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January 16, 2004

HANDICAPPING....I don't do a lot of minute-by-minute tracking of poll results here — partly because I think you lose perspective by paying too much attention to this stuff and partly because other people do it better than me anyway — but if you're interested in politics it's hard not to be pretty riveted by what's going on right now.

In Iowa, Zogby claims that Dean's lead has evaporated and that Kerry is leading with 24% of the vote. Dean and Gephardt each have 19% and Edwards has 17%.

And in New Hampshire the ARG tracking poll has Dean's lead narrowed to 28% vs. 23% for Clark (Kerry is third with 16%).

So is Dean really in trouble? I think he might be, especially since my instinct has long been that Dean doesn't wear very well among non-true believers and that his support would start to falter as he got more exposure. (On the other hand, I never thought that Kerry would manage to do very well either, so take my instincts with a grain of salt.)

At a broad level, fundraising prowess and national poll results still make me think this is a Dean/Clark race, but it might eventually get trickier than that. I hate to bring this up again, since even I admit it's an old chestnut that never pans out, but these poll results sure make a brokered convention look more likely, don't they?

Regardless of how he does in Iowa and New Hampshire, Dean has a ton of money and isn't going away. There's no way he ends up the primary season with less than 30-40% of the delegates. But if Kerry and Gephardt get enough votes in Iowa to stay alive and keep the money rolling in, they could each easily end up with 10-15% of the delegates even if they basically end up doing poorly. And Clark, who has a lot of appeal in places where Dean doesn't, along with proven fundraising prowess, is very likely to either beat Dean outright or else stay very close on his heels. Here's what I could very easily see happening:

  • Dean: 35%

  • Clark: 30%

  • Kerry: 15%

  • Gephardt: 10%

  • Others: 10%

This still doesn't necessarily mean a literally brokered convention, but it could mean that in the end the difference comes from who Kerry and Gephardt throw their endorsement to when they eventually drop out of the race. There's enough bad blood between those two and Dean that it's hard to see them endorsing him, but I don't know how they feel about Clark either.

This is turning into quite a thrill ride.

Posted by Kevin Drum at January 16, 2004 10:23 AM | TrackBack


In Iowa, Zogby claims that Dean's lead has evaporated and that Kerry is leading with 24% of the vote. Dean and Gephardt each have 19% and Edwards has 17%.

Zogby? Oh yeah, he's reliable. A reliable Republican:

- Rush Limbaugh bestowed on Zogby the "my favorite pollster" mantle, a kind of calling card for use among political conservatives. By October of 1998, Zogby had reiterated in National Review his findings about the public's opinion of the Lewinsky affair. That year Zogby also did some 60 polls for the Republican Congressional Committee. It's no wonder that many today still think he's a Republican pollster.

- More precisely, Zogby is a pollster who works with a lot of Republicans, and in ways that are not always disclosed. Most journalists were probably unaware that some of Zogby's so-called American Values Polls were a joint venture with an organization called Associated Television News, which has a very strong Republican pedigree. Associated Television News is run by Bradley O'Leary, a longtime Republican consultant known for his legendary fundraising abilities and for doing direct mail for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Zogby told the Prospect that O'Leary's role in the surveys wasn't always made apparent but, "Anyone who asked, to the best of my knowledge, was told." However, when columnist Arianna Huffington asked Zogby about the funder of an American Values Poll in April of 2000, according to her column, he responded, "I can't say who it is, but he publishes a newsletter in which he prints the poll's results." Presumably that newsletter would be the O'Leary Report.

- The strongly Republican slant of the O'Leary-Zogby surveys is unmistakable. One released in October 2000 found that voters favored George W. Bush over Gore on "20 out of 25" campaign issues. Or, as the Zogby International/Associated Television News press release put it, "Bush Overwhelms Gore On Presidential Campaign's Major Public Policy Issues." That's a pretty convenient finding for a longtime Republican consultant just before a presidential election, which may be why Associated Television News was only identified in the release as an organization that "has covered domestic and international news for 20 years" while Zogby International was described as "a respected, non-partisan polling firm."

Posted by: Thumb at January 16, 2004 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Thrill ride? Sure, for horse race fans, but will it be good for the eventual nominee? I see money flying out of the coffers that might be more effectively used against Bush.

(Speaking of horse races, how long before Howard Dean fans start wearing the red jerseys with the white "H" from Seabiscuit?)

