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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Kerry Kicking Ass in Gore States

Posted by Chris Bowers

(Cross posted from MyDD.)

The number of Gore states that appear vulnerable to Bush pickups in 2004 is rapidly shrinking. Here is a state-by-state rundown of Kerry���s strengths in key Gore states:

Michigan. The last two Survey USA polls out of Michigan showed double-digit leads for Kerry (52-41 and 51-41 three-way). Three consecutive Zogby polls in the state have shown Kerry up by at least 7.5 in three way matchups in the state. However, the coup de grace is the latest EPIC/MRA poll where Bush is down seven in the trial heat at only 42, reaches an astonishing 52% unfavorable rating, (-6 favorable ratio to Kerry���s +10), and registers only 34% right track. I was worried about Michigan for a while, but I am not anymore. The national shift among Muslim-Americans from majority Bush supporters to an almost perfectly solid anti-Bush voting block (3% approval rating among Muslims nationwide) is probably the main cause for this, since Michigan has the largest Muslim population of any state in the country.

New Jersey. A few wags, including Safire and Scheinder, have crowed lately about polls supposedly showing New Jersey to be a toss-up. However, I would simply direct them to the latest Q-poll from the state (Kerry up 52-38, 22 ahead of Bush in favorable ratio), Rasmussen (Kerry up 51-38) Star-Ledger / Eagleton-Rutgers (Kerry up 52-32 and 39 ahead of Bush in favorable ratio) and, best of all, up 52-40 with Bush at 49% unfavorables in the latest out of New Jersey from pro-Republican pollster Strategic Vision. Just like in 2000, New Jersey is deep blue. The FDU poll showing otherwise is either an outlier, poorly done, or both.

New Mexico. New Mexico was the second closest state in 2000, and has consistently been a toss-up for two decades now. However, a number of events have transpired to help Kerry this time around. First, in 2004 ex-felons will be allowed to vote for the first time in decades. Second, Nader is not on the ballot, but Libertarian candidate Badnarik is. Further, Badnarik is running hard in the state, including anti-Bush TV and radio ads. Third, the popular and powerful Bill Richardson is now Governor. Fourth, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Latinos of any state in the nation, and since 2000 Latinos have constituted the vast majority of population growth to the point where they are now the largest group in the state. As kos recently pointed out, Bush is losing ground among Latinos this year. There has not been much polling out of New Mexico this year, but what little has dribbled out has been good for Kerry. In early July, ARG showed Kerry up 51-43, and Zogby has shown Kerry ahead in three way matchups with Nader instead of Badnarik. While the two previous Zogby polls showed Kerry with large leads of 8 and 10 points respectively, the latest only shows Kerry up by 2. While this single poll raises cause for concern, at the very least this state is now lean-Dem instead of a toss-up. I will be keeping an eye on future polling to see if the Zogby numbers are confirmed.

Oregon. I have previously written about Kerry���s consistent strong showing in Oregon. The latest Zogby poll showed Kerry���s lead dropping to only 4 points (every other poll for months had shown Kerry up eight or more), but Zogby still includes Nader, who is not on the ballot in Oregon. When Kerry���s lead dropped, Nader���s total went up. Either way, Kerry has been at 50% or higher in every non-partisan poll out of Oregon since early May. When the challenger is at 50% or higher, the well-known incumbent wins less than 2% of the time.

Pennsylvania. Like Oregon, I have previously written about Kerry���s consistent strength in Pennsylvania. Kerry's lead in the state has become so large and been confirmed from so many sources, that in three separate interviews at the convention I saw Ed Rendell asked about it. Since the time I wrote that article, Survey USA has shown Kerry with a 53-41 lead over Bush, the LA Times found Kerry up 48-38 in a three-way matchup, Zogby shows Kerry���s three-way trial heat lead increasing to 8 points, and even pro-GOP Strategic Vision has shown Kerry up 51-43 with Bush at a ���1 favorable ratio and Kerry at +12. Nader will have a close call to make the PA ballot. Kerry is clearly up big here, and the internals make it appear as though his lead will only continue to increase. These numbers certainly make me feel proud.

Washington. All seven non-partisan polls out of Washington since early June have shown Kerry up by at least 7.4 points. Every single non-partisan poll since Dean dropped out has never shown Bush closer than 4, or higher than 45 in trial heats. History shows that when a well-known incumbent is always losing and never above 45, that incumbent loses 100% of the time. Washington is solid blue.

Among Gore states, this leaves only Iowa, Maine���s 2nd CD, Minnesota and Wisconsin vulnerable to Bush pickups. Of course, that is not to say that Kerry looks bad in these states:

In Iowa, only Zogby has had Bush over 46 since Kerry became the presumptive nominee, and right now Zogby only has Bush at 46.1.

Maine���s 2nd CD No info. Pollsters never seem to bother to notice the way Maine dishes out its Electoral Votes.

Minnesota is a reversal of Iowa, as Zogby has shown consistent Kerry strength, but with the exception of the June Rasmussen poll, all others polls since March have shown a close race. Then again, no poll from Minnesota has shown Bush above the 45-point incumbent death line except Strategic Vision, which had Kerry at +16 favorable ratio and Bush at ���2.

