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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Gallup Poll Gives Bush Only a 2 Point Bounce

I think those of us who have expressed skepticism about the results of the Time and Newsweek polls can consider ourselves vindicated. The new Gallup poll, conducted entirely after the GOP convention and therefore the first poll that truly measures Bush’s bounce, shows Bush with a very modest bounce indeed: 2 points, whether you look at RVs or LVs. His support among RVs has risen from 47 percent before to 49 percent after the convention, so that he now leads Kerry by a single point (49-48) rather than trailing by a point.
But that’s it. Contrast Bush’s 49-48 lead among RVs in this poll to Time‘s 50-42 Bush lead and, especially, Newsweek‘s 54-43 Bush lead in the same matchup. Quite a difference.
Note also that Bush’s 2 point bounce from his convention (which, remember, is defined as the change in a candidate’s level of support, not in margin) is the worst ever received by an incumbent president, regardless of party, and the worst ever received by a Republican candidate, whether incumbent or not (see this Gallup analysis for all the relevant historical data). In 2000, Bush received an 8 point bounce. And even his hapless father received a 5 point bounce in 1992.
So that’s the big story, right–Bush got a disappointingly small bounce and the earlier Time/Newsweek polls got it wrong about the bounce and how well Bush is doing. Nope, not if you’re writing stories at USA Today. You dasn’t contravene the current CW about the campaign (Bush surges ahead!) no matter what your own data says.
That’s why we get a story like this one, “Bush leads Kerry by 7 points“, which prominently features the LV results (where Bush does have a 7 point lead) and resolutely refuses to dwell on Bush’s historically poor result from his convention or on his almost non-existent lead among RVs.
Instead, the article goes on to discuss some results from the poll that look pretty good for Bush and, of course, allow Matthew Dowd to spin the poll’s results in the GOP’s direction.
As usual, of course, Dowd does a pretty good job of spnning the poll (we gained more than we expected!), which is then followed by a very weak reply from Mark Mellman where he essentially says the GOP’s gains from the convention will fade. That’s not the right reply. The right reply is what gains and and how very disappointed the GOP must be in their historically poor performance.
But this is a persistent problem: Dowd and the people behind him relentlessly spin every poll and feed journalists various mini-analyses (can we call them “analysisoids”?) that purport to show how great Bush is doing relative to expectations, historical patterns, etc. and how bogus any poll is that shows Kerry doing well. Where are the Democrats on this one? The occasional lame quote from Mellman is not enough to outgun Dowd in this particular part of the political debate.
I don’t know whether Mellman just can’t matchup with Dowd in this department or if he simply doesn’t have the time to come up with good stuff or whether he needs a team of people monitoring the polls and coming up with analysisoids that he (or someone) can then retail to the media. Whatever the problem, it’s time the Democrats found a solution so that Dowd no longer has this particular field all to himself.
End of rant. Let me mention a few other results from the Gallup poll that suggest the relative ineffectiveness of the GOP convention.
Bush’s acceptance speech, which the media fawned over so ostentatiously, was not rated any better by the public than was Kerry’s–in fact, it received slightly worse ratings. Kerry’s acceptance speech was rated excellent by 25 percent and good by 27 percent; Bush’s was rated excellent by 22 percent and good by 27 percent.
In terms of whether the Republican convention made voters more or less likely to vote for Bush–the real point of the convention after all–there were almost as many saying the convention made them less likely to vote for Bush (38 percent) as said it made them more likely (41 percent).
This is actually quite a poor performance. The Democratic convention this year had a substantially better 44 percent more likely/30 percent less likely split. In fact, looking back to 1984, which is as far back as Gallup supplies data, no candidate has ever had a more likely to vote for/less likely to vote for split even close to as bad as Bush’s this year.
Well, what about the tone of the convention? Do voters think the Republicans got that one right? Nope. Just 39 percent think the GOP maintained the right balance between criticizing the Democrats and saying positive things about themselves, compared to 50 percent who think they spent too much time criticizing the Democrats. By contrast, in 2000, 45 percent thought the GOP maintained the right balance in their convention, compared to 38 percent who thought they spent too much time criticizing.
But this unfavorable judgement on tone for the GOP this year is not without precedent. In 1992, just 26 percent thought the Republicans maintained the right balance in their convention, compared to 56 percent who thought they spent too much time criticizing.
Sounds like W is going down the same road trod by his father. Let’s hope it produces the same result on election day.

63 comments on “Gallup Poll Gives Bush Only a 2 Point Bounce

  1. Susan Elwell on

    I wish you had a forwarding mechanism on your web site–I know these polls were off and I couldn’t find any supporting material–this is great and I would send it around if I could.
    Also the name of the site is not good–one small error in spelling and you don’t find the site–Please improve–
    I got here through 2ist Century Dems.

  2. Marcus Lindroos on

    > I absolutely agree with you: a terror attack would
    > be the last nail in the Kerry campaign’s coffin.
    > Which is why I believe it will not happen since Bush
    >is a godsend to the Bin Laden crew.
    Er, shouldn’t the risk of an attack actually be *HIGHER* in that case?? I suspect bin Laden does not care that much about whether a Republican or Democrat is in charge. But I certainly agree that “Shrub” has been a very Useful Idiot since he has committed 150,000 troops to overthrowing a secular dictator with few or no ties to Al Qaeda. As a by-product of this mind-bogglingly stupid decision, Al Qaeda is regrouping in Afghanistan while anti-American sentiments in the Arab world are at an all time high. Virtually all troops are committed right now. If I were Osama, I would be absolutely delighted, for sure… So I don’t see any obvious downside to Islamist interests, if Al Qaeda manages to launch a successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It would be a big P.R. coup for the terrorists *and* it would virtually ensure four mour years of direct influence of the neo-conservative/religious right on U.S. foreign policy. What more could Osama ask for! It is becoming increasingly clear that Iraq is a lost case anyway; Al Qaeda (and Iran’s Islamist leadership) clearly has little to fear there.
    > (Bin Laden & co. might think an attack on, say,
    > October 30th might produce the same result.
    > Which it definetely wouldn’t.)
    Mickey Kaus has made a fairly convincing case that “rational” Al Qaeda terrorists probably prefer “Shrub” to JFK for the reasons given above… On the other hand, Kausfiles also suspect the local terrorist groups in Iraq may well prefer a Kerry presidency since they want to drive out the U.S. troops stationed there. Hence these groups would presumably prefer to create more violence and unrest in Iraq, because it would quite probably focus attention on this Administration’s poor handling of the Iraq mess…

