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  Politics and Elections - February, 2004
February 29, 2004
Polling data update
On the strength of Bush's weak approval lately and an outlying Gallup poll, Election Projection now indicates the Democrat would win the election if it were held today!  My many liberal readers will be very happy to see this news.  I wouldn't get my hopes up just yet, though, if I were they.  It has been well-documented on this site and a host of others how the Bush campaign has yet to begin in earnest while the Democrats have been basking in near wall-to-wall positive press coverage for the last 2 months.  This may very well be the low-water mark for President Bush.  The popular vote projections now show a 1.76% lead for the Democrat, 50.39% to 48.61%.  For the first time since September of last year, the Democrat is projected to win a majority of the electoral votes as well.  Florida has moved into the blue by a scant 0.1%, resulting in a 247-291 electoral vote deficit for the President.

Thanks to an alert reader (known only as "m"), I've adjusted my formula to correct a discrepancy which he identified.  Instead of calculating "job approval," I've actually been calculating "net job approval."  This is a subtle, yet significant difference, especially considering the weight I place on that measure.  This error has been fixed, and a new formula explanation is up. I've also deleted the "Re-elect" subcategory since head-to-head numbers are becoming more relevant and since pollsters don't ask that question very often.  I don't want to end up with stale numbers.  Speaking of stale numbers, one last little adjustment to the formula is that I'm not including data from polls taken over a month from the time of the polling data update. Always seeking to improve, I hope these changes will make the formula a better predictor come November.  I'm still thinking about what to do with the Nader candidacy, as are many Democrats and liberals out there to be sure.

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.
His previous lows were 181 EVs with a margin of -6.63% on September 5, 2003.  This projection is Bush's worst showing so far in 2004 for the second time in a row.

posted by Scott Elliott at 10:35pm 02/29/04 ::

February 28, 2004
Political State Report submissions
Recently, I volunteered to be a contributor for the Political State Report.  My first two posts are up over there.  If you aren't familiar with that site, check it out.  I'll be periodically posting information pertaining to politics in my home state of North Carolina.  Whenever I do, I'll mention it here as well.

If you got here by clicking a link on that site, may I welcome you!  Have a look around.  In addition to this weblog, I invite you to check out my Election Projection - 2004 Edition.  I created a formula that updates the 2000 elections with the latest national polling data to project an outcome for the 2004 elections.  I update the tally every week or so.

Whether you're a regular visitor or have just stumbled onto my site, I do appreciate your interest.  I hope you enjoy!

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:45pm 02/28/04 ::
February 27, 2004
NEWS FLASH:  The New York Times endorses Kerry!
The New York Times endorsed John Kerry for president yesterday.  RealClearPolitics has a good response to the heavily partisan tone of the paper's editorial, showing once again that this alleged objective media source is more a tool for liberals and Democrats than a conduit of the truth.

Update:  As a clarification, the editorial didn't technically endorse Kerry for the presidency, just the Democratic nomination.  However, few would disagree that such an endorsement is tantamount to a presidential endorsement.  (How many out there believe the NYT will endorse Bush in the general election?)  Yet another indication of the bias at that newspaper.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:00pm 02/27/04 ::
February 26, 2004
The White House wants Kerry
With Kerry's blowout wins in Tuesday's three primaries and with his huge leads in California and New York, John Kerry appears to be only a stone's throw away from the Democratic nomination.  If you've read this site for very long, you understand that John Edwards, to me, is a much more formidable challenger to President Bush.  Peggy Noonan, writing for Opinion Journal, indicates that the White House agrees with me.  Here's the substance of the nomination race between Kerry and Edwards from here on out:
One of the reliable dynamics in this campaign has been the more you see Mr. Kerry the less you like him, and the more you see Mr. Edwards the more you like him.  But there doesn't seem any Edwards groundswell at the moment, and he's everywhere.  A Democratic political professional told me the other night that Mr. Edwards never got enough time in the clear; Mr. Dean and Wesley Clark stayed in too long and kept him from emerging.  I think I hear an Edwards line coming if he loses: "We didn't lose, we ran out of time." But I guess I see it as the Democratic establishment against the upstart--"age and treachery will beat youth and exuberance every time."

Super Tuesday looms--California, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Texas and five other states--and this I suppose will be John Edwards's last chance.  If he is to succeed he must begin to win; if he is to win he must do it now, in the big voting on Tuesday.

He has one thing in his favor, and it's potentially big: the debates.  It is in debate that Mr. Edwards has always shown strength, made an impression, stood as a likely alternative.  If he is to alter the outcome, he's going to do it in debate.  Tonight.

If Kerry can emerge from the debates without performing too poorly, he'll be home free. However, that may be a big "if."  Edwards has pinned his chances on these debates, and he has the potential to show himself to be both more likeable, which should be easy, and more electable.  If he succeeds in the latter, he still has a chance.  My guess is he will to a degree, but not enough to overcome the pronounced deficit facing him.  Kerry will hang on, thank goodness, but Edwards will close the gap before all is said and done.

