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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Florida Poll Shows Race Too Close To Call – But Trend Appears Favorable for Kerry/Edwards

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 1002 Floridians conducted Aug. 20-22 shows registered Florida voters split evenly split 46%-46% between Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney.
The trend among these voters since July 19-22, however, is toward the Democrats with support for Bush/Cheney declining from 49% to 46% while Kerry/Edwards rose one point from 45% to 46%. The same trend is evident among likely voters as well.

24 comments on “Florida Poll Shows Race Too Close To Call – But Trend Appears Favorable for Kerry/Edwards

  1. Bel on

    Thanks Frenchfries and Jeff for adding some calm to these troubled waters. I agree with both of you… I dont notice that much has changed in the past six weeks. No need to scatter just yet…

  2. Ed on

    ” It’s that the undecideds who supported Kerry immediately after our convention have moved back to the undecided column.
    Why? Because they want to hear what Bush has to say at the convention”
    I never thought of this but it sounds like it could very well be….I also think the debates will deside this election. I hope Kerry in boneing up……………

  3. Jeff on

    Look guys i’ll play the diplomat.
    First, I agree that Kerry’s campaign hasn’t been the greatest in August. In fact, ever since the convention (BTW, where there hell is Edwards?)
    However, he is definitely not “sinking like a stone” as some here have put it. There is barely any movement either way. A couple polls show him behind and a couple show him ahead. Which says that the polls are essentially tied. Since Kerry only led by about 4 to 6% in the first place that’s a total drop of on average 5%.
    People have attributed this drop on the Swiftboat liars. I totally disagree. This had nothing to do with the Swiftboat liars, here’s why:
    The VAST majority of people don’t even believe those ads. A majority (56%) think that Bush is behind them as an attempt to smear Kerry.
    The VAST majority of Americans say those ads won’t affect their vote either way.
    So why has Kerry dropped?
    First, it’s the lead up to the GOP convention. This always happens just before any convention. It’s not that Bush is gaining a lot of support – he’s not. It’s not that Kerry has lost a lot of support – he hasn’t. It’s that the undecideds who supported Kerry immediately after our convention have moved back to the undecided column.
    Why? Because they want to hear what Bush has to say at the convention.
    Expect the same thing to happen just before the debates.
    Second reason, that never gets any attention. The Bush campaign has spent about $50 million in ads in the month of August. Compared with Kerry who has not spent even $5 million. That’s a 10 to 1 spending advantage.
    All things considered, we are not doing so bad. Losing some of our post-convention bounce was inevitable. Bush will probably be ahead by a couple of points after his convention.
    Carter was ahead of Reagan by more than 3% after his convention.
    So don’t worry so much.
    Although, I agree that once the GOP convention is over, Kerry has to do a better job.

  4. Frenchfries on

    I absolutely agree with Bel. The CNN/Gallup electoral college outlook just came hours after Zogby’s which presented a completely different trend. What have you been expecting? That everything stayed as cozy as in July? That race is between two candidates in the 45-50% range. It will change a lot until November.
    We knew that smear campagnes were in the offing, and we knew that they would take their toll. But on the other hand the lying swifties’ campagne hasn’t been as destructive as Willy Horton or “Inventing the Internet”. In the end it will only confirm the facts about Kerry’s service. And then this front will be safe.
    We knew that this generation’s media is a sorry caricature of a free press. They don’t do their job and will fall for any bait the Republicans will hand them. So we’re without cover from their side. This is gonna be a hard fight and Kerry held out better than I thought after viewing the lying swifties’s ad for the first time.
    We alsoknew that the following two weeks were going to be terrible: The Pubbies’ lovefest heightend by Fox, CNN and al.; 9/11-9/11-9/11!!!; and (if we’re really unlucky) fighting in the streets of New York that of course will be attached to Kerry.
    So, all in all, if we’re 3 or 4% behind come September 13th, I’ll be happy. Don’t panic so fast! Visit some right wing websites for a change. The Democrats have been ahead for almost four months now – but the Bushies have been remarkably cool and restrained for all this time. I wish our lot were used to be as composed.
    Gore was 10% behind two weeks before the election. He fought on. And he made it. Don’t let anyone tell you that this is Kerry’s race to lose. It still is the other way round.