    My main regret with Kerry is that it has proved rather difficult for him to exploit the President’s many weaknesses. Iraq? “I voted before it before voting against it”, and Kerry tries to keep loose formation with the current failed policies since he cannot afford to be tarred as an unelectable anti-war softie a la Howard Dean. The economy? Somewhat better, but here the problems are so big it is difficult to propose radically better ideas regarding how to reduce the federal deficit, create more jobs etc.. As a result of all this, “Shrub” et al. are able to divert far too much criticism from the hard facts and figures of the past four years. I still think Kerry is the best we’ve got, but he does have some big weaknesses.
    > Speaking of Kitty Kelley: I’d caution all the
    > Democrats about premature delight. First off, the
    > whole nation knows that George was a
    > good-for-nothing then (and half the nation knows
    > that he still is).
    Maybe — but socially conservative religious folks tend to be an unforgiving bunch. Remember Jim(?) Ryan’s failed bid for the Senate? The Illinois GOP faithful abandoned him in droves once it became clear he (reportedly) had tried to persuade his wife to have sex in public in a Paris porn club.
    It seems Karl Rove always laments the millions of Christian voters who reportedly did not show up on election day in November 2000. The theory is they were put off by Bush’s old scandals in the 1970s. The same thing might happen again.

  3. gabby hayes on

    I should mention that they own Newsweek via NBC News, which is why you see the joint venture of Newsweek and MSNBC on the msnbc/newsweek site.
    A defense contractor controls Newsweek, and GE is one of the most active corporations in the political realm. Major lobbyists and major money spread around.

  4. gabby hayes on

    Donna Brazil and Dee Dee Meyers sucks.
    Can we get some good spokespeople?
    Brazil is occasionally OK, but Meyers always sucks.
    If you ever wondered whether corporate media were behind Bush, you only need watch the frenzy the past 4 days shilling the polls that were openly, patently flawed. You’d maybe they were owned by defense contractors or something.
    gov defense contracts

  5. Ed on

    gabby is right we need some hard hitters. Today, The Dems had Donna Brazil on Inside Politics and DeDe Myers on Chris Mathews. Both Soft ballers.

  6. Jeff on

    This is September.
    There’s really nothing to talk about except polls.
    The truth is that we’re doing very well.
    Considering the “guns of August,” where Bush spent $50 million to our zero. Where we had to contend with a swift boat smear. Where we had the Republican convention. The best Bush can do is one or two points up.
    Anyway you look at it, it’s bad.
    The talking heads have gotten their memos from the Bush Administration. They are now complying with their masters.
    The fundementals remain the same: we will win this election.

  7. gabby hayes on

    Because polls matter, both in reality and in the manner they influence money, direction, enthusiasm, perception, and ultimately voting.
    We ARE talking about issues.
    If polls make your head hurt, why are you reading this topic, which is about polls?


    I wish everyone would stop talking about polls and how Bush and Kerry are running their campaigns.
    Why doesn’t the media talk about how Bush and Kerry differ on the issues? That’s what we want to hear. That’s what the undecided voters NEED to hear!

  9. gabby hayes on

    Mark Mellman’s comments were good, but has he ever heard of using bullets or summaries? Too wordy. It exposes a key problem we have had: we talk too much and don’t hammer points well enough.
    I could bitch slap these guys when I see them on TV giving a weak response. Come out of your chair and call them LIARS, guys.
    The pubs are all a bunch of posers, even Arnold. Challenge these candy asses. Send in Bob Beckel. He knows how to street fight. Send in Carville, Begala, and Epstein.
    If I never see or hear Devine or Cahill on TV, it will be too soon. Ditto Susan Ostrich.

  10. tony on

    The latest Zogby interactive poll of the battleground states is in, covering 8/30-9/3. The good news…It shows Bush carrying no state that Gore carried, whereas Kerry gets 4 Bush states, New Hampshire, Nevada, Missouri, and Florida.
    The bad news…it gives Bush a lead of over 10%, outside the margin of error, in Ohio. And Kerry’s leads in Florida, Missouri, and Nevada are less than 1%.
    I don’t know how much we can draw from interactive state polls, but at least the spin can be that if the vote went this way, Kerry would win the election.

  11. John Mcc. on

    That WAS my third biggest bitch
    Looks like Kerry perhaps panic too strong, but what’s the next lower degree of angst??
    Angst is good
    A 5 point lead would be better

  12. gabby hayes on

    BANDAR BUSH delivers as Fahrenheit 9/11 said:
    [be sure to read the very last sentence]
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. oil prices eased on Tuesday as the head of the OPEC cartel said markets were well-supplied with crude and traders continued to take profits from this year’s 40 percent rally.
    U.S. light crude for October delivery (CLV4: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 68 cents a barrel to end at $43.31 on its first day of trade this week on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The NYMEX was closed on Monday for the long Labor Day weekend.
    London Brent crude (LCOV4: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 14 cents to end at $40.76 a barrel, following a 61-cent drop on Monday.
    Traders said higher production from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is helping to ease concern about tight world supplies, especially in Iraq.
    OPEC President Purnomo Yusgiantoro said in Sydney that global markets had an oversupply of about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil. Cartel ministers meet on Sept. 15 to set supply policy for the fourth quarter.
    “If you look at the supply and demand balance, the world has enough oil,” Yusgiantoro told reporters at an industry conference. “Why is the price so high? It’s the political premium.”
    Top world oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is estimated to have pumped 9.5 million bpd in August, up 250,000 bpd from July.
    The kingdom, which has pledged to supply customers with all the oil they want to stem this year’s price rally, slashed prices for westbound October-loading crude in an effort to entice buyers to take the shipments.

