Friday, September 17, 2004


Polling, Polling, Polling

Bush Ascending, but Electorate is Still Volatile

Elephant has said many times that he hasn't seen a president so unworthy of re-election in his lifetime than George Bush. Not that Kerry grabs my attention or passion, just that Bush has moved so far from the traditional GOP principles on spending, foreign intervention, interference of government in our personal lives, etc. that I just can't vote for him despite the fact that my career has been built around working for Republicans or Republican causes.

This has gotten me thinking about all the confusing poll numbers that are sloshing around in the so-called media. Is Bush up by 13% or is the race even? Elephant splits the baby and says that both are true. (Yes, how John Kerry of me). But think about it. First, there are a huge number of voters and moderate republicans that are terribly concerned about Bush's policies. We don't like the runaway spending, we're confused and feel betrayed by Iraq (and frustrated by the seemingly deep disconnect between Bush's reality and the progress on the ground) and we're concerned about terrorism. On the other hand we've got John Kerry, who for over a month now has been knocked off message by the swift boat veteran ads and has yet to spell out a coherent message on his vision for America. (at least one that resonates with the media).

So, one day we're all rooting for Bush, then facts on the ground in Iraq slap us in the face and we take a step back. Thus the numbers go up, then down, then up again. Truth is that Kerry tends to come around in the home stretch. If you remember he was written off a dead before the Iowa caucuses only to rise like Lazarus to victory. The Bush campaign, if it gets caught up in the hubris of its reported lead risks forcing the story of Kerry as the comeback kid.

Bush's advantage right now is during the Swift Boat mess, he got a chance to spell out an agenda for the next four years. It's an awful agenda from Elephant's point of view, but its an agenda nonetheless which is more than most people can see from Kerry-Edwards. But that could change with the debates and the numbers will again shift. Until then it's still an open race with an advantage going to Bush.

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