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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Kerry Seizes Lead in New National Poll

A Harris poll of nation-wide LV’s conducted Sept. 9-13, has Kerry leading Bush 48-47 percent, with 2 percent for Nader and 3 percent not sure/refused.

43 comments on “Kerry Seizes Lead in New National Poll

  1. stodghie on

    I signed up for the Zogby polls and receive a set of questions about once a week. I always say yes for kerry. As I live in Texas, it is my small part in helping the polling numbers.

  2. Imelda Francis on

    Hi Ruy: First let me say thank you for all your good work. To my point: Brian Lamb (on C-Span) just reported on Washington Journal that USA today has a new Gallup poll giving bush a 12 point lead.
    best ragards,
    Imelda Francis

  3. Cal D on

    The election coverage is the same as sports coverage.
    I have long maintained that national politics is easily the most exciting of all the televised sports. The games take a good deal longer to play out than ball games, so you do sort of need an attention span to follow them, but the rewards are many. For one thing, it’s the only sport I can think of where the spectators get to pick the players.
    My feeling is, whoever said, “Democracy is not a spectator sport,” probably just never really gave it a fair chance.

  4. James on

    Electoral-Vote.com will go by the most recent poll.
    The lead in Wisconsin is based on a Strategic Vision poll, a Republican polling group.

  5. warp resident on

    That electoral vote site has silly methodology. It will take whatever poll comes out last and swing the EV map from one extreme to the other. You can go from mostly Zogby data to mostly Survey USA data overnight.

  6. Spectator Consumer on

    The election coverage is the same as sports coverage.
    I can’t believe how similar the Cubs commentary in Chicago sports parallels the Kerry Bush race. After the Cubs were thumped by St. Louis head to head with the Cards going from 7 up to 10 up on the Cubbies, the town went mad. For two weeks or more all you heard was crying about how terrible the Cubs were. As time passed people realized the north siders were still in the lead for the wildcard spot, and it has become, “The Cubs have the best pitching staff in the bigs, have to be favorites head to head with anyone in any series.” This prior week they had a little swoon and the critics came out in droves again.
    With Kerry it was all roses after the dem convention. The Bush convention came and all the sudden it was, “Kerry’s team is in disarray.” Just yesterday Paula Zahn teased a segment with, “Can the Kerry campaign turn it around?”
    The individual polls and tracking are interesting for entertainment purposes only. What you see is TOO MUCH commentary and analysis. The President will be choosen by electors decided by the Popular vote during one portion, of one day. There is no way to reliably predict what will happen with any sort of certainty. Like a sports game, maybe you can pick the winner 6 or 7 times out of ten, but for anyone one game there is no telling.
    Perhaps the only poll I think worth watching isnt a poll at all, but the trends in all over long periods. The place to visit is Professor PollKatz’s Pool of Polls at http://www.pollkatz.homestead.com/#anchor_44
    Check out his Bush approval graph following like 15 polling services since Bush took office. The trends are quite compelling. And remember, even that conglomeration of polls doesn’t predict the future, all it can do is handicap it.

  7. Mimiru on

    That first poll that Ruy linked through in the post, it didn’t say it was weighted for party ID (which I think is good) but was it and I just missed it?

  8. warp resident on

    this race most resembles 1980 — and in mid-September Carter was ahead by about 5 points, and his “deserves to be re-elected” number was considerably below 50%.
    That’s about right. Also remember that Reagan didn’t pull ahead till after the debates. Same dynamic this time. Kerry will have to “close the sale” in the debates. Iraq getting worse by the day. Time is running out for Bush.

  9. Cal D on

    You guys have got me thinking about presidential debates (one assumes that we will have a couple when all is said and done).
    Back in 2000, Bush’s handlers were masters of lowering expectations beyond all ridiculousness then seeing to it that he got the highest marks for barely clearing even that bar — he was basically the kid who got high praise for spelling his name right on the test, whereas everyone else was kind of expected to answer some of the questions correctly.
    Back in 2000, every idiotic thing Bush said in public was successfully spun as evidence of his plain spokeness, his outsiderness, his unscriptedness… and an adoring press corps ate it up right out of Karl Rove’s hand then nuzzled his shoulder for good measure.
    It will be interesting this year to what extent if any, our national talking heads have since figured out that Bush is completely scripted, he’s just constantly blowing his lines. I am also at pains to point out that as much as I enjoy having beers with all of my best drinking buddies, quite frankly, not one of them is qualified to be President of the United States.