  13. Ed on

    Missy Aspasia, these religious/neocon fanatics running around with there purple heart Band/Aids; are not these the same ones telling us how much Jesus loves us? Maybe there God is Satin and they don’t know it.

  14. gabby hayes on

    The Newsweek poll was a hard, hard push poll.
    Respondents were pushed to pick someone even if they were merely leaning.
    It was designed to get the result it got, and that is the problem with big media having trained monkeys for their “outside” pollsters.

  15. Missy Aspasia on

    You can make a poll say anything that you want a poll to say. The “bounce” that Bushie got from the convention speaks to the division within the Republican party. I saw more than one neocon/religious fanatic say, when interviewed, that Republicans should agree with all the platform positions, or “get out of the party”. This represents a huge opportunity for the Democrats to divide and conquer. The polls were rigged to tell the wavering Republicans that Bushie has enough support that they don’t really need the “big tent abortionists/ gays / peacenicks / etc…….

  16. gabby hayes on

    Kerry is a captive of his on complexity, his own intellect. He still can’t understand why everything cannot be explained at this stage.
    All but maybe 10% of the electorate have made up their minds. Knowing how that 10% buys marketing of political thought is imperative to selling them.
    Kerry has been trying to sell them like they already know what is going on, like they will respond to 10 minute explanations.
    20 million jobs gained under Clinton
    2 million jobs lost under Bush
    Simple, simple, simple comparisons!
    Balanced budget and surplus under Clinton
    Record debt and deficit under Bush
    Bush lied about WMD.
    Bush is lying about job creation.
    Bush hid out in the Guard, didn’t show up.
    Kerry volunteered, went and fought.
    Bush has increased spending 11% per year.
    Clinton increased spending 3% per year.

  17. Jeff on

    Dennis you’re right.
    Not only do most “likely voter” polls discount Democrats, they then say that this group won’t vote. So that’s why Democratic numbers are so low.
    The Bush campaign doesn’t believe that they are way ahead. That’s why they are attacking. Even now.
    As for the rest of you who argue that Kerry has to “beef up” his foreign policy credentials. I still say, and have been saying since the Democratic convention, that this is a stupid mistake.
    The purpose of this tactic would not be based on anything scientific or even strategic or tactical. It will be based on pride.
    Kerry was a war hero, and believes that he is better than Bush on foreign affairs. Fine. I agree with this statement. He will have the opportunity to prove this once he is President.
    However, to become President, he has to define the election on issues that are favorable to the Democratic Party. Those issues are not foreign affairs.
    I think Kerry is now getting it right. I don’t necessarily mean there should be a black-out on all foreign affairs issues. Only a better definition on what they mean to this campaign by Kerry.
    Example, Kerry yesterday blasted the costs of the Iraq war. He demonstrated how such money was a waste and how this money could have been used for just about anything else more effectively.
    This is EXACTLY how he should approach it. If Kerry tries to come out with a competing doctrine or foreign policy philosophy he will lose.
    Because in the minds of people, Kerry – at his best – only ties Bush on the issues of foreign affairs. Once President, he may change that perception. But now, that’s the perception that exists.
    What you must understand is that most people already think Bush is kind of crazy. They already think that Iraq was a mistake. But Kerry is untested. People are unsure of what he will do. Thus, it’s better to stay with the devil you know.
    So if he were to come out blasting on foreign affairs, this is what would happen: he would keep in the news an issue that most people THINK that Bush will be better in. THINK being the operative word.
    A campaign will not change that perception. It was naive of us to believe it would.
    Many Democrats, I believe, want this to become a dominant issue for selfish reasons. They want Bush’s illegal war repudiated by the voters in the election. This would somehow delegitimize the war in history.
    However, what many of you fail to consider is this: that if Bush loses, it will be blamed on Iraq (at least partly). Regardless of the campaign we run.
    Once President, Kerry will have the opportunity to prove that Bush’s war and foreign policy was a failure by virtue of Kerry’s own success in that area.
    If Kerry, as President, manages to repair International Relations, and make serious inroads in the fight against terrorism. Stop the proliferation of WMD’s, etc. People will see that Kerry’s approach to foreign affairs is better than Bush’s.
    The same was true of Clinton and the economy. Before 1992, most Americans thought the Democrats were bad at economic management as well. No one thinks that anymore. Bush only highlighted how bad the Republicans are at managing the economy.
    The economy is our MAJOR strength. We have credibility on the issue. That’s why we need to keep the issues focused on the economy and a domestic agenda. That’s how we win.
    Once in office, Kerry will then have the opportunity to change things for the better with respect to foreign affairs.
    If he succeeds, my friends there will be a new Democratic majority.
    Many of you may think that I am down on Kerry. I am not. I know what I know. This is how the world changes for us.

  18. bakho on

    Zogby is calling Bush up by 2% and says why Newsweek is wrong.
    Of course Bush was going to gain with Kerry having to keep his ammo dry during August and Bush letting the dogs out. Now Kerry is past the most dangerous zone, he can buy ads again and the bounce from the convention and not so swifties will die down. Unfortunately, Kerry does not have the right wing media to thump Bush the way FoxBaugh can give lies about Kerry and echo chamber. That only means that we have to be more vocal with our neighbors about supporting Kerry and dissing the lies and liars. Write that letter to the editor. NOW.

  19. Dennis on

    What surprises me is the difference between registered voters and likely voters. By my math, Bush supporters are 13% more likely to vote than Kerry supporters. That doesn’t make sense to me. If anything, I would think that Kerry supporters would be more motivated then Bush supporters. Any idea why the big discrepancy on LV vs RV?

  20. tony on

    Rasmussen had a comment that his tracking poll might be a bit biased toward Kerry right now due to an odd sample from Saturday, perhaps because of the Labor Day weekend. While I’m happy with the result, I’m not sure I trust it.
    Zogby’s battleground state report is due out today at 6 pm Eastern. That should be interesting. I don’t know the schedule for the other polls.

