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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Race at the Start of the Republican Convention

The Myth: The SBVT controversy seriously harmed the Kerry campaign. Bush comes into his convention in much better political shape than he has been for quite a while.
The Reality: The race has changed little since the start of the SBVT controversy. Bush enters his convention with basically the same political vulnerabilities he had previously.
Let’s go to the numbers. The poll that best provides a before-SBVT damage and after-SBVT damage picture of the horse race is the Gallup poll. That’s because Gallup polled both on August 9-11–about a week before media coverage of SBVT really heated up–and on August 23-25, right after the coverage peaked and just as the Kerry campaign began its push-back.
What do the Gallup numbers show? As Gallup’s release on their latest poll succinctly puts it: “No Change in Presidential Race Despite Attack Ads“. Just so.
In fact, to the extent their numbers show change, it’s in the opposite direction to the one everyone is assuming. In their August 9-11 poll, Kerry was behind by one point (47-48) among RVs; in their August 23-25 poll, Kerry’s ahead by a point (48-47). (Bush’s approval rating also declines by 2 ponts between the two surveys).
So why were (and are) people so convinced SBVT hurt? There were the Annenberg numbers, of course, on how many voters had heard of the the SBVT charges and found them at least a little bit believble. But there’s a lot less to these data than people assumed–see EDM’s earlier analysis on how these numbers were widely misinterpreted.
There were the August 23-25 Gallup numbers on likely voters, showing Bush ahead by 3 points, that fed the impression Bush was pulling ahead. But these LV numbers also represented no change from previous Gallup polls, which had showed Bush ahead among this group by about the same margin. (Indeed, it’s interesting to note that in the entire month of August only one poll–Gallup–showed Bush ahead among LVs in the Bush-Kerry matchup and it did so three times and by almost identical margins. Must be something going on with that Gallup LV model.)
There was the Los Angeles Times (LAT) poll, which showed Bush with a 3 point lead among RVs, released right after the peak of the mudslinging. But the LAT poll had no point of comparison in August, much less close to the beginning of the SBVT controversy, so the LAT result showed nothing about change due to SBVT. Moreover, the LAT result was an outlier among the month’s RV polls–every other poll taken during the month (save one Gallup poll)–had Kerry tied or ahead in the Kerry-Bush matchup.
Finally, there is the most plausible–in my view–source of this sentiment: the fact that a number of polls show a tightening of the horse race between very early August (i.e., right after the Democratic convention) and late August. That tightening ranges from 2-7 points, turning a small post-convention Kerry lead into a smaller Kerry lead or tie, depending on the poll you look at. But the most plausible hypothesis for this tightening is a natural post-convention decay in Kerry’s support (given a lack of new impetus in Kerry’s direction) over the course of the month, rather than the specific effect of the SBVT brouhaha.
So where does that leave us? In my view, about where we were before the Democratic convention. In fact–in addition to the horse race–if you look at Kerry-Bush comparisons on issues and on personal characteristics, the results of a number of polls seem almost to replicate the results of that particular poll prior to the Democratic convention.
And another critical thing hasn’t changed at all–Bush’s ratings in all his vulnerable areas (the economy, Iraq, health care, etc.), as well as voters’ sense of whether the country is going in the right direction and whether a different direction is needed. These indicators have all continued to be quite negative (in some cases, have actually worsened) over the course of August, including the period allegedly affected by the SBVT controversy.
This is Bush’s problem. He’s got to run on something and, unfortunately for him, he has precious little to run on other than being the president of 9/11. The SBVT ads and subsequent media feeding frenzy didn’t change that equation in the slightest–and it’s not an equation that favors Bush’s re-election.