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:30am 02/26/04 ::
February 25, 2004
Wictory Wednesday
If the Democratic nominee succeeds in defeating President Bush in November, this is what we can look forward to:  Higher taxes, more unlegislated, unnecessary regulations, a liberal SCOTUS promoting leftist ideals, more subservience to the UN, just to name a few.  If these prospects sound good to you, there's no need to read any further.  However, if you'd like to see lower taxes, strong national security, judges that won't legislate from the bench, a regulatory climate that is good for business and the environment alike, then support the President's re-election with your time and money.

Today is Wictory Wednesday.  Every Wednesday, I ask my readers to volunteer and/or donate to the Bush 2004 campaign.  If you've already donated and volunteered for the Bush campaign, then talk to your friends and enlist them in this battle for America's very soul.

If you're a blogger, you can join Wictory Wednesdays simply by putting up a post like this one every Wednesday, asking your readers to volunteer and/or donate to the Bush campaign.  If you do decide to join, e-mail PoliPundit at wictory@blogsforbush.com so that he can add you to the Wictory Wednesday blogroll, which will be part of the Wictory Wednesday post on all participating blogs.

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:00am 02/25/04 ::
The President and the gay marriage issue
The stand taken by President Bush on gay marriage is politically expedient for him (I believe it is also deeply rooted in his own convictions).  Yes, there will be a lot of grumbling, hollering and name-calling among the left and the gay-rights right.  Bush does stand to lose support among log cabin Republicans and some moderates.  Most of the complaining about this will come from the left, however, who would never think of voting for him anyway.

What he stands to gain are the votes of many, many Christian conservatives who are searching for a reason not to stay home on election day.  If Bush hadn't taken a firm stand against gay marriage, he would have alienated countless conservatives already teetering in their support for him.  In a very real sense, his hands were tied.  Straining under the weight of many questionable initiatives promoted by this administration, support of the conservative base would have surely suffered had Bush remained ambiguous on this issue.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:20am 02/25/04 ::
What were they thinking?
I'm at a loss to figure out what the gay rights movement was thinking.  Perhaps I'm wrong in thinking of them as a coordinated entity, but it seems to me their collective steering committee made a colossal blunder by pushing the issue of gay marriage so hard right now.  As a liberal special interest group, they should know better.  They are violating the very rule of incrementalism they created and used so effectively over the last 50 years.

America long ago began to change its thinking on the subject of homosexuality.  Slowly, step by baby step, the gay rights movement penetrated the conscience of Joe and Jane American. Portraying themselves as helpless victims first of incrimination and later discimination, they succeeded in acquiring for themselves a certain level of legal and moral standing within our society.  Once they attained normal, if alternative, status, the next step was to avail themselves of the legal and financial benefits heterosexuals enjoyed.  I think they understood at that point that gay marriage was a pill America was not ready to swallow.  They opted for a less ambitious goal - the civil union.  With Judicial activists firmly in place on the federal bench, civil unions have gained legal, and some popular, support.  Most Americans are still getting used to the concept of civil unions for homosexuals.  Many privately abhor the idea but feel powerless to change it.

These are not the conditions in which to begin a full-frontal assault on the institution of marriage.  I liken it to a Normandy landing without days of prior artillery fire and aerial bombardment.  The convictions of the opposition have not been softened at all.  Judging from the susceptibility to incrementalism conservatives have shown in the past, the homosexual movement would have been better served to allow civil unions the opportunity to settle, to cure before moving on to marriage.

There is one idea I have that might explain it.  Does the gay movement sense the end of the line? Are they worried that conservatives are gaining strength and are on the verge of securing a working majority?  Remember, the driving force behind the wider acceptance of homosexual behavior has been the government, both legislatively and judicially.  Perhaps they perceive the government is changing and they better "get while the gettin's good."   This could be an act of desperation.  It could the last best chance they have to gain entry into the institution of marriage before the doors close for generations to come.

I hope so, and I hope it fails.  Marriage is a covenant whose beginnings originate in the very heart of God.  Who are we to change what God has ordained and sanctified?  It is a covenant for life between one man and one woman.  From everlasting to everlasting, may it stay that way.

Update:  I'm very interested in knowing the reactions of those who read this post.  It would give me a sense of the ideological makeup of my readership.  So, I'm requesting that you click on the comment link below, if you would, and weigh in on this subject.  You can comment anonymously if you choose, and your comments can be short or long.  Do you agree or disagree with my sentiments in the last paragraph?  Thanks for participating.

posted by Scott Elliott at 12:20am 02/25/04 ::
February 23, 2004
Bush is off and running
The President launched the campaign phase of his re-election bid tonight with a speech at a fund-raiser for Republican governors.  Here's a disturbing slice of it (link via Pardon My English):
"The other party’s nomination battle is still playing out.  The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions," Bush said.  "They’re for tax cuts and against them.  They’re for NAFTA and against NAFTA.  They’re for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act.  They’re in favor of liberating Iraq,and opposed to it.  And that’s just one senator from Massachusetts."  His supportive audience erupted in laughter and applause.
So Bush starts out by trashing Kerry, albeit not by name.  I hope this tact is shelved until one Senator John Edwards is no longer in contention.  We want Kerry.  John Kerry is Howard Dean without the fire - as in firing up the liberal base.  John Edwards is Bill Clinton without the moral baggage - and with a prettier face to boot.  If Rove and Co. can limit their attacks to the Democratic platform, which should be a cinch, Kerry can wrap up the nomination.  However, too much Kerry-bashing could open the door for the Senator from North Carolina.  We don't want that.  The liberal New Englander will be a much easier opponent.  Robert Musil has it right, I believe:
I'm not sure they [Rove and Co.] want to extensively damage Kerry right now. ... If the White House blew Kerry up now, Bush might end up running against some stronger candidate.  My guess is that Kerry will be a bigger disaster for the Dems than Dukakis was.
My translation (and my opinion as well):  Lay off Kerry for a little while longer and enjoy 400+ electoral votes in November.  I get goose bumps just thinking about it!