  21. whstaff on

    todays 9/7 rasmussen shows a dead heat.
    I’m convinced the “horserace ” is returning to the status quo.
    Which means in 2 weeks we’ll be ahead again.
    Pretty clear to me that scott Rasmussen is a righty.

  22. bt on

    James Fallows’ lead article in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly (“Bush’s Lost Year” on the cover) is a juicy must read. It’s one of the better succinct cases against Bush on the national security issue I’ve seen. Unfortunately it is not online yet as far as I know.
    I like Krugman’s suggestions in his latest column on how to penetrate the myth of Bush as the sturdy war leader. Better to pick a couple of the most embarrassing, specific things Bush has done wrong and slam him hard than offer “I’d have done almost everything differently” (the soundbite I heard on the radio this AM), which suggests a soup-to-nuts post mortem analysis which may not be as inviting to most of the audience.
    Ruy, if you had your druthers as between the following two choices, would you rather be a regularly featured deconstructer of bogus polls on one of the networks or work for the Kerry campaign? I say get someone on TV to talk about the polls who knows what the hell they’re talking about instead of having clowns posing as technical polling experts let the anchors continue to spout unfounded drivel.

  23. Frenchfries on

    I absolutely agree with you: a terror attack would be the last nail in the Kerry campaign’s coffin. Which is why I believe it will not happen since Bush is a godsend to the Bin Laden crew.
    (I’m not sure, though. Because the terrorists might misinterpret the consequences their actions had in Spain. The spanish conservatives didn’t lose because of the terror attack but because of their attempts to falsely put the blame on ETA instead of Al Qaida. Bin Laden & co. might think an attack on, say, October 30th might produce the same result. Which it definetely wouldn’t.)
    Speaking of Kitty Kelley: I’d caution all the Democrats about premature delight. First off, the whole nation knows that George was a good-for-nothing then (and half the nation knows that he still is). And we lack a critical ingredient for a successful negative campaign: the media.
    Fox, CNBC, CNN & co. will never lend themselves to being an echo chamber for sad (but true) stories from George’s youth. I can already hear it: “After being decisively hurt by revelations about Kerry’s hidden Vietnam past the Democrats now hit new lows with unproven rumours about the President’s life…”
    There are some things about the world we just have to accept: The sun rises in the east. The world turns rightward. The conservatives get away with hipocrisy, slander and lies.
    We may turn up the volume. We can show decisiveness, fervour, even anger. But we only win on the issues. That’s how it is.

  24. Marcus Lindroos on

    > I hope you’re right, Gabby. (Challengers’ campaigns
    > are a sad thing, aren’t they? You’re always hoping for
    > bad news..)
    Speaking about bad news, I am increasingly convinced that a major terrorist strike on U.S. soil would be a mortal blow to the Kerry campaign…
    No, it does not make any sense on paper since the *incumbent president* is the one who has been claiming “we are safer” now. But if the recent school massacre had occured in North Dakota rather than north Ossetia, there could be horrible images of 300+ dead American schoolkids and terrorists saying “this is because you voted for Bush” (the ones in Ossetia reportedly made this statement about Vladimir Putin). Never mind that the current regime in Russia — like the U.S. President — has made several big mistakes when fighting terrorism; it simply becomes very hard for a challenger to propose a set of alternative policies in such an environment.
    Regarding the November elections, I think the outcome depends almost entirely on factors beyond the control of either camp. If the economy (jobs in particular) continues to sputter and if we continue to get moderately bad news from Iraq, I think Kerry has a chance — provided he holds his own in the debates. There are also “wild cards” such as Kitty Kelley’s upcoming book about the Bushies. Sure, it’s mostly going to be sensationalist sleaze but I hear there are some interesting claims about “Shrub” paying for a pregnant ex-girlfriend’s abortion in the early 1970s. If this stuff could be verified, it would be a huge blow to his reputation among evangelical anti-abortion christians…

  25. gabby hayes on

    The problem with the jobs numbers is that the Bush administration has lied so consistently for 3 years that they have completely falsified the true unemployment figures.
    They have simply stopped counting as unemployed millions who are no longer on benefits. That is how they keep coming up with the even more ridiculous home employed category.
    When your benefits run out, they stop counting you. How could we have 7 million more people in the job market than 3.5 years ago, 1 million few jobs, and have a 5.5 unemployment rate?
    WE CAN’T.
    Only because most of America can’t balance a checkbook or count change does this silly math sell.
    It is the most outrageous fraud perpetrated by Bush, and that is saying a lot.

  26. Frenchfries on

    I hope you’re right, Gabby. (Challengers’ campaigns are a sad thing, aren’t they? You’re always hoping for bad news..) But what do you think of the job numbers? Is Kerry’s line (that it’s just not enough) a winner?

  27. gabby hayes on

    The new polls this week should reflect downward corrections, and I believe they will be more influenced by the economic trends than the campaign rhetoric.
    The new business week is coming and Fox is pushing an upturn as the proper response to Bush’s purported lead in the polls. Yesterday Terry Keenan said so, and the congregation said “amen!”
    Oil is going down, as speculators bailed yesterday and took their profits. Gee, do you suppose said speculators might have known that within a few hours the Saudis would announce an ELECTION SALE on crude? Yeah, Bandar Bush delivered yesterday, as Michael Moore said he would in Fahrenheit 9/11.
    But we have tech down, we have insurance probably taking a hit post-hurricane, and we have Halliburton about to take a major hit on its government contract.
    I think the market will do well today to make up the 30 points it lost Friday, but it could go higher. The market will probably want to start positive, but whether it will endure the day is another issue. I do not believe this week will be a gainer, and I expect consumer confidence to be DOWN.

