Skip to comments.Which campaign is really in trouble?
Posted on 08/05/2004 7:53:40 AM PDT by veronica
Which campaign is really in trouble? The Baehr Essentials
August 5th, 2004
The Baehr Essentials
Based on events of the past few months, the Kerry Edwards ticket should now have vaulted to a comfortable lead of between five and ten points. In April, American casualties in Iraq soared to their highest one month level since the war began. The following month came the revelation of the Abu Ghraib scandal. In early July, Senator John Kerry picked John Edwards as his running mate to almost universal media acclaim. The Democratic convention went off smoothly, and Kerrys acceptance speech to a decent size TV audience was generally well received. Images of Kerry as a strong leader and a war veteran were all over the stage and screen. The most recent economic data indicated a slowing from the rapid economic growth rate that occurred in the first quarter, and a lower level of monthly job creation. And perhaps most significantly, the Kerry campaign, supplemented by very heavy support from 527 support groups, has been outspending the Bush campaign on TV and radio for months.
A few polls conducted the night after the Kerry speech did show a bit of a bounce -- Newsweeks instant poll gave Kerry a 7 point lead, CBS a 6 point lead, Zogby a 5 point lead. Polling following convention acceptance speeches has been tracked for many years, and there is fairly clear historical evidence that there are initial bounces that begin to fade over the next few weeks. Conducting a poll immediately after a major event can therefore be misleading. Given the organizations conducting the instant polls, it would not be surprising if the timing (instant, and hence likely to be favorable to Kerry), was designed to display momentum for the Democratic ticket. People like to be with winners after all, so the mere appearance of momentum sometimes can create it. The New York Times, and CBS and Newsweek are not neutral about this race, much as they obsess about Fox News for its alleged bias.
The later Presidential polls, conducted 3 to 6 days after the Convention ended, now show the race even. Kerrys lead has evaporated. The Marist poll and the Rasmussen poll show a tie, ABC/Washington Post gives Kerry a two point lead (though this result may be stale by now), and CNN/Gallup/USA have Bush ahead by 6. When this last polls results were initially tabulated, the pollsters themselves were so surprised by the results, they added one extra night. Bush then pulled further ahead (widening a 4 point lead to 6).
Something is going on here, and it is NOT good news for the Kerry Edwards ticket. Despite friendly media coverage, and the boosts to be expected from the VP pick and the convention, Kerry and Edwards are still in a dead heat with Bush and Cheney, just as they were four weeks ago. And the GOP convention is still to come, which should help the President.
Charles Cook and other pundits keep arguing that a dead heat at this stage is not good news for Bush, since undecided voters tend to break for the challenger at the end. But the recent ping pong polling results suggest that the movement in the polls week to week may result from voters who are loosely affiliated with one candidate moving to or from that candidate. This is different than the picture of undecided voters who, as a group, begin to pay attention only after the World Series is concluded. Many Americans already seem to be following the campaign quite closely.
Scott Rasmussen has noticed that every time ether candidate pulls ahead by a few points, the race reverts to 50/50 a few days later. This has now happened twice in a month. This repeated pattern of a Kerry boost and then fade, is beginning to alarm some of the Bush haters, such as Paul Krugman, who in his Tuesday column accused CNN of behaving in a Fox News Channel-like manner. The media is killing Kerry, if you listen to Krugman. Krugman has written this election is critical because the nations future is threatened by GOP control of the White House and Congress. To a lesser extent, presumably, we are threatened by al Qaeda.
The real problem with the Kerry Edwards ticket is more basic, and self-inflicted I think. The candidates and their spouses were filmed this week stopping at Wendys to celebrate the Edwards anniversary. What better way to show the candidates connection to John Edwards other America? Kerry and his wife seemed confused in the restaurant. They ordered little. Back on the luxury bus, the ticket was treated to its regular gourmet seafood lunch, ordered in from the local yacht club. Billionaires may be filmed at Wendys but they wont eat there. And most Americans can identify phonies.
William Saletan in Slate reads the race differently than I do. Saletan is a Kerry partisan, but a thoughtful careful writer. Yet I think he relies too much on issue polls and other internals, and not enough on the head-to-head race, since the head-to-head numbers are not as favorable to his guy. Voters can favor Kerry on nine of ten issues, but if the tenth is the important one for them, they still might not vote for Kerry. Some voters might favor Kerry on most issues, and still find him cold, aloof and not their kind of guy. The head-to-head poll is what matters, not the below-the-surface numbers. Job approval is probably second in importance, but even here the Bush numbers have stayed in the high 40s, or low 50s, higher than incumbents who have been defeated before, and a bit lower than those who have been re-elected. Saletan uses Zogbys job approval numbers (which tend to be lower), but Zogby uses a different question and scoring system than all other polls on this question.
The Missouri primary election on Tuesday should be a wakeup call to the Democrats. Seventy-two percent of voters supported the traditional definition of marriage in a referendum. In November, similar referenda will be on the ballot in Michigan, probably Ohio, and maybe a dozen other states, including a few where there are hotly contested Senate races. The gay marriage issue tends to attract mainly conservative voters to the polls. The Missouri turnout was the largest ever for a primary. Bigger conservative turnout helps Bush, and in some states, the additional votes cast by those who show up to oppose gay marriage could be the margin of victory. The state Democratic Party in Missouri fought to have the referendum voted on during the Primary, and not in November, precisely for this reason. The Bush campaign has also tapped Ralph Reed, the engineer of the Republican victory in Georgia in 2002, to manage the campaign in Florida this year. Expect a very good turnout of Republican voters in Florida in November.
