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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

How High the Bounce?

It must be stressed that at this point: we don’t know. Measurements of a candidate’s bounce should be based on polls taken before and after a convention. So far we have no such data–in fact, tonight will be the first night where polling can be conducted that is truly after the completeion of the GOP convention. Therefore, we won’t have real bounce data for several days.
That said, let us consider the results of polls taken during the GOP convention. The one that seems to be freaking out some Democrats is the just-released Time poll. (I continue to be amazed at how easily many Democrats are panicked by the release of an unfavorable poll; there’s been a lot of talk about whether John Kerry is tough enough–I’m more worried about whether regular old Democrats are tough enough. Sheesh.)
The Time poll, conducted 8/31-9/2, has Bush ahead by 11, 52-41 in a 3-way LV matchup that includes Nader. (Time presumably will eventually release the 2-way LV matchup. I’m doubtful we’ll ever see RV results.) How plausible is this result?
Well, it’s certainly possible that Bush was as far ahead during the convention as this poll suggests. But all other available polls taken during the convention contradict this result.
In an attempt to compare apples to apples, here are Bush-Kerry results from contemporaneous 3-way LV matchups (except Rasmussen, where only a 2-way LV result is available), with Bush’s margin in parentheses:
Zogby, 8/30-9/2: 46 Bush-43 Kerry (+3)
ARG, 8/30-9/1: 47 Bush-47 Kerry (tie)
Rasmussen, 8/31-9/2: 49 Bush-45 Kerry (+4)
In this company, 52 Bush-41 Kerry (+11) certainly sticks out. Could it have anything to do with the different dates included in these surveys, even though they are very close? Well, the Rasmussen data are from exactly same period as the Time data (8/31-9/2).
But if you are skeptical of the Rasmussen data, consider the Zogby data. The Zogby data only include an additional day (8/30) when compared to the Time data. But perhaps 8/30 was a very pro-Kerry day since the Republican convention had just started. However, for Zogby and Time to matchup (have Bush leading by 11) for the three days they share, Kerry would have to be leading by about 21 points in Zogby on the day (8/30) they do not share. I rather doubt that is the case.
The simplest hypothesis then is that the Time poll, for this period, is exceptionally pro-Bush and therefore should be viewed with skepticism.
In the meantime, we will await the release of data that actually measure the convention bounce, defined, just to be clear, as the change in a candidate’s level of support (not the margin) from the period before to the period after the convention. And while we’re waiting, here are some interesting observations that are worth keeping in mind from a just-released Gallup analysis of the bounce issue:

Based solely on history, the Bush-Cheney ticket could expect to gain five to six points among registered voters after this week’s convention. That would result in a 52% to 53% support level for Bush among registered voters, up from 47% in the pre-convention poll.
However, the results from Gallup’s post-Democratic convention poll showed that history might not apply in 2004, a year in which the electorate was activated long before the conventions (usually the conventions serve to activate voters), and a year in which relatively small proportions of undecided and swing voters are available to the two presidential tickets. Also, the post-Democratic convention poll suggested that the Democratic convention might have helped energize Republican voters. It is unclear whether the Republican convention could have a similar paradoxical effect on Democrats, or if Republicans will be activated, as is typically the case.

So, stay tuned. And don’t forget that even when we see the real bounce data, the pattern after the Democratic convention was for Kerry’s increase in support to dissipate quickly. We shall see if the same thing happens to Bush, whatever his bounce level.
UpCATEGORY: Ruy Teixeira’s Donkey Rising

78 comments on “How High the Bounce?

  1. Jim on

    The reason why Bush is NOT leading by 20 points is that lots people in America are not particularly intelligent or thoughtful. Not to be mean or anything, but it’s true. The kind of people who post on blogs do not typify the average voter in America. Bush, and the GOP traditionally, has a knack for taking very complex issues and simplifying them into a metaphor (remember “Morning in America?”) that is very accessible and user-friendly.
    A person who carefully analyzes the issues and ramifications of what is going on is going to have at the very least some serious questions about W. But, unfortunately, most people don’t have the interest or brains to carefully analyze anything. What Kerry needs to do is find a way to make these complex issues accessible to the unwashed masses, and he (or, to be more accurate, his campaign advisors) hasn’t done that yet.

  2. brian on

    From a guy who dismissed the “awful” LA Times Poll before the convention as meaningless (based in part upon his view that 58% believing Kerry on his military record was a good thing), I think we need to take his analysis of polls with a grain of salt.
    He now says “the pattern [?] after the Democratic convention was for Kerry’s increase [what increase?] in support to dissipate quickly.” If that is the basis for his current analysis, I think it is as weak as his analysis of the LA Times poll.

  3. tony on

    Thanks for posting the Rasmussen (1.2% Bush lead) and the rumor from Marshall. With any luck, we’ll start to get polls released soon that will more definitively rebut the 11% Bush lead and folks will be able to take a deep breath. And the language will start going to “well, Bush’s lead sure melted away quickly, didn’t it…”
    As for how the majority can favor Bush. How many people on either side listen carefully? And to the extent that things get emotionally charged and people are invested in one side or another, how well are they going to listen. I’m not sure how much Kerry can do. But the rest of us can do our bits by carrying on the debate with civility and with love for those who disagree with us. And we can listen with humility, which will encourage the same. That’s probably not a good campaign strategy, but might be a good strategy on a one-to-one basis, which is all most of us will be able to do.
    I just finished visiting with a former student and his friend, both of them Republican. The friend talked about how much she loved Miller’s speech. I think the fact that I didn’t lash back at her gave her the space to think about things and entertain the limitations of the Bush candidacy. In a polarized environment, how often do people feel afforded that possibility?

