Poll Positions, Rosie the Unriveter


The latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll (from Oct. 14-16!) has Bush up 52 percent to 44 percent over Kerry, with 1 percent going for Nader.

Whole thing here.

The Wash Post daily tracking poll has Bush up by 1 point, 49 percent to 48 percent. Nader also pulls 1 percent there.

The real losers so far? If Drudge is to be believed–and has he ever, coff, coff, been wrong about anything?–they are Rosie O'Donnell and Cher, who failed to draw significant crowds to pro-Kerry events over the weekend.

Details here and here.

NEXT: Putting the Ecch in "Eco-Economics"

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  1. If Rosie draws anything to her, it’s because of the gravitational pull of her enormous girth.

  2. Gallup has been normalizing to a party ID split that uses equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. This was the ratio that voted in 2002.

    The Post and Zogby have been using a split that gives a 4 point party ID advantage to Democrats. This is the split that turned out for the presidential elections in 1996 and 2000.

    Gallup’s assumptions seem a little off, don’t they? 2002 was a strange election, with the president’s approval rating in the 90s, the country still shaken by 9/11, and the Democratic party adopting a strategy of rolling over and dying, so that their defeat would be less overwhelming than taking the popular president’s party on. So Democratic turnout was way down.

    So, two years later, with the Tora Bora story broken, Abu Ghraib, two bad years economically, another million people without health insurance, and George Bush’s approval ratings below 50%, how many of you thinks the turnout is going to look like it did in 2002, vs. the turnout during the “normal” elections tha preceded it?

  3. poor joe

  4. spin it joe! I wonder what the dot com crash backed by an attack on US soil did to the economy. Nothing I’m sure, it was alll g dub, huh?

  5. So this is simultaneously the most important election of our time, a unique referendum on the direction the U.S. will take for the next century, and a “normal election?”

  6. This is not an election between two individual men.

    Very simply, a vote for Kerry is a validation of the Michael Moores and MoveOns of the world. And frankly, I don’t like the idea of their feeling validated.

    So I’ll be voting for Bush. This election is about far more than the single man whose name is on the ballot. That’s not where the power of a win will lie.

    In an earlier thread, Joe responded to these remarks by noting that a vote for Bush validates the Karl Roves, Swift Boat vets, etc. And he’s right. But the libertarians around here would, I hope, recognize the difference between validating those scattered individuals and validating the Michael Mooresque worldview. Because the latter is far more dangerous to freedom.

    The danger of a Kerry victory lies not with Kerry himself — he’s merely one guy, and ultimately just another plastic politician — but with ratification and momentum it would lend to the rabid left. I’m interested in further eroding the New Deal/Great Society mindset … not giving it another injection of credibility and thus postponing its demise.

  7. Joe, let’s assume your assumptions are true….Zogby’s Saturday & Sunday poll had Bush up 3 & 7, respectively, and hitting 50% on Sunday…ouch.

    The dems better have an overwhelming barrage of Mary Poppins/Dick Tracy planned for next Tuesday, particularly since the GOP has a few thousand laywers on the ground to play defense.

  8. Friday on the News Hour David Brooks had an interesting take on these seemingly static numbers (in relation to those 4 years ago). Once people are in a group they tend to stay with that group. It is common to justify away criticism of your in-group. We see a bit of that around here from time to time. joe?

  9. What does “Mary Poppins/Dick Tracy” mean?

    So…nobody has any thoughts on the party id normalizations? That is what accounts for the difference in polling this time.

    Doug, I’ll be just fine. Kerry’s EV victory and popular vote loss might even pave the way for doing away with the Electoral College entirely.

  10. B., I think a large chunk of the electorate, larger than normal, is indeed “bought in” to one side or the other. Specific issues and events don’t really change these people’s decisions, because they are voting based on broad philosophical orientations.

    So even if Bush screws up this or that, he’s still the candidate of “going on the offense…” yadda yadda. Even if Kerry voted wrong on this or that bill, he’s still the candidate of the “reality based community.”

  11. joe-
    The EC is here to stay, at least for a while. Too many states still retain an advantage in the EC. AK,HI,ID,WY,ND,SD,MT,ME,RI,DE all these states have four or fewer EV. Why not get rid of their representatives while we are at it?

  12. Read the news from Ohio lately, joe? Crack addict-voter registrators paid, with crack, by NAACP Voter Fund volunteers?