  5. Bel on

    I guess the panic button is sore right now… its been hit so hard so often recently.
    I cant quite understand why the big time panic already… what will happen a few days away from the actual elections? Will some Kerry supporters actually collapse from anxiety and fear and worry? I hope not. This certainly aint the way to fight the fight tho.
    I dont have the stats right now but I am pretty sure that polls only give an emotional idea of the election results. I have known many, many polls to be absolutely incorrect.
    If anyone followed the recent Venezuelan recall campaign, you will have noticed that the polls had the opposition to win by a land slide. Of couse, we all know that the land slid from under the opposition and they landed face down in the mud.
    Polls try to be scientific but I dont think that a polster can truly capture the mind of a society unless that society is given the opportunity to define its answers and meanings to answers. Telephone polls cant do this, as they try to be brief and to the point. They cannot afford to cross reference and establish truth in answers given.
    I have great doubts that polls will establish the results of this campaign. Likewise, I know and am very confident that the recent LA times polls does not reflect the society’s true feeling and responses regarding the net impact of the swift boat adverts. This LA poll DOES not take into consideration the net impact of the kerry responses to the ads, nor does it take into consideration, the net impact of the press coverage and reporting on the untruths portrayed in the adverts. I dont think anyone needs to take any real stock in the LA Times poll.
    Still however, there is no real need to be stabbing at the panic button this way. A fight is never won by running around admitting defeat unless its some new form of reverse psychology. I dont think that any one is saying that Kerry is not sinking like a rock, prob he is not… probably the polls are just crap, probably Kerry is doing the right thing and it will show on elections night… there are sooo many possibilities.
    I remember in the days after 9/11, there were so many repubs, openly saying that bush has the election all sown up.. .all he needs to do was to calculate the margin of the landslide. I remember some saying that the DEMS would have immense problems finding someone with the courage to face up to bush..
    however at this junction, all that crap talk is dead and bush is fighting to be elected to the whitehouse for the first time. Likewise, the same things happened to Kerry and he was written off several times. People were asking for other candidates… etc.. etc.. but thats not the case anymore.. the polls cannot take into consideration the minds of people the day after the polls. They cant factor in, events that have not yet happened, so I dont think anyone need to lose sleep over the polls and destroy the panic button.
    In the meantime however, the troopers need to put on a brave face, release the panic button and keep on fighting. It so disheartening to see the troops disperse and scatter at the sound of bad news. Why cant bad new be a motivator to pick up the weapon, walk into the enemy’s camp and start firing? Why cant bad news be the one thing needed to get someone mad enough to go out and blister the enemy?
    The troopers must become more cohesive and stick to the cause and die for the cause even. Its not fair to the Kerry campaign to have the rank and file not believe that he can win just because of a poll or a few polls.. Where is the encouragement? Where is the undying support? Where is the fight to the last man? Where is the commitment? Where is the loyalty? Where is the dedication? Bush has no real platform on which to campaign or even to win his first elected term in the whitehouse… but the guy who just dropped in from mars would not know that.. he would think that Bush has it all sown up and did wonders in the past four years.. and thats because his team and supporters have banded together and they are fighting to the death, no matter how bad the news is..
    Why cant the Kerry supporters fight to the death too? If its not worth fighting to the death, then its important to both support and vote for bush… if the supporters cant rally for the cause, then its a pointless exercise to be looking at polls and reading headlines.. and fussing about media coverage etc… someone has got to stand up and fight with kerry to the bittter end..
    Who will it be?