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:15pm 02/23/04 ::
Showcase Blog of the Week:  Viking Pundit
This is the first installment of a new feature I hope to incorporate into this site.  Each week I'm going to showcase a blog I like.  Viking Pundit is the first.

Eric Lindholm runs a great blog from his conservative outpost in the liberal wilderness of western Massachusetts.  Lots of good links and good commentary.  It's a fun and sometimes funny blog.  He gets plenty of mention from other sites, but he doesn't get the traffic he should. Check it out.

If you run a blog, and you'd like to be showcased here. Send me an email:  blogshowcase.

Disclaimer:  These showcases do not represent blanket approval of all content on featured blogs.  The subject matter tends to vary greatly from day to day on any given blog.  Please understand that I cannot peruse all the information on these sites, nor can I predict what information will be posted in the future.

posted by Scott Elliott at 11:15am 02/23/04 ::
A budding democracy in Iraq
Everyone discouraged by the unrelenting negative coverage of the situation in Iraq should read this article in the Opinion Journal.  Here's a great excerpt:
Out of the ruins of one of the world's worst tyrannies, in an ancient land that has rarely known decent governance, a democracy is struggling to be born.

Iraq is one of the world's least likely sites for a transition to democracy.  Virtually all of the classic preconditions for liberal government are lacking.  And yet, with its decades-long despotism shattered, Iraq is now better positioned than any of its Arab neighbors to become a democracy in the next few years.  That achievement, however tentative and imperfect, would ignite mounting aspirations for democratization from Iran to Morocco.

On the ground in Iraq, the picture is quite different from the news we see at home.  Yes, there are bloody acts of terrorism every few days.  But it is not Iraqis who are staging the suicide bombings.  Increasingly, Iraqis are fed up with this violence and turning in the criminals who are waging it.  The dwindling ranks of saboteurs and dead-enders, in cahoots with al Qaeda and other jihadists, can blow up buildings and kill people.  But they cannot rally Iraqis to any alternative political vision.  They can win only if we walk away and hand them victory. Fortunately (for now), the administration, Congress, the American people and key elements of the international community are not wavering.  They are supporting an ambitious agenda for democratic transformation and reconstruction.  (emphasis mine)

Agree or disagree with the war, now is the time to unite in our resolve to finish the job.  Nation building or not, it's hard to imagine an acceptable result in Iraq that includes our premature withdrawal.  We have so much to gain from a stable, democratic Iraq, and so much to lose from a strife-filled, terrorist-infected Iraq that would inevitably emerge if we cut and run.  Be sure to read the whole article.

posted by Scott Elliott at 7:00am 02/23/04 ::
February 20, 2004
Polling data update
Oh my!  We've got ourselves another barnburner!  John Kerry has maintained or increased his solid lead over President Bush in this week's head-to-head polling.  Voters still view positively Bush's job performance, but only by a little.  As a result, Election Projection now shows Kerry outdoing Bush in the popular vote projections, 49.96% to 49.04%.  However, as in 2000, Bush holds a slight 274-264 lead in electoral votes.  In fact, were electoral vote counts by state unchanged from 2000, Kerry would be the projected winner!  With New Hampshire now colored blue, redistricting is Bush's only saving grace.

I was hoping this would happen early in the race so that I could point out Bush's structural advantages in November.  The Democratic nominee faces a large demographic hurdle in his quest for the White House.  Basically, Kerry or Edwards must win a full percentage point more of the popular vote than Bush to have a shot at winning the election.  I'm sure this fact will raise the blood pressure of Democrats opposed to that darn Electoral College, but that's another debate for another 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.
His previous lows were 181 EVs with a margin of -6.63% on September 5, 2003.  This projection is Bush's worst showing so far in 2004.

posted by Scott Elliott at 8:00pm 02/20/04 ::
Red vs. blue, interpreting Zogby's numbers
Pollster John Zogby has published results from an extensive survey of 1209 voters conducted Feb. 12-15.  The numbers are not good news for those wishing for a change in the White House next year.

Here's a short look inside the numbers and some observations about their significance:

  • The survey finds that President Bush's support in states he won in 2000 is very solid.  He carries those states by a whopping 51-39% margin.  The blue states still tilt in favor of the blue candidate, John Kerry, but by a margin of only 1%, 46-45%.

    Significance:  The large composite margin in the red states means that most likely all states voting for Bush in 2000 will vote for him this year as well.  On the other hand, the overall 1% margin in the blue states indicates some of them will slide into Bush's column.  Not every individual blue state in the survey shows Kerry leading Bush by 1%.  This implies Kerry is leading by more in some states and less in others.  Yet, it's hard to fall below a 1-point margin and still win.  Simple math requires that, assuming a larger margin in such states as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, a number of blue states would actually vote for Bush at this point in the process.

