April 22, 2004

50-0 FILES:

Bush leads Kerry in Pa. poll (AP, 4/21/04)

President Bush has edged ahead of Democrat John Kerry in Pennsylvania, according to a poll of voters in the critical swing state won by Al Gore in 2000.

In a three-way race, Republican Bush is supported by 45% of the state's voters, compared with 39% for Democrat Kerry and 8% for independent candidate Ralph Nader, according to the poll released Wednesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The rest were undecided.

Without Nader in the race, Bush still holds a slight 46-42 lead over Kerry, according to the Connecticut-based institute.

Pocketbook juices flowing (Donald Lambro, 4/22/04, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)
Among the latest signs of a turnaround in public opinion: In a recent Associated Press poll, only 18 percent of those surveyed mentioned the economy as their chief worry, down from 31 percent a year ago. [...]

[I]t isn't just economists who think the economy is now on a roll that shows no sign of slowing down. Democratic Party officials acknowledge this, too.

"Missouri's economy has actually improved," state Democratic chairman Joe Carmichael told me. "The number of jobs created last month was a good number, the greatest number for any month in the past 20 years. Things seem to be turning around."

The battleground states in '04 are CA, HI, MA, NY & DC. And the battle is to see if Mr. Kerry wins one.

In Search of the Elusive Swing Voter: It almost doesn't matter who the Democratic candidate is. In terms of strategy, the road map for the coming presidential campaign was set long before the primaries—and it runs straight through the handful of states with the largest numbers of independent voters. Any candidate needs to hunt them down (Joshua Green, January/February 2004, The Atlantic Monthly)

All told, twelve states in the previous presidential election were decided by fewer than five percentage points. Along with two or three other states where demographic changes portend a similar closeness, they make up the battleground this year. The most significant states are scattered across the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington), the Southwest (Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico), and the Rust Belt (Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia), with outliers on the East Coast (Florida and New Hampshire) and others along a lengthy stretch of the Mississippi River, from Minnesota and Wisconsin down to Arkansas and Missouri. The next Democratic campaign will closely follow this map.

Only WA is even in play.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 22, 2004 2:04 PM

OJ: You think Oregon's in the bag? I hope you're right. It went blue in 2000 by less than 7k votes I think? But, much like the entire country, if you look at how many counties Bush won, it was lobsided to be sure.

There are probably enough Libs and Dems here to get Kerry elected if they truly want to. And that's the crux of the matter: if they're not motivated enough to vote FOR Kerry, are they at least motivated enough to come out and vote AGAINST Bush?

Posted by: John Resnick at April 22, 2004 4:18 PM

He's not going to lose any state that was close in 2000 now that he's an incumbent with a booming economy.

Posted by: oj at April 22, 2004 4:30 PM

I wish there were a way we could compare media accounts and polls at this point in the 1984 campaign with this year's campaign. I think it would be very instructive.

Posted by: Joe at April 22, 2004 6:06 PM

In (the other) Washington, Bush ought to get some turnout help from the Governor's race, where the GOP has the motivation of having their first good candidate (Rossi) in 20 years going up against one of two old-guard liberal Democrats (Gregoire or Sims) with lots of baggage.

Posted by: TimF at April 22, 2004 6:29 PM

My thanks, Orrin. That confirms what I somewhat dimly remembered from that spring (it's been a long time since those college days, the 1984 election was the first in which I was eligible to vote for a President). Indeed, the mainstream media consensus at that time was that Reagan was going to have a tough time of it against whoever won the Dem nomination (as witness the poll showing Hart with a 9-point lead over Reagan).

Posted by: Joe at April 22, 2004 7:07 PM