October 18, 2004


Poll: Candidates Neck and Neck: As Election Looms, Bush Has a Slight Edge in Some Underlying Issues (GARY LANGER, Oct. 18, 2004, ABC News)

The 2004 campaign moves into its last two weeks with a close race, but one in which President Bush holds the advantage in a range of underlying measurements.

Most likely voters, 53 percent, approve of Bush's job performance overall. Most, 52 percent, have a favorable opinion of him personally. His supporters are more enthusiastic than John Kerry's. Bush easily leads in three of four personal attributes — leadership, clarity and honesty. He's stronger on terrorism, Iraq and — a recent gain — taxes. And, echoing Bush's latest line of attack, more likely voters see Kerry as too liberal than see Bush as too conservative.

54% appears to be the President's current number. If you assume there's a 3 or 4 point swing coming in the closing days of the campaign we're headed for either a nail-biter or a blowout, with the two possibilities about equally likely. How can anyone not love politics?

Bush Emerges From Debates With a Slim Lead Over Kerry, Poll Shows (Richard Morin and Dan Balz, October 18, 2004, Washington Post)

Bush's job approval -- another significant barometer of an incumbent's political health -- stands at 54 percent, compared to 53 percent in late September. In the modern era, all incumbent presidents with approval ratings above 50 percent have won their reelection bids. Similarly, Bush's personal standing with voters remains exactly where it was before the debates: 53 percent of all likely voters say they have a favorable impression of the president.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 18, 2004 6:32 PM

I'm ready for the campaign to be over. Then again, I'm ready for the ALCS to be over, too.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 18, 2004 7:04 PM

I must admit to a certain degree of apprehension--sort of like going in for surgery. It's a routine operation, but you never know.

What could break it loose is the promised documentary about Hanoi John's peace-creep activities. Does Mr. & Mrs. America want the Hajjis handled the way Kerry handled the North Vietnamese and Nicaraguan Communists? Is this really a law-enforcement problem for which we need European permission slips?

You know, PBS has been doing shows about both Kerry and Bush in the Vietnam days and later. Perhaps somebody imagines that these help Kerry, but I don't think they do. The bare facts make him out to be a Communist dupe, at least, giving aid and comfort to Reds across the world.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 18, 2004 7:35 PM

You'd have to think (hope) there aren't any more skeletons in Bush's closet that can be documented to hurt him, as the DUI did. Kerry, on the other hand...

Posted by: brian at October 18, 2004 8:33 PM

OK, I take it back. The ALCS can keep going. (I have never seen a duel between a pitcher and a base-runner like what just went on between Roberts and Gordon.)

Posted by: David Cohen at October 18, 2004 8:36 PM

"How can anyone not love politics?"

It would be fun, if it were like baseball, only a game. Unfortunately, what is at stake in this election is the lives of my children and the future of my people. This is too much to chance.

Fortunately, politics obeys larger laws more strongly than baseball does. Bush is an incumbent whose election is strongly indicated by Ray Fair's model. Kerry is a dufus, but he was the hand picked candidate of the liberal media elite and the strongest one they could find. His inability to uter a coherent message is not a character flaw, but a reflection of the fundamental problem of a political party in terminal decline.

I will be much happier if this all works out like OJ (and I) expects and it is over on 11/3. Then I will go post rude things on Crooked Timber and get on with my life. But the next two weeks is going to be tough on the arteries and the stomach lining.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 18, 2004 8:57 PM

I said it before (in February), and I'll say it again. 54-45-1 (and 40 states).

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at October 18, 2004 9:22 PM

Y'all are taking this election way too seriously if it's "tough on the arteries and the stomach lining." Time to start saying the Serenity Prayer with increased frequency.

Think about how stressful it must be for Kerry supporters. As much as readers of this site seem to generally despise Kerry, you don't hate him nearly as much as the Left hates Bush. It really is the end of the world for the Left if Bush wins. It's not the end of the world for social conservatives if he loses. It's only a bit of a delay - you've got demographics and attitudes going your way - it's only a matter of time before you have an overwhelming majority.

I agree with OJ - I think it's interesting and exciting. The only reason I want it to be over is so I can stop being so obsessive about watching news, polls, and futures markets and get some work done.

Posted by: Bret at October 18, 2004 10:23 PM

I'm worried about the almost-certain prospect of massive Democrat voter fraud, unlike anything we've seen since the days of Tammany Hall. It could be Florida 2000 times 10 in terms of lawsuits, delayed results, and acrimony.

Posted by: PapayaSF at October 18, 2004 10:33 PM

The ALCS is NOT over.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 18, 2004 11:05 PM

The ALCS is over. The Sox are just toying with your emotions (and I write this after Game 5.) Take it from a guy who saw Carlton Fisk's home run, saw Bucky @#$% Dent's home run, saw the ball go through Bill Buckner's legs, and listened to (on the way home from work) Grady Little go out to the mound -- and then leave Pedro in the game. It's over. They're just setting you up for a harder fall.

Posted by: joe shropshire at October 18, 2004 11:46 PM

Agree with the above that a) hopefully Bush will pull 54% but we won't be sure until 11/2, and b) the Sox will win game 6 but lose game 7 on the final play, adding another chapter of frustration to the legacy.

Posted by: AWW at October 18, 2004 11:57 PM

You can't love politics when one side hopes to do better by the country doing worse.

Posted by: Rick T. at October 19, 2004 10:01 AM

I remember a month or so ago this post would be under the header "50 - 0". I hope OJ is not wavering in his confidence of a large Bush victory.

Posted by: BJW at October 19, 2004 10:15 AM


It actually is in the 50-0 FILES:


Posted by: oj at October 19, 2004 11:31 AM