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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Fox News Poll: WH Race in Statistical Tie

George Bush leads John Kerry 45-43 percent among nation-wide LV’s, with 12 percent other in a head to head poll conducted September 21-22 by Opinion Dynamics for Fox News. (margin of error +/- 3).

32 comments on “Fox News Poll: WH Race in Statistical Tie

  1. wilder on

    >I remember June, when Kerry was in good shape and Ruy told us to never take a Fox News poll seriously.
    >O, how things change!
    If the internals of the FOX poll are found to be accurate, why not? It’s easy to accuse it of bias because it’s Fox, but if its internals are good, it is as good (or better) than any other poll. If you mean to imply that it’s ironic and hypocritical for Democrats to hype a Fox poll, I’m sure you’d find Freeper Republicans doing the same thing right now with the Washington Post-ABC poll.
    Regardless of what happens — a Kerry or Bush blowout — I have an odd feeling that most polls will be very wrong. Especially since they were wrong in 2002 (predicting the Dems would hold on to the Senate), when there was a much lower turnout.

  2. gabby hayes on

    BTW, when Rush Limbaugh says something 1000 times, that doesn’t make it “anecdotal evidence.”
    It’s simply one more random thought bouncing around in his hollow head, not unlike a b-b in a boxcar.

  3. gabby hayes on

    The theory that Gallup got it wrong only because of some late shift due to Bush’s lies about DWIs being exposed is typical of the stories rightwingers tell themselves to get past things they don’t want to see.
    Gallup missed it by 3 million voters, and had Bush getting more votes than Gore.
    It wasn’t because of the drunk driving record, or everyone would have missed it, but they didn’t.
    No, Gallup missed it because they are bad, because they were already compromised, and this year that has continued.
    Bush lost. And this time, he’s going to lose by 5 million instead of .5 million. Gallup gets it wrong because they cheat. They know what they’re doing. They’re producing the result the want to produce.

  4. Marcus Lindroos on

    > For a “wartime” incumbent president to be statistically
    > tied with his challenger in most polls bodes very
    > poorly for Mr. Bush — particularly before the
    > debates, when Mr. Kerry is still far less well-known
    > than the president.
    Yeah. Sigh. But I still get that creeping feeling we Demo sympathizers may underestimate the power of deceptive, abstract emotional arguments versus reason.
    Liberal TIMES columnist Joe Klein summarizes “Shrub’s” consistent Iraq message as follows:
    “Saddam was a threat. The world is a safer place now that he’s in jail. We must attack the terrorists before they attack us. Freedom has the “transformational power” to make the world a better place. We’re not conquerors; we’re agents of freedom. There’s a lot of violence in Iraq, I understand that, but Iraq now has a strong Prime Minister, National Council, and elections are scheduled in January.”
    All these are points which either are unprovable abstracts, or true in a vague, general sort of way. “Shrub” is of course carefully avoiding embarrassing _specifics_ such as Abu Ghraib et al.. But it is still a consistent, concise, minimalist message. It is also more appealing than the truth. If you question the President’s rosy assessment, then you are “sending a mixed message to our enemies”, “showing weakness”, “lack of determination”, “indulging in pessimist defeatism” etc..
    Now, at *some* point even Republican voters will realize just how bad things are in Iraq and how numerous screw-ups there have been under this Administration. But it has not happened yet despite an avalanche of bad, embarrassing news.
    Sure, Kerry is a good debater but so is Bush, in his own twisted sort of way. I read the Kerry camp got three debates in return for making concessions in the all-important first debate on foreign policy. There will be limited opportunity for follow-up questions, for example. I suspect “Shrub” will try to reiterate the usual cliches while trying to avoid getting caught in the unpleasant specifics of the Iraqi situation.
    I am just hoping “Shrub” encounters something he didn’t expect; he doesn’t handle surprising questions/answers very well at all…