    Are you even reading posts today? joe? If Zogby’s weighted in favor of Dems based on ’00 party ID, a Zogby Bush +7 result 9 days before the election is an “Iceberg! Right ahead!” moment.

  13. Come on guys, leave joe alone. His delusional beliefs about this election are nothing compared to his delusional belief in the entire liberal program.

  14. snake, Zogby has had Bush up 1-3 points for the past week. http://www.zogby.com Where are you getting this “7 point” stuff?

  15. What I don’t understand is if all these polling organizations can spend the money to do a poll everyday, why can’t they get a grip on who’s going to be showing up to the polls?

  16. Is “coff” an accepted spelling of “cough”?

  17. Ammonium,

    As I understand it, the people whose voting rates are the hardest to predict are the same people who are most difficult to reach using telephone polls. First time voters, people who recently moved, people who don’t have a land line. Making things even harder, these are also the people whose preference is hardest to predict.

  18. Pollster John Zogby, Saturday, 10/23:
    “Bush had a stronger single day of polling, leading Kerry 49% to 46%. For the first time, in the one-day sample Bush had a positive re-elect, 49% to the 48% who feel it’s time for someone new. Also in the one-day sample, Undecideds were only 4%. Could Undecideds be breaking for Bush?”

    Sunday, 10/24:
    Pollster John Zogby: ?Another good single day of polling for President Bush. In today?s sample alone, he leads 50% to 43%?the first time we?ve seen either candidate hit 50%. Each candidate continues to tighten his own constituency, and Undecided voters are now at only 4%”

  19. Sam I was: “Very simply, a vote for Kerry is a validation of the Michael Moores and MoveOns of the world.”

    Speak for yourself. I’m voting for Kerry because I think Bush is a poor military leader. I don’t concern myself with Michael Moore or MoveOn or any other pundit or political group.

  20. “Coff” is the Marvel Comics annotation of “cough.”

    Gillespie’s shot at Drudge is a bit miselading, b/c the Rosie and Cher stories are drudge’s links to existing media stories…any beef re: accuracy goes to the media sources themelves.

    Also drudge himself once gave the caveat that on tips that he reports, he’s about 80%…Caveat Emptor is standard procedure everywhere for the news consumer.

  21. A few things:

    1) What are “reality based communities”?

    2) I agree with joe that a lot of people won’t change because they’ve already drunk the kool-aid of one side or another.

    3) Why is everybody being so harsh on joe in this thread? He’s pointing out that the predictions of certain pollsters depend as much on the underlying assumptions as they do on the raw data set provided by the people in the sample.

    If a poll had Bush down by several points, no doubt a lot of people on this forum would be pointing out the importance of those assumptions. Some of them might even go further than joe and suggest that the pollster used those particular assumptions because he’s a partisan hack.

    There are plenty of reasons why one might diagree with joe’s stances on issues, but I can’t see why everybody is jumping all over him for pointing out that a prediction is contingent on the underlying methodology.

    BTW, the NY Post is predicting that Dick Gephardt will win the Presidential election next Tuesday.

    4) Whatever one might think of the Electoral College, if Kerry by some chance wins the electoral vote and loses the popular vote it will be fun to watch various partisans on both sides go 180 degrees opposite the stances they staked out in 2000. One might almost think that they care more about partisan advantage than the merits and demerits of various election methods with respect to the best interests of the country… 😉

  22. 5) I’ve voted for Republicans, even though doing so would validate the world views of Pat Robertson, Freepers, Ollie North, and other people I find despicable. I’ve voted for Democrats, even though doing so would validate the world views of Michael Moore and company. I’ve voted LP, even though doing so would validate the world views of a wide variety of freaks.

    I don’t give the freaks a veto over my vote.

  23. thoreau, joe was trying to invalidate the wide gallup Bush spread by invoking Zogby’s Dem. weighted assumptions. I accepted joe’s and Zogby’s assumptions, but pointed out that for 48 hours, Zogby is trending against Kerry, even with the Dem Voter ID advantage.

    If you accept Zogby’s primacy based on his accurate prediction of 00, that’s not good news for global test guy.

  24. I hope joe’s analysis of the polls is wrong. Not because I care about Bush’s prospects, but instead because I don’t want him to drag down other Republicans who tend to be for smaller government much more than the Dems.

    Here in Colorado, Zogby has Kerry up by 4 and Salazar, the Dem for senate, up by 9 over Pete Coors, the Republican. No other current polls concur with these results, but who knows? Zogby’s methodology could be accurate.