  4. Mimiru on

    Marshall agrees with the Rassmusen polls. He says sources inside, tell him that internal campaign polls for both candidates conclude a 4-point Bush bounce. Seriously though when you have a 10 point lead, how is the average dem, the dem who DOESN’T read blogs, who gets a lot of national media information, how are THEY not to despair?
    You act like its their fault, but seeing things from their point of view it seems much more rational. Besides, there’s the overiding idea: Bush is an incompetent disaster for this country, why is he not LOSING BY TWENTY POINTS?!
    So yeah. Happy Sunday Morning.

  5. Jeff on

    Listen the fact that Kerry focused so much on his Vietnam record and foreign policy is the reason we are in this mess.
    We must think long-term. If Kerry wins, everyone will come to believe that Iraq and Bush’s foreign policy was a disaster and was at least part of the reason he lost the election.
    However, if Kerry focuses too much on foreign affairs, even to answer some Bush statements, he will keep the subject in the news.
    The best thing for Kerry to do is hit Bush hard on the economy and domestic issues.
    About Bush putting his own interests ahead of the national interest. People can infer how Iraq and foreign affairs fit in.

  6. whstaff on

    the polling situation is very confused. 11 point leads for bush at both time and Newsweek, meanwhile I’ve followed rasmussen on a daily basix and the bush lead peaked at 4 but now has receded to 1.2% about where the race has been since super-tuesday. However–Rasmmussen is now declaring that bush leads in 16 battleground states. Where has this lead come from?
    something wierd is happening amongst the pollsters

  7. gene on

    I don’t buy these polls for a minute. The methodlogies seem to be seriously lacking. But the only poll that counts is the one in November, and this hang-wringing is a little embarrassing. We should stop paying so much attention to each poll (am I asking for the impossible?).

  8. markalan on

    Regarding the accuracy of Time and Newsweek polls. It is all good and dandy for us, but the bottem line is even if they are biased, the play they are getting nationally will make people in general feel Bush is a winner and Kerry is a loser, it also fires up Bush base and demoralises Kerry’s base. So these polls however inaccurate hurt us. The hope I have is that the hurricane, Russia crisis, and Clinton are blunting news about the bounce and momemtum for Bush.
    Now, I must say that the past 2 days have been hard on all of us. Lets see we have:
    new horrible polls
    Clinton’s health and lack of stumpping for Kerry
    Russia school disaster may remind some of terrorisim/9-11
    New reports about Ben Laden may be snagged
    Michigan ballot anti-gay in. is on which brings out the right
    Michigan ballot will include Nader.
    So I and Im sure everyone here is very down.
    Now, I think we really need to hope that Kerry stays on the attack for the rest of this election. We also need some 537 ads smeariing Bush, and Carville in and Shrum out.
    I would hope that Kerry would start firing on issues that Bush used against him in the convention.
    Bush speech and the Republican convention was basically this:
    -Remember my heroic 9-11 leadership and fight on terror.
    -Kerry is a flip flopper
    Here’s how I think Kerry should deal with these 2 issues
    -Make an ad about how Bush fucked up and did not respond to repeated warnings, chatter and memos(Aug.6memo “Bin Ladin determined to Strike in U.S.) Instead Bush was on a 30 day vacation at the ranch.
    -Make ads showing Bush’s flip flops (nation-building, tariffs,
    9-11 commission, winning the war on terror.) Using actual sound bites from Bush’s mouth.
    Why This? Rove is trying to show Bush as desisive, commander in chief, Kerry on the other hand is an indesisive flip flopper who cannot be commander in chief. Hit at these 2 and Bush will fall.
    The question is the Kerry have the balls??

  9. Jeff on

    That is the craziest thing I have ever heard. If Kerry takes up Bush’s foreign policy he is dead. He will lose. No question in my mind whatsoever.
    Those who support such a policy will stay with Bush. He is their champion. Why would they get rid of him?
    Those who adamently oppose this policy/philosophy (such as myself and most of the Democratic Party) would be so outraged that they would sit out this election, thereby reducing our numbers when it comes to turnout.
    Thus, the GOP would regain the numerical superiority in registration.
    The reason polls under count Democrats, is because they believe that many more Dems don’t vote than republicans. There is no better way of accomplishing this than to do what you suggested.
    It would be stupid to accept the philosophy that got us into Iraq, when the war is so unpopular and even Bush is running away from it.
    I wouldn’t vote for Kerry.

  10. Lou on

    We need to stop paying so much attention to these national polls, anyway.
    Unless these polls reflect movement in states that are actually in play, they don’t give us useful information. For instance, if Bush picks up 2% in CA or 5% in NY, that’s a lot of voters, but it makes no difference whatsoever in the actual outcome of the election. We all know how CA and NY are going, and 2 or 3 points aren’t going to change anything.
    Watch PA and OH and take heart.

  11. Ed on

    Some wisdom from the Wall Stsreet Journal:
    Bush Bounce Expected
    Republican strategists “expect the Bush-Cheney ticket will get a measurable bounce out of the convention,” the Wall Street Journal’s Al Hunt writes, “but it will be tough for the president to maintain more than a slim advantage by the time the debates begin four weeks from now.”
    Democrats also “acknowledge a likely Bush bump, but contend the fundamentals of the race — with most Americans desiring change — remain intact.”

  12. Leviathon on

    Note to my fellow Democrats: denial hour is over.
    Unless John Kerry casts aside his liberal internationalism, and embraces Mr. Bush’s radical policy of democratization and liberalization in the Arab and wider Muslim world, he will lose this election, and quite possibly by 3-7 points.
    Whether or not Bush’s Wilsonian idealism succeeds as a policy is quite another question, but I repeat that as a political matter unless Kerry comes at Bush from the right, talking up Arab democracy (including Iraqi democracy – “stability” is not the measure for withdrawal the American people want to hear), belittling Bush for doing nothing to promote democracy in repressive, terror breeding Arab regimes (especially Saudi Arabia and Egpyt), and even rattling the saber at a few rogue Muslim states (Syria would be a good place to start), he doesn’t have a prayer.
    This election is all about national security and foreign policy, and the American people have confirmed what I’ve been saying all over the blogosphere for the last year, which is that both politically and strategically liberal internationalism is a non-starter in the so-called war on terror.
    If you want Kerry to win you’ll write him and call him until you begin hearing him say the words “Arab” and “democracy” in the same sentence.

