Skip to comments.10 Reasons to Predict a Bush Win (Long, but a Good Read!)
Posted on 10/15/2004 5:42:59 AM PDT by TonyInOhio
But I remain confident that Dubya will win on election day. I can think of 10 significant reasons why this is the case, and I thought I would share them with you.
1. Electoral math favors Bush. There has been a lot of talk in the media about how close this race is, how there are some hotly contested states this time around -- and that the states combine for enough EVs to tip the race. This is true, but as with so much of the conventional wisdom, it fails to capture the context of this election.
Yes -- there are states that are in competition, and yes, they amount to a lot of EVs. But the fact of the matter is that the electoral map is much more narrowly contested this year than it was in 2000. And almost all of the states out of contention are Republican states out of the reach of Kerry/Edwards.
Remember in 2000 how many states were up for grabs? All of the states this year, plus Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Arizona were all in play. They were all purple states. They now are all solid red states. Given Edwards pick, people were even putting North Carolina into the purple column for awhile. Not so. Florida also seems out-of-play this year for reasons I have already delineated (increased GOP registration, solid poll numbers, solid JEB approval ratings, solid Bush performance during the hurricane, Kerry's problems with black voters).
Meanwhile, all of the toss-up blue states from 2000 are still toss-ups. The contested electoral map has constricted, but it is the Democrats who are at a fundamental disadvantage.
It boils down to this. George W. Bush has to hold Ohio. That's it. He can lose New Hampshire AND Nevada, lose all the contested blue states, and still tie Kerry 269-269. That would send it to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation would cast one vote apiece. Bush would win.
Thus, not only does Kerry have to hold every state from 2000 -- he has to steal the big tamale. The Buckeye State.
2. Ohio looks very good for the president. It is not just the demographic issues I outlined yesterday. It is also the cultural issues, which I suspect shall be a major sleeper-issue in the Buckeye State this year. Kerry consistently and obviously flubbed every cultural issue that came up in the last two debates. Ohio has a lot of Catholic voters, and I doubt that Kerry's mismanagement of the cultural issues helped him at all there. What's more, I have never seen Catholic voting groups so "hotted up" about abortion as I have this year. Perhaps it is because it is a pro-choice Catholic that upsets them so much (i.e. the faith itself might be damaged, they think, if the most powerful Catholic in the world is pro-abortion).
Furthermore, if there is one state where we shall see the "72 hour program," it will be in Ohio. As early as May the Democrats were talking nervously about how well-organized Bush/Cheney is in Ohio. "Down to the precint level" reported The Note. That is unprecedented, friends. That is simply astounding. Bush/Cheney recognizes that Ohio embodies the whole shebang...and they are ready for it.
3. The next 18 days heavily favor Bush for two reasons. A. Kerry's best days of the campaign are officially behind him. The only time he made a good impression was during the debates. His stump speeches, his advertising, his major appearances -- all of them did him no good. Meanwhile, Dubya is at his best when he is on the stump: folksy, impassioned, articulate (for Dubya). We return to where we were in September: both candidates on the stump, appealing to crowds, getting into local newspapers and television stations. This had been to Dubya's advantage all year. We should expect the same for the next 18 days.
B. Every time in this election season when the campaign is not dominating the national news, and there are no major national crises, the polls have slowly but surely crept toward Dubya. Kerry had a lead going out of the primaries, which was amplified by the Abu Grahib, Fallujah and al Sadr problems. Iraq settled down in late June. Kerry announced Edwards in early July, and then over that month the polls crept toward Dubya. Kerry stopped the bleeding with his convention, but over August they crept toward Bush again. The trend continued until the first convention. Calmness in the nation helps Bush. We have again reached a stage where that can happen. There are no major events in the campaign. There are no economic indicators coming out to damage the president. No more bad news about WMD. The terrorists are increasingly (though not totally) contained in Iraq; it seems unlikely there will be another crises in that nation until after the election. When the news is nice and settled, people trend toward Bush.
4. Kerry has never been over 50% in the average of the polls. Further, no single poll has ever consistently shown him over 50%. This is significant. Kerry has been wholly unable to convince half plus one of the electorate. Why should we expect this trend to change on 11-2?
5. Kerry is basically out of ammunition. What is he going to say in the next 18 days that he has not been saying for the last 180 days? Meanwhile, Bush has his silver bullet left in the chamber: Kerry is an out-of-touch Massachusetts liberal. I think this will be absolutely devastating in the next 2 1/2 weeks.
