Saturday, August 28, 2004

Is Kerry in trouble?: There is a lot of new polling out and Kerry is clearly losing position in tight races even though the race for the presidency is still a toss up. I don't know if the extensive coverage in the media of the claims by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is the reason for his slippage. But what is very clear is that Ralph Nader has nothing to do with the Kerry slide. If Kerry still continues to slide, however, watch how fast the Democrats pummel Nader even more than they already are. At the same time, support for Libertarian Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb, seems to be building. This is acknowledged in at least one poll. Here is the latest information:

Arkansas: This presumed safe Bush state is now a toss up with little wiggle room for either candidate. The latest poll, posted by Survey USA on Aug. 23, shows a slight Bush lead with 48 percent, Kerry at 47, Other with 3, and Undecided at 2 percent. Interestingly, Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln has a 24 percent lead over her Republican opponent. Survey USA did not state who the "Other" candidates were, but Nader, Badnarik, and Cobb are on the ballot. The "Other" voters identified themselves as "probable" voters, aged 18 to 49, white and Asian, mostly registered independent describing themselves as liberal, yet also both pro-life and pro-choice. Two percent of Democrats and 1 percent of Republicans are voting for "Other." Five percent of Democrats are undecided. Nine percent of Democrats and 8 percent of "liberals" are planning on voting for Bush.

Florida: Not unlike 2000, two of the latest polls show the state extremely close. Rasmussen Reports has a poll out from Wednesday showing Bush with 49, Kerry with 47, Nader at 2, Badnarik at 1, Cobb with 1 percent, and 1 percent "Not Sure." Again, like Arkansas, there is no room for growth for the two major candidates. The state is a toss up. It is interesting that Rasmussen - which previously stated that Nader would not be a factor in 2004, hence they were not including him in polls - is now including most minor candidates in polling. Frankly, all of the polling agencies should take the extra sentence or two to acknowledge the three other minor candidates on a regular basis, especially if identified by voters. Rasmussen did not ask people how they would vote in a two-way race and did not post specifics on its Web site, preferring to charge people for access to its data. So, the Nader impact is unknown.
In another poll, posted Tuesday, USA Today/CNN/Gallup had Bush at 48, Kerry with 46, Nader at 2, and "Neither/other/no opinion" at 4 percent. Without Nader, the results would be Bush 48, Kerry 47, and 5 percent saying neither, other, or no opinion. No other relevant data was shown in the poll.
Since June there have been 19 polls in the state, Kerry has led in 11 with two being a tie between the two.

Maine: Strangely, Maine, a traditional safe-blue state, could be in play this year. A Survey USA poll, has Kerry with a 5 point lead: Kerry 49, Bush 44, Other 5, and Undecided at 2 percent. The pollster noted that since Maine is not a "winner-take-all" Electoral College vote state, Bush could potentially win 1 EC vote if his numbers are good in the north country, the most conservative part of the state. Currently, Bush and Kerry are tied in that region. While the "Other" candidates were not identified, the voters described themselves as "probable" voters, aged 18 to 49, mostly registered independents, who are also liberal, while both pro-choice and pro-life. Badnarik, Cobb and Constitution Party member Michael Peroutka are on the ballot in the state. Cobb's VP, Patricia LaMarche, a radio talk show host from Yarmouth, is expected to help the Greens to fight for third. Running under "The Better Life" party line, Nader barely submitted enough signatures to get on the ballot in Maine. Those signatures are currently being challenged by the state's Democratic Party - supposed champions of "democracy." Four percent of Republicans and 3 percent of Democrats are voting for "Other." Eleven percent of both Republicans are voting for Kerry while 11 percent of Democrats are voting for Bush. Also voting for Bush: 12 percent of liberals and 38 percent of union households.