Posted by: 537 votes at January 16, 2004 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

I see Kerry and Gephardt, if they get a bounce out of Iowa, hittig the wall when the money runs out. All except Dean and Clark are running campaigns on a shoestring, and mini-Tuesday and super-Tuesday only have rooms for candidates that can run a competent 50-state campaign. Dean and Clark are the only two candidates with the ground infrastructure to pull it off. Whatever the delegate-distribution schemes are, the press is going to write off any candidate that is slowly-but-surely acquiring minority delegates.

If Clark can seize the day and cast himself as the frontrunner, he has a chance to beat out Dean (and his choice to skip Iowa looks all-the-wiser, now), but I don't see any room for anyone else to retake that mantle.

Posted by: Constantine at January 16, 2004 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

On Bad Blood: Don't forget that McCain came
to put South Carolina behind him such that
he could mention aWol's name in polite company.

Posted by: Bartolo at January 16, 2004 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I wish Dean and Clark could hook up soon and put all the negativity to rest. They'd make an unbeatable team.

If it gets too far into the primaries and they have to duke it out, the Repugnicans will just use their fightin' words as fodder.

Posted by: chris at January 16, 2004 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Having Dean on the ticket as a Vice President (as a consolation prize, I suppose) could be the best of both worlds for some people. Dean can still raise tons and tons of money (only him and Kerry will still have money after February, and only him and Kerry can raise more money pre-end of July). Nobody votes on Vice Presidents (thank you Dan Quyale), and the idea that Dean will "turn off" voters is mitigated. Finally, Dean being on the ticket may help "legitimize" the winner amongst the true believers, getting them out to the poll.

I'd prefer Dean win the nomination, but Veep may be a lot more practical. If he get's 35% and a "corrupt bargain" occurs (which makes sense, as the 65% would be an anti-Dean vote majority)...a Clark/Dean ticket could go a long way to victory in November.

Posted by: Justin at January 16, 2004 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I think that it is something to worry about if Dean has a delegate lead (not a majority, a plurality) and some of the other delegates throw support behind Clark, giving him a majority. The reason I worry about it is that this election, at least in battleground states, may hinge upon which party gets its base out. If too many people cry "foul" or "corrupt bargain" because Dean doesn't get the nomination even though he has a plurality, might that piss enough people off or seem to poison the process so much that people don't bother to show up at the polls?

I realize that most Dem voters will vote for any candidate running against Bush, but it only takes a few thousand people in a snit on election day staying home (or independents sick of what the press will indubitably paint as "corrupt politics" voting for Bush the Lesser) to sway the vote in certain states.

Posted by: Ted at January 16, 2004 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

If Dean loses both Iowa and New Hampshire, he's done. All the money in the world won't beat down the loser image the media will hand him.

Posted by: Rob at January 16, 2004 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I don't trust Zogyb's Iowa tracking poll. Not because I think he's biased, or a bad pollster, or even because I like Dean.

I don't trust it because polling Iowa has always been difficult, and tracking polls only magnify that difficulty. I'd be surprised if even the first round of voting results in something remotely like the Zogby poll, much less the final results (after all the caucus horsetrading).

As for NH, I think that Clark's new worry isn't Dean, but Kerry. Most of Clark's recent support came at the expense of Kerry (Anyone watching the NH tracking poll could see Clark gaining Kerry supporters). Should Kerry come in first, or even second, a lot of Clark's most recent support might jump right back to Kerry.

And, judging by the media lately, it's starting to be Clark's turn to suffer the slings and arrows of a bored media. (And, of course, the oppo-researchers of Dean, Kerry, and Gephardt. Fair's Chris Lehane was undoubtably behind a lot of Dean's recent problems..)

Posted by: Morat at January 16, 2004 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Kerry can't leave the Senate to take a VP spot or a SecState slot as a consolation, since Mitt Romney, a Republican, is governor and would appoint his successor. Just to add that wrinkle.

Posted by: Andrew at January 16, 2004 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I agree with you. I think watching the polls can alter one's perceptions and distort what the reality is on the ground. Day to day tracking polls are important, but they're not everything. Besides, political races have a tendency to tighten up towards the end - particularly if there's no incumbent. The Gore/Bush race certainly did.