50 comments on “The Race at the Start of the Republican Convention

  1. JJK on

    Ruy, can we have a comment on the pundits use and abuse of the IEM presidential market. I’ve heard half a dozen references to the slightly smaller returns on Bush futures vs. Kerry futures. Supposedly this means that “real people investing real dollars” have some unique insight on the outcome of this election. Of course after some talking head mentioned it on CNN last night, Kerry shares shot up to even with Bush, like most of the polls.
    After fooling around with a couple of bucks in the IEM primary market, I eventually lost my shirt on Edwards. But I was struck with how volitile it was, and how low the volume was (a $10 buy of Edwards futures, for example, drove up the daily price significantly).
    Now more folks may be playing the “winner take all” market, but still, it’s padded by underfunded political junkies and Iowa undergrad econ students required to enroll. It’s hardly an infallible window into the soul of the electorate.
    Please harpoon this whale!
    And in the mean time, folks, buy Kerry, it’s a cheap way to make a few bucks, and take the wind out this particular sail.

  2. Sara on

    It isn’t apparently a staff shake-up, it is additions. Looking at them, Lockhart is communications, and the others seem to be Foreign Affairs specialists. Apparently Lockhart worked in Carville’s War Room in 1992, and knows how “instant response” is actually supposed to work. I’ve always found Susan Rice to be very impressive — she is taking a leave from Brookings to work — speciality is Africa.

  3. matt on

    DON’T FORGET…EVERYONE wrote off kerry in the primaries. people forget this guy is a fighter. there is bloggin’ out there that he is in a major shake-up of campaign staff, kerry is not afraid to redraw his strategy. he really wants to be president! this second-by-second evaluating and predicting we’re all involved in creates nothing but alot of undo stress and doubt. kerry is rope-a-doping…letting bush and co. shoot their wad at the convention and then hoopefully kerry will hit back hard. everything that is happening in the real world points to bush’s failure and ultimate demise.

  4. standa on

    Elrod, yes I believe KE will win because they have the right mix of compelling tangibles/intangibles to market and sell to the undecideds and both know how to ‘close the deal.’

  5. Elrod on

    I like this site because Ruy is sane, not a whiner. John Kerry will win this election and will win it convincingly. Let’s take the long view and figure out why this month has been difficult. At the beginning of the year we saw two months that would be tough for the Dem nominee – April and August. In both cases it had to do with campaign spending windows. April was just after the frontloaded nomination was sown up and August was after the DNC. Is it any surprise that in both months John Kerry’s poll numbers moved backward? No. Rove took advantage of those months to go on the attack, knowing that Kerry couldn’t respond in kind. It was even weirder in April because Iraq completely exploded that month. How could people support Bush after all this? The answer was that people rallied around the Prez after the mercernary lynching and more importantly John Kerry wasn’t out there pinning the failure of Iraq on Bush. A month later he did and the numbers swung in Kerry’s favor. Same thing this August. And guess what, August is over. After the RNC is over on Thursday all the restrictions are off. Kerry will be able to campaign vigorously again, running not only ads that attack Bush but also ones that show why Kerry is right for President. Notice how many undecideds have either vague or no impression of John Kerry? These people will hear a lot from John Kerry in the next couple months. And the American people will realize that he is a much better man for the Presidency than George W. Bush. Bucker up, folks!

  6. Bel on

    Results of Latest Presidential Polls
    Wednesday September 1, 2004 1:01 AM
    By The Associated Press
    Results of recent polls on the presidential race. Listed above each set of results is the name of the 2000 winner in a given state, the organization that conducted the poll, the dates, the number interviewed, whether it was adults, registered voters (RV) or likely voters (LV) and the margin of error (MoE). Results may not total 100 percent because of rounding.

    ICR, Aug. 25-29, 701 LV, MoE +/-4
    (Results from early August ICR poll in parentheses)
    John Kerry, 48 percent (46)
    George W. Bush, 45 percent (46)
    Ralph Nader, 2 percent (5)
    Unsure, 5 percent (3)

  7. Bel on

    You know, saying that the GOP has nothing to sell is no longer a big deal. The real deal is what does Kerry have to sell and who knows.
    The GOPs know that they have nothing to sell and are effectively ensuring that Kerry sells nothing even if he has a truck load of stuff that people want to buy. In effect, they are placing stumbling block after stumbling block in his way and the people that need what he is selling is simply not getting it.
    As some are saying on this site, Kerry simply has to find a way to bulldog his products onto the market so that people can truly exercise their rights to accept what he has to market.
    I am counting on Kerry to get his message thru. I think he will.