With al Qaeda warning of attacks in September, and the economic numbers still in flux, a close race could clearly hinge on events that cannot be safely predicted. But the Edwards pick and the convention do not appear to have moved Kerrys campaign boat too swiftly. The debates probably represent his last best opportunity to shine, but also could be very damaging unless there is a personality makeover in the coming weeks.
The wisdom of the Edwards pick seems less apparent a month after his selection, as national security and terror threats become a bigger issue. Little John has spent a month talking about what a great guy Big John is. When Edwards debates Cheney, the gravitas and experience differential could be crushing for a candidate not yet ready for the main stage. Most important, the Kerry campaign has surrounded itself with Kerrys Viet Nam buddies in an attempt to sell Kerry as a tough future leader, based on his 4 months of Viet Nam service 33 years ago. This may be a better strategy than trying to sell a very liberal and generally unimpressive 20 year Senate career, but without any specifics or substance on how Kerry would mange the international portfolio better than Bush, it may not be enough. Dick Morris says that Kerry would have done better to emphasize his domestic agenda rather than try to out-soldier Bush. .
David Brooks has called Kerry the Democrats designated driver. Kerry, he says, is the sober one in a party intoxicated with self-righteous rage at President Bush. But Kerry is also a driver who seems to naturally weave from side to side. And even a designated driver can go off the road, when he has no directions.
The Democraps are so blind in their ambition for power they are failing to see that Bush is doing a great job and people like him (despite any mistakes- imagined or otherwise)
It's as simple as that
It's like a little kid who covers his eyes and thinks no one can see him because he can't see THEM.
Considering the times we live in and all he has done and look at the fool he is up against.
The fact Bush isn't winning 53-44 or better shows what a crummy campaign Rove and Co. have run.
Baloney. The entire media, Hollywood, the Eurotrash, etc., have been attacking Bush for 6 months. He's fighting a tidal wave of BS.
Judging from your comments and your tagline it's not hard to peg you. Isn't the DU missing you about now?
clinton was up 24 after his convention and won by 6
dukakis(brain fart- sorry for the spelling) was u0p by 18 and lost by 11
the fact that it is even now- qerry is in real trouble
There is more bad news to come
1-teresa is a liability
2-the swift boaters are going to hurt him
3-he has no plan
4-he is not easy to like
W will win at least 40 states and we may see a 72 style wipe out
DUma$$ium Koolaider Hibernatum subspecies.
At my command, unleash he!!.
Summon the Kitties.
we cant go by polls, polls are meaningless. we need to get out there and urge people to Support Bush and vote on election day.
Complaining that Bush should be winning big instead of it being close and calling Kerry a fool and making fun of a big government hypocritical RINO makes me a DUer?
There's a lot of anger out there, and it isn't directed at Bush.
During the 2000 elections, there was a lot of very real anger out there against the republicans for airing our dirty laundry. Today, the anger that the dems are trying to stir up isn't really there. People hear all this crap about a recession, unholy wars, tax cuts for the rich, etc., and shake their heads. They don't see it, and they are mostly annoyed by the left. And that's where the anger is: from the left. They're pissed that Americans aren't as pissed as they are. They're pissed that 9/11 came along and opened the door for the republicans to finally show their true colors, and those colors were red, white and blue.
When I drive down the road I see more Kerry bumper stickers than Bush. But I see far more "support our troops" stickers as well as American flags. I see (in Virginia) "fight terrorism" license plates. I see lots of these. You can be sure that none of this is being done by democrats.
You should put yourself in for a Silver Star. :-)
All the pundits said that Gore would wipe the floor with Bush in the debates.
The public didn't think so.
No one can seriously say that Kerry is any better than Gore at public speaking or debating.
And Lieberman was a far more formidable opponent for Cheney than Edwards.
"DUma$$ium Koolaider Hibernatum subspecies"
I think it's the deadlier version ...
DUmAssium Koolaider Hibernatum Comatosia Trollium subspecies
Geeeze, someone that's been around a couple of years here on FR brings up a valid point and they are a DU mole?
Get real... It reminds me of the SNL skit with Jon Lovitz playing DookieKiss and saying to the debate audience about GHW Bush 'Can you believe I'm losing to this guy?'
President Bush is having to deal with many hostile haters, but there is no way he should be tied or even trailing Kerry at this point if you believe the polls.
I'm hoping Rove and Co. get their game faces on soon.
LOL - so much hubris that they think they don't have to do anything but show up to be winners. All they needed to do was spend 12 seconds being briefed on what to order so they looked/sounded comfortable, but they are too far out of touch to even fake it right.
Obviously, the economy and Iraq remain important in voters' minds, but if the news remains improving in both areas, they should not serve as wedge issues for the Kerry-Edwards campaign.
And, unlike Kerry, the President cannot blow off his job for 10 months.
Kerry sits back and leisurely "Monday morning quarterbacks" and snipes every decision the President has to make.
The Kerry team is out of their league and unimpressive.
The Shrum speech was a terrible misfire, and Mary Beth Cahill is very unsubstantial... a Kennedy back-bencher with little national experience.
These people don't get it, and the MSM does them no favors by constantly telling them that they are right, and middle America is nuts.
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