Remember -- IOWA IS A CAUCUS STATE!! In caucuses, ORGANIZATION IS EVERYTHING. There are only two campaigns that have significant organizations ON THE GROUND. Those campaigns are Gephardt's and Dean's.

My view of the changing polling numbers is that those numbers are very bad news for Gephardt. Not so much for Dean.

Kerry's forces are light on the ground. He *COULD* be put in a bad position if he comes in third, after Dean and Gephardt. Expectations for him are rising.

At any rate, we'll soon know.

Posted by: Tony Shifflett at January 16, 2004 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I don't like it when people do off-topic posts, but..

Hot Howard!

Posted by: Magnum at January 16, 2004 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Here's a prediction: no matter who gets the top slot, Edwards will be their VP pick. He's got the good ideas; he's got the Southern appeal; he's got the nice-guy, non-angry image. He's prime VP material.

Posted by: Realish at January 16, 2004 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

What I hate most about politics is CW. The cable news is nearly unbearable because its all 24 hours of stereotypes and shallow analysis. Only one CW is true, and that's that politics is unpredictable. If Kerry would come out on top, I wish the pundits, including those who have long concluded that Kerry's campaign is a lost cause, would take a lesson from this and just shut up.

(For example, I remember Cokie Roberts predicting once that Kerry wouldn't win because we don't elect Senators. That was it. That was the extent of her analysis. Ugh.)

By the way, I support Dean.

Posted by: Amitava Mazumdar at January 16, 2004 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Polls in Iowa are unreliable because the turnout is so tiny. Dean and Gephardt have the best organizations in the state, so both will turn out a higher proportion of their voters than the polls say.

Posted by: Joe Buck at January 16, 2004 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

A brokered convention where the guy who gets the most delegates does not win is a disaster.

After that, the candidate could be GOD, and the electorate will still see him as a corrupt party apparachik.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff at January 16, 2004 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

my instinct has long been that Dean doesn't wear very well among non-true believers and that his support would start to falter as he got more exposure.

Maybe, Kevin, that's because the majority of Dean news coverage has been negative, some of it wildly so. See this article about a new study showing that coverage of Dean has been markedly more negative than coverage of the other Dem candidates.

Some of the negative coverage has been warranted, to be sure, but a lot of it has been pure animosity on the part of our Heather Press Corps. Witness the roundly criticized ABC News smear piece a few days ago. That was only the culmination of a long trend in negative coverage of Dean; after all, why did the producers at ABC think they could do what they did and keep their standing as a legitimate news source? Because they'd seen lots of other hit pieces on Dean, and nobody else seemed to mind. They just pushed it a little bit over the line, and even Mickey Kaus took notice.

Clark is starting to get this kind of nasty coverage (witness the "He supported the Iraq war" absurdity. But Clark would be getting much more and much worse had he been the frontrunner this past month.

Posted by: Dan Perreten at January 16, 2004 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think Zogby is deliberately skewing anything, but it's true that his results are often off base. And Iowa is a very hard state to survey anyway because of the way the caucuses work.

So yeah, don't pay too much attention to this. On the other hand, I wouldn't dismiss it completely either, even if the results don't happen to favor whoever your guy happens to be.

Posted by: Kevin Drum at January 16, 2004 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

That tracking poll is vague at best, complete shit at worst. Hell, Sharpton's 0.1% support calculates to half a person supporting him (which I pointed out in this post.) I'm convinced that it'll be a two man race by the end of super Tuesday.

I'm not just saying this as a Dean supporter, but I think one of the reasons he got as far as he did was that he's got a lot of tricks up his sleeve. The CW for months was that no Dem insiders liked him. But then he pulled a Gore endorsement out of seemingly thin air. While I don't think he has any big surprises for Iowa, I think his chances post-New Hampshire are only going to get better.

Posted by: greg at January 16, 2004 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I wish I knew what Dean had planned for Sunday. I just don't see him popping off to Georgia for tea and Sunday School with Carter the day before the Iowa Caucus.

I don't see Carter endorsing him either (Carter seemed pretty firm on that), so the question becomes: What the hell is he doing in Georgia on Sunday?

Dean's recipe for a perfect storm in Iowa calls for big -- positive -- news on Saturday or Sunday, to dominate media coverage through the primary.

