washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Maybe September 6 Was a Really Good Day for Bush

OK, horse race fans, when last we picked up the story (September 3-5 Gallup poll), Bush had a one point lead on Kerry among RVs.
Today we have three different polls released covering about the same period with three pretty different horse race results.
1. CBS News, polling September 6-8 among RVs, gives Bush an 8 point lead.
2. ABC News/Washington Post, polling September 6-8 among RVs, gives Bush an estimated 4 point lead. Why do I say “estimated”? Because, now that Nader is becoming an ever-less-viable candidate, the WP poll has decided only to ask the three-way horse race question and not the followup for Nader voters that allows you to construct a 2-way race. Makes a lot of sense, right?
Since, in their last poll, the 2 way race knocked 2 points off Bush’s lead, I do the same thing in this poll and estimate that Bush’s 6 point lead in the 3 way race translates into a 4 point lead in the 2-way race.
3. Finally, Fox News, polling September 7-8 among LVs (no RV data available), gives Bush a 2 point lead.
Kinda confusing, huh? Why would September 6-8 be a better period for Bush than September 3-5, right after the convention? And could Fox’s polling period, which does not include September 6, mean they missed Bush’s best day and he was starting to go downhill a bit?
Stay tuned! There’ll be more polls coming at us shortly, I’m sure.

36 comments on “Maybe September 6 Was a Really Good Day for Bush

  1. warp resident on

    OK, let’s come to terms with this. Whether Kerry is behind 4-6 pts or tied, it doesn’t change the diagnosis. A large sector of americans are willing to accept the illusions of this administration. They may be stupid as Bel says, or psychologically distraught, but there is obviously a disconnect between people in a large swath of america and the industrialized cosmopolitan areas on the coasts. I keep recalling this crazy quote in an LA Times story about a Tulsa woman asserting that she is better off now than 3 years ago, even though the family took a 40% pay cut. Why? Because they are now “living within our means”! OK, it OKlahoma. I know, but this is the level of thinking that is going on across the red states. In the WaPo poll released yesterday a clear majority expressed the opinion that Bush would be better than Kerry in relations with foreign leaders. Meanwhile 75% of europe wants to distance itself from the US. What world are we living in!? I think we need to come to grips with a scary reality that most americans are not like the people who spend time on the internet. They are ill-informed and naive. They don’t want to have to think about issues. The president says he will do whatever it takes to keep them safe and that’s good enough for them. Frank Rich in the NYT summed it up pretty well. Bush may not be a tough, hard as nail, war hero commander. But he plays one on TV. That’s what americans understand. We are captivated by the Rambo culture. Things don’t always work out in our favor but the culture has discovered that action movies, schwarzenegger, stallone and bruce willis can go a long way to comforting us and propping up the illusion. Let’s face it, whether Kerry or Bush win in November this problem exists. 9/11 was simply a catalyst to propel the country into a psycho-social dependence on the illusion of invincibility created by our media and entertainment industry. Orwell has finally arrived.

  2. gabby hayes on

    Simon, if you had ever been involved in a campaign and weren’t simply talking out your ass, you might get it.
    I’m talking to those with some concept of politics. You’re not in that group. Losers like you show up wailing and wringing their hands every week, and they never accomplish anything.
    Get outta my way, I’m busy here.

  3. Frenchfries on

    Howard Dean??! Speaking of delusional, Simon…
    I have to agree with Jeff: AWOL and Kitty Kelley are useless stories. Bush passed that test in 2000. The voters don’t like his past but they have forgiven him. Just like the had forgiven Clinton for his shenanigans.
    Every day we talk about cocaine or the National Guard we don’t talk about the winning issues for Kerry. I’m just as angry as you are about the lying Swifties’ attack. But the only way we can fight that is by fast responses and an immediate changing of the issues. There’s plenty to use: the war, corruption, the economy, Bush’s broken promises.

  4. Simon on

    Gabby Hayes, you are a cock-eyed optimist. Get your head out of the sand. Ruy is spinning this big time! It’s his job, he has to keep the faithful motivated. These polls are bad news and the sooner we recognize that Kerry is screwing this up the better off we’ll be. Where are you Howard Dean?

  5. Joe on

    Here’s what I’m worried about. Back in June, Ruy was saying on Joshua Micah Marshall’s site that Fox was a crap poll and he’d trust Gallup any day. Now we’re hanging our hat on the Fox poll (and Rasmussen!). Are we deperate or what?
    I’m also worried that some Kerry idiot staffer forged those docs that Dan Rather stupidly went with in the 60 Minutes story on Wednesday. That will sink him immediately. We could use a little less help from the “liberal media”.
    Kerry’s running a crap campaign and if he doesn’t get it together we are going to lose big, let’s not kid ourselves. We need to stop pretending to be something we are not and run as proud liberals! Let the chips fall where they may.