  • Another facet of the poll is a deeper look at some of the issues that will confront the electorate.  The President leads in all issues tested.  Filibusters of Bush's judicial nominees are viewed as wrong by a majority in both red states (59-32%) and blue states (53-35%).  A constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman is favored by 50-44% in blue states and 52-43% in red states.  Finally, Bush is way ahead of Kerry when it comes to dealing with the likes of Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein, Moammar Gaddafi, North Korea and Iran, 53-31% in red states and 47-35% in blue ones.

    Significance:  In most recent head-to-head polls, Kerry is beating Bush, sometimes handily. Zogby's numbers show the temporary nature of Kerry's high tide.  The voters are now expressing their general feelings stemming from all the positive coverage of Kerry in the media. However, when confronted by specific issues as the campaign progresses, voters will turn more and more to Bush.

  • Zogby also reports that job creation is not as important to voters as a strong economy.  The margin is almost identical in blue and red states, approximately 49-40%. 

    Significance:  One of the most often user Democratic mantras is the number of jobs lost during Bush's presidency.  If there is a loss of jobs by election day (jobs are coming), this result means that gripe won't pack much punch if the economy is booming, as it currently is.

    Finally, just a word about the election projection in this context.  The fact that Bush's job approval has stayed positive, albeit by narrow margins, shows Kerry's lead in head-to-head polls to be another indication of Kerry's current superhuman status.  It also explains why Bush still holds the lead in the projection.  Think of it this way:  Why would most people want Kerry to replace Bush even while approving of the job Bush is doing?

    Update:  Over at Federal Review, Winston posted similar thoughts a couple of days ago.  I wasn't aware of them at the time, but now that am I, I think he deserves a hat tip for some sound commentating.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:40am 02/20/04 ::
  • February 18, 2004
    Wictory Wednesday
    "If you have any doubt that the lying liberal media will do everything they can to defeat President Bush, you only have to look at their handling of the Democrats' vicious AWOL slander against the president.  The lying liberal media dragged the story out for days and, even now, refuses to believe the president.  That's just a preview of what will be the nastiest presidential campaign ever. And the elites will all be arrayed against the forces of conservatism.
    "But that doesn't mean we're going to lose.  You have the power to affect how people vote. Every small contribution of time or money that you make can swing a few votes.  Together, we can make the difference in states like Florida." - PoliPundit.

    Today is Wictory Wednesday.  Every Wednesday, I ask my readers to volunteer and/or donate to the Bush 2004 campaign.  If you've already donated and volunteered for the Bush campaign, then talk to your friends and enlist them in this battle for America's very soul.

    If you're a blogger, you can join Wictory Wednesdays simply by putting up a post like this one every Wednesday, asking your readers to volunteer and/or donate to the Bush campaign.  If you do decide to join, e-mail PoliPundit at wictory@blogsforbush.com so that he can add you to the Wictory Wednesday blogroll, which will be part of the Wictory Wednesday post on all participating blogs:

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:00am 02/18/04 ::
    February 17, 2004
    Conservative ideological greed
    I just read this James Lileks article (link via VikingPundit).  I must've whispered "Amen" at least a dozen times under my breath before I got to the end of it.  He highlights one of the most, if not the most, serious threat to a second term for President Bush - conservative ideological greed.  Some conservatives are threatening to quit and take their votes home with them if the President doesn't play by their all-or-nothing rules.  If Bush won't be "the Ideal Reagan," as Lileks puts it, then throw him out!  That's what I call "ideological greed."  It's closed-minded, near-sighted, and...dangerous!

    If the liberals in the 50's and 60's decided to forego voting because their candidate didn't support abortion rights, abortion would still be illegal today.  If they had said, "this guy's not against school prayer, I'm not voting for him" back then, school prayer wouldn't be illegal today.  We have an historic opportunity to reverse 40 years of incremental leftward drift in this country, but we can't expect to right all the wrongs in one term.  What we can do is change the flow, slowly, methodically, until we're back on the right path.  To all you conservatives out there thinking about sitting this one out, an idea:  "Let's go ahead and re-elect an imperfect conservative and then vent our frustration in 2008 by electing a real conservative!"  
    But make no mistake -

    No good for the cause of conservatism can come from the defeat of President Bush.

    The ground we will lose in 4 or 8 years of a liberal in the White House will not be easily recovered by electing a real conservative later in the future.  We must not lose this opportunity!  If you're thinking about skipping election day, I encourage you to deny your greed and, for the good of the country, get out and vote!

    posted by Scott Elliott at 5:40pm 02/17/04 ::
    More Bush optimism
    If you have read my essay noting Twenty-One Reasons Why Bush Will Win, you are keenly aware of my optimism about Bush's chances for re-election.  I culled a few articles this morning from various sources that support my cheery outlook.  This article echoes what many have said about the Kerry's inflated poll numbers, while this one chimes in on the strength of the economy and how it will help Bush in November.  Reason #19 in my essay points out that the Dems just keep "misunderestimating" Bush.  Apparently, someone else sees that phenomenon, too.  They do so at their own peril.  Finally, Kerry's glaring weaknesses are fully explained by Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard.  Read them all if your feeling pessimistic about Bush's current standing.