  8. standa on

    > Bush’s problem. He’s got to run on something and, unfortunately for him, he has precious little to run on other than being the president of 9/11.
    Exactly right Ruy
    The GOP convention in a nutshell ( courtesy of Kos )
    John Kerry sucks
    John Kerry is a flip-flopper
    No talk about domestic issues.
    No talk about jobs.
    Nothing on the economy.
    The war party peddles in fear, because that’s all they have left to sell.
    Consumer Confidence Plummets on Job Market
    Tuesday August 31, 3:22 pm ET
    NEW YORK (AP) — Consumers’ renewed worries about job prospects led to a bigger-than-expected drop in confidence in August and provided more evidence of the fragility of the economic expansion.
    The Consumer Confidence Index, which had been rising since April, dropped 7.5 points to 98.2 from a revised reading of 105.7 in July, according to a report Tuesday from The Conference Board, a private research group.
    “The slowdown in job growth has curbed consumers’ confidence,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, in a statement. “The level of consumer optimism has fallen off and caution has returned. Until the job market and pace of hiring picks up, this cautious attitude will prevail.”
    Again, all the GOP has to sell if fear and platitudes like this…
    “We’re turned the corner. The economy is getting stronger”
    – George W Bush
    You would think the lion’s share of the 4-5 % undecideds will not fall for this B.S.

  9. Bel on

    “Honestly, I don’t know if we can win anymore, the past three weeks have demonstrated so much disorganization and incompetence on the part of the Kerry campaign staff. Kerry should be out campaigning, not reorganizing his staff because they have their thumbs up their ass.”
    But Dumbo…. why dont you think you can win anymore? I havent seen any evidence to show that the Kerry team cant win. I think you may feel a bit discouraged because you are not seeing agression from Kerry but that does not mean that he wont win.
    The fact that the polls are as close as they are must reflect that either those being polled are not telling the truth or, they have already made up their minds. Thats my take on it. If this is the case, then we have to wait until Nov 2 to determine what they had in their minds.
    Secondly, where do you find the Kerry camp to be disorganised and incompetant? I have not seen anything to show the above. Again, like you, I wish that they would attack Bush and push him on the defensive but this cant be classified as either of the above.
    Maybe you are wishing for a change in approach and format, which I am wishing for too but, maybe these folks have a plan and just like Bush, they intend to stay the course.
    On the matter of changing staff, I think Kerry did this last time around in the primaries too… maybe this is the way he does his business, where he lets people take the cart to various stages and allow others to move it to the next stage. So if he is indeed changing staff, then it might be in accordance with his style and plans. I dont know.
    Like you, everyone is hoping that the campaign would move into a more agressive mode, so that supporters can feel confident and comfortable and have less butterflies and be less anxious and be able to rejoice a bit more.
    Maybe this is not the elections for this.. maybe.
    But I still think that Kerry and Edwards are on the winning team. I wont let my confidence sag for one moment.. and I will only accept defeat after they have done every last recount and the supreme court steps in. Never Say Die.

  10. Ed on

    Anyone have the E-mail address for the Kerry campain? I don’t see anyplace on the web site for e-mail, just regular mail and telephone.

  11. Dumbo on

    People need to be fired. Better people need to be hired. Quickly. It’s too late in the year to piss around. Bush is winning on a really cheap dirty smear campaign. Nice guys finish last. I’m tired of being a nice guy.
    I saw a replay of an old 1968 Nixon vs. Humphrey campaign ad. It showed Humphrey accepting his nomination, hail to the chief in the background. Then the picture shakes and the music stops, and we see a bunch of pictures of soldiers in Viet Nam, fighting and dying. If Nixon could do that, as a challenger, in 1968, to the democrats, then why can’t the Kerry people do the same thing? Just lift the whole campaign ad and let the pundits marvel over the similarities.
    They should attack Bush on the war. Not for getting us into it — they blew their chance for that — but for gross mismanagement and incompetence. The words “incompetent,” “ineffective,” and “impotent” need to be thrown around. These all have a demasculating sound to them, as well as being very descriptive of his management of the post-war. They need to show pictures of him in his flight suit, “prancing” around, and mock him with it as a photo-op fraud.
    The economy is important too, but I don’t think we can get the media to focus on the economy anymore. We need to remind people just how BADLY things are going in Iraq — something the media has avoided for strange reasons of their own. After Bush has been badly damaged in his “masculine” role as defender and tough guy, it will be possible to switch to the economy in the last two or three weeks.
    Honestly, I don’t know if we can win anymore, the past three weeks have demonstrated so much disorganization and incompetence on the part of the Kerry campaign staff. Kerry should be out campaigning, not reorganizing his staff because they have their thumbs up their ass.