  28. Joe B on

    It all comes down to one thing – the political genius of Karl Rove. He dares to face the truth about mankind. Democrats don’t. They still think it’s most important to win the hearts of professors and intellectuals. What a disaster.
    The 10 Things Karl Rove Knows About The World And Why It Makes Him A Genius:
    1. It’s ALL about winning the popular vote. Go for the Ordinary Joes.
    2. People are stupid. Off with your blinders and face it.
    3. Ordinary people are even more stupid than you dare to think. Yes, more stupid.
    4. Repetition and disciplin works, intellectualism and nuance don’t. Not in the media, not in public speeches.
    5. Attack and smears work, if they aren’t countered immediately.
    6. The media love to report smears and dirty stuff. Use the media.
    6. People vote based on their feelings not on reason. Win their hearts, not just their minds.
    7. Character is more important than issues to win the hearts of people.
    8. Patriotism always works. Never accept being called “un-patriotic”. Use lots of flags.
    9. Re-frame the issues. Use language in a consistent political way. “Death tax”, “Big Government”, “Leave No Child Behind” etc etc. Or “Tax cuts for the conservative fat cat elite”. It’s ironic that GOP knows this and not DNC – which is the party of the professors and teachers after all..
    10. People are stupid and ignorant. Never forget this. It’s rule #1 in politics. We can make them smarter – by improving education etc – but FIRST we have to seize power.
    We HAVE the intellectuals and the prodessors votes and we will always have them so go for the ordinary Joe! I just want to scream this to the DNCC…..
    Democrats are such losers. Kerry should be 15 points ahead already, backed by Karl Rove he would have been.

  29. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) on

    Somewhat off topic (with my apologies):
    For those interested, I’ve posted my latest (9/6) survey of Electoral College tracking / prediction / projection / forecast sites here.
    Executive summary: Bush has regained almost all the ground he lost to Kerry in the last two months. He has about 255 to 261 electoral votes, while Kerry is at 254. Of the 48 sites surveyed, 20 show Bush winning and another 6 show him ahead. Fifteen sites show Kerry winning and 6 show him ahead. One site has the race tied. It’s most likely that Bush’s gains are not the result of a “convention bounce.”

  30. shel on

    i second your rant about the democratic response to the poll and the republicans spin of same . as a mater of fact the democrats and the kerry campaign seem to be unable to spin anything . they almost didn’t show at the republican convention to counter the venom . i am afraid we have a serious structural problem here . must be to many people who think they know what they are doing who in fact don’t .

  31. Paul on

    with all due respect to our hopes and wishes, I think we’d all do a bit better at this if we simply said: “OK, Bush has moved ahead. Just like Gore in early September 2000. Big deal– when Kerry gets back to the economy, health care, etc, this race will close. And oh by the way— in close elections– debates always have helped the challengers.
    I know Mark Mellman and i suspect that a big problem he has in answering the GOP spin is that he knows they’re mainly right– they do have a lead– no, not 12 points– but a real lead. They have won the fight in the past month or so– any fool can see that. So you can’t argue the truth.
    but you can change the facts on the ground, and that is what we have to hope. The structure of this race– hasn’t changed– voters who are frustrated with the direction of the country and not particularly confident that Bush can or will do anything about it. We have to have a candidate who stop worrying about his Vietnam credentials and national security, and starts speaking to America about what’s wrong and calls Bush to the woodshed for making it that way.
    Ruy, I appreciate your efforts, but stop arguing polls and process and start arguing message.

  32. Thomas on

    Gallup makes a comeback!
    When Gallup told us that Kerry was the first candidate to not get a bounce (the data actually showed a negative bounce) since McGovern, many were skeptical.
    But not now! Now Gallup tells us that Bush got a small bounce, so we all believe what Gallup tells us.
    The usual practice of taking one poll as just one piece of information, to be compared to the rest? That’s gone. Now one poll tells us that two similarly-conducted polls are no good.
    The rest of the analysis is similar stuff–convincing, if you’re drinking the kool-aid.

  33. accommodatingly on

    The point of the GOP convention wasn’t to give Bush a huge bounce, which I suspect the Rover knew couldn’t happen; it was to depress Kerry in the internals (strong leader, fights terror, trustworthy, etc), so that when he got pushed down around 47% (about where Kerry is now) he’d find it much harder to climb back up. Can he do it? Sure. But he’ll need our help. Kerry’s stump work is exactly right at the moment: denounce the war, change the subject to pocketbook issues, and remind people that W will say absolutely anything to win, and shouldn’t be trusted on character issues. I’m not worried about Kerry’s temperament and inclinations. I am worried about how effective his TV and radio ads turn out to be. The bad guys have, so far, a much better media team– not only in terms of quantity of ads, but in terms of quality.

  34. warp resident on

    you put too much stock in this Bush/Cheney sarcasm about Kerry’s war position. They did it for four straight days on prime time, and look where it got them. On the other hand Kerry cannot avoid facing the issue. He will be questioned on the campaign trail and he will definitely have to answer it in the debates. Frankly I don’t see what the problem is. He never said what Bush says he said. He voted to authorized the president, not to go to war. Remember that the republicans have been using the national security issue as a bludgeon for the last three years. The way they used the homeland security bill showed their MO. That doesn’t mean democrats should run away from the issue. They tried that in 2002. Kerry should and will take it head on. He can do it by exposing their shameless exploitation of 9/11 and Iraq. The simplest campaign mantra – “All they have is fear”.

  35. Elrod on

    I disagree about foreign policy. Kerry shouldn’t run from foreign policy for the simple reason that people can be scared into making WOT their #1 priority, even if they’re pissed about the economy. Any time Kerry criticizes Bush on Iraq the GOPers will respond. So what? The base of opposition to Bush is the Iraq war – the justification and the handling of it. This election will be, and should be, about Bush’s handling of Iraq. Bush made Iraq his central front in the WOT and should be judged as such. Not his boisterous rhetoric or his messianic freedom talk but his policy in action. And that’s Iraq. If voters think that the war was right, and that Bush has handled it appropriately and/or that Kerry would handle it worse than voters SHOULD go for Bush. If voters think the justication was fauty and Bush’s execution of it faulty and/or would be done better by John Kerry than voters SHOULD go for Kerry. So I am heartened by Kerry’s recent attacks on Bush over his handling of Iraq because voters want a real alternative to the horrible mismanagement there that has ultimately put America behind in the War on Terror.