  13. Bel on

    I have been reading some blogs where folks are upset that Bush is using all these dirty tactics and winning…but I dont know why are we so upset about Bush using dirty tactics? This is nothing new, it pervades every aspect of society. Look at the corporations, they cheat and steal at the highest level.
    Look at sports, its hard to find a single athlete thats not onto some performance enhancing drug… its all over the place.
    Bush is a reflection of society at large. Athletes know that if they dont pump some drugs, they will come last. The corp. execs know that if they dont cheat they will lose market share and big bucks… Bush knows that if he doesnt do the same, he will lose to Kerry.
    The question is…. what does Kerry know?

  14. Bel on

    Does Kerry realise that he is being attacked by terrorists? This is his golden opportunity to show the world how to rid the landscape of these undesirables.

  15. Carol on

    Everyone is talking about attacking, and defending from attacks. I think the solution to the election has nothing to do with this. Kerry needs to better define and communicate his agenda to the American public before the debates. He needs something more substantive and detailed — many perceive what has been said so far as vague platitudes. It’s risky, but he’s not going to win without it. I just don’t think people feel like they know what Kerry would actually, specifically do if elected.

  16. Ray Stewart on

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    We need to stay FROSTY on this one. Yes, Kerry has his work cut out for him, but two years ago who would’ve thought the Dems would be as close as we are? Bush just had four straight days of unfettered coverage and a Kerry-bashing party when Kerry essentially stayed dark with a little help from the DNC. I thinking that Bush got a 3-5 pt bounce, tops.
    Let’s think back to 2000. All the polls (except one) said Bush by 2-4 pts the day before the election. Zogby was the only one who was tracking a late Gore surge.
    Let’s all just keep on keeping on, busting our tails and working hard. Within 2-3 weeks, Bush lead will be 1-2 pts. If Kerry is within 3 pts going into the debates, we’ll be OK.
    Ultimately, events beyond our control will probably determine the outcome. A sudden Bin Laden capture, a jump in oil or gas prices, a new “scandal” may all affect the election.
    Keep the faith and keep working hard.

  17. Jeff on

    Look guys,
    Don’t freak out about this. Too many Democrats are freaking about these two polls (Newsweek and Time). However, both overcount the Republicans.
    If you break down the proportion of the numbers compared with voter turnout in the last election, Bush would be leading by 3%.
    Incidently, 3% is pretty much what all the other polls show him at.
    So George W. Bush has about a 3% lead in this election right now – not 11%. No matter how much whoring Wolf Blitzer and Judy Woodruff do.
    First off, let’s remember that Jimmy Carter had a 3% point lead coming out of the Democratic Convention in 1980. He still lost the election by 9%.
    Second, although I am not ready to jump off a building just yet. There are reasons to grow worried about the Kerry campaign.
    1. The fucked-up convention. Many of you have made two general statements that seem to imply that the Democratic convention was a success. First, the speeches were good; second, it gave Kerry an opportunity to show his military credentials.
    I think this will be the last time I write this. But I believe it just as strongly today as I did when the convention wrapped. The convention was a disaster. Not because there was rioting or dissention or anything else we generally associate with failed conventions. It was a failure because we had a four-day monopoly on the political discussion in this country and all we could do was talk about four months in Vietnam.
    There was no identifying with groups hurt in this recession/poor economy. No selling of our plan to rebuild America. There was no health care night. Or jobs night. It was all about Kerry and stupid Vietnam.
    This was done because I believe that Kerry thought he could out-Bush Bush on foreign policy, etc. This had some initial success in that we ended up tied among Veterans and the like. But then came the Swift boat smears and we lost them. You see, they would have left for any reason. That’s the problem with the DLC strategy of trying to get Republican constituencies to vote for you. They may consider you for a minute, but then will vote for a Republican because they are Republicans.
    We need to win the independants and not the republicans. That’s where we went awry in the past month.
    Trying to win those veterans we ignored an entire segment of the population who may have (and may still) vote(d) for us.
    The group of independants that will ultimately decide this election make up a total of about 6% of the population.
    They have “republican sensibilities” but they are independants. They agree with us on jobs, health care, deficit, and most economic questions. This group also initially supported the war in Iraq, however have come to oppose it.
    These are our issues. They may be tough on crime, believe in a strong foreign policy, support their communities and churches but they are frightened by the Republicans. That is why they are in the middle. Why they don’t affiliate with one or the other party. Because their self-interests are divided between the two parties.
    What we have to do then is to DEFINE what this election is supposed to be about. We have to make it about the Bush failure in jobs, economy, health care, etc. We have to explain why our plan is better. Why change is necessary. The smears may have worked to our advantage in that now it gives us licence to go all-out against George W. Bush on this front.
    But this is where we messed up. The swift boat smears gave the republicans the reason they were looking for to “come on home,” and we were left flatfooted with everyone else. Our response to the swift boat attacks was to keep it in the news. The Bushistas changed the debate. They framed it the way they wanted to.
    That’s why we are behind by 3% now.
    Kerry should play the numbers. Register people who are likely to vote for you. Appeal to constituencies who WILL, have a history of voting for you, have a general dislike of President Bush, and/or whose interests are threatened by the Bush regime.
    That means hitting the Bush people HARD.
    Not on AWOL. Or the war on terrorism. No criticisms about Bush’s lost 7 minutes. These stories just keep Bush’s strength’s in the news.
    No. We should come out blasting about the economy, health care, jobs, and oil. We should definitely connect the dots with respect to Bush’s friends and their economic interests versus the economic interests of the American people.
    Our message should be simple. The Bush Administration is based on a phiolsophy where he puts his own interests ahead of the national interest.
    Our main message should be: CHANGE.
    Let’s take back our country for our people. To create jobs for them. To provide health care for them. If our economy is growing, let’s make sure that it actually benefits the people and not a select few with tied to the Bush Administration.
    Let’s hit them on Enron, PG&E, the Oil companies and what they have wrought this country.
    Personal heating costs have doubled since 2000. That means each family pays $1,500 more per year. That’s almost three times the whole size of the tax cut.
    How about gas prices. Etc.
    Why have Americans been forced to pay more?
    Because Bush puts the interests of big buisness ahead of the buisness of the people. Because the opportunity to choose between the rich and the middle-class, Bush always chooses the rich.
    This, or a variation of this, theme should be repeated until election day.
    Provide evidence. Provide testimony. Put on $50 million in television ads per month.
    Have your surrogates out there on cable news.
    That’s how we win them back. That’s how we win this election.