  10. Bel on

    “Kerry needs to develop a macho persona like Bush”
    Kerry dont need to develop no macho persona like bush.. let the man be who he be.
    He is just fine as he is.

  11. km on

    Let’s throw the new Pew poll in for good measure.
    Conducted 9/11 — 9/14
    RVs — Bush 46% Kerry 46%
    LVs — Bush 47% Kerry 46%
    This compared to their 9/8 — 9/10 numbers
    RVs — Bush 52% Kerry 40%
    LVs — Bush 54% Kerry 38%
    Kerry’s still got some work to do to repair his image and take Bush on, but we are back to parity. Interesting how quickly Bush’s lead evaporated.
    See the results here.

  12. tony on

    Yup, it was the coercion to reenlist story.
    Thanks for the the headsup. That Colorado number (48-47 Bush, Sept. 10-13 or so) was particularly promising. Colorado and New Hampshire, with the rest staying the same as 2000, would be enough for Kerry to win. Unless the proportional voting bill passes, in which case Colorado and New Hampshire would just give the Dems a tie! FWIW, I’ve been against the proportional vote thing, even though I thought it would help the Dems if passed. That makes me feel a bit better being against it now that it might hurt the Dems…

  13. Spectator Consumer on

    Kerry needs to develop a macho persona like Bush.
    In reality, Bush isn’t much of a man, but his stage handlers have crafted an image of power despite his male cheerleader-ness. Kerry’s team has much more to work with considering Kerry’s a combat vet, but they have yet to make him seem tough enough.
    I’m against Kerry making statements from the bully pulpit about Bush. I think it makes Kerry come off as all bluster and anger rather than the strong position he should be aiming for.
    I’ve a post on my blog, which you can get to by clicking my name at the end of the post if you’re interested.
    I think the debates will be where this race is won or lost for Kerry. Kerry needs to play the roll of prosecutor, laying his case out before the jury. Bush did promise surplusses, jobs, smaller gov’t, a humble foreign policy, WMDs, missiona accomplished, a plan to win the peace….Kerry just needs to stick it to him.

  14. Ed on

    I finally got polled this morning. I think they said American Family? I never heard of it. Anyway, they ask me a lot of questions but I only remember; are you registered to vote? what party are you registered with? who did you vote for in 2000? and who will you vote for this time? I also was listening to NPR this morning and they had reps from the Kerry and Bush campaign explaining the differance in the health care plans. It was amazing how the Bush campaiign didn’t have anything except what they have now and his lame prescription drug plan that passed this year. Kerry’s plan was much better presidented and the guy said Kerry is going to make it his first priorty when elected President.

  15. standa on

    Reality Check….
    FACT: Like we see today there was gross image manipulation and false perceptions in Election 2000 but Americans were smart enough to vote + 583,000 for Gore/Leiberman. It came down to Florida…we know the story.
    FACT: More Americans probably still rely on US mainstream media ( broadcast, cable, major newspapers ) but in Election 2000 there were less Americans accessing the Web to crosscheck information and there were no political blogs.
    FACT: In Election 2000 Bush/Cheney did not have a ABYSMAL performance record on the economy, jobs, healthcare, education, the environment, Iraq to be measured against.
    FACT: Bush has been misleading the public, distorting fact, contriving false realities, and making excuses on virtually every major issue because Bushco knows it has to rely primarily on gross image manipulation and false perceptions to win in 2004 and the US mainstream media ( with some exceptions ) is bending over backwards to help.
    The Net Net: More Americans should be smarter in Election 2004 and see that Kerry/Edwards have a much better plan for America and Americans and that George W. Bush is a FAILURE, has NOT earned our TRUST, and should be FIRED.