    Let me add an important point here, though, about building optimism.  While we need optimism and energy to fully exploit our chance at a monumental victory in November, one thing I definitely don't want to produce is complacent over-confidence.  The inactivity that could result from over-confidence will show our optimism to be foolhardy.  The minute I sense that the GOP and conservative electorate is taking a Bush win for granted, you'll see another essay enumerating all the reasons why Bush will lose!

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:20am 02/17/04 ::
    February 15, 2004
    Mail call
    I've gotten a lot of email over the last week.  I've responded to most of it and posted some of it in the Reader Comments section of this website.  Be sure to check it out if you've written or if you're interested in reading what others think about the site and the prospects for the upcoming election.  A large majority of the feedback has been positive, with a sprinkling of dissension mixed in.  Keep those emails coming!

    posted by Scott Elliott at 6:15pm 02/15/04 ::
    February 14, 2004
    Election Projection is one month old today
    What a month this has been!  On January 14, I moved the Election Projection from a free hosting service to its current location.  The site that began on a whim has given me quite a ride this first month.  The response has been enormous, and I am humbled by it.  I would like to take this opportunity the express my gratitude and thanks to all who have visited, linked or referenced this site in its short life.  May God bless you all.  I look forward to seeing what God has in store for this site in the coming months.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:50pm 02/14/04 ::
    Projection vs. Prediction
    As a clarification, I'd like to explain the difference between the projections and the predictions you'll see on this website.  Projections are located here.  They are the product of inserting recent polling data into the formula I created.  The results of the formula project how the election would turn out if it were held today.  Predictions, on the other hand, are my attempt to guess the actual results of the election come November.  They are listed here.  So, the projections will change from week to week as new polling data is released, while my predictions will only change when my views on the outcome change.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:30pm 02/14/04 ::
    Ralph Nader expected to run
    According to The Seattle Times, Ralph Nader is likely to run again for president this year. (link via Viking Pundit) The article states:
    Former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is poised to declare that he will seek the presidency again this year, this time as an independent and despite a vigorous effort by the left to dissuade him, according to friends and associates.
    This is, of course, good news for President Bush.  Nader voters will be comprised mostly of liberals and Democrats.  However, I don't think he will be nearly the draw he was last time.  In 2000, votes for Nader cost Al Gore the states of New Hampshire and Florida - and, in turn, the presidency.  Only die-hard protest voters will make the same statement this year.  I expect Nader's vote in November to be less than half his 2000 total.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:30pm 02/14/04 ::
    February 13, 2004
    A "justified mistake"
    I recommend checking out a great post over at Viking Pundit.  Eric Lindholm ties together three different articles very nicely to make the case that, regardless of the real WMD situation in Iraq, our war to take out Saddam was completely justified.  Be sure to read the post and the articles it references.  In conclusion, he writes:
    It’s impossible to measure the abstract of a free Iraq versus 500+ dead American soldiers.  I’d like to think they died to prevent another 9/11, another U.S.S. Cole, another Khobar Towers.  I’d also like to think the world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein, Libya giving up their weapons, Syria on the ropes, and Al-Qaeda on the run.
    Here, here!  To all those who have lost love ones in the struggle to bring down Saddam and bring freedom to the Iraqi people, you can raise your heads high.  Don't listen to the naysayers who want to degrade the loss of American life by politicizing the war.  Take comfort in knowing your loved ones died in the defense of this country even as they liberated another. Their sacrifice has, without a doubt, made our country safer.  I, for one, am deeply indebted to them, one and all.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:10pm 02/13/04 ::
    February 12, 2004
    Polling data update
    Due to the explosive nature of the revelation of John Kerry's possible affair, I thought it would be good to update the polling data.  Updating now will allow us to see what effects, if any, this story has on the numbers.

    It appears that Bush's low-water mark may have been seen last week.  This update shows Bush regaining some of the advantage he lost last time.  Election Projection now has Bush back over 50% of the popular vote.  He is leading the Democrat by 2.18%, 50.59% to 48.41%, in that category.  The President picks up Wisconsin, adding 10 electoral votes to his total.  The electoral vote count now stands at 300-238.  I don't expect Bush's numbers to be as low as they were last time at least until the Democratic convention.  The inevitable bounce the Democratic candidate will get then may push the President's numbers back down to that level for a short time before they begin rebounding as we head to the GOP convention and then on to the election.

    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. His previous lows were 181 EVs with a margin of -6.63% on September 5, 2003.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:30pm 02/12/04 ::
    The power of the early primaries
    I just ran across an amazing set of numbers.  RealClearPolitics keeps a record of polls for the upcoming Democratic primaries.  I always enjoy watching the numbers they track there.  As I was browsing the data again tonight, something jumped out at me.  It is startling proof of the importance Iowa and New Hampshire have on the rest of the nominating process.  Look specifically at the numbers for California.