  6. Charlie T. on

    Thanks for the laugh in reminding me of Monty Python’s Dennis Moore skit. My older brother was a big fan of theirs back in the 1970’s, so I grew up watching their re-runs on PBS. Anyway, who would have thought that thirty years later such a ludicrous, immoral and counterproductive economic approach would be the policy of the U.S. government?

  7. Charlie T. on

    Let’s not panic yet. There’s a veritable treasure trove of domestic / economic issues that Kerry can exploit during the next two months. Those recently announced 2003 numbers on 1.3 million Americans going into poverty, 1.4 million Americans joining the ranks of the healthcare uninsured, declining wages in real terms, very soft employment numbers, etc. (I could go on and on) give Kerry and Edwards plenty to ammo to shoot at Bush. They’ve got to pound away on the middle class squeeze. Bush’s abysmal record on the environment and his rolling back of certain workplace regulations should also be highlighted.
    There are two more monthly employment reports to be issued before the election. If we get disappointing job numbers again in a week’s time, Bush simply can’t hide from that. It’s reality and it’s affecting people. Even the broadcast media can’t bury three months in a row of lousy job growth.
    There still is a great case to be made that Bush’s “war on terrorism” has made us more vulnerable. It should be repeated over and over how little money has been spent on securing our ports, our chemical and nuclear power plants, our major rail transportation hubs. Bush’s record is so pitiful here. There’s a Grand Canyon between the actual record and the tough guy rhetoric. While he’s investing in giving tax cuts to those that don’t need them, America’s home defense requirements are simply not being adequately addressed. It’s actually frightening when one thinks about how little has been done in the last three years on the home security front.
    Admittedly, it’s tough to get your message out when the broadcast media continues to recycle the same liars and treats seriously some new charge coming from a group that already has been discredited on all of its major charges time and time again. It’s very frustrating. However, I get the feeling that the Swift Boat smear has pretty much run its course in terms of challenging Kerry’s courage and military record. He’s won that battle handily. The attack on his patriotism over his opposition to the Vietnam War might have a little longer shelf life, although the Not-So-Swifties probably have hurt their second message because they’ve been so discredited in lying about Kerry’s accomplishments as a soldier.
    Let’s see what sort of bounce the retro crew gets out of their lovefest next week. I predict that it won’t be more than a point or two. Then the real campaign begins. I still have faith in Kerry. He’s steady and competent. He knows how to close a campaign and is a great debater. He won’t make the absolutely asinine mistakes that Gore made (i.e., the sighing, the chest to chest staredown, etc.) that easily cost Gore the 2000 election in retrospect.
    Remember, Bush’s job approval ratings still stink and the numbers for right track / wrong track are very much in the Democrats’ favor. We have some nice favorable terrain on which to make our case. I’ve got faith in Kerry. Realizing the stakes of this election, he won’t lie down and roll over.
    Ultimately, assuming that the vote is free and fair, it will be up to the American people to take the blinders off, to wake up, and to retire Mr. Bush. This election is still a referendum on the record of the incumbent. By any objective measure of performance, he should (and will) be turned out of office on November 2, 2004 (otherwise known as America’s Day of National Liberation.)