  5. Dana on

    Smooth, I have to disagree. I wouldn’t dispute that Bush’s DWI had a non-zero impact, but I would say that it was a different type of event in a significant way.
    The Wellstone memorial was a case where something that should have been a nonpartisan display of statewide grief turned first into a misguided impromptu plea for Democratic support, and then into a full-blown messy embarrassment with national repercussions. There was nothing to turn it into a he-said-she-said situation: poorly chosen words were said for the world to see, and the fallout came naturally. Everyone knew it was a political silver lining (following a horrible week) that turned into a PR disaster, never mind the human story. Voter turnout was much higher than expected, but the strong GOP tilt of it surprised all sides.
    By comparison, Bush’s DWI story could be qualified as a “let bygones be bygones” incident from a remorseful man’s past. Better still for Bush, it could be portrayed as a last-minute hatchet job undeserving of a presidential race. So, yes, while it surely cost him a few votes, it was simply a different type of negative story. I don’t recall a surprise swell of voters showing up to express their disdain over the story. Thus I wouldn’t call the two stories poll-busters on an equal scale.

  6. Smooth Jazz on

    I detect you’re being a little facetious, so let me try again. People knew about GWB foibles all during the 2000 campaign, in part because most or all of this came up during his run for Governor.
    My point was this: There is ancedotal evidence that last minute undecideds and wavering GWB supporters either didn’t vote or voted for Gore on the basis of the last minute drunken driving story – And that Gallup did not catch this last minute drop off in their pre-election day polls.
    The point being made repeatedly on this board is that Gallup way WAY OFF in their final polling of the 2000 election that had GWB up by 2 points. My point is that the last minute charge may have knocked 1 – 2 points off his popular vote count. If you evidence to the contrary, please post.

  7. wilder on

    Right, Smooth Jazz — because no one suspected Bush had skeletons in his closet before. Certainly not that Laura Bush had killed someone with her car when she was a teenager, or that Bush failed at every business he’d tried, or that he never served in Vietnam, or that he was a recovering alcoholic. Nope — one drunk-driving revelation was enough to sully Bush’s squeaky-clean image and make him lose the popular vote.

  8. Smooth Jazz on

    Excellent point Dana,
    The Wellstone memorial arguably turned many swing voters against the Dems and to Coleman at the last minute, and it would have been very difficult for Zogby or anyone else to capture the impact that quickly.
    In many ways, this also happened to GWB in 2000 when last minute revelations about his 30 year drunken driving charge appeared to depress his popular vote count. Many people have suggested Gallup blew the 2000 election because they had GWB ahead by 2 points in their last poll – Without acknowledging that the last minute revelation may have knocked a couple of points off GWB that Gallup could not have captured.
    In much the same way that I agree with you regarding the MN 2002 Senate race, the same logic can be applied to the 2000 Presidential race and the accuracy of Gallup’s last poll.

