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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Inside Scoop on Rove’s View of the Election

By Alan Abramowitz
I just received the following message from a colleague at another university who is totally trustworthy:
“I have friend who is a co-chair of the Bush Cheney campaign. Rove believes that Bush needs to have a 4 point lead going into the last weekend to win given the undecideds that will break againt the president.”

13 comments on “Inside Scoop on Rove’s View of the Election

  1. Carolyn on

    Cranky Observer–
    I am starting to wonder the same thing. Rove grossly underestimated the amount of money the
    Democrats would raise when he laid out this campaign two years ago. I think we can definitely expect some negative tricks and meanness, but as far as having a pulse on the American people, I think Karen Hughes is more the person we should be watching out for. Has anyone else noticed that Bush has been better since she rejoined the campaign in earnest? She definitely has the emotional pulse of some of Bush’s base. Old stories here in Texas were of the rivalry between Hughes and Rove…wonder if they are true.
    The Democrats just need to move quickly as these things arrive, or throw out some things of their own first, so that Bush is more on the defensive…
    I think Rove’s recent appearances on talk shows, etc…shows that they are getting a little panicky.
    We just need to keep working–fast and furious!

  2. Cranky Observer on

    > We can be assured that Rove’s end game
    > ground war will be ruthless, unethical, viscious and
    > full-bore.
    I have a harder and harder time accepting the “Rove as evil genius”, with the emphasis on genius, meme. As Markos has observed, Kerry managed to evaporate $200 million worth of pre-nomination spending in 90 minutes at the first debate. And if Rove has some genius-like October surprise he has exactly 16 days and ticking to pull it off, which isn’t much.

  3. Brucie Rosch on

    Like Teresa, I’m a little concerned. After reading the NYT Bush profile by Suskind, I’m also fearful that this info from Rove could be a strategic sideways leak. There was some scary talk in that article about volumes of new registrations coming from churches, and a figure of 4 million adamantly pro-Bush evangelicals who WERE NOT registered in 2000.
    We can be assured that Rove’s end game ground war will be ruthless, unethical, viscious and full-bore.
    Let’s not let ourselves be lulled by ANY Kerry numbers’ strength into not giving our fullest GOTV effort — and then some.

  4. Sara on

    I think the 4 point margin to protect against the expected uncommitted/independent break for the challenger makes great sense. It’s just logical given the well established pattern among late deciders.
    We must be on the look-out for whatever Rove has in mind to get himself a 4 point margin in the next two weeks. Right now he is either tied or down a couple of points.

  5. euzoius on

    It seems clear that Rove needs an actual lead and an average turnout. My only question is, what day will the inevitable terror alert come out—-1, 2, or 3 days before the election? And will it specifically involve Ohio? This seems the most likely October surprise.

  6. David on

    The question everybody needs to be asking is where is Bush going to get any NEW voters?? Remember he lost the populat vote in 2000 and there hasn’t been any announcements about any voting block that has changed their minds about him since 2000.. Its just not in the numbers and he know its.. I do believe, millions of republicans will crossover and vote for Kerry..

  7. john on

    Sounds like classic Rove disinfo.
    My read is the opposite: the Republican campaign on Kerry has sowed enough doubts in swing voters’ minds, that unless Kerry is at least 2 points ahead going into election day then he might well lose.
    Also there is the Ralph Nader factor.
    It seems to be coming down to Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. Of which Kerry seems to be closing the deal with PA, but losing OH and Fla. W. Virginia seems to already be gone.
    WI is the other likely defector to the Bush camp: that remark about Lambert v. Lambeau field has cost Kerry big time with Green Bay fans, apparently (Kerry got it wrong).
    I hope I am wrong, and I sense real disquiet about Bush amongst the (Republican) parents of my American friends (in London) but the world opinion is so solidly against Bush (except in Israel) that I think it blinds us to the reality.
    I wait for Rove’s October Surprise, and expect it will be a doozy.

  8. Teresa on

    Dear Alan,
    My first reaction was to this inside scoop that the Bush campaign believes it needs a 4 point lead going in was elation. My second was to suspect that that this was a rumor purposely placed by the Bush campaign. Mr. Rove is famous for this type of tactic. Please don’t let hope distract us from working our tails off for the next three weeks!

  9. standa on

    Ruy, very interesting comment from Rove.
    Check this out…
    Oct 17, 2004
    John Kerry for President
    Voting for president is a leap of faith. A candidate can explain his positions in minute detail and wind up governing with a hostile Congress that refuses to let him deliver. A disaster can upend the best-laid plans. All citizens can do is mix guesswork and hope, examining what the candidates have done in the past, their apparent priorities and their general character. It’s on those three grounds that we enthusiastically endorse John Kerry for president.

  10. Franklin Delano Sinatra on

    That’s really not clear enough. If Bush has a 4 pt lead in the nat’l head to heads, but less than that in the swing states that give Kerry 270, then Bush won’t win.
    Apparently Rove doesn’t want to talk about the “T” word (turnout) either. Consideriing the margins Bush had in 2000 in the last week, what he really needs is fairly consistent margins across polls, and possibly one of 5-8 points.

  11. James E. Powell on

    Question on polls.
    The campaigns seem to have sharper, and perhaps different, polling results. I infer this from comments such as that which this post attributes to Karl Rove. It must mean that Rove/BC04 have a different idea of who the “likely voters” are than that of the nationally published pollsters.
    Why is that so?


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