents. An overwhelming 75% of independents and 72% of all voters say the economy isn’t improving. A Democracy Corps poll (9/12-14) has 51% saying the nation is on the wrong track, and 52% saying the nation should go in a significantly different direction than the Bush direction. According to Zogby, 50% believe the nation is on the right track, with only 43% answering "right track."


The newest Pew poll (9/11-14) headlined "Kerry Support Rebounds, Race Even Again," shows Kerry leading 44-41 among independents with Bush’s temporary advantage gone and says that Bush’s "standing among persuadable voters may be worse now than it was in August," noting a 12 point drop to 44% in job approval since August, higher favorability for Kerry and a decrease in a positive feeling about the economy from 19% to 13%, with 63% disapproving of Bush’s handling of the economy increased from 54 to 63 percent.

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