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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Kerry Just Five Points Back in VA

Posted by DavidNYC

SUSA released a new poll (PDF) last week for Virginia. Read it & groan, G-Dub (no trendlines):

Kerry: 45
Bush: 50
Other: 3
Undecided: 2
(MoE: 3.8%)

These are the kinds of numbers which have to make Karl Rove go ape, especially since they seem to echo the 48-45 Rasmussen had in his June poll. Virginia just shouldn't be this close for Bush. The too-small number of undecideds here suggests that SUSA's methodology pushes "leaners" very hard - though I must admit, I'm not sure exactly what consequences that has.

Anyhow, I wonder if Kerry's unexpected advertising had any effect, especially since, as far as I know, Bush was not on the airwaves in VA during the month of June. Also note that this poll was taken almost immediately post-Edwards, so that could well have had something of an effect. (But the pollsters did not include either Edwards' or Cheney's names in their questions.)

And speaking of ad buys, Bush is still refusing to go on the air in Virginia - perhaps due to a shortage of campaign cash, perhaps because he doesn't want to admit weakness. (Or perhaps because the GOP really does think VA is not in play - and maybe they're right.)

Oh, and the Two Johns are also on the air in NC now (same article), once again getting up before Team Bush does, just as we did in LA and CO. I suppose another pretty reasonable (if slightly narrow) way to define a swing state is, Are either of the campaigns advertising there? If the answer is "Yes, both," then you probably have a bona fide contest on your hands - as we do now in North Carolina.

Posted at 01:04 AM in North Carolina, Virginia | Technorati


As part of the analysis I've done in the Poll of polls (http://pop.goringe.net) I've looked at the effect of pushing leaners.

Basically, for each point that undecided is reduced by, Kerry goes up 0.6 to Bush 0.4. So if you push undecided from 14 (FOX levels) to 4 (SUSA levels) Kerry's lead increases by 2 points.

Posted by: tis at July 13, 2004 06:47 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Forgot to post the link to where I blogged about this effect (the figures in the comment above are slightly more up-to-date though):


Posted by: tis at July 13, 2004 06:49 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I doubt Kerry can actually win VA. He's probably hitting his high point there right now, and it's months away from the election, with the Edwards bounce. Perhaps he'll pick up a few more points with the convention. Maybe a poll or two will show Kerry tied with Bush in VA. But, in the end, Bush will probably win VA by a 3% to 5% margin. If Edwards can work some magic in southern VA and convince enough of them to support the Democratic ticket, I'd be highly impressed. I guess it could happen, but VA is a pretty conservative state, #2 in carrying out the death penalty. Bush will probably win.

Posted by: Rock_nj at July 13, 2004 01:02 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Virginia is a stretch but certainly possible.

Consider a democratic governor who may not be the most charasmatic dude but is widely seen as someone who can get the job done, fiscally prudent and an improvement from the most recent republican loser governor Gilmore.

Consider the military in Virginia, specifically the Navy- Kerry can pander to them, even getting half their votes would do it.

Consider the wreck of a republican party. Matricardi in jail for wire taps (on democratic conversations) and more recently a huge rift between the no tax raisers and the sensible do what's necessary republicans which was won by the sensible republicans and the democrats this year.

And consider ticket splitters who will return their jackass conservative representative but redeem themselves by throwing a bone to the democrats because we manage money so much better at the executive level.

It's possible.

Posted by: Rob C at July 13, 2004 04:56 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think it's possible Kerry can win VA (as oppossed to a state like OK or UT that's voting Bush no matter what). It's certainly within reach, and might actually be a Democratic leaning state in coming elections, as the demographics shift more Democratic. But, I have to think that if the best Kerry can do now is -2% to -5% in VA, it's going to be a hard hill for him to climb to win. A betting man would put his money on Bush to win VA.

Perhaps Edwards can make an effective pitch there and put Kerry over the top. VA does have a Democratic governor and is the ONLY state to ever elect a black man governor, so there is a progressive streak to that once solidly conservative state. VA is pretty conservative by many measures, #2 (behind Texas) in using the death penalty. But, like most states is rather schizophrenic, and has a liberal streak as well like electing Gov. Wilder in 1989.

Posted by: Rock_nj at July 13, 2004 06:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I can't really see Virginia happening for Kerry this year. Every poll I have seen has Bush ahead here by 2-5 points, very stable here for some reason it always is. Closer than one would expect but still a Bush lead and with no expenditures. If necessary Bush has the ammunition to move Kerry's numbers down a few points in Virginia (defense spending, death penalty, abortion/gay rights in some portions of the state - remember Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell live here etc etc).

Kerry does have an outside chance of pulling out Virginia, but if and when he gets over the hump here he will have pulled Florida, Ohio, and a bunch of other swing states and be headed into landslide territory. Remember Clinton lost here twice while winning landslide national victories.

personal disclosure - I am a Bush 2000 voter who voted for Kerry in the Virgina primary and will vote for him in November but still don't quite see him making it over the top here

Posted by: TCM at July 13, 2004 09:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The point isn't quite whether Kerry can win VA - I think he probably can't - but rather whether this simply makes Team Bush sweat. As we've just seen, Bush hastily followed Kerry-Edwards on to the air North Carolina, forcing Bush to defend a state he really cannot afford to lose. If we can rope-a-dope Bush into getting nervous about Virginia as well, then we're making serious progress.

Posted by: DavidNYC at July 13, 2004 10:50 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I can't see Bush winning the election if he loses either VA or NC. I have a hard time seeing Bush win if he loses FL, a state that looks like it will vote for Kerry. But, if NC and VA are trending towards Kerry, Bush is toast.

Posted by: Rock_nj at July 14, 2004 08:30 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment