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  1.    #1  
    A few weeks ago, I found it hard to believe that Kerry was ahead by over 10 points in the LA Times poll. Recently, I found it hard to believe that Bush is ahead by 11 points as claimed by Time and Newsweek's polls.

    I follow the polls at Rasmussenreports.com, which publish daily tracking polls showing Bush being ahead by about 4 points. Rasmussen responded to questions as to why their polling data varies so much from the current Time and Newsweek polls:

    September 6, 2004--We have been flooded with e-mails asking (in varying tones of politeness) why our poll results seem different from those released by Time and Newsweek.

    There are two basic explanations, one involving our polling data and one involving the newsmagazines. For those who need to know the answer before the explanation, the bottom line is that the President is ahead by 4 to 5 points at this time. That's a significant improvement over the past few weeks, but not a double digit lead.

    Our current poll (showing the President ahead by just over a point) includes a Saturday sample that is way out of synch with all the days before it and with the Sunday data that followed. In fact, Saturday's one-day sample showed a big day for Kerry while all the days surrounding it showed a decent lead for the President.

    It seems likely that Saturday reflects a rogue sample (especially since it was over a holiday weekend). But, it remains in our 3-day rolling average for one more day (Tuesday's report). If we drop the Saturday sample from our data, Bush is currently ahead by about 4 percentage points in the Rasmussen Reports Tracking Poll.

    That's still a smaller lead than shown by Time and Newsweek. Those polls appear to have the mirror image problem of a Los Angeles Times poll in June reportedly showing Kerry with a huge lead. That LA Times survey included too many Democrats in their sample. Today, it seems likely that Time and Newsweek included too many Republicans.

    Time reports that Republicans will vote for Bush by an 89% to 9% margin; Democrats for Kerry by an 80% to 9% margin; and, unaffiliated voters for Bush 43% to 39%.

    Four years ago, 35% of voters were Republicans, 39% were Democrats, and the rest were unaffiliated. If you apply those percentages to the Time internals, you find Bush up by about 3 percentage points. If you do the same with the Newsweek internal numbers, you find Bush with a six point lead. Those results are very close to the Rasmussen Reports data (excluding the Saturday sample).

    All of this leads me to conclude that the President is currently ahead by 4 or 5 percentage points.

    For those who say turnout might be different this time, I agree. It might be different. One of our great challenges between now and Election Day is to figure out how much (if at all) the turnout will change from historic norms. Partisans from both sides seem convinced that there are special circumstance that will increase turnout for their team. Others speculate that their may be a smaller number of unaffiliated voters since events of the past four years have caused people to take sides.

    Whatever the turnout differences may be, they will not be big enough to match the implications of the Time and Newsweek polls.

    As always, it's useful to use common sense when reviewing poll data. If a poll suggests that 10 or 20 percent of Americans are changing their mind on a regular basis, it should be viewed with caution. Most of the time, you will find that the partisan mix of the polling sample is changing more than the actual perceptions of voters.
    This explanation makes sense to me. It still surprises me that Bush received as big of a bounce (about 7 points) as he did after the RNC convention.
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  2. #2  
    It makes sense to me that when you get one week of intensive, essentially one-sided press coverage, at the end of the week that party is ahead in the polls. When is it that you get those televised debates? The polls after them may be a bit more indicative I'd have thought (as someone who doesn't really know much about polling).
    Animo et Fide
  3.    #3  
    Here is the debate schedule:

    First presidential debate:
    Thursday, September 30

    Vice presidential debate:
    Tuesday, October 5

    Second presidential debate:
    Friday, October 8

    Third presidential debate:
    Wednesday, October 13

    Recently, Kerry proposed weekly debates with Bush. The Bush team responded that Bush would debate Kerry as soon as Kerry had finished debating with himself. Kind of funny.
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    #4  
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterBrown
    It makes sense to me that when you get one week of intensive, essentially one-sided press coverage, at the end of the week that party is ahead in the polls. When is it that you get those televised debates? The polls after them may be a bit more indicative I'd have thought (as someone who doesn't really know much about polling).
    Then why didn't Kerry get any bounce at all after the Democrat convention?
  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by TxDot
    Then why didn't Kerry get any bounce at all after the Democrat convention?
    I thought he did? Just not a big one. That's the way I recall the news anyway, I don't follow it avidly so I could be wrong.
    Animo et Fide
  6. #6  
    He didn't get much of one...I think if these polls were only conducted in the major battleground states we'd have a little better idea of where the candidates were at but I may be mistaken..are these polls nationwide or in selected states or...
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  7. TxDot's Avatar
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    #7  
    I don't think even the Democrats claim he got a bounce.
  8. #8  
    Ugh. Political polls are often just another form of propaganda. In reality, I find them to be totally meaningless.

