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  Politics and Elections - August, 2004
August 31, 2004
Reason #20:  Rudy Giuliani
I just finished watching former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's speech at the Republican National Convention.  I hope all of you did, too.  What a great speech!  Guiliani was the perfect voice to remind America how George W. Bush's resolve led this country through one of her darkest hours.  Remember how you felt as the President addressed the joint houses of Congress a few days after the tragedy of September 11.  Remember the goose bumps as he declared that, as we heard from the terrorists on that terrible day, the terrorists would surely hear from us.

The man who stood before us that day is the same man who will accept the GOP nomination later this week.  Rudy told us all what we should never forget:  President Bush's resolve has steadfastly and courageously led our country through the uncharted, dangerous waters of this post 9-11 world.  Whether or not you agree with his decisions, Bush has stayed the course he believes is right.  As the Mayor emphatically reinforced, we can all rest assured with President Bush at the helm that our nation will never be tentatively or hesistantly led.

I thought one of the most telling comments of the night came, not from one of the featured speakers, but from Mort Kondrake, a journalist from Roll Call.  Brit Hume of Fox News asked the panel there at the table what the sound bites will be on tomorrow's news shows. Mr. Kondrake said he thought the media would pick out Giuliani's words describing Kerry's flip-flopping on national security issues.  He said the spin would be that the GOP convention had already "gone negative."  If that prediction does prove to be true, what a shame that will be.  Tonight was full of positive, uplifting moments.  It was a celebration of our country's greatness and the unbending, "principle leadership" of our President.  The convention is off to a great start.  Get ready for FOUR MORE YEARS!

posted by Scott Elliott at 1:10am 08/31/04 ::

August 29, 2004
Polling data update
Woohoo!!  The Republican National Convention begins tomorrow in the midst of a pretty substantial "pre-convention" bounce for the President.  His ever-improving job approval and the toll those Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads are taking on Kerry's numbers have pushed Bush into the lead in this week's Election Projection.  For the first time in months, Bush is actually projected to take a state Al Gore won in 2000.  Thanks to some recent state polling numbers, Wisconsin is now colored red.  New Hampshire remains a problem for Bush, though, as state polls continue to show Senator Kerry with a pretty good lead there even though national numbers alone indicate Bush should be ahead.

So, the final projection before the Republican National Convention is here.  The President leads the Senator 284-254 and even has the advantage in the popular vote, 49.2% - 48.9%.
I didn't think this kind of movement would be seen until after the convention.  One thing is for sure - the President's post-convention bounce will certainly be lessened by the positive results of this week's polling.  Hey, I'm not complaining, though.  I'm excited that Bush numbers are finally moving in the direction I expected them to long before now.  One interesting fact to note:  if an average of just 2.5% of Kerry voters change their minds and go with Bush, The Blogging Caesar's predictions will be right on target.

Since I began tracking these projections in August, 2003, the President's most impressive numbers have been 477 electoral votes and a 17.60% margin seen on the 12th of January, 2004.  His worst electoral vote total was 181 on September 5, 2003.  May 26, 2004 saw Mr. Bush's worst percentage deficit so far.  That update projected him to lose by 7.6%.

posted by Scott Elliott at 3:50pm 08/29/04 ::
August 27, 2004
Colorado:  seeking irrelevance
In presidential campaigns, the electoral college is the last word.  Never mind opinion polls, popular votes, gender gaps, and all the others trappings that political junkies like me love to follow.  It is the electoral college that matters, and it is what drives how campaign dollars are spent.  In the end, every penny spent by Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry on their respective campaigns this year will be for one purpose and one purpose alone - gaining a majority of electoral votes on November 2nd.

Each state, as even casual political observers know, is awarded electoral votes based on population.  Large states get the most and are the most coveted election prizes.  Smaller states get less, but, as was the case for New Hampshire and its 4 electoral votes in 2000, they can play a pivotal role in determining the winner.  Colorado faces a decision this year that could make it the least important state in the nation, electorally speaking.

On the ballot there will be a measure that would divide the state's 9 electoral votes according to the percentage of popular vote garnered by each candidate.  If the measure passes, future presidential candidates will have little or no reason to campaign in the state. Under the current winner-take-all process, Colorado has a fairly significant say in who will occupy the White House next year.  As the state has become more of a battlegound this time around, Colorado is getting quite a bit of attention.  That influence will be diminished to approximately nothing if this measure becomes law.  How is that so?  It is simply a matter of cost and benefit.

