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Thursday, September 9, 2004

What insiders say the insiders are saying.

The Campaign Desk at the Columbia Journalism Review keeps an eye on the campaign coverage for you — including the "insider's bible" of political journalism, the super-expensive National Journal. And what are the insiders saying about the polls and the trends in this year's presidential election? Steve Lovelady describes the analysis of Charlie Cook, National Journal's pollster:

Cook writes that Clinton White House political director Doug Sosnick has determined that in the four most recent presidential re-election campaigns (Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton) the incumbent's job-approval ratings were showing clear and unambiguous by June, at which point the public had its mind made up about whether to re-elect the incumbent. If that theory holds up ... President Bush's 48 percent approval rating (the number has not wavered since March) will not be enough to win re-election in a two-way race and may not be enough to win even in a three-way race.

Polls suggest that Americans have come to see the war with Iraq and U.S. policies in the Mideast as inadvertently increasing the threat of terrorism in the United States. ...

[Democrats] will gain little by attacking Bush's character. Among swing voters, there is a real openness to attacks on Bush's decisions and priorities. Attacks on Bush's character, however, can backfire and shift undecided voters to his side .... Bush's re-election is in extreme dangers because of the decisions, priorities and actions of his administration, not because of strategic or tacticial missteps made at the Bush-Cheney '04 headquarters in Arlington, Va. ...

Offsetting that,

Some observers think that if Kerry had as much personality as most ashtrays, he would have been ahead by 10 points even before picking Edwards or holding his national convention. Although that assessment is probably a bit harsh, Kerry has had trouble connecting with voters on a personal and emotional level. ...

[A] simple test tells us a lot about how this race may unfold in the coming months. Ask yourself how many people you know who voted for Gore in 2000 but who are planning to vote for Bush this year. Then ask yourself how many Bush 2000 voters are planning to vote for Kerry. Outside of the pro-Israel community, there are very, very few Gore voters who appear likely to defect to Bush. But most people can name Bush voters who appear ready to switch their allegiance to Kerry. ...

Voters in 10 states, led by Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, in that order, says Cook, will determinte the outcome of the election. Filling out the list of make-or-break states are Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin in the Midwest, Nevada and New Mexico in the Southwest, and little ol' New Hampshire, which, Cook says, just might at long last "get to play a real role in a general election."

There you have it. Mrs Philocrites and I are likely to take a few days sometime before the election to volunteer in Ohio or Pennsylvania. You can, too. Meanwhile, bite your nails daily at the visually gripping Electoral Vote Predictor. I sure do. (Thanks for the tip, Rebecca!)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 9 September 2004 at 5:28 PM

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