Michigan: Kerry has had consistent leads in Michigan [14 out of 16 since June] but the race is now tight. The latest Survey USA poll, posted Aug. 23, shows Kerry with a 3 point lead: Kerry 48, Bush 45, Other 5, Undecided 2 percent. The "Other" voters were described as "certain" voters, aged 18-34 and 50 to over 65, mostly Hispanic and Asian, registered Democrats and independents, and equally pro-life and pro-choice. Eight percent of Democrats, 36 percent of union households, and 12 percent of liberals said they were voting for Bush. Although Survey USA did not identified the Other candidates, Badnarik, Cobb, Peroutka, and the Natural Law Party's Walter Brown, are on the ballot. Nader submitted signatures and was also supposed to be on the Reform Party line, but he has not been granted access because the Democrats are suing.

Missouri: The presumed safe red state is still a toss up. A Los Angeles Times poll released yesterday shows Bush with a 4 point lead: Bush 48, Kerry 44. Nader was not included in the data and will not be on the ballot in the state. A subscription is required to access data from the poll. Badnarik will be on the ballot in the state.

Nevada: A safe red state now a toss up. A Research 2000 poll posted on Aug. 21 shows a Bush 44, Kerry 42, Nader 2, with 12 percent "Unsure," or room for any of the candidates to gain support. Without Nader, the results were Bush 44, Kerry 43. No other data was posted on the site. Nader, Cobb, and Badnarik will be on the ballot.

Ohio: Pundits have been predicting that Ohio will be 2004's Florida and we agree. A Los Angeles Times poll from earlier this week gives Bush the edge: 49 to 44 but the leads have been flipping back and forth. Nader was not included in the poll but will be on the ballot along with Badnarik. No other data was available. Kerry has led in 8 out of 14 polls in the state since June.

Pennsylvania: Another toss up. The latest poll, from the IssuesPA/Pew posted Aug. 22 shows Kerry 45, Bush 43, Nader 3 and 9 percent undecided/other. In a PDF linked to the site, Bush received 9 percent of the Democratic vote while Nader received 2 percent. Seven percent of Democrats were undecided. One percent of Republicans were voting for Nader. Badnarik and Cobb will be on the ballot but Nader may not be because of challenges by Democrats. Cobb has agreed not to campaign in the state because it is a swing state and the state's Greens are furious about it. Kerry has led in 12 out of 13 polls from the state since June.

Wisconsin: A surprising swing state swings back to Bush. Another Los Angeles Times poll released Aug. 25, Bush has a 4-point lead: Bush 48, Kerry 44. Nader was not included in the poll. The leads have been switching back and forth in a state that is historically blue. The ballot deadline isn't until September. Badnarik and Cobb are both on the ballot. Nader is trying to get on the ballot. Since June there have been eight polls with Bush and Kerry leading in four each.

Other anomalies in recent polling:
In Alabama, Bush has a huge 21-point lead, according to a Survey USA poll released on Aug. 23. However, 10 percent of Democrats, 23 percent of liberals, 59 percent of independents, and 13 percent of blacks are voting for Bush.
In Oklahoma, Bush has a 19-point lead, with 25 percent of the state's Democrats voting for him, according to a Survey USA poll posted Aug. 19. Eighteen percent of liberals and 35 percent of pro-choice supporters are voting for Bush.
In Maryland, Kerry has an 11-point lead, according to an Aug. 25 Survey USA poll. In it, Bush is getting 14 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of liberals, 28 percent of pro-choice voters, and 37 percent of union households.
In New Jersey, Kerry has a solid 10-point lead, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released this week. However, 9 percent of Democrats are voting for Bush and 3 percent of Democrats voting for Nader. Twelve percent of Republicans are voting for Kerry with 2 percent of Republicans voting for Nader.
In Texas, Bush has a 21 percent lead, according to an Aug. 23 Survey USA poll. In the poll, 12 percent of Democrats, 21 percent of liberals, 41 percent of pro-choice supporters, and 52 percent of union households are voting for Bush.
In Virginia, the race has become surprisingly very tight, with Bush at a 4-point lead, according to Survey USA. In the poll, 6 percent of Democrats, 13 percent of liberals, 35 percent of pro-choice supporters and 44 percent of union households plan on voting for Bush.

These polls reveal a lot of information. But a few things are clear: Kerry is having problems holding his base - who are voting for Bush in droves - with Nader and the other minor candidates not impacting the race.

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