  12. Bel on

    Maybe if enough Kerry supporters gang up and send the campaign enough emails, maybe then they will change the format…. after all, they are campaigning with money collected from people who NEED them to win… so maybe someone needs to start a campaign for a more aggressive campaign.

  13. Arpad on

    I’m a progressive that desperately wants Kerry to get aggressive with his message. Why not have ads that bring up Bush’s record (or lack thereof) in the Texas Air National Guard? The information is out there and believe me, a lot of people including the media will need to be reminded of this over the next two months so we can counter the Swift Boat cabal. It has been shown in study after study that negative attack ads work. They differentiate one candidate from the other, especially for apolitical soccer moms from Nebraska that don’t read the paper and only know what their conservative husband tells them over dinner. Look we are up against Karl Rove. Although I disagree with the Republicans on most issues, I respect the fact that Rove Inc. play to win. They seek out power and snatch it from the hands of unsuspecting “play it safe” Demos. Does Kerry play to win? Or are we looking at the next incarnation of Mondale, Dukakis and Gore?

  14. Bel on

    In the above link, the swifters are asking kerry to apologise about his statements after the war and some other things and they would stop the adverts.
    Personally, I hope kerry simply issues a properly prepared press statement and move on. This is just another attempt by the Bush clan to bog down Kerry in mincing words and playing word games in the height of an election season.
    I am sure they will dice his words and find that single piece of a single word on which to continue this Vietnam debate and in the mean time, distract from the issues on which Kerry needs to nail Bush.
    I am not sure how much impact a single press statement would achieve but Kerry needs to get on the offensive, instantly and stop responding.
    Bush did it by asking him to declare his hand on the war. I dont think Kerry did a good job then, the swifters did it once, now they are trying to do it again. Kerry needs up the ante alot more and start to take an offensive position and quit being the respondent.
    Somehow the Kerry clan seem unable to get this elections to be about Bush… and not about Kerry. Somehow they keep allowing Kerry to be the point of focus when it should be Bush… geeeeeze.. I dont know how to make this thing right at all… but I know that an offensive position needs to be adopted.. esp. NOW… during the convention. They need to knock these guys off course.
    Oh well.. I guess thats wishful thinking.

  15. Frank on

    My point about the Dems starting in on the Purple Heart Bandaid affair is that we need some righteous anger, especially when confronting this sort of bilious nonsense. More Max Cleland, and less Tom Daschle.

  16. ira on

    some comments on polling complications cross-posted from the lbo-talk listserv
    Interesting thread on the AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research) website: there’s some anxiety that presidential polling this year is seriously problematic.
    Phone polls undersample young people (18-35 – esp those who don’t live with older family members), nonwhite people, and men. The first two of those groups are quite pro-Kerry; the last, pro-Bush. You can partly correct for the undersampling with statistical technique, but obviously the bigger the adjustment, the greater the likelihood of
    error. So polls could be significantly understaing Kerry’s strength.
    Another problem: likely voter models. Pollsters use a variety of factors to predict the likelihood of a respondent actually casting a ballot – like past voting behavior and demographics. Then they rank
    all the respondents according to their probability of voting, and draw a line between the likely and unlikely based on some projection of turnout. With this election, there could be two problems with this
    technique – the historically nonvoting demographics may vote in larger numbers than the past (esp the young and nonwhite), and the turnout could be higher than expected (i.e., the likely voting models could be excluding people who actually will vote, esp the young and nonwhite).
    Also, lots of people, esp young ones, are dropping land lines for cell phones (which can’t be randomly dialed by pollsters), also complicating things. The problem is especially problematic if younger
    people vote in greater numbers than usual this time.
    Polling is looking unusually teacherous this year.
    Doug Henwood
    Other factors compromising phone sampling include:
    – multiple phone lines which increase the probability of selection of those who have them (i.e. those who can afford them are more likely to be oversampled than those who cannot);
    -telemarketer fatigue – the intrusiveness of telemarketing produces high levels to refusals to participate in any kind of survey; again the
    probability of refusal is non-randomly distributed, which results in oversampling and undersampling of different groups
    Wojtek Sokolowski
    I would appreciate any knowledgeable comments.