    Here are the numbers in California from a field poll a week before Iowa:

      Dean 25%, Clark 20%, Kerry 7%, Edwards 3%

    Contrast those with a Survey USA poll conducted a few days after New Hampshire:

      Kerry 49%, Dean 18%, Edwards 12%, Clark 8%

    That's some turnaround, huh?  It just demostrates once again how vital it is for candidates to start well.  In the race for the Democratic nomination, starting well, in most cases, equates to ending well.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:45pm 02/12/04 ::
    John Kerry, The Unfaithful
    Has anyone not heard the latest? This is the type of bombshell to force me out of recovery early and back on the job.  According to Drudge, John Kerry has been caught in a recent affair.  Apparently, there's a lot a scrambling going on in the Kerry campaign - spin control, I'd imagine.  I don't want to get drawn into tabloid journalism, but, if this is true, I do want to address the political ramifications.

    Judging from the Democrats' past history, Kerry's indescretions won't hurt him too bad among the Democratic faithful (pardon the pun).  The one unknown is Kerry's famous wife.  If Teresa is as "forgiving" as Hillary, Kerry can still wade through the rest of the Democratic primaries and secure the nomination.  However, if fidelity is more important to her than power, Kerry could face some potentially lethal political consequences at home.  "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."  Only time will tell, but at this point I'd say the Ketchup Lady holds the key.

    If she decides to make a fuss, Kerry will probably implode as Wesley Clark predicted.  If she swallows her pride and opts to go along, Kerry can still pull this off.  Either way, the nomination is certainly back in play.  This is good news for Bush.  The longer it takes the Democrats to settle on a nominee, the more mud-slinging and fund-spending will be needed. So, the President stands to be the real winner, regardless of how this plays out.

    Update:  Reader Tom alludes to another thought that I've been chasing around concerning this news.  If Kerry can hold on and win the nomination, one thing is certain.  The conservatives and moderates he'll face in the general election will care a whole lot more that he's sleeping around than the liberal Democrats who give him the nomination.  In other words, if Kerry does emerge to run against Bush, this development will definitely hurt him in November.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:00pm 02/12/04 ::
    February 9, 2004
    No posts for a few days
    I just wanted to let everyone know that I won't be posting for the next couple days.  I'm going under the knife Wednesday morning.  It's nothing too serious, but it will be the first time I've been put under since I was 4 years old.  I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow in advance of the surgery.  I expect my next post will probably be Thursday or Friday.  Talk to you shortly.

    Update:  The surgery went well, and I'm back home laid up in bed.  Thank you to everyone for your comments, emails, and prayers.  They have been a real blessing to me.  I have many emails to respond to, and I plan on trying to get through them before next week.  Again, I sincerely appreciate your concern and your prayers.  May God bless you all.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:55pm 02/09/04 ::
    February 7, 2004
    Polling data update
    This week's polling data update is online.  John Kerry's high tide has washed away almost all Bush's prior advantage.  Election Projection now shows Bush leading the Democrat by a scant 0.38%, 49.69% to 49.31%, in popular vote percentage and only 290-248 in electoral votes.  The President has lost Wisconsin, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maine (district 2), and Minnesota since the last update.

    If the President loses just a little more ground, we'll be right back where we started after the election in 2000.  Bush leads Iowa now by only 1.1%, and New Mexico is practically tied. Interestingly, since I give Ralph Nader's votes to the Democrat, Bush's lead in New Hampshire is actually less than in Iowa.  He leads there by only 1.0%.

    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. His previous lows were 181 EVs with a margin of -6.63% on September 5, 2003.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 6:00pm 02/07/04 ::
    February 6, 2004
    Bush is headed for victory
    Are you a Republican feeling discouraged by Bush's descent and Kerry's rise?  Do you worry that your beloved President is doomed to a re-election defeat just like his father?  Well, take heart my friends, here's just the thing for you.   Bush losing?  Get real.  I've got 21 reasons why there will be no moving day at the White House until 2009.  Pull up a chair, get yourself a drink, and relax as The Blogging Caesar brings you:

    Twenty-one Reasons Why Bush Will Win

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:45pm 02/06/04 ::
    It was a just war
    Here's a great little article on the justification of the war against Saddam.  Sounds like the stuff I've been saying, here, for example.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:40am 02/06/04 ::
    Temporary numbers
    Much is being made of John Kerry's recent numbers against George Bush in head-to-head polling.  They are pretty impressive for the nominee-to-be.  The effect of Kerry's upward mobility will be reflected in the next polling data update (look for that Saturday evening).

    Democrats are heralding his rise in the polls as proof of his "electability," while Republicans brush it off as a temporary high, induced by near wall-to-wall positive publicity.  The results of one particular question in Gallup's latest survey show the fleeting nature of Kerry's current political stature.   Gallup asks people if they have a favorable view of the two major parties. The results are eye-opening:   Republicans garnered the favor of survey participants by a slim 48-43% margin.  By contrast, Democrats were view favorably by a whopping 25% margin, 59-34%.

    It's easy to see why Kerry is leading in the polls, isn't it?  If anyone thinks these numbers reflect the lasting sentiment of the electorate, you should check yourself in.  There's absolutely no way the Democratic party will be viewed that much more favorably than the GOP come November.  Rest assured Kerry's astronomically high polling numbers will settle back down to earth long before the first vote is cast.  The President will rise again.  It's just a matter of time...