  16. Sara on

    This morning on a Minnesota Public Radio Mid-morning program (you can listen at the MPR site) Larry Jacobs, U of Mn Political Scientist talked about comparison between this race, and previous ones. He made the point that at this point (mid September) in Reagan and Clinton’s re-election campaigns (84 & 96) they were ahead by double digets — 19 and 16 points. Jacobs thinks this race most resembles 1980 — and in mid-September Carter was ahead by about 5 points, and his “deserves to be re-elected” number was considerably below 50%. He thinks the same pattern holds on this one — Bush got his post convention bounce, and promptly lost most of it over a week and a half and now is either tied or slightly ahead or behind Kerry. His bounce didn’t really impact the underlying questions — deserves a second term? or any right track/wrong track question formulations.
    Apparently Jacobs thinks those who “bounce” around at this juncture are far more likely to conclude in the late days of the campaign to vote for change — meaning against Bush, but not necessarily with profound commitment to Kerry.
    I’d recommend listening to the whole program — and as I posted in another thread here, much material on the two recent polls in Minnesota.

  17. Bob H on

    Kerry has taken two torpedoes below the water line and is still charging ahead-that is really encouraging. Bush cannot put him away, and that is going to lead to some desperate measures-presumably an intern or something we haven’t heard about yet.

  18. tony on

    Very few people will get polled, despite the many polls. If you get a sample near 1000, you can have a pretty small margin of error. The key is getting a random sample. Even if there are 1000 polls run with samples of 1000, you’re talking about only having a million people being polled, a small, small fraction of the US.
    There are certainly plenty of reasons to wonder about polls. Will people change their minds? Are they telling the truth? Are some likely voter screens filtering out people on the basis of whether they voted last time, and if they refrained from voting, was that because of a lack of enthusiasm that has since changed?
    Patience, optimism, and continued hard work…that’s what’s called for in the next few weeks.

  19. Jody on

    Hey All,
    I too am charged by the new polls. We are exactly two weeks post GOP mudfest. The reports on Iraq are damning in their intensity. I would like to echo the on-the-ground assessment, again. I have a strong sense that Kerry is ok and will remain ok with the voters. I vote in every election. I have a land line and I have not been surveyed. I have participated in regular Zogby online polling. I wonder who is called? I do not know anyone who has been polled.
    I attended an event last evening and folks are feeling more positive than some of the polls would allow and there is a great deal on enthusiasm for Kerry/Edwards.
    There are many, many registration efforts and many, many get-out-the vote efforts planned.
    Even my apolitical daughter and her husband have signed up to go door-to-door.

  20. bakho on

    Bush lost the debates with Gore, but was rescued by his spin doctors who turned the debate from substance to sighing.
    On Iraq, Kerry will have to hammer the message that the military is doing an admirable job, but are being overwelmed by the failure of the politicians. You can bet Bush will try to claim Kerry is anti-troops, etc.

  21. tony on

    I’d missed your last post. Do you have any of the Zogby details? It would certainly be encouraging news, if so. And it certainly seems like it would have the potential of backfiring.

  22. tony on

    I’m not sure that I see any whistling past graveyards. I’d certainly not get euphoric based on the Harris and Democracy Corps polls, though I’d rather they turned out the way they did than otherwise.
    Different polls are, at one level, giving us different results. It’s easy for people from any political preference to pick and choose the polls that give them the most favorable results. Better, I suspect, to figure that the conflicting results are the sign of a close race, likely with a slight current Bush lead.
    I hope the polls favorable to Democrats get as much play in the press as the polls favorable to Republicans, but I doubt that happens. In the meantime, all of us should just keep at it, maintaining motivation in the Democratic ranks and preparing for the first Tuesday in November.

  23. VJ on

    I just read Zogby’s “premium” site for paying subscribers. He has definitive data that show swiftboat smear has backfired on Bush. Talk about unintended consequences. HOO yah!
    Occasionally one sees data that suggest a rational electorate.
    Ah yes, some of the people all of the time…..