    BTW, A while back, some big beer companies went to DC to ask for handouts from the taxpayers to help promote domestic beers overseas. Pete Coors showed up as well but argued against government help, saying that such help wasn’t free enterprise and was unfair to taxpayers. He also said that Coors would accept no such funds in any case. He’s getting my vote.

  25. snake, where are those quotes from? Do they refer to a state poll? Was he commenting on someone else’s poll? Those aren’t the numbers Zogby put out on http://www.zogby.com His polling over the weekend shows Bush up 2 points, then 3 points, with undecides still over 5. I’m curious, what source did you use?

    thoreau, you missed the “reality-based community” story? Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind quotes a Bush admin official accusing reporters and Democrats of being part of the “reality-based community,” meaning they come to their conclusions by examining reality, and creating strategies based on the facts. He distinguishes this from the way the Bush people operate, which is to decide what they want to be true, then plan around those visions.

    Also, I don’t anticipate liberals pulling a 180 on the EC, so much as saying “I told you so.” The EC weighting system disproportionately weights the votes of people from rural, heavily Republican states, so its continued existance is both bad for the Democratic party, and contrary to the egalitarian, justice-oriented philosophy of modern liberalism.

    The possible change would be on the Republican side. Philosophically, Republicans should approve of a system that disproportionately benefits states with high rural populations, few immigrants, high % of homeownership, low % of nono-white residents, and conservative political ideals. It is also more protective of states interests, vs. the nation as a whole. However, in the current election, the EC could work against George W. Bush, and as we have seen (with the deficit, education spending, Medicare drug benefit, nation building/world’s policeman, opposition to federalism on gay marriage and other issues) conservatives have proven to be quite willing to violate their longstanding philosophical beliefs on behalf of George Bush.

  26. Rick,

    Pete Coors seems like the most decent Republican newcomer I’ve seen in years. This is yet another problem with the 2 party system – those states in which one party tends to nominate a decent, reasonable moderate are the states in which that party is least likely to win, while those states in which one party always wins are the states in which that party is most likely to nominate someone corrupt or extreme.

  27. Voting for Republicans = objectively pro-theocrat.

  28. (I posted this earlier but after Nov.2nd, I promise not to post it again for two years.)

    I have a suggestion to advance the cause of liberty in these last days before the election:

    Call your local talk radio stations and speak against any initiative or proposition that raises taxes. Come up with the arguments that you judge will be most compelling for voters to reject the tax increases. Call as much as you can. And remember, in the face of opposition, if you encounter it, reinforce your arguments instead of raising your voice. You can make a difference!

  29. Brian, we could spend all sorts of time arguing about the precise degree of theocracy that would be ratified by a Republican win. I don’t agree that a Republican vote is a vote for theocracy. But that’s not the point anyway.

    We are generally assigning far too much weight to the individuals who are running in this presidential race. Ultimately, this is not about Bush the man, or Kerry the man. Whoever wins will not be a king. He will not be a god. He will be a citizen who is temporarily sitting in the executive corner of the federal government.

    But there IS a group that could enjoy a substantial triumph, and gain substantial power, if Kerry wins election. I’m using “Michael Mooreism” as shorthand, but he simply represents a far larger coalition of people who don’t understand the fundamentals of freedom, who think America started with FDR, who are proponents of collectivism and the antithesis of libertarianism. I can think of few things more harmful to the cause of liberty than to signal to these people that they are “right.” Which is exactly what a Kerry victory would do.

    Of course I understand that the Bush coalition is itself far from pure libertarian. But it is certainly not ACTIVELY engaged in eroding freedom and promoting collectivism. Its worldview is not based on principles that run counter to freedom.

    Again, this election is about far more than two men. While the Bush philosophy is certainly not perfect, I simply cannot stomach the idea of empowering the ideology of Michael Mooreism — and I can’t imagine how any other libertarian could.

  30. >> You can make a difference!

    No…you can’t…

  31. joe,

    But wouldn’t the lack of an explicit popular mandate for Kerry (as opposed to NotBush) mean that he would have to go back to the well of his most vocal supporters, governing by ‘coalition of the noisiest’, in order to keep them from turning on him and not supporting the ‘NotKerry’ in 2008? While it may not be an endorsement of the MoveOn, Mooreist platform, it would be a significant increase in the chances of getting those initiatives enacted.

    Bush had this same problem in 2000, imo, and has ended up with this mishmosh of policy as a direct result of being the ‘NotClinton’ candidate (even though Clinton wasn’t running).