Right now, campaigning in the state can provide a substantial benefit - 9 electoral votes.  So, the cost is worth it.  But only because a candidate needs win by only 1 vote to capture them all.  By contrast, under the proposed plan, a candidate stands to gain a 1 electoral vote advantage at best, 5-4.  In fact, that candidate would have to get over 61% of the two-party vote in order to switch just one additional electoral vote in his favor.  That is an impossibility in all but the most overwhelming of national landslide scenarios.  So the only real battle becomes who will get 5 and who will get 4.  In other words, the measure on the ballot in Colorado would reduce the state's effective electoral votes from 9 to just 1.

posted by Scott Elliott at 6:20pm 08/27/04 ::
August 25, 2004
Good polling news
I know it is just one poll, but the trends are looking good...

Bush Overtakes Kerry in Latest L.A. Times Poll  (free registration required)

Update:  The trends to which I refer are noted in the story:
That small shift from July was within the poll's margin of error.  But it fit with other findings in the Times poll showing the electorate edging toward Bush over the past month on a broad range of measures, from support for his handling of Iraq to confidence in his leadership and honesty.
Several emails I've received indicate some visitors to this site thought I meant this single poll represented a trend.  Of course, one poll does not a trend make.

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:05pm 08/25/04 ::
August 23, 2004
More on the Iraqi soccer team
I've received some rather vehement emails regarding my earlier post on the Iraqi soccer team and their success in this year's Olympic games.  I'm a little confused by a common sentiment expressed in many of them.  Here is an excerpt from one such email:
I am sure the 10's of thousand who have been killed for this stupid war feel it was all worth it to have a good team.
The intent of the post was to comment on a positive by-product of toppling Saddam Hussein. It was never meant to be a justification for the war in Iraq.  I just wanted to point out some good news that has resulted from President Bush's decision to eliminate Saddam from the global terror equation.  The President doesn't need an Iraqi Olympic medal to make his case for war.  He has all the justification he'll ever need - for anyone willing to look objectively at the situation.

Additionally, I have read the articles such as this one which quote members of the Iraqi soccer team. I find the personal philosophy of the three or four men quoted in those articles to be interesting and quite revealing.  They are clearly pro-Saddam holdovers (who, as evidenced by the presence of all 4 extremities, apparently avoided disappointing their Olympic committee chairman, Uday Hussein).  One man, Ahmed Manajid, even goes so far as to readily admit he would be one of the terrorists currently resolved to kill Americans and other Iraqis alike were he not playing soccer.  Are we to base our conclusions on the rants of our enemies, on those who would take joy in killing us?  I choose not to.

I also find it interesting that "to a man" the Iraqi team is glad Saddam's villainous son is no longer in charge of their Olympic team.  I don't see the logic in wanting to kill the very ones who have lifted such a burden from one's shoulders.  Do you?  These articles seem to me to be trying find unrest among the Iraqis and present it as being representative of the entire populace in an attempt to cast further blame on the President's actions.  I know Rush Limbaugh is biased on the right and Air America is biased on the left.  To my knowledge, they don't try to say they are not.  I sure wish we had objectivity in the portion of the media which does claim to be unbiased.  Sigh...

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:30am 08/23/04 ::
August 22, 2004
Polling data update
Not much happened on the polling front this week.  CBS News released a poll, as did Harris Interactive.  Beside some older right track numbers from Gallup and a few state polls, that's all the changes that are included in this week's Election Projection.  There were some gains realized by the President this week, but, I as mentioned in my last update, the slight fluctuations we're seeing these days are not significant.  They are simply statistical noise as polling firms more favorable to Bush replace those which not so favorable and vice-versa.  Overall, the numbers have been remarkably stable over the last 6 weeks.

Let me detail this week's fluctuation.  Senator Kerry still holds the lead in both electoral votes and popular vote percentage.  President Bush regains Missouri and Nevada, narrowing the electoral vote margin to 84, 311-227.  Bush also sees a small uptick in the popular vote projection.  He now trails Kerry 50.7% - 47.4%.  State polling data has no effect on the results this week.

Since I began tracking these projections in August, 2003, the President's most impressive numbers have been 477 electoral votes and a 17.60% margin seen on the 12th of January, 2004.  His worst electoral vote total was 181 on September 5, 2003.  May 26, 2004 saw Mr. Bush's worst percentage deficit so far.  That update projected him to lose by 7.6%.

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:30pm 08/22/04 ::
August 21, 2004
What Bush has wrought
While the Iraqi soccer team's stellar showing in the Olympics is a big deal in and of itself, I know that this level of success on a sport's field does not signify all is right in the world. However, a salient point to be made is that this year's team didn't have to concern themselves with loss of life and limb had they not done so well.  No, the fear of amputations and other inhuman tortures is conspicuously absent from the soccer players' minds.  Why so?  Because they had a champion to free them from a psychotic tyrant's grip, a liberator with the courage to meet and defeat their torturer in the face of his own potential political ruin.  Who is this man of character and courage?  He is our President.  He is George W. Bush.