Posted by: Morat at January 16, 2004 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Dean will win due to the unrecognized "young" vote. This will be the deciding issue in not only the primaries but the general election. If you notice the coverage on cable you mostly see middle-aged and older viewers being interviewed.

These people are being swayed by the unceasing "unelectable" meme and the "negative image stories and ads" against Dean by his opponents and the SCLM (not to mention the RNC).

Nowhere do you see coverage of the input of young people who are responding to the message of hope. This is the first election since the 60's that young voters will play a role. The question is how large it will be. However, it should be more than enought to give a few point edge to Dean in IA. The tightening of the race CW will help Dean in PR terms. A month ago even if he won by 10 points it would have been ho hum news because it was expected. Now a 4 point win will be miraculous. Dean is "Seabiscuit". Looks them all in the eye after they catch up and then runs away with it because he has the biggest "heart".

Posted by: Young Turk at January 16, 2004 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

"I wish Dean and Clark could hook up soon and put all the negativity to rest. They'd make an unbeatable team."

Chris- Amen! How often in our lifetime will the Democratic party be blessed with a handsome 4-star general with progressive social views, and a fiery doctor who has a kickass grassroots army and a powerhouse fundraising operation? It's a combo made in heaven, and I think somebody needs to fire up a blog specifically to begin advocating for that ticket. Anybody want to conspire? Send me an email....

Posted by: peter jung at January 16, 2004 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

I speculated this week about what might result if (1) Kerry and Dean finish 1,2 in Iowa, and (2) Dean only squeaks by in NH. You'd have the bizarre situation of Gep being essentially out of it, Kerry somehow back in it, and Dean having to defend against "choke" allegations.

But then it may not play out that way. Iowa's a really funny with the caucus situation. If you do the math, adding Kucinich and Sharpton votes in the Dean column, and Clark and Lieberman votes in the Gephardt column, the end may look nothing like the polls (remember, there's a wrangle for the candidates who don't muster 15%). Add to that the notorious difficulty in polling a caucus state, and who knows.

Then in New Hampshire, Dean will have a week to make up some ground. Clark may well find himself the greater target because #2 is going to be so important there (especially if Kerry's desperately clinging to a hope of staying alive).

I still think the balance is tilted toward Dean, but wise pundits should probably avoid confident declarative predictions.

Posted by: Jeff at January 16, 2004 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

The other guys need Iowa much more Dean. The only bad thing about Iowa is that Dean was ahead there for awhile, so it looks like he's losing momentum.

That said, many of us believed that if Dean won Iowa and New Hampshire, it was over, besides an outside chance for Clark somehow to slide in with a strong showing on Super Tuesday.

That's the genesis of the Dean or Clark talk.

If Kerry wins in Iowa, that makes things a bit more interesting. It definitely helps him that Ted Kennedy is doing the rounds for him. But I'm not sure that Kerry's charisma is going to keep hitting around the country, or that Dean's grassroots and cash aren't going to double and/or triple if he loses Iowa.

What I like about all of this is that it's more of a race now, which makes it more exciting. I still think it will be Dean or Clark, but if Kerry can win in Iowa, and keep Kennedy on the campaign trail, he's suddenly a darkhorse again.

As for Gephardt, I just don't see it.

As for Edwards, there's potential, but it's hard to see how he stands out amongst the group.

What would make this race get very, very interesting would be for it to turn in to a 5-man race with the worst of the 5 at around 15% support.

Say Dean at 26%, Clark at 22%, Kerry at 20%, Gephardt at 17%, and Edwards at 15%.

That would be crazy! In the back of my mind though I've got Dean's enthusiasm, campaign, cash, and endorsements in view, and barring something unexpected or extraordinary, that's going to be hard to beat.

Posted by: freelixir at January 16, 2004 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Dean could win or lose both IA and NH -- as long as the margins are close -- and the real shape of the race will still be visible only after the Feb 3 vote. IA and NH are only very significant for Dean if he wins big. Otherwise it's a wash. These states always matter less than everyone thinks at the time. Feb 3 is the real deal.

Posted by: Hypocrisy Fumigator at January 16, 2004 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

I firmly believe that the reason why Dean has been "faltering" in the polls is because he is being hammered in the press. It's not because people are starting to see that he's not a viable candidate, it's that people are being force fed that he's got all these issues and that his lead is slipping. The news media wants something to write about and their strategy of whacking Dean is working (at least in Iowa and NH).
I also harken back to the Bush / McCain battle in NH in the 2000 race. McCain winning didn't mean anything in the long run. Dean will win eventually. Iowa and NH are overhyped and overpolled.

