February 19, 2004

Is Bush Doomed as Doomed Can Be?

Or, might this be normal for this time in the campaign? In Polls, Kerry, Edwards Both Lead Bush

Kerry, the Democratic front-runner and a Massachusetts senator, leads Bush by 55 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, according to the CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll. Edwards, the North Carolina senator who is challenging Kerry, leads Bush by 54 percent to 44 percent.


To be honest, we really don't know.

However, I would point out that on March 9, 1984, the following was also in the news:
The poll found that in a trial heat for the Presidency, 52 percent said they favored the Colorado Senator to 43 percent for Mr. Reagan.


The poll did have Reagan beating Mondale and Glenn, but he was only beating Mondalte by 5 points--a far cry from the final outcome.

On 1/22/84 Mondale and Reagan were tied at 45%--and in July Mondale was up 48-46.

To revisit my trip down polling's memory lane, go here.

Posted by Steven Taylor at February 19, 2004 08:27 AM | TrackBack
Comments

It depends on the poll. Zogby has a different take:

A new poll conducted by Zogby International for The O’Leary Report and Southern Methodist University’s John Tower Center from February 12-15, 2004 of 1,209 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points found that if the election for president were held today, Democrat John Kerry would edge George W. Bush 46% to 45% in the “blue states” – or states won by Al Gore in the 2000 election. In the “red states,” or states won by George W. Bush in 2000, however, Bush wins handily by a 51% to 39% margin.

Take your pick.

Posted by: Randall at February 19, 2004 08:45 AM

P.S.
Your comments do not seem to be displaying in an optimal fashion.

Posted by: Randall at February 19, 2004 08:46 AM

Since the turn of the year, the Democrats have dominated the news. People have spent a great deal of time and effort(by voting or just reading)regarding the Dem. candidates. That investment should have the candidates rising in the polls.

Couple that with a horrible 2 months for the President, and you get the current situation. I mean look at what has happened to the White House since the new year;
very bad SOTU juxtaposed to suprising results in Iowa
David Kay's report and the negative press it recieved
2 weeks of beatings on the National Guard Issue
continuing unrest in Iraq
the growth of the Deficit becoming an issue for the larger population (not just fiscal conservatives)

While the President is still in a good position, his lack of a campaign (at this point) is creating a lot of work for the White House in the comming months. But I still think that come the end of August, Bush will have a small lead.

Posted by: Rob Moates at February 19, 2004 09:02 AM

I agree with your premise, but not your example. I'm assuming that the poll you cite was taken befor the Monkey Business monkey business.

Posted by: BTD Greg at February 19, 2004 09:33 AM

Yes--it was pre-Monkey Business, but the point isn't so much Hart's numbers, but Reagans. And trhe fundamental point is that early numbers normally favor challengers, as they are the ones setting the tone for the debate early on.

Posted by: Steven at February 19, 2004 09:45 AM

The Rasmussen poll predicts Bush winning.

Posted by: Ricky Vandal at February 19, 2004 09:53 AM

I agree with your fundamental point. Particularly in this case, where the Dems have been in the spotlight, bashing Bush for so long, Bush's numbers are more likely than not lower than they will be in November.

But I still think you're example is a poor one. Reagan's poll numbers at the time were a function of Hart's numbers. Then Hart was caught with a blonde bimbo on his lap after daring the press to follow him around. The bimbo had a lot more to do with Reagan's eventual success against Hart, and the poll numbers don't relate to the blonde, so it's hard to say if they would have been accurate sans bimbo.

Posted by: BTD Greg at February 19, 2004 12:24 PM

Hart was the presumptive frontrunner at the time, and hence the person in whom the Dems were vesting their hopes--much like is taking place with Kerry at the moment. Plus, change always sounds good at first, especially when little is known about what one will be changing to. There wasn't that much known about Hart at the time, so it is difficult to argue that Hart's numbers reflect a profound following of Hart.

In short: voters don't know much about the front-runner challenger early on, and therefore the numbers are not reflective of much more than hopes and dreams.

And if you don't like th ehart figure, the Mondale figure was practically a statistical tie and Reagan went on to trounce him.

Posted by: Steven at February 19, 2004 12:51 PM

The question is not whether one or two polls, which were taken during a momentary blip and pretty much were out of sync with everything else, but a whole slew of them that pretty much show the same thing is entirely different.

What they show is that Bush is in DEEP trouble and is very vunerable.

In 1984, Mondale beat the crap out of Reagan during the first debate, and was five points behind soon after. But Reagan came back strong.
That's all she wrote.

In 1980, Carter was AHEAD on the thursday before the election. But then came the notorious debate.

The polls show what's possible. A Kerry victory is possible.

Posted by: ericl at February 19, 2004 03:51 PM

You make part of my point, however: the campaign was fully engaged. It isn't currently.

And sure, a Kerry victory is possible. That isn't the point. The point is the polls of Bush v. Kerry don't tell us much of anything right now.

Posted by: Steven at February 19, 2004 03:54 PM

No to the question you asked. The Zogby poll looked quite optimistic, especially since Zogby himself is left-leaning. The Rasmussen poll changes daily and has Bush above Kerry for 2 days straight. Gallup could be the one off.

Is there a famous quote about the 3 types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics? I think a fourth type should be polls. Maybe we shouldn't believe any of them for an election 9 months away.

Posted by: RJ at February 19, 2004 08:01 PM
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