  36. Jeff on

    One more thing about the Gallup poll.
    My spin would be easier.
    “This poll has Bush doing only two percent better than he was doing at the end of the Democratic convention.”
    Remember that Gallup had Bush ahead by 5% after the DNC.
    On a side note, this poll was actually very encouraging. And CNN is spinning it as bad news for Bush, which surprised me.
    Gallup has a historic 7% built-in Republican bias in their likely voter since the 2000 election. Remember that Gallup predicted that Bush would beat Gore by 7% the day before the election. Look at all the other polls in the past couple of months and look which one always stands out. The difference averages 7%.
    That means that if you take away the Gallup bias, the polls are tied. (I actually thought that Bush would be ahead of Kerry by double-digits in the Gallup)
    Then I saw that it’s “registered voter” is essentially tied between Bush and Kerry. 49 to 48%.
    This is similar to the Rassmussen and Zogby polls.
    So when more polls come out in these next couple of days – I predict it will be tied.

  37. Jeff on

    I came here to write about the Gallup poll, but feel compelled to answer those posters who argue that Kerry needs to “beef up” his foreign policy credentials. To you, I have only one question:
    Are you insane?
    The reason we’re in this mess right now is percisely because of Kerry’s talk about foreign affairs.
    Kerry could speak out about foreign affairs, and you know what: he loses.
    Take today as an example. All day his message was about the economy and jobs. But he was asked a question about Iraq and answered that “it was the wrong war against the wrong enemy.” He criticized the weak coalition Bush used.
    Then what happened?
    Bush comes out and accuses Kerry of changing his position on Iraq yet again.
    Cheney comes out and compares Kerry’s diplomacy to windsurfing.
    It’s a fight we can’t win. Because Bush won’t talk about Iraq or anything else. They’ll spin it about credibility: Bush believes in the war. That’s credible. People understand that. Whether you agree or disagree, people understand.
    Kerry? Well, he opposed the war in 1991. He supported the war in 2003. He opposed the funding of the $87 billion. He went out and said that he would have voted the same on the IWR. Now he says it was the “wrong war…”
    As many people care about the economy as care about terrorism or Iraq. Take a guess which party cares about the economy and which party cares about terrorism.
    Kerry has never been more than tied with Bush on foreign affairs.
    So for him to talk about foreign affairs yet again, would only bring to the forefront an area where Bush is strong in people’s minds.
    Hey Kerry should maybe advocate cutting taxes and/or promoting school vouchers.
    Want to know why he shouldn’t? Because people who want school vouchers or tax cuts will vote for Bush. People who don’t will vote for Kerry.
    The same is true of terrorism and/or the war. People who want a tough foreign policy. Who believe terrorists live under their beds. Who think Saddam and Osama are best buddies. These people are going to vote for Bush.
    The people who think the economy sucks. Who think health care coverage has gotten more difficult. Who are sick of their jobs going overseas. Who are tired of watching their government give away literally hundreds of billions of dollars to the wealthy while average Americans suffer. These people are going to vote for Kerry.
    How on Earth will talking about foreign affairs change any of this? It will only keep the area Bush is strong in the news. How on Earth does this benefit Kerry.
    You know what? You may believe that Kerry will be a better foreign policy leader than Bush. I believe that too. But remember this: In politics, perception is reality.
    Kerry has to demand change. That’s the only way he will win. He can’t win about change in Iraq – because he has screwed that up. So change in domestic policies it must be.
    It’s the only way we win. Anyone who tells you different doesn’t know what he/she is talking about.

  38. nob on

    I completely agree. I think Kerry has to build up the Commander & Chief credentials. He just can’t abandon this issue and concentrate on domestic issues.
    I will bet you anything that there will be a major terrorist threat coming directly from Rove’s office before the election. Kerry needs to get those terrorism/security numbers up.

  39. bakho on

    I think Kerry needs to straight out answer the Bush “flipflop charge” Kerry’s position on Iraq has been remarkably consistent. The Rove strategy is always to attack the strength of the other candidate on the idea that the candidate will not defend his strength.
    Kerry should challenge reporters to demonstrate that his position on Iraq has changed. It is Bush’s characterization of Kerry that has been flip flop all over the place. Kerry should turn this back on Bush and say that his position has always been consistent but Bush does not understand nuance and won’t listen to advice from others.
    Kerry was always in favor of using force to get Saddam to comply with the UN. That is the policy outlined in the Senate resolution. Bush went beyond the policy and invaded Iraq. Bush claims the Senate voted to invade Iraq, but they approved nothing of the sort.