  18. JL on

    The internals of the newsweek poll are skewed towards registered republicans. The southern white also looks high to me. Is this normal for polls?????????????

  19. John Mcc. on

    Ruy is fond of dissecting the internals and reporting on how favorable these are.
    Well there comes a time in every election where the internals become the externals…the horse race meets the approval numbers and the winner, the right track, the loser the wrong…
    That Bush is vulnerable, that the electorate is looking to fire him, that independents and swing voters are there for Kerry to harvest…all of that is pretty much without question…
    Whether Kerry can exploit Bush’s vulnerabilities is very much an open question and one which he has precious little time to answer

  20. John Mcc. on

    Clearly these poll numbers are a surprise for the Kerry Campaign…
    Many of you may have received the same “WhatMeWorry MEMO” from Mellman that I did”
    [I do not like Mark Mellman..he sent one of these cheer up we’re 5% and gaining mmos LAST August..}
    “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”
    The time for Kerry to get tough is NOW

  21. John Mcc. on

    Time RV – 8 point lead…
    No matter how you slice and dice the numbers Kerry is now behind flawed samples nothwithstanding…and he is behind outside the MOE.
    Now I hope the Kerry campaign isn’t sitting around trying to rationalize why an 11 point Bush lead is not really an 11 point Bush lead.
    Kerry’s support has eroded significantly and Bush’s has increased significantly
    11, 8 or 5 doesn’t matter ..with the REAL world events as screwed up as they are, Kerry should not be this far behind at this point.
    THAT is a REAL WORLD problem for Kerry

  22. pdb on

    I just checked Rasmussen’s website. His analysis of the TIME poll is on “Scott’s page,” in the subscriber section. It’s pretty much what Dan D. reported.

  23. Landulph on

    Something else on the Newsweek poll: they polled 144 non-white voters (out of 986). Hang on! That’s only 14.6% of the total sample. The non-white population of the US (including hispanics) is around 30%, perhaps slightly more. And non-white voters, with the sole exception of Cuban-Americans, vote overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential elections. Clearly, there was something very screwey with the Newsweek poll in more ways than one. IMHO, both the Time and Newsweek polls are a load of batshit, and we’d better remeber something else as well. For weeks before the Democratic primaries, until the very day of the Iowa caucuses, we heard that not only did Howard Dean have it sewn up, not only was there a chance he might win all 50 primaries, but that all Dean voters were so committed to their candidate there was no chance of anyone else breaking through–particularly not in New Hampshire, where Dean had a 30% lead, his voters repeatedly told pollsters they would stand by their guy through thick and thin, and voters knew Kerry too well to change their minds. Um, as we all know . . . something happened on the way to Boston. This is not to suggest Kerry is politically invulnerable, but that the talking heads (who, you guessed it, are currently predicting Bush has it sewn . . . oh, never mind) have no clue what they’re talking about, and are often just trying to fill up airtime. Remember, any poll is only as good as the data put into it.

  24. Alan Snipes on

    People let’s admit something:While the Republicans are a bunch of liars and sleazebags, unfortunately many Americans who are stupid and ignorant buy their bullshit. While I think some of the bounce will evaporate quickly, how do we get the majority of ignorant Americans who THINK Bush is a good President to change their minds? Most Americans are not capable of doing research into the issues and so that leaves us behind the 8-Ball.You can dismiss these polls all you want, but we have to find a way to deal with them while acknowledging that our best player (President Clinton) will be confined to the bench for about a month.

  25. John Mcc. on

    OTOH…the post above reminds me of a question..
    Do TIme and Newsweek LV screening questions include convention watching??
    Well what goes up must come down…Kerry’s not got time to waste bringing his numbers up.

  26. infoshaman on

    tony: interesting points. When I was in graduate school as a sociologist, I was struck by how easily survey research professors dismissed very complicated issues about sampling bias, the effects of question wording and ordering on responses, etc.
    GOTV. Talk to your friends, colleagues and family members. Ask them to vote for the future of America. Those acts matter more than watching polls conducted by “B” students and opportunists.

  27. tony on

    Alan R.–Thanks for that information on the number of Dems and Republicans. I’d not seen it when I did my last post. If the Democratic total were increased to the same N as the Republicans, leaving independents constant, and if they polled in the same proportions (94-4% for Bush among Republicans, 82-14% for Kerry among Democrats), then Bush would be at 51.4%, Kerry 42.2%, which would at least shave a couple points off the difference. Then there’s the issue that I raised above of whether these are representative Republicans and Democrats, which would shave off a bit more.