Some of you will accuse me of politicizing an apolitical event.  Well, you know what?  Often the actions of leaders in political offices do affect the progression of things in this world.  That's just the way it is.   Our President made the choice to free Iraq, and his detractors do all they can to lay as much blame as they can at his feet for the bad things that happen as a result.  I believe he should get the credit when something positive comes out of it.  GO IRAQ!
Way to go, GWB!

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:25pm 08/21/04 ::
August 16, 2004
Polling data update
The latest Election Projection is up, and the roller coaster ride continues.  Last week the President made up some ground, almost eliminating Senator Kerry's post-convention bounce. Kerry turns the tables on Bush this week and expands his lead once again.  Up and down we go; where we'll stop nobody knows!  Aren't politics fun?

An interesting coincidence has happened with this week's numbers:  President Bush loses Ohio, Nevada, and Missouri while gaining West Virginia.  That's the exact opposite of last week's results, meaning we're at the same place we were two weeks ago when Senator Kerry led 327-211 in electoral votes.  Unlike last week, we don't see any states switching sides due to state polls this time.  Kerry's popular vote margin has expanded to 4.4%, 51.3% - 46.9%.

The Blogging Caesar doesn't see a lot of impetus to move these numbers much during the run up to the GOP convention which begins at the end of the month.  The changes we're seeing right now represent a kind of holding pattern.  Even though fluctuations in the electoral vote counts may seem more than trivial, a deeper look at the state-by-state numbers reveals that we're sliding around within the margin of error for a dozen or more states.  Those 'tossup' states represent well over 100 EVs.  Bottom line:  If the election were held today, Kerry would be slightly favored to win in my book but certainly not a sure thing.

Since I began tracking these projections in August, 2003, the President's most impressive numbers have been 477 electoral votes and a 17.60% margin seen on the 12th of January, 2004.  His worst electoral vote total was 181 on September 5, 2003..  May 26, 2004 saw Mr Bush's worst percentage deficit so far.  That update projected him to lose by 7.6%.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:25am 08/16/04 ::
August 10, 2004
Polling data update
This week's Election Projection shows a tightening race.  The convention bounce has been quantified for your benefit by The Blogging Caesar.  In the update before the convention, Kerry led by 2.2%.  That lead jumped slightly to 3.8% last week.  I thought additional polling data this week might give Kerry an even larger lead, but that is not the case.  The margin now stands at 3.1%, 50.6%-47.5%.  That means the official Democratic Convention bounce was 1.6% and peaked last week.

This week President Bush gains Ohio, Nevada, and Missouri while losing West Virginia, resulting in a 296-242 electoral vote advantage for Senator Kerry.  Ohio and West Virginia switch hands due to state polls.  This is the first projection in which the President has lost a state and gained one in the same week.

Since I began tracking these projections in August, 2003, the President's most impressive numbers have been 477 electoral votes and a 17.60% margin seen on the 12th of January, 2004.  His worst electoral vote total was 181 on September 5, 2003..  May 26, 2004 saw Mr Bush's worst percentage deficit so far.  That update projected him to lose by 7.6%.

posted by Scott Elliott at 1:15am 08/10/04 ::
August 8, 2004
Weekend getaway delays update
My family and I went off on a little weekend vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.   We had a great time visiting Dollywood and spending some time with my in-laws.  In the midst of all the fun, I haven't had time to get the next polling data update ready.  You can expect it soon, probably tomorrow night.

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:35pm 08/08/04 ::
August 7, 2004
The last word on the Swift Vets
All told, I have received over 100 emails addressing my recent comments on the Swift Boat Vets and their anti-Kerry ad.  Many were complimentary of my decision to retract the post. Some voiced their displeasure.  Still others expressed curiosity of what revealing bit of information convinced me to fully retract the post.  In response to all the feedback, I want to let everyone know, as best I can, exactly how I feel about the ad and the subject of Senator Kerry's military service.

In the interest of keeping this post as short as possible, I'm just going to highlight the pertinent points.