  24. demtom on

    It seems to me Iraq is a volcano the Bush team has been trying to keep contained, and the news each day makes it less and less likely they’ll succeed. The period of the convention provided not only four days of speakers saying everything was going great over there, but also a national news near-blackout on reports of casualties. Since then, we’ve not only hit 1000, but gone rocketing past — the week or so since has seen us lose c. 3 Americans per day, with many more injured. September is on a pace to be our worst month since the Fallujah debacle of April (by the way, did anyone read the Salon article today, by a formerly embedded journalist, opining that the Fallujah attack-and-withdraw was essentially the root of all the bad stuff since?). Add to that increasingly grim prognoses from intelligence folk, and you have the solid possibility that Iraq goes from sort of neutral for Bush into a resounding negative by Election Day. (Especially given that a majority was already inclined, pre-GOP convention, to view it as a mistake — it’d be quite easy for that number to be restored)
    I don’t say Bush has no chance of winning — I still think it’s possible he’ll squeak out a 50-51% victory, though no higher. But I’ve always believed presidential elections are decided on fundamentals, not tactics or campaign ads, and the fundamentals, as has been said here before, are not good for the incumbent. Three years of recessionary economy, followed by limping recovery, and an ongoing foreign policy screw-up, are not the formula for a second term. For that reason, I think Kerry has a better than even chance, whatever anyone’s polls say this morning.

  25. bob on

    This is a poll using “likely voters.” I seem to recall you types saying these polls were worthless.
    Lots of positions on a single issue. No wonder you lot like Kerry.

  26. VJ on

    Harris poll also says that 51% do not feel Bush should be re-elected. Zogby data have been saying that now for some time. That plus net negatives on approval and direction augur poorly for Monsieur Bush.
    Vive les Democrats! Vive M. Kerry!
    Au revoir M. Bush.

  27. Mike in MD on

    Actually, Sky, as I recall it Gore was ahead before the debates in 2000 and Bush ahead afterwards. But your larger point is correct. The media always piles on according to polls and argues that whoever is ahead is unstoppable and who is behind is in deep trouble, even if the margins are narrow.

  28. democat on

    Wow, thank goodness. I know the people who have been working since last spring are working harder than ever and aren’t letting lower polling numbers for Kerry dim their enthusiasm.
    Every place I’ve been (in a strongly Republican area of VA) people come to get bumper stickers from us while the Republicans talk amongst themselves.
    Enthusiasm to beat Bush has not diminished one bit so I’m glad to see my on-the-ground observations confirmed.

  29. Sky on

    Ruy has been saying that Iraq is Kerry’s opening. It looks like that’s just breaking now. Kerry has been making comments on Don Imus regarding the CIA report on the deterorating situation there, and both the DNC and MoveOn have new Iraq adverts. The new MoveOn ad is, in my opinion, particulary strong and visually arresting. Here’s the link: http://www.moveonpac.org
    Remember how Bush got a lead prior to the debates in 2000? What if Nation polls show a Kerry ‘bounce’ in the next two weeks? It could turn the whole conversation around. And then the news media will talking about how Kerry seems unstoppable.

  30. brew on

    Its like a close football game. Once the defenses get tired, whoever has the ball last wins.
    I honestly don’t see Bush creating a big surge in October, when he is going to be debating Kerry mano a mano. Kerry isn’t going to let him pretend he is winning the larger war on terror or the smaller wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor is Kerry going to let him say that the economy is turning the corner. The issue environment is totally in Kerry’s favor, and when they debate, Bush is finally going to be confronted with facts that are obvious to anyone with eyes to see (excepting of course, the media, who apparently cannot see reality no matter what).
    To further mix some metaphores, Kerry is running downhill, while Bush is trying to push back the tide. If Bush had a 10 point lead, I would be predicting a close race. Given the facts on the ground, it is going to break for Kerry, and Bush is going to get clobbered.

  31. brian jordan on

    Where is there additional information on this poll? Did Harris release the findings to the press? Can we expect to see any news coverage of it?


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