  8. Michael on

    I basically agree with Lawence. Nevertheless, to respond to Ed, how’s this:
    The country clearly needs new leadership. [Fill in the domestic, war on terror, and foreign policy details–not omitting Supreme Court appointments and the environment–as you like.] The current administration is patently both a domestic failure, as yesterday’s census report clearly demonstrates, and a foreign policy failure, as virtually every day’s news attests. Kerry should be elected because he has a long record as a knowledgable, constructive, and progressive senator; he also has experience as a prosecutor and as an executive in state government. (He is also widely acknowledged to be a decent, if ambitious, human being and is a war hero to boot.) He has intelligent and practical proposals for improving things in the areas of health care, education, energy and the environment, trade, tax equity, national security, restoring American respect abroad, the military, etc etc.
    I too am disheartened by some of the recent polls and the media’s failure to nail Bush and company on their lies. (E.g., Bush as campaign finance reformer–what a a joke. How can he get away with that?) While Lawrence’s poll numbers from the past offer some solace, I do think Kerry urgently needs to improve his campaign. One thing I would like to see him do more is highlight how the Bush administration is following an extreme right-wing agenda. Bush talks Mr Nice Guy when he needs to, like now, but in fact acts quite differently. Talk about flip-flops! I think the census report on poverty and health care furnishes an unimpeachable base for mounting and attack on the administration’s domestic record. As for Iraq, let’s hear more about the billions of dollars wasted and the scandalous Haliburton etc contracts. Kerry also needs to address the national security/terrorism question with specifics in a major speech–this issue seems to be Bush’s strong suit. And it wouldn’t hurt for some surrogate to revive the issue of Bush’s phony national guard record. See Bob Herbert’s NY Times column today–these chicken hawks have got to be shot down.

  9. Lawrence on

    “Can anyone say why Kerry should be elected without comparing him to Bush?”
    This seems like a reasonable question until you realize that the proposition here is whether George W Bush deserves to be re-elected or whether he needs to be replaced by John F Kerry. Bush (“steady leadership” – compared to what???) is not running without constantly comparing himself to Kerry any more than Kerry is running without constantly comparing himself to Bush. You might as well ask me to describe why the Americans deserve to win in basketball in the Olympics without comparing them to any other team…
    So, maybe you can tell me why Bush desrves to be re-elected in a way that does not IMPLICITLY compare him to Kerry.

  10. ed on

    Second Ted’s comments… If we continue to pretend everything is great when Kerry is falling like a rock in a pond, the next thing out of our mouths will be “what happened?” on Nov. 3…
    Kerry and co. has yet to articulate why he should get a vote other than “I’m not Bush.”
    Can anyone say why Kerry should be elected without comparing him to Bush?

  11. TedL on

    Folks, we are losing.
    We need to do something to change the trend.
    Let’s start thinking about what it is, not reassuring ourselves with happy talk.

  12. Paul C on

    snicker-snack, you are absolutely right. There is a very nice article exploring this issue over at http://www.thegoatherder.com. It talks about the fact that a “self-made” American rich person doesn’t work any harder than a goatherder, tending his goats in some remote mountain range. Yet the person in American gains so much more for his or her work. Why? because the institutions of civil society, i.e. government, allow him or her to leverage their efforts. Its worth the read, if I do say so myself.

  13. Edith on

    According to Publisher’s Weekly, many booksellers are receiving fraudulent bulk orders of “Unfit for Command,” the book of the Swifty Liars. Most of these orders can’t be traced to the original person who placed them. In other cases the orders are fraudulently placed under a false name, then provide the contact info of another retailer. Large bookseller chains are having enough problems dealing with this, but smaller local retailers are getting seriously screwed by these practices.

  14. S Robinson on

    “…But Trend Appears Favorable for Kerry/Edwards”
    In the meantime, Unfit for Command will be #1 on the NYT bestseller list tomorrow. And in the interest of fairness, Media Matters for America has sent a letter to Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble and amazon.com asking them to review their bookselling policies (http://mediamatters.org/items/200408200003). Once again, freedom of speech to the left means you are free to say anything we agree with!
    It seems to me that the trend over the last few weeks is that the Swift boat ads are having an effect; the undecideds that were leaning toward Kerry are leaning toward undecided again.