  9. cloudy on

    If Reagan was portrayed as a flipflopper in 1980 — I don’t remember that — it certainly wasn’t a central theme and mantra as now. It is true that running against an incumbent is different; usually the incumbent has an advantage, even if people have doubts. But it is FALSE to think of this election simply as a referendum on Bush. Kerry rightly would like it to be so, but as often as not, the election become a referendum on the challenger.
    The parrallel to Dukakis is tactical. When a negative spin is put out repeatedly, and reinforced and barely critiqued in the mainstream press, and NOT COUNTERED by the target of the spin IN A FORCEFULLY EFFECTIVE AND TIMELY WAY, the results are deadly. Remember that in the case of Dukakis, he was ahead by 8% or more at the time of the Democratic convention, so the issue of incumbency cannot explain the shift after that. What DID drive the election was his failure to respond effectively, or Dukakissing, which is what the Kerry campaign has done also.
    Regardless of the specific campaign, incumbency or no, elections can be manipulated as in the case of Cleland, Minnesota -02 (especially with the memorial service and its aftermath), and, for that matter 2000. When in response to a question from some wiseguy reporter who hadn’t gotten with the program, it was revealed that Bush didn’t even know who the heads of state of India and Pakistan were, he was covered for in the press and by spin doctory down to the astroturf roots. In one NY Times oped piece, the writer actually suggested that JFK might not have known the names of four “obscure” world leaders (Nehru???) in 1960! In the Gore/Bush debates, of which I saw a large portion of the replay of the crucial first one last nite, much was made of Gore’s alleged rudeness BY THE TALKING HEADS in the media, especially following the debates. Actually, most of those polled thought Gore won, but Gore’s popularity subsequently declined. Gore laughed at one point at Bush’s suggestion that the Republicans would make the federal tax system MORE progressive, and even the moderator chuckled for a second, on camera. Later Bush tried laughing to create a sense of being at ease. It was the dutiful spinning of the debate, the media justifying the lying, that was decisive. And seeing which way the machine weathervane is pointed is a much better predictor of elections than all the conventional logic about incumbency, poll weighting, etc. emphasized here. Don’t get me wrong — I don’t ignore those factors as possibilities, and I watch the polls closely, just in case, but I don’t lose sight of the biggest factor– the elephant in the room; like the proverbial Lola, what the machine wants, the machine gets.

  10. Dana on

    Smooth, I have to add (challenge might be a better word) one thing about your critique of the accuracy of the 2002 polling, especially in Minnesota. The Wellstone memorial rally and the unfortunate backlash it provoked was impossible to anybody to measure effectively, given that it came so soon before the election. It caught many people by surprise, so I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that Zogby “turned” Democratic.

  11. EDM staff on

    Reminder on Posting Policy
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  12. Toes on

    Has there ever been a political event in the last 30 years where the stakes are higher than Thursday’s debate?
    I’m convinced that unless JK wipes the floor with Bush, that the polls will turn in Bush’s favor. Kerry must be aggressive and cannot be deferential. This may be our only chance to turn things around.
    I only hope that there are advisors coaching the candidate who are not from the Shrum/Cahill circle of influence. If their camp is handling the preparation, we are *%#@^$.

  13. accommodatingly on

    Iowa and Wisconsin look like uphill climbs for Kerry, Wisconsin more so than Iowa. On the other hand several red states– not just Florida– consistently go for Bush in recent polls by only 1-2%, and never show him above about 48%; a 1-2% national shift, if reflected in state polls, would not only firm up Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Maine, but create a tie or give Kerry a tiny lead in Nevada, Colorado, and possibly Arkansas. (New Hampshire seems to be Kerry’s even now, though no one can be sure.) Kerry has work to do, sure, but it’s the same kind of work all successful challengers have done— consider Reagan in 1980.

  14. Mark on

    You cannot make comparisons with this election and those with Bush1/Dukakis or Bush2/Gore (even though many have). Those two elections did not include an incumbent. This election, when it comes right down to it, is a referendum on the Bush’s term. The dynamics of elections with and without an incumbent are entirely different; if you are gonna compare historically, compare Carter/Reagan. Reagan was slightly behind in the polls even though there was a dismal economy and a bad scene in the Middle East (sound familiar) — mainly because the Dems were successful at painting Reagan as a flip-flopper and not a strong alternative. Well, on Election Day, Reagan received more than 450 electoral votes.

  15. Bel on

    Has anyone given thought to the magnitude of the task which faces Kerry in Jan? Its one thing to get elected but the work really begins in Jan.
    Bush has the world so messed up that Kerry will have one heck of a task doing corrective surgery. Add this to the fact that media and the GOP will lend him hell at every turn. They will oppose every breath that he takes. Kerry will age 10 years in his first term.
    I hope that the machinery will remain in place long after the elections are over to lend support and to enable Kerry to get his programs executed.
    What a daunting task lays ahead in Jan.. better him than me.

