Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Zogby on Independents

Zogby Polling put out this press release on 8/20:

"Kerry had a 10-point lead among independents that has grown,'' John Zogby, president of Zogby International, said in an interview. "That countervailed against the president actually increasing his lead among Republicans.'' Bush is backed by 86 percent of Republicans, according to Zogby, and Kerry draws support from 79 percent of Democrats.

This tells us a fascinating story about the election. Independent voters favor Kerry by a large margin. Kerry will win if he can turn out the Democratic base. Similarly, Bush's strategy is to turn out the Republican base, to an even larger degree than Kerry can.

For those who don't know, Zogby is considered among the most accurate polling operations for its record since 1994. Gallup, Harris, ABC, and CBS -- the other major operations -- have a more mixed record. Gallup gets more press because it was, in the period 1960-1990, the dominant national polling operation.

6 comments:

Raised By Republicans said...

The huge lead among independents is consistent with something else I've seen said on Zogby's site a lot: undecided voters break for the challenger.

I suspect that a large portion of those 21% of Democrats who support Bush are in states that are safe for Bush. If you look at a state wide poll for just about any state that could go either way, and Kerry has between 85% and 90% support among Democrats compared to a similar number for Bush.

I have not seen any swing state poll that shows Bush ahead among independents.

Bell Curve said...

Poll watching is really fun, though it might be tough on people who are really pulling for one candidate or another. Sometimes you don't know what to believe. Personally, I don't think any of this matters much until a few weeks after the Republican convention.

According to today's electoral-vote.com, Bush currently has a lead in Ohio and Florida, but is still losing the electoral vote race. How is that possible?

The Law Talking Guy said...

Well, it's true that the only poll that counts is on election day. However, results like Zogby's (independents favoring Kerry by a wide margin over several months) are more than a one-time snapshot. They give real insight into how this election will be waged. You are correct that the next 2 weeks of polling will be of little value, the "bump" from the convention. We will want to see what happens when the bump settles in mid-September and the debates begin.

Raised By Republicans said...

How is it possible that Kerry is still ahead in the electoral college even if he loses Ohio and Florida? Think of this way: Bush won in 2000 by a VERY narrow margin in the electoral college. He also won both Ohio and Florida in 2000. That means that Kerry will win in the electoral college is hangs onto the states that Gore won and adds a state (pretty much any state) that Bush won. For a couple of months, polls have shown Kerry slightly ahead in Ohio and later in Florida too. Now Bush is slightly ahead. But while Bush seems to have marginally regained two states he won in 2000, Kerry is now ahead in Tennessee, Nevada and New Hampshire all of which Bush won in 2000.

What all that means is that Kerry is in a position where a fairly diverse set of scenarios end up with him winning the electoral vote. Bush has fewer options because it appears that, at least so far, states that voted for Gore in 2000 are showing no sign of shifting to Bush in 2004.

All that said, I also think Kerry will probably win at least one of either Ohio or Florida and is more likely to win both than lose both. My reason for thinking this is the large lead Kerry has among indpendents in those states.

Raised By Republicans said...

How is it possible that Kerry is still ahead in the electoral college even if he loses Ohio and Florida? Think of it this way: Bush won in 2000 by a VERY narrow margin in the electoral college. He also won both Ohio and Florida in 2000. That means that Kerry will win in the electoral college if he hangs onto the states that Gore won and adds a state (pretty much any state) that Bush won. For a couple of months, polls have shown Kerry slightly ahead in Ohio and later in Florida too. Now Bush is slightly ahead. But while Bush seems to have marginally regained two states he won in 2000, Kerry is now ahead in Tennessee, Nevada and New Hampshire all of which Bush won in 2000.

What all that means is that Kerry is in a position where a fairly diverse set of scenarios end up with him winning the electoral vote. Bush has fewer options because it appears that, at least so far, states that voted for Gore in 2000 are showing little sign of shifting to Bush in 2004.

All that said, I also think Kerry will probably win at least one of either Ohio or Florida and is more likely to win both than lose both. My reason for thinking this is the large lead Kerry has among indpendents in those states.

The Law Talking Guy said...

There is no doubt that in the past 3 weeks, the horse race has evened up. From a slight Kerry lead of 3-5 points, it has become a tossup or a Bush lead of 0-3 points. Post-convention polls will probably show Bush leads of 3-5 points.

This is the effect of the following: (1) bad press from the swift boat ads undercutting Kerry's position as the placeholder alternative candidate; (2) a Kerry message on the deficit and healthc are that has been lost in Olympic coverage and the accompanying patriotic hype; (3) August vacations and the tendency of certain demographics to be at home or not, skewing the answers to polls; and then the biggie: (4) the media has ceased reporting altogether on casualties in Iraq.

Iraq reporting is a big problem. How many of you realize that more Americans were killed in Iraq in August than in July or June - nearly 60? Most Americans probably think that things have quieted down since the "handover" in Iraq. In fact, since the handover 90 days ago, the US casualty rate has steadily increased, with no end in sight.