6. Kerry's rhetoric may not be strictly Shrummian/Populist, but his substance is. This did not resonate in 2000, and I think it is foolish to think that it will resonate in 2004. People are uncertain about the state of the economy, but (and this is important) most people are confident about their own finances. When that is the case, populism simply does not work. Democrats have only been successful on the national stage when they run a DLC-style campaign, ala Clinton in 1992.
7. The two most important issues in this nation are Iraq and the War on Terror. Kerry flirted briefly with parity with the President on these issues, but in the last two weeks Dubya has regained a statistically significant lead on these issues.
8. The Kerry campaign is flat-out incompetent. There are hordes of examples of this that I have noted since January. I will cite the most recent one. Their campaign tactic in the last two weeks has been to emphasize that Kerry has won the debates. This is completely near-sighted. What are they going to talk about now that the debates are over? Can't they see how that will backfire? All their blither-blather about their momentum will look foolish in three days when Dubya still has a lead in the polls. What will they say then?
What's more, most people do not care that Kerry won the debate. Hell, Gore won the first and third debate in 2000 according to Gallup. What good did it do him? This is a sign, I think, of point #5. They are out of things to talk about, so they have picked something completely irrlevant.
9. The GOP has equalized the playing field in GOTV. I am not talking about voter registration. The jury is still out on how well the Democrats are doing relative to the Republicans there. We have seen them gain on the GOP in Nevada, but we have also seen them lose ground in Minnesota and New Mexico. What is more, many people on this site have argued that the Democratic registration is really simply re-registration of people. I find this generally persuasive, as the number of people already registered before this year is very high.
The bottom line is that if we take Colorado as a model, it becomes clear that the GOP has mastered the GOTV aspect of presidential campaigns -- GOTV is more important than voter registration. In years past, this has been an indubitable advantage to Democrats. Not any more. Meanwhile, I am guessing Kerry will have trouble with GOTV, particularly among black voters. Lots and lots of black ministers have endorsed Bush, or at least remain tepid in their enthusiasm for Kerry -- and this matters a great deal. Kerry simply needs to match Gore's unprecedented results with black voters (not just % of support, but also turn-out) and I think that is highly unlikely.
10. Bush, Rove and the GOP have been preparing for this kind of knock-down, drag-out, 3% difference kind of battle for 3 3/4 years. They learned from their mistakes, and applied these lessons to their campaign. And we can see that in the sort of things Dubya has been doing lately, e.g. focusing heavily on Iowa. We can also see it in Dubya's explicit appeals to women. We see those agan and again and again. We saw it last night in the debate. Did you see how impassioned Dubya was about education? Whom do you think this affects? Whom do you think was particularly touched by his anecdote about meeting Laura? The gender gap has closed this year because George W. Bush and his campaign have decided to close it.
This race was destined to be close once Kerry demonstrated he was not a robotic, unlikeable moron (note that he failed to demonstrate this to me). He did that at the first debate. This is why the numbers closed then. Kerry suddenly became a plausible alternative for a lot of people. Once Kerry did that, he was able to bring the race down to the wire. Why? There are two principle reasons:
1. The last four years have been really, really, really rough times for America. All across the board. Just rough. The country is anxious and, well, pissed off about how rough things have been. This is not to say they blame Dubya. I do not think that is the case. But they are upset and uneasy. They are bound to take a close and careful look at the opposition candidate.
2. There were no WMD found in Iraq. Again, this is not Bush's fault, but this is America. When mistakes happen, we want heads to roll. Think about everytime you get screwed by some bureaucracy -- government agency, credit card company, department store -- you get mad as hell. If you are like me, you often find yourself blaming the most easily accessible person (i.e. the poor sap answering your complaint call). It is not that person's fault. That is the worst thing about bureaucracy -- it is set up so that it is nobody's fault. This foul-up in WMD is a systemic problem. It is not Dubya's fault, but many people think heads should roll. It is a natural, American impulse. Dubya's head is the biggest target. This is the only reason Kerry continues to hammer away at WMD despite his obvious (and shameful) contradiction. His internal polling must show that it is a net benefit for him to focus on that. WMD has cost Bush 5% easily.
