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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

More Swing State News and Views

A new Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll has Kerry up by 5 in Pennsylvania among RVs (48-43). The poll shows PA voters turning against the Iraq war, undoubtedly a factor in Kerry’s current lead.
Speaking of swing states, here’s some useful weekend reading. First, check out a new feature on The American Prospect website, “Purple People Watch“, which they say they will post weekly. It’s a roundup of political developments, polls, etc., from the swing, sometimes termed “purple”, states. It looks like it should be quite useful, though it seems oddly hard to find on their website. I also noticed that, in a state or two, the poll they cite is not actually the latest one. Still, a very useful feature and I recommend it.
And, if you haven’t already, you should scoot over to the DLC’s website and check out Mark Gersh’s article on “The New Battleground“. Gersh, the data guru to countless Democrats, has an interesting take on which of the swing states are most truly in play and, commendably, figures into his assessments how a given state has changed demographically since the last election. I don’t agree with everything he says, but it’s food for thought in all cases.

6 comments on “More Swing State News and Views

  1. Dan on

    I’m just finishing a trip to southern Arizona. While Tucson and the southwest corner of AZ are the most Democratic parts of the state, I’m encouraged by some of the conversations I had with Democrats and Republicans.
    A few things to note:
    * McCain swallowed his pride in ’00 and supported Bush. But in ’04 many Republicans here are not happy about the treatment that McCain has received from the Rovians. That could turn into a backlash.
    * I talked with several Republicans who were disillusioned with the war. These would probably fall into the group of voters who sit out the election.
    * For what it’s worth, many of the MPs in the Abu Ghraib scandal were trained in southern AZ and people here aren’t happy about that. My guess is that there’s some defensiveness and embarrassment, but over time it will be an even worse issue for Bush here.
    I’m pretty optimistic about AZ.

  2. Mark on

    I think his analysis of Ohio has missed one point. As chronicled in the NY Times magazine article (The Multilevel Marketing of the President), the president’s campaign committee has a massive GOTV operation going on here. This operation is targeting the exurbs that Gersh mentions as susceptable to GOTV efforts.
    The moribund Ohio Dem party has no chance of mounting an effort to counterbalance this in the urban areas much less in the rural southeast. Kerry’s campaign HQ in Columbus wasn’t fully staffed as of a month ago (I don’t know about now.)
    Statewide polls continue to show Ohio to be tight. The election here will almost certainly be decided by turnout. On this score, Bush’s GOTV efforts could neutralize his negative poll numbers here.
    Shorter version: Kerry needs to get off his arse and organize Ohio.

  3. Paula on

    Mr. Gersh’s article also seems a pretty dated in one respect. He says Bush’s approval rating hovers around 50 percent. In the last several weeks, his approval rating has ranged from 42-48 percent; that’s not “around 50 percent.” BTW, the only poll that shows Bush’s approval higher than 46 percent is Fox, which has it at 48.

  4. Ron Thompson on

    I agree with Patrick. Illinois is among the ten states most likely to go Democratic in November. So are California and New Jersey, recent outlier polls to the contrary notwithstanding. Various organizations including Gallup and Faux News have identified a group of 15 to 17 battleground states. Illinois, California, and New Jersey are not on any of their lists. I can’t believe that Bush will put resources into any of them.

  5. Patrick on

    The most contentious thing I saw in that article was labeling IL as a “leaner.”
    If you look at the primaries this year, the election results in 2000 and 2002, IL is as much a gimme as most of New England when it comes to state-wide elections.


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