Posted by: Jesse at January 16, 2004 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Zogby is nowhere near the "favorite GOPer's pollster anymore" for two reasons: 1) His pretty accurate call on the 2000 presidential contest --forecasting the last moment surge toward Al Gore.

2) Unfair as it may be, the fact that Zogby's brother James is head of the Arab-American Institute and a self-described Democrat causes many Republicans to be suspicious of John Zogby.

Posted by: GR at January 16, 2004 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

If the Dems continue on their course of criticizing Bush above all else, here's my prediction -- Bush wins by a near landslide and the Republicans pick up at least 3 senate seats and 5 house seats.

Posted by: Ben at January 16, 2004 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I think some of you guys are neglecting the fundamentals of the expectations game.

It's possible that Dean will win Iowa.

If he doesn't, though, the press will punish him. Because he's been the frontrunner in Iowa, and by quite a significant margin. Because he had an "air of inevitability" and had become almost the presumed winner ... even the presumed nominee.

If he loses, one of the big stories will be the decline of the Dean campaign. The other will be the surge of the winner, whoever that may be.

Given that Dean's numbers have been sliding in New Hampshire too, the continuation of a "Dean decline" theme could be deadly.

The big mo is great, when you have it, but it can be a bitch when it goes the other way.

Posted by: William Swann at January 16, 2004 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

I like Kerry and Edwards. Dean, not so much. Clark, not at all.

But that's just me.

Posted by: andrew at January 16, 2004 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

"In Iowa, Zogby claims that Dean's lead has evaporated and that Kerry is leading with 24% of the vote."
Hmm. Kos is going to need some crisp thinking (and he has that) to explain how this shows that he should rank Kerry 6th. I imagine he and his readers will enjoy it, though of course Kos could simply delete this poll. And maybe the next one.
Hey, if it works, it works.

Posted by: John Isbell at January 16, 2004 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

All I care about is W voted out in November (and him actually leaving in Jan.). As a vegan (like Kos), and progressive, I like Kuc, but realize he will never win.

All that matters is Bush / Cheney out. Not only 'cause of all the people they have hurt, but because I truly believe that their arrogance and corruption are placing the U.S. in a terrible, historic decline.

My opinion:
Gep finishes third in IA and drops out.
Kerry finishes third (or fourth) in NH and drops out.

From this emerges a Dean/Edwards ticket with Clark as Sec Def or Sec State, or a Clark/Dean ticket with Edwards as A.G.

I think Dean needs to be on the ticket for both the Deaniacs and the fact that he opted out and can keep spending money.

I think the Dems should run a full shadow cabinet. Absolutely pull out all the stops. Finally stand up together.

Posted by: MattB at January 16, 2004 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

One big question is whether Joe Lieberman gets the memo after NH and goes home.

He's bombing there now, where he's headquartered and has been campaigning for a long time. If he finishes a distant third - or even fourth, which seems possible, will he pack it in? If he does, or if his supporters give up hope, that's roughly ten percent up for grabs for Edwards, Clark, and Kerry.

Posted by: TedL at January 16, 2004 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Just to give an example, early in the campaign I was a fan of Dean from the moment I heard his "I don't want to listen to fundamentalist preachers anymore" line. But I have to say that he didn't wear well on me. First off, we seem to shrug off the importance of the candidate being telegenic. Clark and Edwards are telegenic. Dean is not, with his bulging neck, lack of an upper lip and a rather creepy grimace that passes for a smile. Early on that started to worry me. On a more substantial note, I lost more potential for support when Dean started in about repealing all of Bush's tax cuts. Even if that is a good thing (not convinced) there is simply no way in hades that happens with the Congress we're going to get, unless anyone seriously thinks we're taking back both the Senate and the House this year. That means any proposals that plan on having all those cuts removed are flawed because the funds will not be there as planned. Then there were the flip flops that showed me that Dean will pretty much take any position that gathers more support. Not saying there aren't other candidates doing the same thing, but I don't like it from them either.