  28. tony on

    A note on Newsweek. They polled on July 29 and 30, which is comparable, for the Democratic convention to the time period for the Republican convention. The Newsweek poll showed +7% for Kerry, which is a larger advantage than anything following it. That suggests at least the possibility that this will be the case for the followup in polls to Bush, too. We’ll see. Patience all those who are getting worried. Kerry needs to show some steadiness now, and so do we.
    I’m a social scientist, but not a pollster. A question for those who know polls better. Could it be that Newsweek and Time are using a weighting scheme, but one that is naive in the following sense. They realize that they’re getting a disproportionate number of Republicans, and so they adjust by weighting, but…they do this adjustment using a biased pool. The Republicans they get will disproportionately be Republicans who favor Bush, and the Democrats will disproportionately be Democrats who favor Bush.
    Probably this would be a small effect, but perhaps it adds to other factors involved here.
    To all…take a deep breath. Let these polls roll in. There will be a shift back.

  29. Alan R. on

    The Newsweek poll is almost certainly PHONY. Newsweek (unlike Time) was good enough to release its internals.
    Here are some highlights (or perhaps lowlights):
    1. The sample composition is:
    374 Republicans
    303 Democrats
    300 Independents
    Typical estimates of partisan composition of the electorate range from even D-R to slightly more Democrats.
    Two possible scenarios are:
    Massive shifts in partisan ID (which if it happened, would probably be transient), or
    Oversampling of Republicans, as they would have been disproportionately at home watching the RNC convention and, even after the convention, more energized about politics than Democrats. This could (a) make Republicans more likely to agree to be polled in the first place, and (b) have a stronger likely voter profile.
    2. The Democratic states defined by Newsweek are:
    CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, RI, VT
    yet Bush is winning in these states, 47-44. Give me a break!

  30. frankly0 on

    I think the fundamental lesson of the bounce Bush got from his convention, as opposed to the smaller bounce Kerry got from his convention, is that going negative works.
    Kerry chose not to name names at his convention. The Republicans did just about nothing else at their own convention.
    Senator Kerry, learn your lesson, and do what you’ve got to do.

  31. frankly0 on

    Actually, the methodology in the Time poll may be biased, because it asks first for the youngest male, then, if none is available, for the oldest female, but in more subtle ways than getting more males than females. The samples are weighted against the actual census results on the basis of gender and age.
    Asking for the youngest male and the oldest female, may, though, introduce other kinds of bias – is the youngest male in any given household more likely to have a certain viewpoint than the typical male of the same age? Likewise for the oldest female.

  32. CathiefromCanada on

    Regarding the cell phone issue, yes, it is apparently a real problem for pollsters — I did some googling last night, and Mark Schulman, who runs the company which produced the Time poll, has written and spoken about exactly this issue.
    I was disgusted with Hardball last night — according to them, Kerry has already lost the election. Funny, I hadn’t heard that the vote had already been held.
    That said, there will be more bad polls for the next two weeks or so — Bush’s speech, particularly the end of it, was wonderful for the faithful and pretty good for the undecideds — particularly clever of them to run over time, so that people who didn’t particularly want to watch the convention but who switched onto the networks after they thought the speech would be over, ended up hearing the last of it. Kerry has to develop a “bad poll response” line, perhaps something along the lines of “I’m still introducing the Real Deal to the american people” and stressing the number of non-democrats who are now endorsing him. The MoveOn PAC ads should help here, too, by reinforcing that its OK for a republican to vote democratic this time around.

  33. Phil in AZ on

    It still burns me up that Gallup says there was no bounce for Kerry, when the only evidence they use to support that is their one poll — taken over a Friday and Saturday in August, a methodological disaster which clearly biases the poll for Republicans (many political polling firms NEVER dial on Fri-Sat for this reason!). Many other polls showed Kerry getting a good 3-5 point bounce in early August, but of course Gallup had already bogusly determined that there was no bounce. The best evidence for a clear Kerry bounce, however, is that the Bush campaign unleashed the Swift Boat smears, the Willie Horton ads of this campaign. Gallup should be called to account for their sloppiness and we should be very skeptical of any of their new numbers as well.

  34. Jim J on

    Newsweek poll is out and is identical to Time poll. I think we just need to accept that Zell and Arnold worked their dark mojo and move on.
    Personally I think these recent polls are technically accurate in the small sense, but lose the macro big picture because they are not polling the huge numbers of newly registered voters, most of whom nationwide are Democrats.