  32. joe,

    Well, Colorado is supposed to be a marginally leaning GOP state. But we will soon see. Pete Coors is indeed more moderate on social issues. However, I’m thinking and hoping that if elected, he will vote in a very principled small government manner on economic issues. Also, in an interview he said that he wants the “War on Terror” to be a war on the terrorists who attacked us. That sounds better.

  33. Joe:

    I don’t know how many different ways I can say “This is not about Kerry himself.” Perhaps I’m a poor writer, but I thought I’d made that point pretty clearly. In case I didn’t, let me put it this way:

    This is not about Kerry himself.

    You are right: “Not Bush” is the engine that’s driving Michael Mooreism. However (at the risk of cheesing out the metaphor), their vehicle is loaded with plenty of other luggage — leftist luggage that is the antithesis of freedom. And these folks would certainly interpret a Kerry win as an endorsement of that leftism.

    Again, it has nothing to do with Kerry himself or his policies. It has to do with perceptions. And among those on the left, the perception would be that America has vindicated their ideology. Just as those on the right feel vindicated by George Bush, despite the fact that he’s not exactly a small-government conservative.

    Ultimately, the election is a referendum on two opposing philosophies, regardless of the candidates themselves, their views, or their policies. And I know which philosophy I’d rather empower.

  34. Jim Walsh:

    No…you can’t…

    Yes you can…sometimes.

  35. joe,

    I think you are correct.

    I mean what does it matter that Bush is giving up halls to hire stadiums and Cher can’t fill a night club and Rosie can’t fill a bathroom?

    Ya think there might be a certain lack of momentum?

    I have a certain amount to say about secret Bush supporters.

    And more to say about Rosie and Cher.

  36. Sam:
    “philosophy I’d rather empower”

    let me guess: religious fundamentalism.

  37. One person can make a difference, but most of the time they probably shouldn’t.

    — Marge Simpson

  38. “let me guess: religious fundamentalism.”

    You know, I’ve always thought I write pretty clearly. I guess I was misguided, because it’s apparent my posts are subject to utter misinterpretation. Despite the fact that my posts included multiple references to “liberty,” “freedom,” “libertarianism,” and opposition to “leftism,” you come away concluding that the philosophy I’m interested in is “religious fundamentalism.”

    Your reading comprehension skills are obviously top-notch, so I can only conclude that I am a miserably poor communicator. For that, I deeply apologize.

  39. As are yours, Sam. I didn’t misunderstand your post, I disagreed with it, and explained where I thought your thinking went wrong.

    You must have missed that part.

  40. Joe, I was responding to the poster named “a.”

  41. Then why did you write,


    I don’t know how many different ways I can say “This is not about Kerry himself.” Perhaps I’m a poor writer, but I thought I’d made that point pretty clearly.”

    Maybe if you spoke louder, slower, and waived your hands…

  42. While the cellphone data cited in an earlier post by Warren was interesting, I have my doubts that it will add more than 1% to Kerry’s vote total. Young voters are notoriously apathetic, so I would wager that they would be the group most put off from voting by Bush’s lead in the polls (the threat of a draft notwithstanding). On a loosely related topic, I am moving the Osama Watch meter to Code Red – Imminent Osama “Capture”. The reasoning: Bush will need to produce him by no later than this Friday, because the campaign will want to allow a couple days to spin the capture rather than risk a backlash by voters who immediately perceive it as a political ploy.

  43. Sam-

    There are many good reasons to vote against Kerry. Denying Michael Moore a chance to party like it’s 1999 just isn’t very high on my list.

    Now, a more serious but related concern would be that some of the people who are much more radical than Kerry will get jobs in the executive branch. That is a valid concern, but that isn’t what you talked about. Let’s stay focused on the concrete consequences, and not worry about who just wakes up with a smile on Nov. 3.

  44. “This is not an election between two individual men.

    Very simply, a vote for Kerry is a validation of the Michael Moores and MoveOns of the world. And frankly, I don’t like the idea of their feeling validated.”

    And a vote for Bush is a vote for Swifties, Limbaugh and Coulter.

  45. Ultimately, the election is a referendum on two opposing philosophies, regardless of the candidates themselves, their views, or their policies. And I know which philosophy I’d rather empower.