  16. Smooth Jazz on

    Nonmorons, Sky, Patriot (You missed GWB up by 9 in AP 9/24 poll), beerwulf, et al.,
    Thanks for responding to my posting, but you all fail to mention that last minute drunken GWB stories arguably held down his 2000 popular vote – And that Gallup was in fact very close at the end. And Patriot, the only chutzpah I see is your contention that CBS & Gallup should be completely ignored in favor of Dem polls such as Demo Corp & Zogby, and not averaged into the mix. Ignore these polls at your peril.
    You also fail to note that Zogby has turned increasingly Dem in recent years and was way off in his polling of key 2002 Senate races: He had Cleland (GA), Mondale (MN) and Carnahan (MO) all winning, in some cases by sizebale margins, and they ALL ended up losing.
    You also fail to mention that relatively small popular vote margins will generally translate into comfortable Electoral College victories. To wit: A popular vote margin of 3-5 points will typically mean 300 or more EC votes.
    So GWB is up by 4 not 10 or 11 – It still means Kerry is behind – Whoppee for Kerry!!! He’s still trailing and is counting on more dead US soldiers to carry him to victory. Rooting against our forces and the people of Iraq to get elected is not an enviable position to be in.
    A final note: notwitstanding that this is a Dem site, NO ONE has explained this simple fact: Kerry MUST win one of the larger, or multiple smaller such as NH AND WV, red states to get in. Recent polls, on average, have him BEHIND by 7 in OH & FLA, his best opportunity to pick up enough Electoral Votes to overcome GWB’s 2000 margin. In fact, ALL recent polls suggest that while GWB is ahead in ALL red states, Kerry is 6 – 10 points behind in IA & WIS, and is even at best in NM, MN and NJ.
    If I see Kerry ahead in either OH or FLA, and/or gain traction in WIS and/or IA, then I will concede Kerry is doing well. You have the mainstream press, from CBS, NBC, CNN, Assoc Press, ABC, etc. flacking for Kerry for 6 months and he’s still trailing. All you have at this point is a hope and a prayer.

  17. cloudy on

    NO, actually smoothjazz has a point. There have been numerous polls, including STATEWIDE polls showing Kerry is in trouble in Iowa and Wisconsin, and is struggling in those two states. Also, the flipflop spin, always studiously avoided countering about Kerry both by his campaign and in the media has been so amplified that Kerry’s negatives are even higher than Bush’s in a number of polls. Elections are only winnable in the absence of such a one-sided inculcation of a fatuous spin, like the Willie Horton ads of 88. Dukakis was was AHEAD and that destroyed him — so even with Bush’s terrible record and most people favoring a different direction, the machine is having its way with the Cleland/Wellstone syndrome, then to be used, like the stolen 2000 election, as an ultramandate. At some point the whole veil of machine politics and the justifying of the lying has to be pierced for ANY sort of progressive majority to have a chance to regain the three branches of government. You can’t win soccer on a vertical playing field

  18. gene on

    If there is a story in all the polls coming out, it’s the polls themselves, and not the results. The results make very little sense from one to the next. I am no expect but from what I’m reading it seems that polling methods are badly outdated and pollsters have not made the changes to adapt to contemporary lifestyles. I wonder why, after the inaccurate polling for the 2000 election, changes haven’t been made in polling methods? Perhaps nobody has figured out a good way to get a representive sample in today’s world? I wonder, are polls going to lose all credibility if Kerry wins?

  19. Mtn Dan on

    Check out this research document about the radical right:
    “…This report documents the development of the New Right, its ideology and its strategy. In particular, it explains how the Right exploits single issues and manipulates religious faith to direct workers into voting for candidates who are a threat to their economic interests. Hopefully, this summary can serve as a framework for a larger, continuing discussion on how to challenge and defeat the Right…”
    Note the Radical Right is not the true GOP, but an outside group who invaded the GOP.