  17. warp resident on

    Lest we forget, a presidential election 4 yrs into a new administration is ALWAYS a referendum on the incumbent. No purple bandaid is going to cover up the massive hemmorage this administration has to contend with.

  18. Bel on

    I dont see the DEMS fighting fire with fire. Its not in their program. Look how easily Kerry asked to have the move-on ads removed but to this day, Bush has never asked his people to remove their swift boat ad.
    Look at the number of opps. that Kerry had to literally nail bush…and did nothing… Just yesterday, Bush continued his flip flopping on the war… can anyone tell me what is Kerry’s response? I know what’s edwards’ and some dem spokes people.. but I have not heard a squeak from Kerry…. if anyone has heard kerry on the subject, please correct me… I want to be wrong on this one.
    These guys are not prepared to fight fire with fire. Thats why I think it requires that the other supporters to do the fighting. From the looks of it, the campaign will not be looking for any loop holes, or wont be going negative or wont be capitalising on any mistakes made by the other side.
    I am not knocking the team however.. I prefer to believe that their plan is working the way they need it to work. If it wasnt, then I would expect to see a change in plan. I am not seeing any changes so I am left to conclude that its going just fine. I give them the benefits of the doubts right now.
    Thats the way it was planned from inception and its going according to plan.
    but I still think they will win. The people will make that critical decision. I heard one guy say that he doesnt know who is on the other side but he just cant have Bush in the whitehouse anymore. Its that type of sentiment which will propel a kerry victory.

  19. Doofus on

    Frank, I agree. If this were the Democratic convention, the Rethugs would have flaks and hit men shouting outrage on every network and mass-faxing nasty talking points to the media, putting the Dems on the defensive by pretending like it (the purple heart crap) was the whole party’s fault and demanding an apology. We won’t win If we don’t start fighting fire with fire.

  20. Frank on

    It’s time for the Dems to start kicking butt. How about the Purple Heart band-aid mockery floating around the Repub convention? It would be good for Kerry (or Edwards) to call out Bush on this one. Morality doesn’t mean just who you sleep with, it’s what you stand for in your associates. The hottest place in hell, etc.

  21. Bel on

    Are there any perspectives on the speeches by McCain and Guilliani?
    From my research, it seems as tho McCain was not so hot, wasnt well received. Looks like he took the middle road and I dont think these folks are looking for any middle of the road chat at this time.
    I would just say that McCain got what he deserved.
    Any predictions on the measure of bounce which will come out of this convention?

  22. Ed on

    I’m not paying any attention to this Repb convention it’s all tabloid nonsence. Just remember the debates are comming then we will see who is on top.

  23. km on

    Good analysis and comments.
    It is difficult not to buy into the press’s spin on these polls. My theory is simple: This race has been remarkably stable for quite some time, despite all efforts. The press inherently doesn’t like this. A stable race is a boring race, and then noone pays attention to them. The swifties stuff, an outlier poll or two, and likely ferocious spinning from the Bush camp has enabled them to inject new life into a fairly dull race.
    That being said, I have been troubled by the Kerry camp’s lack of message over the last month. Give some credit to Rove & Co for throwing them off with the swifties, etc., but for several weeks it’s been a “message a day” with nothing sticking.
    My hope is that the Kerry camp is holding its big chips for the home stretch. (Please God tell me they have a few.) I think circumstances forced the Bush camp to use its stuff earlier than it would have liked. I don’t think they’ve got many bullets left in the gun.
    I guess we’ll see if Kerry’s reputation as a strong closer is deserved.