  • There was no secret communique or blockbuster revelation that motivated me.  Instead, it was a series of snippets of information that continued to cast more doubt on the ad.  I decided that, until the ad could be verified to a significant degree, I would distance myself and my website from it.
  • I do not disbelieve the content of the ad.  I have long been suspicious of Kerry's war story. Getting three purple hearts, a bronze star and and silver star in a little over 4 months is quite unusual, even suspect, especially considering he was not hospitalized even once for his injuries, as I understand it.  That said, any negative claims of such magnitude levied against anyone should be verifiable before they are presented as truth.  By the way, boy does that pertain to a whole heap of charges the left has made against one George W. Bush!
  • Speaking of Mr Bush, the President's military service is irrelevant in the pursuit of the truth about Senator Kerry's military service.
  • Those who would ridicule their fellow Americans for daring to question the military service of a decorated veteran should rethink their destructive criticism of a wartime president as he tries to protect us from a very real and dangerous threat to our national security.  They cannot have it both ways.  Either allow the criticism of Kerry without complaint or stop the criticism of the President.
  • I will not be discussing, in more than a cursory or informational manner, anything relating to the Swift Boat Vets' ad.  Unless public knowledge surfaces that confirms their claims, this is The Blogging Caesar's last word on the subject.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 12:50am 08/07/04 ::
  • August 5, 2004
    Conditional retraction
    If you have been a reader of this site for long, you know that I am interested in the truth above all else when it comes to the content of this site.  I painstakingly strive to espouse only that which I believe is the truth.  Sometimes the truth hurts; sometimes it is ugly.  Sometimes it even means calling into question the military service of a decorated Viet Nam veteran such as Senator Kerry.

    Sometimes, however, it also means retracting a post when enough doubt is cast on the veracity of the information contained in it.  I do not condemn the Swift Boat Veterans and their anti-Kerry ad as Senator John McCain does, but, in response to McCain's statements and other feedback I've received from readers, I do feel compelled to remove my earlier post affirming them.  Consider it a conditional retraction because if more comes to my attention concerning their activities, whether postive or negative, I will respond accordingly.

    Let me make one thing clear - John Kerry granted a license to scrutinize his military service, war hero or not, when he made it such a critical part of his quest for the White House.  If that service can stand up under such scrutiny, so be it - if it cannot, likewise.

    Update:  I said above that I would react if I heard more about this group and its claims.  Well, I have heard more, and I will react.  Much to the chagrin, I'm sure, of many right-wingers out there, I am moved by the additional information received to unqualify my previous retraction.
    It is no longer conditional; consider it fully retracted.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 5:00pm 08/05/04 ::
    August 3, 2004
    Commenting discontinued
    I have made the very difficult decision to discontinue commenting on this site. Initially, the comments were few and easy to manage and most people were good about adhering to my commenting policy.  Recently, however, the readership of this site and the resulting number of comments posted have increased to the point where it is impossible for me to police them all. I regret to remove a very popular part of this website, but I just don't have the time to monitor the huge number of comments being posted.  Since I will not have profanity and personal attacks on this site, I have no reasonable choice but to remove commenting.  I do want to thank the many who have engaged in civil, if sometimes spirited, discourse here at Election Projection.  I will miss it.  Do feel free to email me.  I plan to start posting reader comments again from time to time.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:20am 08/03/04 ::
    August 1, 2004
    Polling data update
    The Democratic National Convention is over.  Time will tell what kind of bounce John/John will get from it.  This week's Election Projection shows a slight bounce is underway.  However, there are many polling firms that haven't released post-convention numbers.  Also, this edition of the projection doesn't include any post-convention state polls.  So, I don't believe we should quantify the bounce just yet.  The Blogging Caesar will wait until next week to give you the final DNC bounce.

    As I said, there is a noticable bump in Senator Kerry's numbers this week.  He has recovered the three states that went to President Bush in last week's projection: Ohio, Florida, and Nevada.  That means we're right back where we were two weeks ago.   Kerry leads in electoral votes, 327-211.   As expected, he also has the lead in the popular vote projection, 51.0%-47.2%.  Interestingly, state polls have no effect this time.

    Since I began tracking these projections in August, 2003, the President's most impressive numbers have been 477 electoral votes and a 17.60% margin seen on the 12th of January, 2004.  His worst electoral vote total was 181 on September 5, 2003..  May 26, 2004 saw Mr Bush's worst percentage deficit so far.  That update projected him to lose by 7.6%.

    One extra thought for today:  If you enjoy keeping up with these projections and you appreciate the hard work that goes into calculating them each week, maybe you would consider contributing a few bucks.  If that's something you'd like to do, just click on the PayPal logo at the top of this page.  Thanks!

    Update:  The Gallup Poll wasn't released in time to be included in this week's projection. Apparently, we may not see much of a bounce after all.  I just did a quick recalculation using this poll, and, as a result, Ohio goes back to Bush by a scant 0.02%!

    posted by Scott Elliott at 4:35pm 08/01/04 ::
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