Thursday, October 21, 2004

‘Thirteen Days’



I’ve always prided myself in being able to read the presidential races. This one, though, is more difficult with each passing day.

First off, forget getting any reliable information from any network or cable news channel; they either lean toward one candidate blatantly or pick only the polls that favor their candidate against the ones that don’t. This is a funny process (and a waste of time) as the polls themselves are skewed in favor of certain candidates.

On the cable news channels, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, is, perhaps, the most useless process of all: the never-reliable “opposing views” guests segments on every single program they run. You know the ones… where the guy who supports Bush says his candidate is blowing Kerry out of the water and then the guy who supports Kerry takes a turn and tells how his candidate is blowing Bush out of the water.

Try gleaning some useful information from that.

As for the polls, they don’t help much either. Just when you decide that the race is going Bush’s way, because the total poll average gives the edge to Bush, the internals show something else and the state breakdowns favor Kerry.

Meanwhile, on a poll-for-poll basis, the national result is either a one-point Kerry lead, a tie, a one-point Bush lead, or an eight-point Bush lead.

So, it’s been difficult to predict this one.

I CAN tell you what I think about it though.

It’s close. And the one thing everyone has been waiting on is the “surge” by one candidate or the other.

Most people don’t think a “surge” happened last time… but one did happen. The surge was for Gore, at the last minute. This “surge” came a bit late in an already tight race and, well… you know what happened.

Everyone fears the same thing this time. But, I don’t think it’ll be close either way.

If the apparent Bush lead IS the “surge,” and it is happening right now, Bush wins in a landslide. Of course, if the “surge” has not yet occurred then we'll see a landslide one way or the other for whichever candidate it favors.

The other possibility is that the “surge” has already occurred, in Kerry’s favor, and left us with a tight race. In this case the newly registered voters (more of them than any other year) will likely decide the race in Kerry’s favor.

These new voters are NOT being polled right now. They are the biggest unknown factor in the race.

The famous “undecideds” traditionally break heavily for challengers in any race… and always in the last week or so.

So, there you have it… the best way I can call this one:

If the polls stay tight, and Bush does not break away, prior to the vote, expect a Kerry win.

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