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:45am 02/06/04 ::
    Iraq, WMDs, and the truth
    An interesting blog, soundfury, has posted an exhaustive and very important summary of all things WMD.  The author has scored several big time links for a thorough recap of the truth about what was said, what was believed, and what is now known about Saddam Hussein's WMDs.  The author also just happened to link this site in the post.  Yea!  No excerpt would do it justice, so just go read it.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:20am 02/06/04 ::
    February 5, 2004
    A fork in time
    Daniel Drezner paints an effective picture of what the future may hold for the President.  He explores both the optimistic and pessimistic outlooks.  He contends that if we take the positive fork in the road, Bush could be following Reagan's footsteps in 1984, leading to a landslide re-election and an undeniable mandate from the American people:
    If the experiment of turning Iraq into something resembling a market democracy works out, it obviously gives lie to arguments that democratic forms of governance cannot thrive in the Arab world.  The occupation of Iraq has not run as smoothly as some would have liked.  But in less than a year there are positive signs that democracy has found fertile soil.  As former White House adviser Mary Matalin put it yesterday, "Getting a whole region to bring in the hallmarks of a modern state, private property, human rights, rights for women, a judicial system, market principles, it takes more than a campaign cycle."  Wait a few years--if Iraq looks more secure, more democratic, and more affluent, then the WMD contretemps will fade from view in the same way that Reagan's claims about "windows of vulnerability" vis-à-vis the Soviet nuclear arsenal suddenly vanished.

    A similar phenomenon is taking place on the economic front.  The current lack of job growth is frustrating, particularly with media reports focusing on the outsourcing of service sector jobs to faraway lands.  Yet in both the 1960's and the 1990's, bursts in productivity growth were a harbinger of employment gains down the road.  And sustained increases in employment and economic growth will partially alleviate the problems created by the looming budget deficit.

    If the future sticks more to the negative road, Bush most probably will track the unenviable path of his father, suffering election defeat at the hands of a largely disapproving electorate. Here, he describes the negative view:
    Iraq is not the cornerstone of remaking the Middle East, but a distraction from the more important goal of defeating Al Qaeda; the absence of WMD stockpiles merely reinforces the concept of Iraq as a sideshow.  Worse, the administration now seems less concerned with turning Iraq into a model Arab state than with getting large numbers of U.S. troops out of the country as quickly as possible--hardly a recipe for successful state-building.  If Iraq disintegrates into either civil war or general lawlessness, then the administration will have squandered a great deal of diplomatic capital for a failed state.  Iraq could well be to Bush what Lebanon was to Reagan.

    As for the economy, what's unusual about the Bush years is that productivity surged even during a downturn.  As Morgan Stanley's macroeconomic analysts bluntly state: "There's never been anything like it.  The U.S. economy is currently in the midst of the most profound hiring shortfall of any modern-day business cycle."  Even more alarming, this is happening despite expansionary fiscal and monetary policies and a moderate dollar depreciation (the latter of which should be helping to create jobs in the short run by stimulating exports).

    Over the long term, the explosive growth of the federal budget deficit has the potential to choke off private investment.  Reagan reluctantly raised taxes in 1982 when it became clear that the budget deficit would otherwise reach astronomical levels. Bush, by contrast, wants to make his tax cuts permanent.

    Drezner then poses the obvious question, "Which side is right?"  He refrains from saying which path he believes we'll take.  I, on the other hand, don't mind risking being wrong.  While the arguments in both directions are solid, I believe the positive is more likely to be our eventual route, and it's going to be a mighty fun ride!

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:30am 02/05/04 ::
    February 4, 2004
    More strong numbers for Kerry
    If you look at Survey USA's latest numbers for several upcoming primary states, it becomes clear just how tough it will be for John Kerry to lose the nomination.  Check this out:
    • California:  Kerry 49%; Dean 18%, Edwards 12%, Clark 8%  Kerry by 31%!
    • Ohio:  Kerry 44%; Dean 15%, Edwards 13%, Kucinich 7%  Kerry by 29%!
    • Georgia:  Kerry 30%; Dean 15%, Edwards 15%  Kerry by 15% in the heart of Dixie!
    • Tennessee:  Kerry 31%; Clark 26%, Edwards 20%  Kerry leading in another southern state!
    Anyone want to bet against my call?

    posted by Scott Elliott at 4:30pm 02/04/04 ::
    Great political website:  Political State Report
    I just ran across a great website for political junkies (like me!).  Check out Political State Report.  They have gobs of state-by-state information on the upcoming elections.  I'll be a frequent visitor, and I'm adding it to my favorite links.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 9:50am 02/04/04 ::
    Wictory Wednesday
    From PoliPundit:
    The death tax is slowly being phased out.  But, because of quirky Senate rules, it'll be resurrected in a few years unless Congress and the president kill it permanently.

    Do you want to keep the death tax alive? John Kerry sure does.  He's voted against every attempt to kill the death tax.  If he becomes president, he'll veto any attempt by Congress to permanently abolish it.  Kerry believes that death and taxes aren't just the only certain things in life, but that death ought to be taxed.

    And the death tax isn't the only tax Kerry likes.  He opposed both of President Bush's major tax cuts that returned some of your money to you.  We can't let a tax-raising Massachusetts liberal like John Kerry become president.

    Today is Wictory Wednesday. Every Wednesday, I ask my readers to volunteer and/or donate to the Bush 2004 campaign.