  20. Mark on

    There WILL be a landslide in this election. It just won’t be Bush who comes out on the winning end. I am becoming increasingly convinced that Kerry will win by a comfortable, if not dramatic, electoral margin on Nov. 2. And if the polls continue to show Bush with a comfortable lead, the pollsters’ credibility will finally be dead. Gone. Kaput.
    This is not just wishful thinking; I am basing this on a variety of current trends, historical patterns and by simply crunching the numbers. For a “wartime” incumbent president to be statistically tied with his challenger in most polls bodes very poorly for Mr. Bush — particularly before the debates, when Mr. Kerry is still far less well-known than the president. The fact is, incumbent presidents do not win elections with 49% approval ratings; with voters (by a 20-point margin) consistently saying the country is on the wrong track vs. the right track; when the economy is poor and jobs are scarce; and when the opposing party is registering people in swing states at a rate 10 times greater than his own.
    The fact is, despite what the mainstream media keeps repeating, Bush, not Kerry, is the underdog in this election.

  21. gabby hayes on

    So far the polls indicate that Gallup is likely to miss the election by even more than they did last time, and that they were just as far off plumb this time four years ago as they are now.
    That’s apparent from their data then and now.
    I’m not sure who or what they are ultimately serving, but it is not a devotion to accuracy.

  22. beerwulf on

    Smoothjazz, watch the race get even closer. I spent today walking neighborhoods for Kerry, and we only found two Bush voters out of the whole neighborhood. One of them was very short-tempered, and the other one looked really sheepish. I realize that Bush has his supporters, but the ones I’ve come into contact with aren’t really happy with his ham-handed administration.

  23. Patriotforkerry on

    You have got to give these GOP types credit for chutzpah. Their latest spin, based on the dubious and discredited polling methodologies of Gallup and CBS, is now despite all the evidend from the contrary from other poll results (except Gallup and CBS) “Kerry is on the brink of facing a landslide”.
    Yeah, right.
    Excluding the joke polling from CBS and Gallup, let’s review the emerging “Bush landslide” from the latest national polls (LVs):
    FOX/Opinion Dynamics 9/22 45 43 Bush ahead by 2
    Democracy Corps (D) 9/21 49 49 Tied
    Zogby 9/19 47 44 Bush ahead by 3
    IBD/CSM/TIPP 9/18 46 43 Bush ahead by 3
    GWU Battleground 9/16 49 45 Bush ahead by 4
    Democracy Corps (D) 9/14 49 48 Bush ahead by 1
    And here are latest string of polls based on RVs:
    Time 9/23 48 44 Bush ahead by 4
    NBC/Wall Street Journal 9/19 49 46 Bush ahead by 3
    IBD/CSM/TIPP 9/18 44 43 1 Bush ahead by 1
    Right now the all the polls (excluding CBS and Gallup) are showing a Bush lead from 0 to 4 points. Wow. That’s really going to be some Bush landslide, alright.
    The real story over the past couple of weeks is how the so-called Bush bounce is dead on arrival and that Kerry’s escalating attacks on Dubya’s disaterous Iraq policy are hitting their target. When you look at how dangerously high Bush’s disapproval ratings are at the moment, it’s got to be very cold comfort for GOPers when they are not over here trying to put the best face on their troubles.
    4 more months!