One reason for all the negative press has been that there are a lot of people who really don't like Dean. His followers seem almost cult-like from the outside, and give fanatical support, but I haven't been able to see how Dean deserves such support. It's not like he's going to govern by blog. While bringing in new people is great, and by itself means Dean deserves a VP slot, I don't buy his whole "taking America back from the special interest-it's-about-you-not-about-me" stuff. I think it's about the grassroots right up til the day Dean gets elected. If he could get elected. At any rate, so long as more people dislike Dean than like him, the negative press will continue.

I don't mean to be mean. If Dean wins the nom I'll support him. But I want to win in November and that means putting the absolute strongest team up against Bush. Clark/Dean is that team in my opinion. Clark as Commander in Chief, and Dean handling the domestic agenda and having a chance to get 4-8 years of foreign policy and national governing experience before finally getting the top job himself, if he could get it from Hillary, anyway.

Posted by: Norman at January 16, 2004 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

I was rude to Kos, but he exactly deserves it. He's a liar, and a paid one. Sorry.
Which doesn't mean he can't write, he can.

Posted by: John Isbell at January 16, 2004 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ben wrote: "If the Dems continue on their course of criticizing Bush above all else, here's my prediction -- Bush wins by a near landslide and the Republicans pick up at least 3 senate seats and 5 house seats."

Ben, dear, just how do you think that you're supposed to run against an incumbent President without criticizing him? That's just dumb. Of course they're going to go after Bush's record, just as he's going to be running on his record. In every election where an incumbent is involved, the challenger attacks the incumbent.

Posted by: PaulB at January 16, 2004 01:43 PM | PERMALINK

I just don't see why Kerry would drop out if he finishes 3rd in both. An Iowa Dean, Gephardt, Kerry and a NH Clark, Dean, Kerry sets him up as the national anti-Dean candidate. Dean is running into a Patrick Buchanan wall - he can't crack 1/3 of primary voters. Kerry's potential campaign death is SC/OK/AZ the next week. Same with Gephardt. Both need top 2's in one or more of those 3 states and decent numbers across the board to compete. Actually, so does everyone. Any candidate who doesn't top 2 in one of the three that day, other than Sharpton, will exit - Edwards needs to win one, or be second in all of them. Maybe Dean, if he wins Iowa and NH, COULD stay in with 3rds in the 3 sun belt states, but he better sweep the other primaries that day.

Sharpton has his reasons for staying in and making noise, much like Alan Keyes four years ago, with equal relevence.

After the 2nd, if we still have the big five in the race (Clark, Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry) we COULD be looking at a split convention.

Posted by: rvman at January 16, 2004 02:20 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone else see the video clip "from the RNC" that lazy Judy Woodruff showed today on Insides politics? Kerry was doing a singalong "puff the magic dragon" session, and pretended to take a toke. Got big laughs, but is being presented on CNN as totally inappropriate...

Posted by: Dan at January 16, 2004 02:21 PM | PERMALINK

This is turning into a disaster for the Dems.
They keep on beating each other up, doing Rove's dirty work for him. Whoever they end up nominating will be so diminished in stature for having had to say any number of absurd "suck up"
statements during the pandering primary season.
Bush will not win fewer than 46 states. If Dean is the nominee, Bush might beat Reagan's mark and get all the electoral votes except those of DC and Vermont. Clark would do slightly better than Dean. The one who actually can pull some states away from Bush is Gephardt, but he can't win a national election.

Posted by: fw at January 16, 2004 02:54 PM | PERMALINK


From one Ben to another. This election will not be a landslide. There's article in the Washington Post today about this. Barring a spectacular event - another 9/11 terrorist attack, an economic crash, Bush caught with another woman, etc. - its very unlikely either candidate goes below 45% of the vote. Personally, I think Bush is going to win, but not by more than a couple points.

In fact, I am willing to bet on that 45% number.

My prediction - I'll say Bush 52%, Dem candidate 48% is the final outcome.

Simply put, the country is way more partisan than it was in 1984. Indeed, the Republicans are more clearly identified as a conservative party than the Democrats are a liberal party, so although there are more self-identified conservatives than liberals in the electorate, the Dems capitalize on being able to win a lot of moderates who are in fact partisan Dems. Indeed, it is my rather unCW that the electorate is more liberal than it was in the 1970s and 1980s - and even in the 1990s.