  35. ira on

    cross-posted from
    My thoughts on the Time Poll
    by mattb25 http://www.dailykos.com/user/mattb25
    This is going to be a somewhat stream of consciousness analysis; not so much of the data in the poll, but of its circumstances. The bottom line for me is that while it’s always worrisome to see any poll have Kerry 11 points down (amongst either LV or RV), I’m not gonna get truly alarmed until I see this validated in a minimum of two more polls (I say two more because it truly wouldn’t shock me if CNN/Gallup has Bush up 15 in its LV poll)
    1. I’m curious as to the exact timing of this poll, specifically as to whether or not it included interviews taken after Bush’s speech. If all of its data is pre-speech, then its CLEARLY an outlier, as four other polls tell a wholly different story (Rasmussen, Zogby, ARG, Economist).
    2. If the poll does include data from interviews taken after the speech then, quite frankly, I find it less alarming. Consider who might have been likely to answer the phone last night to talk to a political pollster. The same is really true of the whole week. It’s important to keep in mind that Time DID NOT poll over the four days of the Kerry convention. It waited until August 3-5, while Kerry accepted on July 29th. Newsweek and Zogby were the only polls to be in the field during the actual four nights of the Dem Convention (July 26-29). Of those, Newseek was the only poll that actually sampled on July 29th, the night of Kerry’s acceptance speech, and on that particular night, it had Kerry up 54-41 amongst Registered Voters. So basically, the only pollster thus far who has released polls during the EXACT same time frame for both conventions is Zogby. He released polls conducted over the first three days of each convention and found Kerry to be up 5 during the DNC, and Bush up 2 during the RNC. My point here is really this: we have no idea what a poll conducted over the four nights of the Dem convention would have showed, since nobody conduced such a poll. Hence, we have no idea if Kerry would have had a similar type of lead, that then quickly modified itself
    3. I’m not going to suggest that Time is part of a conspiracy, as I don’t really believe too too much in that kind of thing. But I will say objectively that their polling typically shows the largest margins between the candidates post-convention. In the 8/3-8/5 Time poll, Kerry led by 7 amongst LV, and 8 amongst RV; those were, respectively, his largest margins in both categories in any post DNC poll (a later Zogby Poll also showed Kerry up +7). So, for one reason or another, Time seems to really swing in both directions, which brings me to my next point:
    4. I’m not sure whether Time is weighing its sample. They do not indicate that they do in their methodology, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t. Some folks on here knock weighing without knowing what it really means, but in my view, it’s often essential to an accurate poll, mostly so during a period like a convention, when one side is more likely to be paying alot of attention (and note–weighing is wholly different from determining who is and who is not a “likely voter.”) But the real point here is that if Time does not weigh its sample (and again, I don’t know for sure), then the results are explained right there: there is absolutely no doubt that during the RNC, repubs are more likely to be home watching the convention, to answer the phone, and to identify themselves as likely to vote. Likely voter models skew Repub in general (LV models are also much more inaccurate at this stage, particularly this election cycle), but ESPECIALLY so during a major Repub event. The prime example: right after Reagan’s death, the Harris Poll showed Bush leading 51-41 amongst Likely Voters. That poll was the only poll around the period with an LV model; other polls, including Pew, that measured RV did record a Bush bump, but a much smaller one. The Harris poll turned out to be a complete outlier. Why? Because Repubs were the folks watching the whole freaking week, and they were the folks inclined to answer the poll.
    Zogby, for instance (and most reputable pollsters), weighs his sample. What that basically means is that he has a model Dem/Rep breakdown that he uses to adjust the raw count if it’s off by a significant margin from the ideal. I am not sure as to his current breakdown, but in the past his model was based on a typical random sample consisting of 34.5% Dems and 34.0% Repubs, the rest independent/third party (weights are also applied for certain demographics). So, for example, if Zogby’s raw count showed 45% Repub and 30% Dem, the Dem votes would count more than once, in order to bring the sample into line with the model. I don’t wholly agree with the weighing method, but it is is fairly invaluable during an event like a convention, when most of your responses are likely to come from one party. I haven’t seen the Time breakdown anywhere, but I’m definitely willing to bet that the party ID breakdown has a major skew, particularly amongst Likely Voters. Amongst RVs in a two way race in the Time poll, it’s Bush 50, Kerry 42. I find that slightly more plausible, but I definitely have a gut feeling that Time may just be reporting its raw count, which probably has more self- identifying Repubs than you would find during ANY other polling period.
    5. I don’t think that Time has an inherent Bush bias in its horserace, but, without a doubt, its approval ratings for the Chimp are consistently above the average. The Time Poll and the LA Times Poll are the ONLY TWO polls that have never had Bush job approval under 50. Never. I mean, even Rasmussen and Fox have had Bush slipping into the 40s.
    6. The RV numbers aren’t good, but they’re not earth-shattering, the race is over type of thing. Bush’s re-elect number amongst RV’s is still under 50 (49) and in three way RV race, Bush is still below 50 (49-40-5). Oh, that’s another thing–Time consitently has Nader running higher than anybody else. Nader isn’t pulling 5 anywhere now. This may just sound like spin, but if Bush, during the ABSOLUTE FOUR BEST DAYS HE WILL HAVE, can’t get over 50 amongst RV’s, then I still think he’s in trouble.
    My point in this post isn’t to try to deny that Bush has made some gains. He certainly has, but I still absolutely rate this race a toss-up. Like I said above, we’ve seen Bush up by about this much in individual polls before (Harris Poll, 51-41), and it didn’t last. I’m definitely not gonna say that this is the position I wanted to be in, but I’d bank alot of my credibility on saying that Kerry’s not down 11. 7, 8 I could buy, though I really think within a week to 10 days, Bush will up 2-3 tops. Tommorrow’s polls may make me look like an utter fool, but I’m willing to take the risk. Bottom line: I think that the poll is an outlier. Not because I don’t like it, or because I think there’s a conspiracy–but because of its circumstances and possibly its methodolgy.
    > and a comment of his on Gallup
    I honestly put nothing past Gallup at this point
    They were done with me when they showed a “Bush bounce’ during Kerry’s convention. I don’t really think it will be 15, I just meant that if it was, I’d just shake my head, laugh, and drink a beer. What’s weird with them is that they were much more in line with other polls right up until the Dem convention, and then they began a total outlier. Weird. I’m really not a conspiracy person, but sometimes I wonder, given how blatant the CNN bias is. Basically, after this election, I’m either gonna think that Gallup is indeed a genius organization or I’m never gonna look at another poll they put out.

  36. Ed on

    Muslims gather with eye on ballot;
    Another vote that Kerry should get this time is the Muslim. According to this article they indorsed Bush last time. The,so called, swing states have quite a few Muslims. PA-72,000;OH-41,000; FLA-32,000; NM-3,000; Iowa-5,000;Minn-12,000. Community leaders say they have not yet decided whether to make an endorsement in this year’s presidential campaign, but the Polls indicate that most U.S. Muslims plan to vote for Democrat John Kerry.
    So, Kerry has the pissed off 2000 Gore voters, the youth vote, the gay vote, those pissed off with the econony, jobs, health care and now the U.S. muslims..I still say, KERRY IN A LAND SLIDE.

  37. Ed on

    The media is saying (the polls) with a S. LIke all the polls are showing double didget leads. This reminds of the Howard Dean scream. I don’t understand why they all seem to favor Bush.