    If you've already donated and volunteered for the Bush campaign, then talk to your friends and enlist them in this battle for America's very soul.

    If you're a blogger, you can join Wictory Wednesdays simply by putting up a post like this one every Wednesday, asking your readers to volunteer and/or donate to the Bush campaign.

    If you do decide to join, e-mail PoliPundit at wictory@blogsforbush.com so that he can add you to the Wictory Wednesday blogroll, which will be part of the Wictory Wednesday post on all participating blogs:

    posted by Scott Elliott at 7:45am 02/04/04 ::
    Kerry's big night
    The seven primaries held Tuesday did nothing to make me think predicting John Kerry to win the Democratic nomination was premature.  In fact, had Kerry pulled in another 3 or 4 percent in Oklahoma, the night would have been as good as I could have hoped for.  Yes, Edwards' sizeable victory in South Carolina and Kerry's close third in Oklahoma leaves a bit of suspense in the game, but no one could argue now that Kerry is not the prohibitive favorite.

    From a GOP standpoint, Kerry's current position is very favorable for us.  He isn't so far out in front that Clark and, especially, Edwards will see it pointless to bash him.  Yet, he is the front runner, so bash him they will.  As a result, the Senator will not be nearly as pristine in voters' minds as he is now when Bush gets his chance at him this summer.  As for recent polls showing Kerry ahead of Bush:  Enjoy those numbers now, my fellow Americans on the left, because they'll look a lot different come September and on through election night.

    Miscellaneous reactions:

  • Lieberman's weakness (losing to Kucinich??) was surprising to me.
  • Edwards 4th place finish in 4 states (along with NH last week) indicates he may turn out to be a purely regional candidate - meaning Kerry's last viable opponent is vanquished.
  • Clark's apparent razor-thin victory in Oklahoma does more to harm Edwards than to help the general.  In fact, practically nothing last night gives Clark anything to cheer about.
  • Next week's Tennessee and Virginia primaries are critical for Edwards to have any hope of challenging Kerry.  If Edwards falters in either, he may pull out of the race altogether.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:30am 02/04/04 ::
  • The Blogging Caesar's Feb 3 prediction results
    Here's how I fared predicting last night's outcomes:

  • Winners:  6 our of 7
    Correct:  Kerry in AZ, DE, MO, NM, ND; Edwards in SC.
    Incorrect:  Kerry in OK.
  • Runner's up:  5 out of 7
    Correct:  Kerry in SC; Clark in ND, AZ; Lieberman in DE; Edwards in MO.
    Incorrect:  Clark in OK; Edwards in NM.

    Not too bad, I suppose.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:15am 02/04/04 ::
  • February 2, 2004
    The Kerry Strategy
    In his usual, insightful way, PoliPundit has done it again.  For a great GOP strategy against Kerry read this.  Mr. President, that means you, too.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:05pm 02/02/04 ::
    More job data
    Reuters has an article detailing how the jobs situation is likely much better in the US than is normally published.
    While outsourcing is not new, a rise in self-employed contractors could explain the slow rebound in employment as counted by the payrolls survey, which shows 2.3 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office in January 2001.

    For the same period, a smaller study of households, based on the Current Population Survey, shows a 700,000 rise in employment -- a seemingly contradictory sign that has fueled Republican skepticism about the accuracy of the bleaker payrolls data.

    According to the Current Population Survey, the number of self-employed Americans surged 3.9 percent in the last three years, far outstripping a 0.6 percent rise in overall employment.

    This mirrors another article I referenced earlier.  To be fair, the Reuters article points out that:
    ...experts also take issue with the household survey, saying it is too small, too volatile and possibly overstates population growth. Moreover, it registers a worker as employed even if he or she works only one hour in the survey week.
    I suspect the true picture of employment lies somewhere in between the two surveys.  There's a lot of good information about the self-employment phenomenon and how it might effect job numbers in the article.  It is worth your time to read the whole thing.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:55am 02/02/04 ::
    Predictions for February 3rd primaries
    There are seven states holding Democratic primaries tomorrow.  Here's a quick summary of what I think will come out of the contests.  John Kerry's front-running status will be solidified. It will be clear that Wesley Clark has no chance to win the nomination.  In spite of what some people think, Howard Dean's passing will be confirmed.  In short, tomorrow night a lot more people will see things as I do.

    Now for my choices:

    • Arizona:  Kerry, Clark, Dean, Edwards, Lieberman
    • Delaware:  Kerry, Lieberman, Dean, Edwards, Clark
    • Missouri:  Kerry, Edwards, Dean, Lieberman, Clark
    • New Mexico:  Kerry, Edwards, Dean, Clark, Lieberman
    • North Dakota:  Kerry, Clark, Dean, Edwards, Lieberman
    • Oklahoma:  Kerry, Clark, Edwards, Lieberman, Dean
    • South Carolina:  Edwards, Kerry, Clark, Sharpton, Dean

    Update:  A big thank you to reader, JeffP, for pointing out an error in my predictions.  He expressed surprise to see Dean ahead of Edwards in Missouri.  When I re-read the predictions, I expressed my surprise as well!  Since the voting hasn't begun, and since it was just an oversight, I feel at liberty to change it.  The post now reflects my real predictions.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:20am 02/02/04 ::
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