  24. Ray Stewart on

    I’m starting to sweat a little bit. I certainly hope the Kerry/Edwards campaign knew what it was doing going dark for the month of August and I hope he is as strong a closer as it has been said he is. He’s got to come out Friday with his guns blazing and be in attack mode constantly. And don’t worry about going negative . . . no matter what undecideds say, it works.

  25. Paul R on

    I was pretty discouraged going into the convention until McCain’s speech, where he lambasted Michael Moore. The image of Michael Moore staring down the republicans at their own convention, and Bush saying he miscalculated in Iraq and we cannot win the war on terror makes me think everything will be all right.

  26. warp resident on

    This is a great site because it provides a somewhat rational or scientific breakdown of the poll results. It is easy to interpret data according to your ideological preferences. Even scientists do it, but at least they follow scientific norms that make it harder to fool yourself. In this case I agree that one can’t extrapolate trends from polls with no appropriate reference point.
    On another matter, I would like to know what to make of the polling in battleground states. There’s been a lot of crowing lately about polls in FL OH MO and PA tightening up. Although the leads are mostly in the MOE its the first occasion for networks like CNN to announce electoral victory for Bush. I think Kerry is going to have to carve out a clear lead in one of those states to prevent another 2000 debacle.

  27. Samuel Knight on

    The spoiler tag makes sense. Rove has done a masterful job of makig people talk about what he wants them to talk about. Yeah, he uses scummy tactics, but he’s awfully good at using them.
    Second, I’d say the Republicans did a great job on turning McCain. Kerry played a big part in building up his reputation. So when McCain turned hard for Bush, it looked even worse.

  28. Brad on

    I agree that Kerry has to preempt and go on the offensive, and I am heartened that W has handed him a good tool with his comment on being unable to “win” the war on terrorism. Scott McClellan etc are having to spin frantically right in the middle of their convention. Seems like the only Repub who doesn’t have the discipline to stay “on message” is poor ol’ W.
    As I said the other day, I think that this convention is W’s best chance to make some hay. If he doesn’t get a measurable bounce, that it, come out of it with about a 4% lead, what else can he do but smear, smear, smear (and I agree with other who anticipate SBV parts 2 and 3…Rove isn’t going to shoot his whole wad this early)?
    That’s why I remain optimistic. After the conventions, the only defining moments we can predict (leaving out some “October surprise”) are the debates. And THIS time W has a record he’s going to have to try to defend. Kerry should methodically make the case (like the former prosecutor he is) on every issue, point out the failures, CLARIFY his position succinctly, and I think it’s going to be a very powerful indictment and will go a long way towards closing the deal with Americans.
    I’ll say it again – if Kerry cannot win this race with basically every issue in his favor, when CAN the Dems win a national election??

  29. Brian on

    SBVT is a spoiling attack. It’s not meant to get ground. It’s meant to pin its opponent. It worked. Kerry couldn’t talk about what he wanted to talk about. Bush is so freaking vulnerable BUT if he can get the subject off of Iraq, the economy, etc., it’s quite possible he could squeak by.
    After the convention, SBVT Phase 2 is going to start up. This time instead of wasting 2-3 weeks talking about whether Kerry “deserved” his medals, we’re going to talk about what Kerry said when he got back from Vietnam. Then when that spoiling attack runs its course there will be a Phase 3, etc.
    The only counter to this is for Kerry to go on the offensive. He can’t sit back and try to refute this stuff as it comes up. The whole point is to tie him down into doing that. He’s got to preempt. He’s got to counterattack where Bush is vulnerable. Go straight for Bush’s supposed strength – his “leadership” his “straight talking” and all that. Make fun of him for chrissakes. Show him prancing around on the aircraft carrier. Show him reading My Pet Goat.