  38. Bel on

    and by the way… did we ever get to prove that the LA Times poll was right or wrong? And will we ever get to prove whether the TIMES poll is right or wrong? Nope.. by the Nov2, the dynamics which created both these polls would have changed radically in some other direction.
    If you believe both these polls, you are willing to believe that today is Chirstmas day.

  39. tony on

    The MSNBC piece linked above raised a question for me…
    Do we know the proportion of undecideds who are choosing between Kerry and Nader? They’re a lot more likely to break to Kerry than to Bush.
    And add me to the list of people who believe this is a gut check for the supporters of the Democratic Party. Be calm. Or outraged. But not defeated.
    Trying always to look at silver linings…if Time is an outlier on the high side, then subsequent polls can be spun as erosion in Bush’s support…

  40. PrahaPartizan on

    Wouldn’t the size of the purported Bush lead over Kerry in the TIME poll imply that essentially ALL of the UNDECIDED LVs and RVs had broken for Dubya? Experience would indicate that the undecided voters are most likely to split in the challenger’s favor, after already having had the chance to see the incumbent’s competence or lack thereof. The TIME poll would suggest that NO undecided voters remain now, two months before the election.
    I am sure Karl Rove would like to think that this is the situation. I don’t believe for a minute that he’s ignorant enough to do so. The Bush-oisie reveal their real understanding of what’s driving this election by their hateful, rage-filled negative campaign against Kerry. If they are so confidnt about their stewardship, why aren’t they more willing to discuss it openly during the campaign. Instead, like girlie men they cower behind the security of the Secret Service praetorian guard they’ve created. Coward then, Coward now.

  41. Dumbo on

    When I hear new polls that favor Republicans, I think back to the 2000 election. It seems like Bush skated through the entire year as the presumed winner based on polls that showed him leading. They were able to spin that in the media as if it was a lost cause for Gore, inspiring many articles about why was Gore “losing.” And yet, as we know now, Gore got the most votes.
    So what was going on?
    I think the media loved the narrative that Gore was losing because of Clinton’s misbehavior, or because of Gore’s exaggerations, etc. They were eager to analyze the reasons for Gore’s losing, before he had even lost.
    Bush never got the same inspection. The fake explanation for that is that Bush is just a more likeable guy. Yeah, right.
    He who controls the narrative controls the news. The Republicans are excellent at this. Rather than bitching about this or trying to fix the media, the Democratic party needs to learn how to do the same thing: create narratives that explain things the way we want and then press this upon the media before the Republicans can.

  42. mark alan on

    People, I of all people was the one screaming on the blogs and yellling at the Kerry camp to get into the negative attack mode or be wiped out. Its work…at least for now. Kerry is showing fire, now lets hope that Shrum’s ass is gone before he screws things up in October. You simply have to fight fire (or slime) with fire. Now, things would be much better for me if I knew Carville was on board and leading us on to victory. I still think we need to all call and email the kerry people and DNC, demanding Carville in position.
    Now that said, I actually am much more optimistic than most. Let’s say Time is right, 52% would vote for Bush, after all the lovefest and positive Bush week… and he is the president… he can only muster a little over 50%??? That’s pathetic. I was expecting after all the Swift boat smears and kerry bashing at the convention, Bush would be at least at 55-57%
    If you look at some of the other data in the Time poll, only 48% approve of Bush and the economy. In other words this is still very winnable if…….and this is a big if..Kerry continues to have balls and not play nice and loovy doovy like this past month and Half. Americans want strong leaders, Kerry must shove the lies, smears and record down Bush’s throat and never let up until after the inauguration.
    I still believe we need a 527 to start the smear ad campaigns regarding Bush (awol, cocaine, drunk driving, etc.) Where can I send my $$$?? And no, Moveon is not it –they are also in the nice play it safe commercial mode. I want smears!!!

  43. Armando on

    they pushed the undecided leaners!!!!! that’s the story in a nutshell. What Gawdawful work.
    Dujring a Covention they pushed leaners. Pathetic.

  44. frankly0 on

    It’s always struck me as ironic in the extreme that the very Democrats who are screaming for Kerry to fight back and get a spine etc., are the ones who seem to be the quickest to into a mindless, and rather unseemly panic when an unwelcome poll result comes down.
    Guys, when your team is down by a couple of runs in the fifth inning, do you head for the exits because you can’t take it anymore?
    Well, maybe you do for all I know.

  45. Debra on

    this polling company when calling first asks for he Youngest male over 18 and if no one fits they ask fir the oldest feamale over 18. I have never heard of this. It would seem to skew to males whih would skew Republican by a lot.
    They didn’t poll during the Dem convention. Why not. It would probably have shown Kerry way up too.

  46. Ivytree on

    Look at it from Time’s point of view. They don’t care if their polling methods lead to exaggerated results; they’re in the magazine-selling business, not the polling business. Nobody’s hiring them to produce accurate results. What they want is headlines.
    I’m not saying these results are *fake*, but on the other hand I don’t see that producing unrealistically extreme results would bother them any.

  47. Frenchfries on

    I’m really very confident about the next week, and this hasn’t anything to do with polls but rather with some sad things: The bloody ending to the hostage crisis, hurricane Frances and President Clinton’s bypass are the sad things – but, as terrible as they are, they completely stepped on Bush’s speach. As did Zell Miller’s despicable performance which ruined that whole friendly facade they had prepared for New York.
    The funny thing: Arnold has been trapped by some pretty stupid white lies about russian tanks he couldn’t possibly have seen as a child and about “socialist” Austria which had been conservatively governed even after he left it. Thanks, Ahnuld. I’m sure, Jay Leno will happily deal with this stuff.
    And the best thing: Kerry hit back hard and fast after the convention and his “unfit to lead” charge stuck. A home run. I’m really proud of him and his campaign. They sure seem to have taken off the gloves.
    All in all, with all due respect to the bad things that happened (but this is a serious election) – it’s been very good 48 hours for the Kerry campaign. Bush’s convention finale has been a flop, plain and simple. This will dry out that pre-convention-ending bounce, you’ll see.