Ben P

Posted by: Ben P at January 16, 2004 03:02 PM | PERMALINK

I dislike rubber-banding threads, but I can't leave an ad hominem standing without data. Kos's Cattle Call threads over several weeks contain my vain corrections to his systematic downplaying of Kerry, which went so far as to move Kerry up a place (to avoid open ridicule one week) with the surgically attached down arrow parked alongside it. Now that's creative thinking.

Posted by: John Isbell at January 16, 2004 03:02 PM | PERMALINK

Again, fw - I think you're wrong.

And again, I would bet on Bush's reelection, but it won't be a landslide.

Indeed, the Republican "landslide" of 2002 was far from it - it broke something like 52/53-48/47 in the Rs favor. I wouldn't call that a landslide.

Ben P

Posted by: Ben P at January 16, 2004 03:05 PM | PERMALINK

Ben P --

You may be right in saying it will come down 52-48. I see it more like 54-44-2 (the other two come for assorted minor parties including the Greens). If my breakdown is correct, that is, in fact, a landslide. Even with your closer popular vote outcome, the electoral vote will still be a landslide for W.
Check out the odds on Bush's reelection in Vegas.
The odds have been steadily shortening. That is a better indication than all the polling data in the world.

Posted by: fw at January 16, 2004 03:26 PM | PERMALINK


You could be right with those numbers, but the Dems 44% is reasonable by historical numbers, particularly against an incumbent who isn't unpopular (if not universally or stuningly popular either). Also, 44% is still pretty close to the 45% I think is a Dem baseline. However, the third party thing is something I hadn't considered that could come into play.

BTW, Norman, that's one of the smarter assessments of Dean I've read - I guess its because it mirrors my own feelings.
Ben P

Posted by: Ben P at January 16, 2004 04:45 PM | PERMALINK

I guess at the end of the day, fw, you're just a bit more pessimistic about things than I am. And BTW, how would 52-48 split cause an electoral landslide? Maybe Bush takes 300+ electoral votes in this scenario, but I really don't see him taking over 40 states. VT, MA, NY, MD, WA, CA, RI and a few others are beyond the realm of possibly, IMO.

Ben P

Posted by: Ben P at January 16, 2004 04:59 PM | PERMALINK

No way in hell that Bush gets 55% of the vote. He'll be lucky to pull 50%, and even to win. People get so hung up on today, and not months from now when people will be voting, and all of the Bush scandals will be played out, and the 9/11 Commission will report, and jobs will still be a mystery, and so on and on and on and on...

Posted by: freelixir at January 16, 2004 06:39 PM | PERMALINK

freelixir --

Dream on. You can make yourself happy for the next ten months wishing that what you wrote becomes true, but you'll be in for a cold wake-up call on the morning of Nov 3rd. Get your expectations in line with reality, and you'll avoid the severe depression that I think you may be in for come Nov 3rd.

Posted by: fw at January 16, 2004 06:51 PM | PERMALINK

"...a lot of appeal where Dean doesn't"?

Kevin, this is pretty outrageous given that Dean leads Clark in most of the South. Clark is close in only three states.

There are good arguments for Clark but this is not borne out by polling.

Posted by: aaron at January 16, 2004 06:54 PM | PERMALINK

fw - I think you need to take a hefty dose of your own advice about getting your expectations in line with reality, to avoid that severe depression that you and other dreaming Bushies may be in for come Nov 3rd.

Face it: Bush couldn't win last time when everyone thought he was just another Republican frat boy. After four years of broken promises, lies, and fooling around, he really can't win. Either Dean or Clark can cream him.

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chris >"I wish Dean and Clark could hook up soon..."

I believe they already have (an arrangement between themselves)

Clark/Dean or Dean/Clark; either way is a real winner though I think we`d be better off with the Clark/Dean arrangement

Dean would manage domestic affairs & Clark the international stuff (and the Joint Chiefs would be busy cleaning out their pants because he knows where their "skeletons" are hidden)

Bush Handlers, Inc. would be in a world of hurt come voting day (providing, of course, there aren`t any "timely" assassinations or "events" of a similar variety twixt now & then)

the others in the race are "non-starters" in a real election & have NO CHANCE of beating Bush Handlers, Inc.

wake up folks this is reality, not television

by October the mindscape of the electorate will be different than today (think "surprising" events)

the November election will be "close" but there is a strong possibility that the turn out will be above "average"

if so...

"...If everybody voted, the Republicans would lose every time..." - Jim McDermott (D-WA)

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