  6. Jeff on

    The AWOL story is stupid and distracts everyone – especially Kerry – from talking about the real issues.
    I for one hate Vietnam more than ever.

  7. Bel on

    I still think that Rove is over rated but its very interesting that the bush club is running this campaign based on an assumption that the americans are stupid. Its even more interesting to note that they actually believe that americans are stupid and they spout it on their platforms everyday.
    For instance, Cheney implies that a vote for Kerry will mean another terrorist strike… but he seems not to realise that americans are aware on whose watch 9/11 took place.
    What is more, what if an attack did happen before Nov 2., what would that mean for his team? Is he therefore implying that no such attack can happen under their watch? Americans cant be that simplistic in their view on these elections. I suppose if the electorate voted for Kerry, then it would be the electorate’s fault if something happened.
    In like manner, Bush is continually croaking that things are better and that america is safer. Americans must be smart enough to realise that Bush is spewing crap. Surely they know if their salaries buy less, if insurance has gone up, if medical costs have risen… surley they know how safe they feel and they must know how they feel about kerry’s record and Bush’ records.
    I dont think that there are many people who can say positive things about their lives since bush took over but yet, this bush club invites the electorate to elect them because things are looking up.
    Americans must be stupid to swallow the nonsense and rhetoric being dished out by Rove and crew. Its really a shame that these people would run an entire campaign based on how stupid they think the american populace is. What a pity.

  8. gabby hayes on

    It’s not an “either/or” proposition. There are multiple messages going on to multiple audiences. Striking at Bush’s strengths is sound strategy, and a necessary one. All the praise heaped on him has to be answered, and one way is to show he’s been a lying screw off who used government privilege his entire life.

  9. Bel on

    If the DEMs insist on using this Bush reocrds thing, then they have to put a specific perspective on it and push that perspective to its logical conclusion.
    They could probably tie it to Bush’ claim about those who are being non-patriotic for not going with him on the war… they can also say that there is none more unpatritic than bush, who refused to serve his country, effectively.
    Of course there are other perspectives… but they need to find a valid one and push it.

  10. Bel on

    I agree Jim.. In any event, the DEMS dont have the psychy required to push such an issue in a way that benefits them. The wheels will fall off in the DEMS hands..
    Kerry is gaining traction by his approach of linking Iraq with every other failed Bush policy

  11. Jim on

    I’m not so sure that the Bush/National Guard story having legs is such a good thing. Like with the Swift Boat crap, it moves attention away from the real issues on which Bush is particularly vulnerable–like the economy and health care. The USA Today Thursday says the issue of most importance to voters in the battleground states is the economy. That’s where Kerry ought to be hammering Bush.

  12. gabby hayes on

    Debunking Wall Street Loves Bush for President:
    The Fox News phony Business panel has been trying to sell the notion that Wall Street loves Bush, and that Wall Street would react positively to the alleged Bush surge.
    A week ago, the Dow opened at 10,290 on Friday following Bush’s acceptance speech. It dropped last Friday to 10,260. All weekend the alleged 11 points lead was touted, and Fox Business opined Monday that Wall Street should respond positively to the news that Bush was far out in front. The Dow is right back where it started a week ago, at 10,289.
    Tuesday the markets opened UP, largely on the strength of good oil news in the form of the Monday sell off by “speculators,” (probably Saudi royals trading on insider info) followed by Bandar’s October Delivery of promised cheap oil.
    Wednesday the market retreated some, as it became apparent that demand for oil will remain strong, and that retreat continued Thursday. I think tomorrow we will see a sell-off, and the market will close DOWN.
    Get ready for TERROR to be the Bush campaign theme again.
    The bogus, contrived Bounce is just about gone.
    The economy is stagnant and staggering, the Bush bounce is bogus, and Bush desperately needs to distract from his Guard woes.
    We’re about to have a TERROR alert whether we need one or not. We got one when Kerry picked Edwards, and when he got the convention bounce.
    Yep, TERROR alert coming, probably tomorrow AFTER the market closes.

  13. EvanstonDem on

    September 7 is when the 1,000th U.S. military death occurred in Iraq, so the closer race in the Fox News poll may be a reaction to this sad milestone.