  30. RonK, Seattle on

    With great respect to RT, this strikes me as a wishful appeal to cherrypicked results and “absence of evidence”.
    SBVT put a big dent in Kerry’s prow, but it’s Bush’s barge that’s in extremis.
    As a known quantity, W can’t hit 50% with a positive campaign.
    In a negative campaign, the math (either suppression or conversion) is against him. Details in “Fuzzy math”, under my sig.

  31. Jeff on

    Americans have a short memory. By October, the SBVT ads will be distant history. Iraq, the economy, jobs, healthcare, etc. will be on people’s minds, as will terrorism. All of this will play out. Kerry wouldn’t have been able to hang onto those gains in August anyway for the above reason. The fact that Bush hasn’t moved above 50% yet spells trouble for him. I can’t see how the GOP convention will change this. It’ll be all 9-11, all the time. Nothing else is favorable to them, even if they have McCain the sellout on stage attacking Kerry and Michael Moore (which was a bad idea, I think). It’s too bad. I used to really like McCain (until three days ago). Guess the thought of power corrupts many so easily. He’d still be better than Bush, however. By a lot…

  32. Michael on

    I think Samuel Knight makes a good point. Kerry and the Democrats need to hammer home a broad-based indictment: Bush is incompetent, deceitful, fails to take responsibility–and all the while his policies screw the average taxpayer.

  33. goethean on

    > Bush has done nothing but go up since the third
    > day of the Democratic convention. Just look at
    > Intrade, Tradesports, or The Iowa Electronic
    > futures markets.
    > Posted by Allan Bartlett at August 31, 2004 01:04
    > AM
    Why? They measure hype.

  34. herodotus on

    I want to join the other commenters in welcoming you back. Your analysis of where the race stands now is convincing. I would also like to put in a request that has some relation to the overall point you make about the widespread misperception of where the race stands. It seems to me that one element of this has to do with shifts in various state polls and among these polls are many from the Republican firm Strategic Vision. It is amazing to me that these polls are regularly given such credence even by web sites that are clearly pro-Kerry. Perhaps I am wrong but my sense of them is that they are well designed frauds that seem plausible because they are usually not far off from other polls while still giving Bush a few points of advantage that I doubt is there. So if you think it is worth your time I would like to have your professional opinion of the accuracy of these polls.

  35. theCoach on

    Aren’t we about to bump into the new 60 day ban on certain types of funded advertisements?
    Any analysis on what that means to the different parties or the race in general?

  36. Silent E on

    Maybe its good that the CW gives Bush a (non-existent) SBVT bounce. After all, if he gets credit for a “bounce” now, it just raises expectations – exactly the opposite of what Dowd and Rove want!
    They’d much rather have a post-convention “bounce” narrative playing in the CW so they can build momentum after Labor Day and 9-11. But if Bush got his bounce early because of SBVT (much like Kerry did with the Edwards selection – although Kerry also got a temporary convention surge of 1-2 points as Ruy noted) then there’s no good post-convention story.
    In fact, SBVT thus becomes a net liability – it will have wrecked a potentially valuable post-Labor Day momentum meme, it will have cost Bush credibility over his campaign ties to the Swifties, it will have wasted an attack that might have been a lot more effective in the last two weeks before the election when the press could not have investigated so thoroughly, and it will bring more scrutiny back to Bush’s TANG service.
    Thanks Uncle Karl!

  37. thatcoloredfella on

    Your analysis is sound, yet I have a nagging question.
    Bush has an 8%+ disapproval deficit on most leading issues, and a 50%-39% ‘wrong track’ according to CNN/Gallup. I’m happy with the way Kerry is making his pitch to the Undecideds, but what gives?
    I am not one of those hysterical poll wonks, my confidence and patience are evident. I just need to wrap my cerebral talking points vortex around this one.
    Humor me?

  38. Night Owl on

    I think Kerry made a mistake by not following up the good convention with a continuing bio-centric effort in August.
    Zogby’s poll shows clearly that swing voters still don’t know who is. And no wonder. 4 days of conventioning is not gonna do it. It needs to be followed by 4 WEEKS of the same positive, introductory message sustained with a barrage of ads in the swing states – continuing and relentless in the slack water between the conventions.
    If Kerry loses, he will look back at August as an opportunity missed to solidify a lot of undecideds.