  40. matt on

    kerry should lay off vietnam and use this…
    Graham book: Inquiry into 9/11, Saudi ties blocked
    WASHINGTON – Two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had a support network in the United States that included agents of the Saudi government, and the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship, Sen. Bob Graham wrote in a book to be released Tuesday.
    The discovery of the financial backing of the two hijackers ”would draw a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and trigger an attempted coverup by the Bush administration,” the Florida Democrat wrote.
    And in Graham’s book, Intelligence Matters, obtained by The Herald Saturday, he makes clear that some details of that financial support from Saudi Arabia were in the 27 pages of the congressional inquiry’s final report that were blocked from release by the administration, despite the pleas of leaders of both parties on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
    Graham also revealed that Gen. Tommy Franks told him on Feb. 19, 2002, just four months after the invasion of Afghanistan, that many important resources — including the Predator drone aircraft crucial to the search for Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda leaders — were being shifted to prepare for a war against Iraq.
    Graham recalled this conversation at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa with Franks, then head of Central Command, who was “looking troubled”:
    “Senator, we are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan.”
    ”Excuse me?” I asked.
    ”Military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq,” he continued.
    Graham concluded: ‘Gen. Franks’ mission — which, as a good soldier, he was loyally carrying out — was being downgraded from a war to a manhunt.”
    Graham, who was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from June 2001 through the buildup to the Iraq war, voted against the war resolution in October 2002 because he saw Iraq as a diversion that would hinder the fight against al Qaeda terrorism.
    He oversaw the Sept. 11 investigation on Capitol Hill with Rep. Porter Goss, nominated last month to be the next CIA director. According to Graham, the FBI and the White House blocked efforts to investigate the extent of official Saudi connections to two hijackers.
    Graham wrote that the staff of the congressional inquiry concluded that two Saudis in the San Diego area, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassan, who gave significant financial support to two hijackers, were working for the Saudi government.
    Al-Bayoumi received a monthly allowance from a contractor for Saudi Civil Aviation that jumped from $465 to $3,700 in March 2000, after he helped Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhdar — two of the Sept. 11 hijackers — find apartments and make contacts in San Diego, just before they began pilot training.
    When the staff tried to conduct interviews in that investigation, and with an FBI informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who also helped the eventual hijackers, they were blocked by the FBI and the administration, Graham wrote.
    The administration and CIA also insisted that the details about the Saudi support network that benefited two hijackers be left out of the final congressional report, Graham complained.
    Bush had concluded that ”a nation-state that had aided the terrorists should not be held publicly to account,” Graham wrote. “It was as if the president’s loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America’s safety.”
    Saudi officials have vociferously denied any ties to the hijackers or al Qaeda plots to attack the United States.
    Graham ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination and then decided not to seek reelection to the Senate this year. He has said he hopes his book will illuminate FBI and CIA failures in the war on terrorism and he also offers recommendations on ways to reform the intelligence community.
    On Iraq, Graham said the administration and CIA consistently overplayed its estimates of Saddam Hussein’s threat in its public statements and declassified reports, while its secret reports contained warnings that the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was not conclusive.
    In October 2002, Tenet told Graham that ”there were 550 sites where weapons of mass destruction were either produced or stored” in Iraq.
    ”It was, in short, a vivid and terrifying case for war. The problem was it did not accurately represent the classified estimate we had received just days earlier,” Graham wrote. “It was two different messages, directed at two different audiences. I was outraged.”
    In his book, Graham is especially critical of the FBI for its inability to track al Qaeda operatives in the United States and blasts the CIA for “politicizing intelligence.”
    He reserves his harshest criticism for Bush.
    Graham found the president had ”an unforgivable level of intellectual — and even common sense — indifference” toward analyzing the comparative threats posed by Iraq and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
    When the weapons were not found, one year after the invasion of Iraq, Bush attended a black-tie dinner in Washington, Graham recalled. Bush gave a humorous speech with slides, showing him looking under White House furniture and joking, “Nope, no WMDs there.”
    Graham wrote: “It was one of the most offensive things I have witnessed. Having recently attended the funeral of an American soldier killed in Iraq, who left behind a young wife and two preschool-age children, I found nothing funny about a deceitful justification for war.’

  41. Gene on

    I’m a Kerry supporter, and while I agree that the Time-Newsweek polls exaggerated W’s conventions gains, Kerry’s is in more dire straits than the “modest” 2-point bounce would indicate. That bounce, while admittedly anemic comes atop
    the similarly “anemic” weakening in Kerry’s position during August, but those two “anemic” changes add up to something worryingly significant, especially among the LV’s.
    Specifically, the pre-convention Gallup poll for LV’s was 50-47, Bush-Kerry, which is one can easily regard as insignificant, even if it represents a modest decline in Kerry’s earlier standings. But if we now add in W’s “anemic” convention bounce, the results read 52 – 45 Bush-Kerry, which is a statistically significant lead for W., and therefore quite worrisome, especially in a post-Labor Day poll.
    Someone alarmed by these data can take a little comfort from Rasmussen , http://www.rasmussenreports.com/Poll%20Differences%20Sept%206.htm , who puts the President “… ahead by 4 to 5 points at this time. ”
    While Kerry’s predicament is more accurately characterized as “serious” rather than “dire,” I am (much) more troubled about the proposed rescue strategy. Although virtually all the damage to Kerry’s standing (before and during the RNC) came from sustained attacks on his Commander-in-Chief bonafides, it sems that the proposed counterattacks will focus on criticizing W’s domestic policies. Say what!!?? Maybe I’m missing something, but wouldn’t the right course of action be to bolster his credentials in that area? Instead of endlessly proclaiming that he would do Iraq “differently,” isn’t it about time he told people just what “differently” means, beyond (none-to-believable) assertions that he would convince NATO and our allies to join us in the quagmire? Or how about some compelling reason (devoid of Vietnam references) why he’d be more effective in the War on Terror?
    Unless I’m reading my calendar incorrectly, this is 2004 NOT 1992, and “it’s the economy, stupid” simply doesn’t have the clout is did in the pre-9/11 world. For all the (justifiable) criticims leveled at W for trying to turn the clock back to 9/11 during the RNC, it was a vastly longer (and less successful) reach for Kerry to try turning the clock back to 1969 during the DNC.
    There is no way that Kerry can completely overcome the advantage W gains simply by having been President during 9/11 , but Kerry’s only hope for winning is to reduce that advantage, and given the closeness of the polls, that is something quite do-able.

  42. peter jung on

    I hang around in the left hemisphere of the blogosphere a fair amount, and the topic I encounter most these days is our lousy, incompetent, and corrupt mainstream media. I think it’s a mistake to blame the reporters; seems to me the fault lies with media management and the editors they command. I wonder if there is a lot of fear in corporate media land that a Democratic administration would break up the big, profitable media conglomerates? Perhaps our media are not ideologically sympathetic to ShrubCo, but are just interested in protecting their bottom line? This would explain the pervasive pro-Bush bias that is in evidence everywhere….

  43. CJM on

    “Bush floundering in face of Kerry surge”
    I can hardly wait for the RNC spin on that one!
    I will bet that if the race remains this close, Rove will play hide the President. It is obvious that having Bush debate three times or talk to reporters casually will be viewed as too risky. Note, that everytime the guy talks without prepared questions and answers he turns up to down and left to right. I have already read Bush’s people think only two debates are necessary. Soon they will tell us one is just about right. Can they afford it?