  14. gabby hayes on

    Just now:
    Zogby nails it on Scarborough, with Pat Buchanan setting it up.
    He addressed the overweight of pubs and underweighting of Dems.
    Very good analysis, and the first time I’ve heard it stated the way we’ve been talking about it for days.

  15. Natasha on

    Let’s go canvassing, and tell everybody that Kerry is going to win by a landslide.
    I feel much better when I do this instead of waching talk shows and reading newspapers.

  16. pj on

    It’s not that 9/6 was a good day for Bush, its that his bounce started to dissipate on 9/7. Why? The media reported the death of our 1,000 soldier in Iraq on 9/7.
    One other point to make — the national election that you are all polling is not going to happen. Bush is campaigning as if he can win with the popular vote. Crushing Kerry with his base in the south and Utah is not going to win it — Ohio, Florida, and the states Gore squeaked through with in 2000 will. Given the skewed support for Bush in his strong states, I think he’s got to be 4 points ahead nationally to be ahead on election day — he’s really running a dumb campaign. But he did that in 2000 as well, when he blew the lead at the end by concentrating on California, but got saved by Scalia.

  17. warp resident on

    correction – Bush’s ‘approval’ never dropped below 47%.
    56% better off or the same, 42% not as well off as in 2001.
    REALLY? Where the hell are all these unemployed they keep talking about?

  18. CharleyCarp on

    I think premature public panic amongDems is worth a couple of points to Bush. There’s still plenty of time, and I don’t think anyone who was undecided on August 1 or 31 — and that’s still plenty of people — has definitively committe themselves.
    However, a steady drumbeat from Dems that we’re doomed will do it.

  19. Paula on

    Nick, I know the ABC poll oversampled Dems a bit after the DNC, so they tend to fluctuate apparently.
    BTW, Danielle can crow all she wants, but if she knows anything about political history she should be aware that bounces do subside. Just wait another week or so.

  20. warp resident on

    More on WaPo:
    Bush favorables never went below 47%. Significant majorities believe they are better of of the same as in 2001 and believe Iraq was worth it.
    Who would do a better job with relations with other countries:
    Bush 47 Kerry 42 !!!
    Both RVs and LVs are LEANED, as they were in other polls showing big leads.
    Everything about this poll suggests it is not representative of the electorate.
    The bottom line is yes, B/C ahead in the horse race. By how much? Who knows, but it’s not comforting. I’ll reserve judgement till I see how all the dirt shaking out on Bush affects next round of polls.

  21. susan on

    1) If you study the internals of both national and state polls over the past few weeks, there is one consistent and undeniable fact: Kerry’s “unfavorable” rating has been increasing quite a bit. There is only a slight improvement in Bush’s “favorable” rating. People aren’t suddenly big on Bush, but more and more are getting grumpy on Kerry.
    2) There is good evidence that “likely voter” models work, but only for the final polls in the last 72 hours of the race. No one has any idea if LV really works at all before then, people assume it is sensible and use it, but they could easily be totally wrong.

  22. NickR on

    Hi, lurker here.
    I’ve been following this site for some time now, and I have a question about polling. If, as some of you have said, the recent Time and Newsweek polls have a republican bias, and are therefore irrevelent, did they have the same republican bias in the past? And if so, wouldn’t all their previous polls therefore be irrelevent as well? Did they show Kerry with a lead? If so, you have to admit that Bush has really moved up in the polls.
    Frankly, sometimes I think your analysis of recent polls is bordering on wishful thinking.
    Don’t get me wrong – I’m no troll. I’m hoping for Kerry victory as much as all of you, but I’m getting a bit despondent. Prove me wrong!!

  23. gabby hayes on

    There is no doubt that Kerry’s negatives are up as a result of the August and since attacks.
    But those negatives have not translated into new voters for Bush. Gallup has had Bush at the same 50-52 for 6 weeks. It’s overstated, but it’s been there and hasn’t increased more than one point in all that time.
    I would analogize this to a football game that is tied, but the Bush team is being given big props by the TV commentators for their recent drive, which may or may not end up in a score, and hasn’t changed the score yet.