  15. snicker-snack on

    Warning: OT
    Charlie T. @ 10,16 wrote:
    “Let’s pray that Mr. Robin-Hood-In-Reverse gets retired from office.”
    This moniker reminds me of an old Monty Python sketch, “The Ballad of Dennis Moore.” It ends with the lines:
    Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
    Riding through the land
    Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore
    Without a merry band
    He steals from the poor.
    And gives to the rich
    Stupid bitch.
    Perhaps Sir Prance-a-lot could be redubbed President Moore?
    Seriously though, what is with this view of too much of the American right that wealth is somehow created in a vacuum, that self-made men such as Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett or George Soros owe nothing to those who helped create the environment in which they earned their wealth? (a view I should add that I think none of the above share; this seems more the view of the non-achievers, the hand-out cases, the legacy kids, the Scaifes, the Bush Class if you will – who now account for the vast majority of American wealth. Yes, you have become a stratified nation with an aristocracy.) To point out the blindingly obvious, none of these men would have succeeded had they been born and raised and lived their lives in say, Burkina Faso. Ie. a progressive tax system is hardly alms for the poor but is part of a social compact, compensation for the indirect contribution that all of us make. How much is due is of course a completely justifiable political question and part of the normal wrestling within a society but without question something is due and in my mind (if I set aside my selfishness as a businessman) quite a lot. If you put something into an enterprise you’re due. Period. Infrastructure, an educated workforce, these are all input factors that need to be payed for. That this is a radical thought to Americans constantly amazes me. The rest of us have no problem with it (though yes, I have been known to grouse about taxes… but I don’t really mean it. Well, not all the time).

  16. gene on

    I think what is striking is that a couple weeks of the Bush Republican smear campaign in high gear, which in the past sunk McCain and Dukakis, has had a very marginal effect against Kerry. And I imagine there will be a gradual backlash against this, if it isn’t happening already. I think Kerry is very positioned. I also think that the massive protests in NYC will be impossible for the media not to cover, and are going to really f**k with Bush trying to put himself over as a moderate and a uniter during the convention. All in all, I think things are looking good for Kerry.

  17. micah68 on

    I still don’t understand how Kerry fell behind in Gallup after the convention (+2LV/+4RV before; -4LV/0RV after). But considering he’s essentially been dark this month AND he’s been pestered by people calling him a liar, it’s remarkable how he’s held even. Midmonth he was -3LV/-1RV. Now he’s -3LV/+1RV. Add to that he’s winning NH, NM, OR, PA & WA and is in position to win AR, CO, FL, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, TN, and WI. If he’s really a strong closer, things might just turn out for the best.

  18. Charlie T. on

    The prediction here is that Nader fades more and more the closer we get to election day. It happened in 2000 (although obviously not enough in Florida!)…it’ll happen even more this year in the wake of the 2000 theft and as folks continue to recognize Nader as nothing more than a self-centered spoiler. All of the celebrity/Hollywood support that Nader had in 2000 has switched to Kerry. He’s lost the Green Party nomination, thereby depriving him of the “we’re building a third party movement” selling point. Let’s face it, the guy’s running on empty.
    The stakes are just too high for someone to waste their vote on Ralph. That’ll be driven home even more during the home stretch period, when hopefully Kerry does well in the debates and shows himself to be a clear alternative to Bush.
    I just heard on AirAmerica that it was announced today that 1.3 million people were added to the poverty rolls in 2003, while 1.4 million were added to the ranks of the healthcare uninsured. 13 million kids are now living in poverty. Let’s pray that Mr. Robin-Hood-In-Reverse gets retired from office. I’m not sure that the country can really survive “four more years of hell.”

  19. Wilson97 on

    Nadar took 2-3% from Kerry in this FL poll. In order to counter the Nadar effect, the media must start covering Badnarik (badnarik.org), the libertarian candidate, who could take 2-3% from Bush if he received more attention.

  20. witten on

    I’d recommend concentrating on the national polls
    as they are generally more up to date and better done
    than the state by state polls. The state by state polls
    will generally follow national polls, since people in
    swing states aren’t so different from people elsewhere.

  21. Lani B. on

    What about the LA Times poll that shows Bush ahead by 3 points? Are we seeing a trend or is this just one poll? In any event, the electoral college race is what I’m really focused on. Thanks.


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