November 3, 2002
TYPING THROUGH TEARS AT THE TIMES:In Poll, Americans Say Both Parties Lack Clear Vision (ADAM NAGOURNEY and JANET ELDER, November 3, 2002, NY Times)
In one closely watched if imprecise measure of the overall partisan strength of the two parties, 47 percent of likely voters said they would vote for a Republican in next week's Congressional contest, compared with 40 percent who said they would vote Democratic. The margin of sampling error for that question was plus or minus five percentage points.
But that question, known as a generic ballot question, is a measure of national sentiment, and does not necessarily reflect how Americans will vote in the governor's races around the country and in the handful of close Senate and House races that will ultimately determine the control of Congress.
The concern among Democrats about the nation's direction and the economy suggests that Democratic voters might be more motivated to cast their ballots on Tuesday and respond to the ambitious get-out-the-vote drives that have been organized by the Democratic Party, aimed in particular at voters who are distressed about the economy.
President Bush, who has invested so much of his own political capital in the outcome of the elections, remains extremely popular with voters. In this poll, 62 percent of respondents said they approved of how he was handling his job, though that is down markedly from his 74 percent rating of last summer.
Even with the immediate qualifications and rationalizations, one can imagine how it must have pained the Times to run those numbers. A seven point spread is higher than the GOP got in the actual voting in 1994.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2002 5:55 AM