  39. Frenchfries on

    Maybe it really isn’t that bad that the CV believes the lying swifties had success. They might try it again.
    Just by the end of last week, before the convention coverage began, there were clear hints of a backlash. Unfortunately this was stalled now by New York and it’s unlikely it will take off again after the RNC.
    But if everyone thinks the smears worked they might try another round. And then, just as Big Red pointed out, Kerry can say: There they go again. And there’ll be a major backlash in for them.
    Bring it on, Karl!

  40. Frenchfries on

    Maybe it really isn’t that bad that the CV believes the lying swifties had success. They might try it again.
    Just by the end of last week, before the convention coverage began, there were clear hints of a backlash. Unfortunately this was stalled now by New York and it’s unlikely it will take off again after the RNC.
    But if everyone thinks the smears worked they might try another round. And then, just as Big Red pointed out, Kerry can say: There they go again. And there’ll be a major backlash in for them.
    Bring it on, Karl!

  41. adaplant on

    Neil McArthur, the Zogby-Williams poll whose number you cite have no relationship to the Zogby battleground polls except both are conducted by Zogby. Different methodology entirely.
    For example, acting to counter David Wissing’s alleged gaming of the Zogby-Williams poll), which is a self-selected, self-identified, anyone can play poll, by his registering and participating as a self-awoved liberal democrat for Bush (ludicrous if you know David’s blog: The Hedgehog Report), I registered and participated as a self-avowed conservative republican for Kerry. I am not a conservative republican.
    Many thousands of other participants in the Zogby-Williams poll could very well have done the same type of thing. We just don’t know. The weird results could very well have been generated by countless participants gaming the process.
    On the other hand, although it uses an interactive participant base, the Zogby battleground poll isn’t near the open to gaming debacle the Zogby-Williams polls certainly has proved to be.

  42. Neil McArthur on

    This is a terrific blog and I would love to be convinced by this analysis. I am, almost. You don’t mention the Zogby interactive analysis breaking out the undecided voters from its latest poll. (The same one I take it that showed Kerry’s huge lead in the battleground states.) http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews854.html
    The whole result struck me as odd. Bush favoured over Kerry among undecided voters by 25%, even as those same voters give Bush a 77% disapproval rating. Both of those numbers look awfully high. I am not equipped to analyse methodology. But I wonder: what gives? Undecideds are supposed to move against the incumbent. Maybe on election day they still will. For now, more to worry about in a race that already has plenty.
    Welcome back!

  43. canuckforkerry on

    Great to have you back. Hope you had a wonderful vacation.
    I concur with your assessment that the SBVT smear did not alter the horse race in any signficant way during August. However, I still think it negatively impacted Kerry-Edwards ’04 in the following ways:
    1. Kerry was forced to spend effort, time and money to defend himself rather than promoting his message re: Iraq, foreign policy, economy, jobs, health care, etc.
    2. Being on the defensive over the month of August denied Kerry the opportunity to consolidate the small gains his campaign made against Bush before and during the convention.
    3. I am sure points one and two were part of the overall GOP objective to control the dynamics of the campaign in the period between the conventions and keep Kerry on the defensive. Sad to say, it seems to have worked.
    Notwithstanding the above, I agree that the fundamentals of this contest have not changed and Bush remains very vunerable due to negative perceptions about his policies and competence. I expect that Kerry-Edwards ’04 has a strategy to seize the initiative after Labor Day in order to regain control of the message for the next two months.

  44. Allan Bartlett on

    Ruy, good to have you back at the blogging desk. How was your vacation? I will respectfully disagree with your assessment of the race right now. I think we are watching two different races. Bush has done nothing but go up since the third day of the Democratic convention. Just look at Intrade, Tradesports, or The Iowa Electronic futures markets. Bush was at around 51% on his low during the third day of your convention, to a high right after John McCain’s speech tonight of 58.9%. Those are the facts. Now, the race is still up for grabs in my opinion, but to say that Bush hasn’t improved his political position since the end of the DNC convention flies in the face of facts.


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