  24. mark alan on

    According to your average of polls, Bush is ahead 4 to 5 points.Although I do understand your concern regarding Kerry’s postion in the polls as I do, Football Madman, I think we need to remember a few points:
    1.Where did any of us realistically think Bush would be one week out of his convention? If you did not think Bush would get aleast a small bounce then something is definitely wrong in our thinking regarding elections.
    2.Kerry has finally got his mojo, he’s mad and he’s hired on some pros-especially Clinton people.
    3. The stories and stats favor Kerry right now. Think about it – the job numbers, the deficit numbers, 1000 dead in Iraq, the new poverty and healthcare numbers. Now Kerry just needs to use them.
    3.Bush had his best week last week.
    4.The negative ads from ourside (Texans for Truth) are starting.
    5. Bush’s awol story and coverup seems to have legs.
    6.The Bush camp seems scared for an incumbant- why else would they have Cheney say what he said yesterday regarding terrorists??
    7. Gore was much further down than this in 2000 and came up to win the popular vote.
    Now, usually I am not a optimist, and I still feel this will be really close, but I still feel we can pull up and win.
    The only way I will say Bush is definitely going to win is if one of two things happen. Either Bin Ladin is found or a new terrorist attack occurs in the U.S. Then Kerry is history.

  25. warp resident on

    My favorite question from the WaPo poll:
    24a. Overall do you think Bush has done more to (unite the country), or has done more to (divide the country)?
    Unite Divide No opin.
    9/8/04 RV 48 44 8
    I’s say were pretty divided on that question.
    Seriously though, this poll shows a dramatic drop in Kerry’s and small rise in Bush’s favorable rating. So either the negative attacks in August have been effective or this sample group is distorted to the right.

  26. gabby hayes on

    CBS: Bush leads 49% to 42%
    ABC: Bush leads 52% to 43%
    Fox: Bush leads 47% to 45%
    Gallup: Bush leads 52% to 45%
    Rasmussen: Bush leads 48% to 47%
    ICR Bush leads 48% to 47%
    Rather than average these, which gives a result based upon badly conformed polls, break it down:
    CBS……. Bush leads 49% to 42%
    ABC …….Bush leads 52% to 43%
    Gallup … Bush leads 52% to 45%
    Fox …………….Bush leads 47% to 45%
    Rasmussen …. Bush leads 48% to 47%
    ICR …………… Bush leads 48% to 47%
    What does this snapshot tell us?
    It tells us that the polls which find a big Bush lead have a real problem in WHO they are polling, and HOW such responses are WEIGHTED.
    It tells us they are contriving a result, and pushing it hard.
    It is also unprecedented.

  27. Danielle Vita on

    I think Ruy is going to spin these polls right into defeat for Kerry and himself…god, the man is self-delusional..no wonder the Demos are sinking….

  28. gabby hayes on

    Ruy is right on top of this, and like anything with complexity, it’s hard to understand what is happening until you see it.
    There are polls being taken and reported.
    1. Some are changing their reporting methods in order to eliminate or undervalue the much more pro Kerry Registered Voter.
    2. Some are grossly overpolling non Democrats.
    3. Some are using weights to determine Likely Voters which are contrived and not supported by history.
    4. Some are altering their approach in the past 6 weeks in order to GET a more favorable Bush result.
    5. The polls which are most accurate show it very close in percentages and electoral vote.
    6. The polls which are most inaccurate are those which are being pushed by corporate media.
    7. It’s difficult to know this without studying the polls in detail and delineating what is happening in each one.
    If someone told you they jumped 7 feet high, you’d better know if they were using a trampolene to get there before you conclude the person is an Olympian.

  29. Paula on

    There was one more poll this week: The Economist has Bush up by 1. That would make the average of these seven polls a 4-point lead for Bush, which seems plausible to me.

  30. Football Madman on

    Here’s a rundown of this week’s polls:
    CBS: Bush leads 49% to 42%
    ABC: Bush leads 52% to 43%
    Fox: Bush leads 47% to 45%
    Gallup: Bush leads 52% to 45%
    Rasmussen: Bush leads 48% to 47%
    ICR Bush leads 48% to 47%
    Overall average: Bush leads 49.3% to 44.8%

  31. Paula on

    I’m not sure what the significance of running ads in 14 rather than 20 states is. He could be saving money for October. Couldn’t that also be a sign he doesn’t need to spend a lot of money in blue states? About half the national polls show Bush with a nice lead and the other half show no lead at all. It does make one’s head spin.

  32. Football Madman on

    Ruy, I like your blog but I think you’re being overly optimistic. I think Kerry is in real serious trouble right now. He trails in the CBS and Wash Post polls by anywhere from 8 to 9 points. He is only running advertisements in 14 battleground states and he even pulled his ads in Missouri. It’s far from over but I’m getting pretty concerned right now.

  33. Paula on

    I’m not sure about the RV sample, but the LV sample in the ABC/WaPo poll has 6 percent more Repubs than Dems, which means it’s skewed, just like with the Time and Newsweek polls.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.