  48. MoDem on

    I have a question. I have been registering a lot of Kerry-Edwards 18-24 year olds. They are putting down cell phones as their telephone numbers.
    Do we know anything about whether people with just cell phones are skewed one way or another?
    What are the pollsters doing about this?

  49. warp resident on

    It is possible to “Time” a poll during the convention so as to show the maximum boost in support. The one day offset from the Zogby period is evidence of this. The first day of the convention was not televised. The second day captures the full McCain-Giuliani effect. In addition Kerry was under a self imposed moratorium while trying to respect the tradition of not campaigning during their convention. The quirks and timing of this poll are all reasons for suspicion.

  50. FMguru on

    Well put, Ruy. The passionate desire for Democrats to race to declare their party’s nominee “toast” has always struck me as bizarre and counterproductive. That Bush would barge into the lead at the time of the RNC was predictable, just as the sun rising tomorrow morning is predictable. Dems looking at Bush’s numbers and forseeing DOOOOM are like people noticing the temperature dropping after the sun sets, and then conclude that, if trends continue, the earth will freeze solid by the end of the week. And that Time poll does have the stink of outlier on it.
    Both Dukakis and Carter were leading their races in the summer, and they both got skulled. Bush 1.0 once had an 89% approval rating. It’s entirely possible that next week’s bounce numbers will be the high-water mark, poll-wise, for Bush-Cheney 04. Kerry can access his funding now, he’s realigned his strategy, gotten good and pissed, and is ready to keept working the battleground states. I think Bush has taken his best shot. What other arrows do they have in their quiver? Kerry’s just getting started. Hell, Bush won’t even benefit from the usual head of steam most candidates get coming out of their convention – he’ll be knock off the front pages by Clinton’s heart and that Florida hurricaine.
    All of the numbers – in the battleground states, in the electoral college, in the issues, in the leanings of independent and undecided voters, in the historical record of President’s seeking re-election with low approval ratings – point towards Kerry winning. So will everybody please stop panicking?

  51. John Mcc. on

    “Every time they open their mouths they can’t tell the truth. It’s time for us to have a president of the United States who can look you in the eye and when he does, you know you’re being told the truth.” John Kerry, Newark Ohio 9/304

  52. Alan R. on

    The registered-voter results for the TIME poll are up at:
    Pretty similar to the likely-voter results.
    I’m still trying to find TIME’s internals (primarily proportion of Democrats and Republicans in the sample). If Republicans were disproportionately at home to watch the convention — which is at least plausible — and if TIME did not weight for this, the results could be skewed. As some of you might recall right after the Democratic convention, in what I believe was the Gallup poll, there was a report of a single night of polling with a huge Kerry edge, with a quick fading away of that advantage. We know that Gallup does not weight for party ID.

  53. Davis X. Machina on

    Any change in right-track/wrong track numbers?
    Any significant change in anybody’s unfavorables?
    Absent this, I don’t know how worked up I’d get…

  54. John Mcc. on

    Unlike Ruy I am neither surprised nor dismayed at the Demcratic angst over adverse poll numbers.
    With the GOP in control of the Executive, Legislative and judicial branches; after the abomindable showing we made in 2002 (kings of the Hill in August, court jesters in Nov.); with Bush framing this race as a referendum on the most extreme right wing agenda in US history and MOST IMPORTANTLY with Democrats having nominated a candidate on “electability” which in turn was based in large measure on polling performance, bad poll numbers are bound to dishearten the Faithful.
    That said, I admire the way that the Kerry campaign has maintained discipline and focus and continue to believe that Bush is ripe for the taking and that by a signifcant margin.
    THAT said, the Kerry campaign needs to be more aggressive and needs to take on Bush squarely on national security starting with IraQ
    The theme of this campaign is Bush’s deceit, extremism and his incompetence.
    Kerry needs to hone that message to a razor edge oir he will not prevail.

  55. Bel on

    but if you only look here, you will get a Kerry perspective which might be too skewed for you to get the full picture.. its always a good idea to get a balance view on things first.. and the dart in the direction that you prefer… but I understand your position anyhow.
    Sometimes these numbers can be challenging to the emotions when there are no analyses done.

  56. CJM on

    If I look, it will be here in the context of this site. It never occured to me that some polls are conducted by the RNC and released as if they are un-biased. Also, the idea of continues poll data from one source over a period of time. So, I take it back.
    I will only look at polls here…

  57. Bel on

    why wont you look at the polls? Surely you can.. just dont let them influence you unduly. Take them for what they are… rather inaccurate guages.

  58. CJM on

    I will not look at a poll for one week.
    I will not look at a poll for one week.
    I will not look at a poll for one week.
    I will not look at a poll for one week.
    I will not look at a poll for one week…..

  59. Meek on

    Can you have a talk with Mary Beth Cahill? Ask here if she could possibly be even more unenthused next time Judy Woodruff asks here about a Time poll.

  60. janeboatler on

    You are right. If Democrats keep acting like a bunch of nervous nellies each time numbers move a little the wrong way, no one will think the party is tough enough. Remember the primary polls? Kerry was in single digits. He is a good closer, and he’s a fighter.

  61. Joe B on

    Bless you, Ruy.
    Democrats have every reason to be optomistic about Kerry’s chances 8 weeks from now, and that’s true whether the current flavor of the week poll makes us happy or sad.
    More importantly, you hit this nail on the head: This kind of “news” is more a gut check for us in the rank and file than it is for the candidates and the campaigns. What should we be thinking if we were up 11? I hope the answer would be “getting ready to bust some hump for the most important GOTV effort in American history.”
    This poll looks bad, others look better. So what. No matter what happens between now and election day, the only thing any of us can directly control is how hard we work to make Kerry president. 60 days left! Work hard, work smart!


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