Saturday, October 23, 2004

10 Days Before the Election

Sorry for the overemphasis on politics the last few days. As you can probably tell, this election has really played with my nerves. It’s hard to believe that Election Day is so soon. We’re heading into the last week of the campaign.

Honestly, I don’t feel very good about Kerry’s chances. After the DNC, I was ecstatic about Kerry and felt he had command of the race. But then Swift Boat Vets came in and knocked the campaign off balance. Kerry steadied the ship with his solid debate performances, putting him back in the race.

The polls are all over the place. I’ve seen polls showing Kerry ahead or tied, but most of them show Bush expanding a slim lead. The polls were wrong in 2000 and could very well be off this year. However, I worry about some of our perceived advantages. I worry because they were the same talking points offered up by Dean supporters in the primaries. Dean’s supporters felt that: 1) All the newly registered voters would help Dean, 2) 18-24 y/o voters weren’t being polled, 3) Undecided voters would swing his direction. I kept hearing how Dean’s internal polling showed a likely victory in IA and NH. Of course, Dean went on to lose by 20 points in Iowa and 10 in New Hampshire. This election needs to be about convincing likely voters, not relying on new voters to carry us to victory.

My biggest fear is that the undecided voters will break for Bush because of terra. Bush continues to lead on the issue of fighting terra. Others suggest that economic issues will influence the election more than the threat of terra. I’m not so sure about that. Come Election Day, we’ll see who was right.

Kerry’s biggest advantage might be the Electoral College. Recent polls show Ohio and Florida trending towards Kerry. Were he to win those states, along with Pennsylvania, it would be nearly impossible to lose the election. However, it’s hard to imagine that happening without Kerry being within 1-2 % of the popular vote. I believe that individual states will trend towards the candidate who’s polling well nationally. We’re looking at the states of PA, OH, FL, IA, MN, MI, NH, and WI to decide this election. Despite some wild polls, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and New Hampshire all lean towards Kerry. Florida and Ohio are 58 EV’s worth of toss-ups. Finally, Wisconsin is looking better for Kerry.

A week from tonight or tomorrow, I expect to be able to project the race fairly accurately. If Bush is leading by 4 + in the polls, and has approvals over 50, Kerry is toast. I believe if polls show the race between 1-2 points for Kerry, then it’s truly a dead heat and turnout will be the pivotal factor.

There’s no telling what will happen in the next 10 days. I hope that the Kerry campaign has a bombshell that would dramatically alter the dynamics of the election. Of course, I then worry that Bush has a similar damning piece of evidence on Kerry. My advice is to relax and take a look at things in a week. And take heart in the fact that polling is not the end all and be all of politics. If Bush is significantly up, it’s safe to assume that he will end up winning. But if it’s within the margin of error, we’re talking about a 2000-style contested election. Lets hope that Kerry closes strong and rectifies what has been a four year long nightmare.


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