Neither of these are enough for Kerry to win the election. They just explain why it is close. Given that it is close, we have to look at the nature of the race on the ground to evaluate it. That has been the general purpose of my blog. I have been doing a lot on specifics in specific states, as well as looking at the day-to-day activities of the candidates. But I wanted to take a step back from the trees and take a look at the forest. That is what I have done here. Right now, I see these 10 reasons, and cannot help but conclude that Dubya has a decisive advantage. The nature of the race right now favors Dubya. Kerry will need some external event to turn things in his direction.
He does better number crunching than anyone I've seen, save Dales, who does it in a different way.
Bookmarking for later.
Ohio will choose Bush big time, but in reality, Kerry might 'take' the state. We have four counties with more registered voters than citizens who are eligible to vote. Ohio isn't alone. Last election cycle, had the elections been on the up-and-up, Bush would have taken more states. I believe it was Philly or another big city in Pa. that had more blacks voting than they had blacks registered. Yet, it was the democrats who hollered foul! They are doing it again. The media isn't going after this story and it is the most important issue of the elections because it has the potential to undermine every election we have from now on. We are in deep dung if that should happen. Terrorism won't be the problem; our own people will be.
Good analysis. Now make it easy by delivering Ohio to Bush!
I agree that more registered voters than population in some counties are a problem. But Ohio Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell's office has to be able to reconcile that against something to see that its false.
I think we've seen massive fraud "attempts", but I dont know how that equates to actual votes. The Secreatry of Ststes office, whose job it is to take care of Ohio voting has got to be on the lookout for fraud and they have to have a way to find and deal with it. It would be ridiculous to think they wouldn't consider it may happen.
I don't think I'm being overly optomistic when I say that President Bush will extend his Ohio lead before the election and Ohio will be firmly Red on election day.
Everyone knows, a vote for Kerry will definately raise your taxes...he won't/can't keep his word about that...plus we know he's weak on defense.....he can't hide from that record either.
With President Bush, we KNOW we'll get tax cuts and we KNOW he's strong on defense. Its a no-brainer.
Working on it - I've volunteered for phone banking this year.
My county delivered the highest winning margin for President Bush of all 88 Ohio counties in 2000, so I have to do a little driving to help my neighbors see the light. :)
Interesting. My optimism has wavered as much as the polls but this is a very thorough analysis.
Let's hope it's correct!
Ken Blackwell is doing a lot in Ohio to combat fraud.
Blackwell for Governor!
"Florida also seems out-of-play this year for reasons I have already delineated (increased GOP registration)"
Do you have a source for this? According to the latest numbers from the FL Secretary of State, the Democrats have out-registered the Republicans in FL by 813 voters as of August.
That was 2 months ago, though. Since then, from everything I've read, the anecdotal reports have indicated a surge in Democratic registrations, but I've seen no official numbers on this.
What county is that?
I live in Summit county. Summit is deep blue every election year. I don't even think Reagan won this county in '84!
The Northern third of Ohio is the only reason it's even competitive for the Democrats. Most of the southern and central urban areas, Columbus, Dayton, Cincy are Democrat in the cities, as one would expect but with a large Republican majority in the small towns and suburbs. In the northern part of the state, even small towns like Ravenna, Salem, and a lot of the inner Akron and Cleveland suburbs have Democrat mayors and such thanks to the unions.
I'm in Allen County and at the time of the last election, we didn't have one democrat in office. We voted all the liberals out. Now, there is a creepy guy on the radio trashing conservatives all over the place, riling the people. He's a spinner, vulgar, and really an odd duck, who should be sitting home on Medicare or Medicaid, but his liberal buddies are just as stupid, as well as the radio station who allows this hocus-pocus sham of a show.
Allen County...Lima area, right?
Lima, Yes! Though I moved out of the city limits a few years ago.
They will come up with things we could not have dreamed of, stoop to depths we could not have imagined. It has already started. Two examples; Edwards says Kerry will make the lame walk and Kerry brings up Mary Cheney.
This area (Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana) will go for Kerry. The unions will make sure of that. There are quite a few Bush/Cheney signs, out and about. The NRA came to Warren to announce their endorsement for the President. I hope the gun owners, even if union members, can see the light.
That would be Dennis Shreefer. Fear not - his ratings are so low that only his toothless band of freaks is listening to him anyway. :) One of the genuine pleasures of the day is turning off WIMA when Rush is over.
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