October 31, 2004

78%?:

With terrorism as backdrop, Bush narrows gap vs. Kerry: Challenger has 45-41 lead, but 12 percent of N.J. voters undecided (JOE DONOHUE, October 31, 2004, Newark Star-Ledger)

The latest poll shows Democratic Sen. John Kerry with a 45 percent to 41 percent lead over Republican President George W. Bush, with 12 percent still undecided and other candidates taking 2 percent of the vote.

The survey of 740 likely voters was taken Wednesday through Friday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent. Two weeks ago, the poll found Kerry with a 51 percent to 38 percent advantage among likely voters.

Acting poll director Patrick Murray said the president's visit to South Jersey on Oct. 18, combined with his emphasis in recent days on the issue of terrorism, appears to be striking a chord with New Jersey voters, particularly independents and South Jersey residents.

Polls taken by Star-Ledger/Rutgers-Eagleton and other groups since mid-summer have shown voters struggling to make up their minds. They showed a big Kerry lead just after the Democratic National Convention, a near-tie after the Republican National Convention, a wider lead for Kerry after the three debates and now Bush narrowing the gap again in the campaign's waning days. [...]

The latest survey found Bush, by a 78 percent to 16 percent margin, is considered the preferred candidate to handle the fight against terrorism, which voters said is the campaign's top issue. The incumbent, by a 57 percent to 33 percent margin, also is viewed as the stronger, more decisive leader.


78%-16%? That's a Red state.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2004 12:00 PM
Comments

Interesting how the one putlying poll that showed Kerry way ahead has fallen into line with Quinnipiac, et. al. Ah, polling, the exact science.

Posted by: AC at October 31, 2004 12:19 PM

Interesting. If NJ is close, I like our chances a lot better.

But can somebody explain why the Friday tracking polls (released yesterday) show a move to Kerry even as state polls generally are moving to Bush?

I've noticed a pattern where state polls seem to lag, but it's just a pattern with no defined causality.

I'm toying with a theory that, while the 'undecideds' generally break to the challenger, Kerry may be the de facto incumbent in some of these states. Bush has been so vilified in the media, Kerr's camped out in some states so much and other states are so Blue that voting for Bush represents the vote for 'change' that allegedly 'undecideds' have all but made.

Of course this theory is an intellectual contortion similar to that which OJ charges evolotionary biologists and physicists with making in order to prolong the viability of a favorite idea. In this case it's the idea that the electorate would not abandon a proven leader in time of war.

Posted by: JAB at October 31, 2004 12:29 PM

How many parts of the country had their Halloween-related events scheduled on Saturday, in order to avoid kids going trick-or-treating before a school night? Lots, if I were to guess, and the key thing if that's true is that to be out of your house with kids, the first thing you have to have is, well, kids. And since adults with children tend to skew more Republican than singles or those without, polling among adults ages 25-45 yesterday probably was tweaked a little in Kerry's direction, since those were the people most likely to be home.

Posted by: John at October 31, 2004 12:46 PM

JAB:

We've pretty well debunked the undecideds to the challenger question and tracking polls notoriously move Democratic during weekends.

Posted by: oj at October 31, 2004 12:55 PM

Yeah. I've read the links debunking the break to the challenger and weekend theory.

Agree with the Halloween theory. It only takes a couple % to skew the results.

It's still too close for comfort, though. Should be a landslide and instead we'll be lucky to win.

If we lose, our side still has a strong position by virtue of the fact we actually have ideas and those ideas are proven to be appealing when adequately explained to growing portions of the electorate.

If we lose, I think we need to change media strategy to explicitly call out the press as a political adversary and part of the New Deal establishment rather than pretend it's neutral.

Posted by: JAB at October 31, 2004 1:14 PM

If it's '88 instead of '84 that's still impressive given the times.

Posted by: oj at October 31, 2004 1:52 PM

The really interesting thing is if you cross their 12% undecided number with the way the Quinnipiac polls have undecided leaners breaking 5-to-1 in favor of Bush, which gives Bush 51%.

I break it down at: "New Jersey Could Let Us Get To Bed Early on Tuesday"

Or, via Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/6sbwt

Best,

--Barry

Posted by: Barry Johnson at October 31, 2004 2:06 PM

Instead of breaking to the challenger, it may be apt to say that undecideds break to the safer choice. That's usually the incumbent party (Gore in 2000 would be an example). The Presidency is such a singular office that it may be harder to sell voters on "the Devil you don't know" than for Senate (1 of 100) or even governor.

Posted by: AC at October 31, 2004 3:46 PM

What these two numbers (the tracking number for NJ, and the 78% who think Bush rocks the WOT) is that many people in New Jersey aren't telling the pollsters the absolute truth about who they're really voting for.

Undoubtedly the New York and Philadelphia media are doing their level best to convince people that a vote for Bush is a vote for the Neanderthal-Missing Chromosome party, and so many are hoping to avoid some sort of perceived social stigma.


Er...at least that's what I'm hoping is happening.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at October 31, 2004 4:30 PM

I don't know about poll numbers, but I can tell you what happened today. When I went to my local watering hole here in NJ to watch the Packers stomp the Redskins into a mudhole while the Giants were beating the hated Vikings like a red-headed stepchild, I asked around informally about Presidential preference. Virtually everybody was for Bush and those who weren't were anti-Bush, not pro-Kerry. This was an audience of young white Christian males under 40, most of whom are working-class.

IOW, Bush is winning the Ventura vote.

Posted by: Bart at October 31, 2004 5:40 PM

Around here the trick-or-treating was held on Saturday because noone wanted it done on the Lord's day. (We celebrated the 4th on Sat. and Mon. this year as well) Weekend polls also missed all the families up in the mountains for the last day of the deer hunt, or attending High School football friday night and saturday morning games.

Of course, I am in Utah where Kerry is polling in the high 20s.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at November 1, 2004 12:53 AM

Around here the trick-or-treating was held on Saturday because noone wanted it done on the Lord's day. (We celebrated the 4th on Sat. and Mon. this year as well) Weekend polls also missed all the families up in the mountains for the last day of the deer hunt, or attending High School football friday night and saturday morning games.

Of course, I am in Utah where Kerry is polling in the high 20s.

Posted by: Jason Johnson at November 1, 2004 12:54 AM
« PITCHING THROUGH PAIN AGAIN: | Main | 40 HEADED FOR 50: »