  44. Ed on

    Ron Thompson, I agree with you! this Gallop statement is powerful this should be out on every network over and over and over and over again like they did on the Time and Newsweek poll that were taken during the convention under questionable circumstances.
    “The Bush Bounce in Historical Context
    Bush’s two-point convention bounce is one of the smallest registered in Gallup polling history, along with Hubert Humphrey’s two-point bounce following the 1968 Democratic convention, George McGovern’s zero-point bounce following the 1972 Democratic convention, and Kerry’s “negative bounce” of one point among registered voters earlier this year. Bush’s bounce is the smallest an incumbent president has received.”

  45. Gabby Hayes on

    I took a look at the data Gallup provided in their new poll out today, the one giving Bush a 52-45 edge.
    There may be more data out there, but I read what USA Today had.
    Let’s look at this Gallup poll and deconstruct it:
    1013 national adults
    926 registered voters
    778 likely voters
    This means they found 77% of their survey group to be likely voters, whereas their model assumes 55% of national adults are likely voters. What does it mean? It means they have selected another defective sample which likely overstates conservatives, older people, and understates Democrats and first time voters.
    Are 91% of adults registered?
    Are 77% of adults likely voters?
    These two data alone tell us who is answering the phone most often during this poll.
    When you think of someone who only uses landlines, doesn’t screen calls, and will talk to anyone, who do you envision? What color is the hair on their head? Do they qualify for AARP? How do they usually vote?

  46. Gabby Hayes on

    Have you noticed how often we are hearing the statement that “these are the voters that matter” or words to that effect in reference to the “likely voters”?
    I’ve just watched Lou Dobbs (with his understudy) and Chris Matthews segments on the polls, and both were weak and unprepared to question the veracity of the bogus double digit polls.
    The “likely voter” determination and getting a representative sample are where the real science is supposed to come in. Nothing scientific about the polls that touted double digit leads.
    They are studies in how NOT to get sound results.

  47. demtom on

    One other possibility on the dueling pollster comments: it’s conceivable the press culls Dowd’s best quotes and shades Mellman’s. I know, paranoid, but after listening to 24 hours of pundits proclaiming the insuperable Bush lead, it’s hard not to feel there’s some agenda out there.
    This LV screen is really becoming a press excuse to make the race seem lopsided; nearly everyone’s formula seems to exaggerate the GOP position, which is close to even in most RV matchups (even Time’s 50-42 would have made a far less damaging headline than the “11-point lead”).

  48. Ron Thompson on

    I’ll guarantee you that Rove counted on being a lot further on Labor Day weekend than the 1.1% lead Bush has in the Rasmussen Tracking Poll and the 1 point lead among RVs in the Gallup Poll. They’ve hit Kerry with everything they’ve got, and on their best weekend they’re up less than the margin of error in these two respected polls.

  49. John Mcc. on

    There are two things that annoy me about the Kerry Kampaign more than anything else:
    1. “America can do better”(!?!?!?!)
    2. Mark Mellman
    Ruy says correctly that this is weak spin indeed:
    “Mark Mellman where he essentially says the GOP’s gains from the convention will fade. That’s not the right reply. The right reply is what gains and and how very disappointed the GOP must be in their historically poor performance.”
    Mark Mellman said BEFORE THE CONVENTION:
    Mark Mellman, Senior Strategist
    Where Bush-Cheney Needs To Be
    August 24, 2004
    As a senior strategist for John Kerry, I have prepared this update for the campaign’s most active supporters as we enter the crucial weeks ahead. It’s clear that your support has put this campaign in such a strong position as we enter a critical period. Your hard work, activism, and contributions have allowed our campaign to match the Bush campaign on the airwaves and on the ground. I can report that all you’ve done is now paying off when it counts the most.
    By any standard, President Bush heads into his convention in a very weak position. His current position stems from the fact that voters judge the incumbent on his performance and on the state of the nation. By this measure, the president is in grave difficulty. To be counted a success, the Republican convention must fundamentally alter public attitudes on President Bush’s stewardship of the country.
    There are some basic benchmarks by which an incumbent’s success can be measured as the campaign heads into the fall:
    The average winning incumbent has had a job approval rating of 60%. Indeed, every incumbent who has won reelection has had his job approval in the mid-50’s or higher at this point. In recent polling, Bush’s average approval rating has been 48%. President Bush must emerge from his convention having dramatically altered public perception of his performance in office.
    In recent years, when incumbents have gone on to victory, 52% of voters, on average, said the country was on the right track. Now, just 37% think things are moving in the right direction. Thus, President Bush must convince the electorate that the nation is in much better shape than voters now believe to be the case.
    Every incumbent who has gone on to be reelected has had a double-digit lead at this point.
    Following their conventions, the average elected incumbent has held a 16-point lead, while winning incumbents have led by an average of 27 points. Bush will need a very substantial bounce to reach the mark set by his successful predecessors.
    Incumbents have enjoyed an average bounce in the vote margin of 8 points.
    On average, incumbents’ share of the two-party vote has declined by 4 points between their convention and Election Day.
    President Bush has the opportunity to achieve an average, or even greater, bounce from his convention. Typically, elected incumbents go into their conventions with a 9-point lead, while incumbents who have gone on to win enter their conventions with a 21-point lead. Most current polls show the race quite close. This gives the president substantial room to bounce. By contrast, Senator Kerry entered his convention in a far stronger position than the average challenger. The average challenger goes into his convention 16 points behind, while Senator Kerry entered his convention with a 1-2 point lead. This gave Senator Kerry much less room to bounce.
    However, as the data above makes clear, average is not enough for President Bush. Incumbents who went on to win reelection had an average lead of 27 points after their convention. Indeed, the average elected incumbent — winners and losers — had a lead of 16 points after their conventions. An average bounce would still leave Bush well below the historical mark set by other incumbents, particularly those who went on to victory.
    Perhaps most important, the average elected incumbent experienced a 4-point drop in his share of the two-party vote from the post-convention polling to Election Day. Thus, to beat the odds, President Bush will need to be garnering 55% of the two-party vote after his convention. Anything less than that and the president will remain in grave political danger


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