    A good (if old) study on political polling errors:
    http://marketing-bulletin.massey.ac..../article1b.asp

    If you've got RealAudio, you should listen to Act 2 of this story:
    http://207.70.82.73/pages/descriptions/04/260.html

    Nareau
  9. #9  
    How could he get a bounce with the public finding out what he is made of. His voting record is atrocious. He speaks with split tongue - says whatever he thinks his audiance wants to hear and even forgets what he says. He has yet to give any platform - he would do things different - well, please tell us what the difference would be. He says .... and yet, not a thing of substance is said. He speaks of mistakes by Bush and yet dos not tell us his plans. He has given us nothing to ponder, only to question and frankly, I have no faith in anything he stands for. As a note, I was a democrat until Clinton came into office. The party lost all reasonable meaning to me. Ben
    Ben
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    #10  
    bclinger, you've correctly stated the major problem with Kerry. I'm sick and tired or hearing how he would do everything different and better yet he doesn't say how he would do it differently and better. Not that I would trust him to do what he says but at least we would know what he thinks is different and better.
  11. #11  
    It only took me about 90 seconds to find the following links:
    http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/
    http://www.johnkerry.com/pdf/our_plan_for_america.pdf

    Nareau
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by nareau
    It only took me about 90 seconds to find the following links:
    http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/
    http://www.johnkerry.com/pdf/our_plan_for_america.pdf

    Nareau
    That's interesting. In all of the time campaigning, he really hasen't used the those opportunities to tell anybody what he REALLY believes. He just keeps dragging out that tired story of his four months in Viet Nam.
    Well behaved women rarely make history
  13. #13  
    Wait a minute:
    Time reports that Republicans will vote for Bush by an 89% to 9% margin; Democrats for Kerry by an 80% to 9% margin; and, unaffiliated voters for Bush 43% to 39%.

    Four years ago, 35% of voters were Republicans, 39% were Democrats, and the rest were unaffiliated. If you apply those percentages to the Time internals, you find Bush up by about 3 percentage points.
    Now I'm no genius on the calculator, or anything, but from that I get 45.84% of voters for Bush and 44.49% of voters for Kerry. ((35x.89)+(39x.09)+(26x.43))-((35x.09)+(39x.80)+(26x.39))=1.35. How is that "about 3 percentage points?" (Feel free to correct my math. I can take it!)

    That is, of course, pretty much beside the point... and it's a good point! Polls are certainly weird. The best they're telling us, apparently, is that it's close, public opinion is fickle, polls are mushy and if a lead exists, it seems to be in Bush's favor.

    I wonder if people are betting on the elections...
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by snerdy

    I wonder if people are betting on the elections...
    What's Las Vegas saying?
    Well behaved women rarely make history
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by clairegrrl
    What's Las Vegas saying?
    I can't make it out -- stop mumbling, Las Vegas! Gah, L.V., you smell bad. Clean yourself up, already. And look at those clothes! Honestly.
  16.    #16  
    Kerry has a plan, he just keeps it secret, along with all of those secret, unnamed foreign leaders who support his campaign.
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  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by heberman
    all of those secret, unnamed foreign leaders who support his campaign.
    ...What?
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by heberman
    Kerry has a plan, he just keeps it secret, along with all of those secret, unnamed foreign leaders who support his campaign.
    He's not very good at keeping a secrect then. He has his plans laid out on his website: http://www.johnkerry.com for the world to see. How can that be secret?

    Likewise, bush has his adgenda laid out at http://www.georgewbush.com (along with music playing in the background.)
  19. #19  
    I think one of the problems is that when you see clips of campaign speeches on TV or hear them on the radio, many times (at least that I've noticed) you hear Kerry say he would do things different on subject X or Y, but that's all you hear. Whether or not he goes into details after that sound bite, I don't know, unless you go looking for it or are there in person. The casual voter/TV watcher only hears the sound bite and forms an opinion in many cases based on what they see on TV ...which is a 20-30 second clip of a longer speech.
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  20.    #20  
    Oh come on, don't tell me you haven't heard of Kerry's secret plans. According to The Washington Post:

    "John F. Kerry pledged Sunday he would substantially reduce U.S. troop strength in Iraq by the end of his first term in office but declined to offer any details of what he said is his plan to attract significantly more allied military and financial support there.

    "Kerry accused President Bush of misleading the country before the war in Iraq, burning bridges with U.S. allies and having no plan to win peace. But when questioned about saying Thursday in his acceptance speech, 'I know what we have to do in Iraq,' he would not tip his hand.

    "'I've been involved in this for a long time, longer than George Bush,' he said. 'I've spent 20 years negotiating, working, fighting for different kinds of treaties and different relationships around the world. I know that as president there's huge leverage that will be available to me, enormous cards to play, and I'm not going to play them in public. I'm not going to play them before I'm president.'

    "Reminded that he sounded like Richard M. Nixon, who campaigned in 1968 by saying he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam, Kerry responded: 'I don't care what it sounds like. The fact is that I'm not going to negotiate in public today without the presidency, without the power.'"
    Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Kerry's campaign surrogate talking about Kerry's secret plan:

    "'I can't give you the details of any deal, obviously,' Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said Monday. 'You don't negotiate a deal until you have a leader who is there to negotiate a deal.'
    Kerry also said on CNN that he has a plan to approach other world leaders, "and I'm not negotiating it publicly."

    The AP also reported:
    "I'm not going to tell you which foreign leaders [were talked to], because I'd be breaking the confidence of foreign leaders that I've met," said Levin, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Last spring, Kerry said foreign leaders preferred him to Bush, though he also refused to identify any.
    Really, your guy Kerry has got more secrets than anybody I know, except for one very prominent man I can't name because it's a secret.

    [begin Kerry-speak]Hey, guess what, lots of foreign leaders said they don't like Kerry at all. I can't name them on Treocentral, because it's a secret. Bush also has a plan to end terrorism for good - but he can't talk about it now - it's a secret.[end Kerry-speak]
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