    But it’s not really. If Bush were anything close to a libertarian, I’d agree with you. But he’s not. Do you really want a Bush in his second term who thinks that he has even more of a mandate than in his first term (he’s almost certainly going to get more of the popular vote than last time if he wins)? The man who passed the PATRIOT Act, who gave us Medicare drug benefits, who appointed John Ashcroft attorney general, who will not admit that he was just wrong about weapons of mass destruction, who wants to pass the FMA . . . I could go on and on. If Bush wins, the GOP will think that Bush’s law and order liberalism is the way to go in future elections. If Bush loses, then maybe – just maybe – the GOP will become less dominated by the religious right and neoconservatives and become more a party that I could stomach voting for again. I think that the stakes are much greater than validating “Michael Mooreism.” They’re going to be validated in their own minds no matter what happens. What matters is what lesson the GOP will take from this election. Do we want the Republicans to think that endorsing Bush’s policies is the way to win, or do we want them to think that it’s a sure way to lose much of their normal voting base?

  46. Joe:

    Except that by writing “As are yours, Sam,” you were clearly responding to my line, “Your reading comprehension skills are obviously top-notch.” And that line was addressed to the poster “a.”

    That doesn’t mean it was off-limits to you. But when you’re citing it to strengthen an argument from an EARLIER line of conversation, you need to make that clear. That way everybody understands who’s talking to whom, and about what.

  47. Sam:

    “I guess I was misguided”

    If you think Bush, Ashcroft, Pat Robertson etc. represent “liberty,” “freedom,” “libertarianism,” you are not just misguided, but delusional.

  48. The electoral college provides a weighted vote to prevent less populatedareas from being consistently overwhelmed by more populated areas. Current complaints about the system probably were voiced by Whigs and the Bull Moose Parties. Removal of the electoral college would ‘disenfranchise’ the rural vote.

  49. To me, the merits or demerits of the Electoral College are irrelevant. The thing isn’t going anywhere because it would be impossible to get the necessary support. I don’t like the thing, and you certainly won’t hear me waxing eloquent about the alleged genius of it (my understanding is that it was a compromise put in place because nobody could think of anything else, not the result of some brilliant design as some claim) but I won’t waste my time arguing to get rid of it because that won’t happen.

  50. “The electoral college provides a weighted vote to prevent less populatedareas from being consistently overwhelmed by more populated areas.”

    Which would be ok, if it protected the rights of electoral minorities evenly across the board. But it doesn’t – the 500,000 people of Alaska are protected from being swamped by a national majority, but an equal sized minority in Texas or New York is completely ignored.

  51. but an equal sized minority in Texas or New York is completely ignored.

    That’s what the House is for…..assuming that a district was specifically gerrymandered for the sake of that minority. Otherwise, tough luck.

  52. So because representation in the House treats all electoral minorities equally, that eliminates the problem with the EC (and Senate) treating them unequally?

  53. Actually, the House only treats some minorities preferentially, depending on the whims of the people drawing the districts.

    Besides, my previous post was mostly sarcastic.

  54. Sam said: “You are assigning far too much power to the individual who happens to hold the office of president for 48 months.”

    Well, Sam, I didn’t decide the length of a president’s term in office.

    New Deal. Great Society. 1960s legacies. These words mean nothing to me. It’s just talk. I’ve no interest in social issues.

  55. If you want to mess with Michael Moore, you should vote for Kerry. The Bush presidency is what’s driving Moore’s popularity and activising lefties. If you replace Bush with Kerry, a mainstream Democrat not given to starting wars for no good reason, you’ll hurt the Moore and company. Soon they’ll be criticizing Kerry instead of railing against Bush, and it won’t sell nearly as well.

  56. Sam, I don’t know what you’re talking about. The Bush admin is most definitely *active* in it’s curtailment of liberty. Where have you been over the last few years?

    Vote Libertarian if you are a libertarian, the 2 major parties aren’t even close.

  57. Interesting look at the latest polls; note that three of the six polls from 10/24 had Kerry with a small lead or tied, and three had Buhs with a more significant lead:


    Also note the webpage of the Rasmussen Reports, which has recently given Kerry a two-point lead (after weeks of Bush having the edge).


    Right now, I think that the race is so tight that any sort of accurate prediction has become impossible, and any swing is based on one or another artifact. Plus, I find many of these polls straight out suspect (Zogby stating that Kerry is leading in Colorado, and nother poll that Bush is leading slightly in Hawai’i – sorry, not buying those until they are demonstrated on election day). However, if I were to bet, I would state that Bush still has the better chance of winning, but there really is no margin of error for him.

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