  24. nonmoronsforkerry on

    For Smooth Jazz, your offerings are based more on wishful thinking than an objective analysis of modern polling.
    As has been the case cited in major corporate polls done in this campaign season, and stated repeatedly on this site, CBS and AP polls are weighted unrealistically based on recent voting patterns. To discount their findings is not to only wise, but necessary, in getting at the truth. The Gallup poll, for instance, has Bush out to some kind of lead of 10 points or more at any given time. In the year 2000, only ten days before the election George W. Bush had a 13 point lead over Al Gore. Even though more credible polls (e.g., American Resarch Group with a 95% polling accuracy) will likely show John Kerry with a lead, growing larger toward election day, Gallup, CBS, CNN, USA Today, NBC, and ABC will all show Bush with a lead anywhere from 5-10 points and they will all be wrong. This isn’t because I want them to be wrong; it was their record in 2000 and they are using the same methodologies.
    Further, there are dynamics at play in this election that you and most other Republicans merrily ignore. A review of the turnout in the Democratic primaries should make any pollster nervous in trying to pin down voter turnout. The fact that millions of voters will turn out to vote against Bush, not necessarily for Kerry, is a factor missing for Republicans. John Kerry will never evoke the same passion of dislike in Republicans that George W. Bush evokes in Democrats and many swing voters.
    Additionally, many polls do not show a true picture of the youth vote who mostly communicate via cell phones vs. land lines. Since John Kerry has a significant lead with people under 30 and more young people are forecasted to turn out to vote than ever before, this trump card is being largely ignored.
    Although there are currently less than 10% undecided voters in any poll, it is well known that 85% of undecided voters trend against the incumbent on election day.
    Incumbent presidents who do not have substantial leads in elections usually lose. This is plain fact.
    Plus while you may consider John Kerry to be “shrill,” you might be surprised that the majority of this country is excited by his recent criticism of the most dangerous person ever to sit in the White House.

  25. bruhrabbit on

    One final note: If Kerry is becoming shrill, it must be working b/c even the worse polls for him is showing tightening race. Remember just last week where it was 13 pts as the worse for him.

  26. Sky on

    Ruy hasn’t ignored CBS; it’s posted below this one. His whole point is showing the dynamics of this race. Remember that Bush was supposedly up by 12 points in 2000 only then to lose the popular vote. We know that Ruy is partisan, but the intelligence of this site is that it doesn’t conform to the coventional wisdom and instead looks at emperical data. While clearly you are partisan, Mr Jazz, Kerry’s rhetoric has been neither shrill or churlish. Instead, Democrats would argue, it has been forceful and intelligent. And the idea that the PM of Iraq has anything to do with the War on Terror is the very mistake that Mr. Bush has been making since he unwisely invaded Iraq. Bin Laden, anyone?

  27. bruhrabbit on

    Re: Registered voters
    I said this in another post, but something seems a bit off to me about the registered voter counts that are coming out by CBS and others. The reason I mention this is that at least in the battleground states the numbers dont seem to agree with the national poll where newly registered democrats are outstripping republicans (and I thought these polls were not testing for likely voters- just registered ones so they should be picking up on these new registrations (I know they don’t do this always) but I at least thought there would be some sign in the polls of an untick. Can anyone explain this to me? I mean by a lot. I am wondering if we are headed toward a reverse of 2000’s outcome.

  28. Smooth Jazz on

    Ruy & Team,
    I must commend you for your tenacity and passion in support of your candidate. Everyone agrees that intensity and enthusiasm will be key this year, as it is in all close elections. And you are certainly doing your part to motivate the base.
    But, in recent days, you’ve ignored 2 RV polls (by CBS and AP) which show GWB up by 8 or more, while posting with extensive commentary polls by ARG, Demo Corp and Zogby Interactive indicating a dead heat race – It’s as if Zogby premium subscribers, Demo Corp and ARG respondents should be trusted to reflect public opinion, while the combined 2000 people polled by AP & CBS are not to be trusted.
    At the same time, I see very little commentary on a significant dynamic occurring at this stage in the race: That GWB is comfortably ahead in red states and a few blue states according to most polls, while Kerry is struggling in many key blue states.
    Non political junkies who come to this site will get the impression that Kerry is tied or ahead, when in fact he’s on the brink of facing a landslide.
    To turn things around he’s become increasingly churlish and shrill; And is in the uneviable position of having to trash perhaps our most important ally in the War on Terror to get elected. Not a pretty picture from the challenger’s perspective.


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