Wisconsin is unquestionably Bush���s best chance for a pickup this time around. This was one of Kerry���s poorest primary states, Nader will be on the ballot, and three separate polling organizations since June have shown Bush leading here. Still, Bush has reached 48 or higher only once in Wisconsin, in the consistently pro-GOP Badger poll from late April. While Bush is in the game here, Kerry is still in the stronger position.

So, even in these states where Kerry does not seem to be in an overwhelming position of power, he still looks good. In fact, of the literally hundreds of state polls taken since Super Tuesday, Bush has hit 50 in a Gore state only twice: the Badger poll I just linked where he had 50, and the May 24 Iowa Zogby poll, where Bush was at 50.1. Kerry is extremely well positioned to hold the entire Gore battleground. His position is so strong that he should be able to spend a significant majority of resources working on the 10 electoral votes from Bush states that he needs to win. As Charlie Cook has written, Bush needs to shift the fundamentals of this race to have a chance.

Posted at 01:47 PM in General | Technorati


Awesome run-down, Chris. Just one note about the Wisconsin primary: Yes, it was one of Kerry's weakest wins, but it was also a last-gasp for Dean, and pretty much that way for Edwards, too. So I'm not ready to read too much into that - though I agree that Wisconsin is one of our most vulnerable (if not our single most vulnerable) states.

I also have a feeling Maine will stick with us. There hasn't been much polling out of there. The last poll was done in early June, right during St. Reagan week, so it's not very useful. Prior polls showed big leads for us. I think even the 2nd CD will stay with us. Mary Beth Williams (of Wampum) said a while back she felt that Dean would struggle in the 2nd CD because of the large Indian population (who have little love for Howard), but felt that any other Dem candidate would likely do well there. Since it's her backyard, I'm inclined to agree with her.

Posted by: DavidNYC at August 12, 2004 02:26 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

What about Delaware? No one seems to be polling it. The assumption is that it's safe, but I'd also read reports that Dubya was hoping for a pickup there. Is it really a bird in hand?

Posted by: Tom at August 12, 2004 04:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I see no reason not to assume DE is safe. Hopefully we will see some polling there, however.

Posted by: Chris Bowers at August 12, 2004 04:41 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DE is part of the NorthEast corridor. It will vote with MD, PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA. You get the picture.

Posted by: Rock_nj at August 12, 2004 06:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Re: Maine.. actually.. ther has been a recent poll done in Maine.. If you look at electoral-vote.com, they list a July 31 poll done by Rasmussen that has Kerry leading Bush by 48-44%

Posted by: Scott at August 12, 2004 10:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Who decides on how EVs change from election to election? Why did red states pick up 7 EVs this election cycle? Clearly, population isn't the whole answer, or CA would have a lot more than 55 EVs.

Posted by: Chesterfield at August 12, 2004 11:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Who decides on how EVs change from election to election? Why did red states pick up 7 EVs this election cycle? Clearly, population isn't the whole answer, or CA would have a lot more than 55 EVs.

The number of electoral votes for each state is determined by adding together the number of that state's representatives in both houses of Congress -- i.e. the number in the House of Representatives plus 2 (since each state has two Senators), and since the number of congressional districts is determined entirely by population (as measured by the census -- which is indeed the primary function of the census), then, yes, the increase or decrease in electoral votes is entirely due to population change.

Posted by: Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) at August 13, 2004 12:59 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Missing half the picture
(by Mitch_CalifProgressive)

(note: if someone could tell me how - I'd rather lift this free to be a thread of its own)

These past two weeks, it has been encouraging to watch the numbers grow grimmer for Mr. Bush, as chronicled in the cattle calls and other entries here. There is a school of thought, though, that says this administration is unlikely to "go quietly". For some of us, there is a second half of this struggle - a campaign to secure the integrity of the ballot box and vote counting process itself. It would be nice to have graphics and updates to track things like where there are voting machines already.

It would be nice to be able to rank counties or states by vulnerability to tampering, and to track progress by state to improve the situation. Four high level concerns that come to mind for any vote count are:

- is the counting process monitored by outside (bipartisan or international) observers?

- are there adequate provisions for a recount? (Is the process auditable)?

- can people turned away at the polls challenge the decision in time to make a difference to the count?

- what is the role of voting machines?

This last question has a number of facets. It would be nice to be able to track the following:

o Where are voting machines already in place?

o Where are they being considered?

o Where is their planned use being contested?

o What make(s) and model(s) of machines are involved?

o Will voters have an option to use paper instead?

o Is either option (paper or electronic machine) the default?

o Will paper results and electronic results be published separately for comparison?

o Are there adequate back-up plans and logistical preparations to deal with a break down of the electronic machines?

For each model of voting machine, it would be nice to know:

- is a vote that comes out of it automatically auditable?

- is a paper receipt provided?

- is the source code open or not?

- what manufacturer overrides are built into the system (and do those leave an audit trail)?

- can the audit trail be turned off?

What do other people know/think on this subject?

It would be nice to be able to look at a color-coded map and see where Diebold's machines are in place, in what numbers, and in what counties, election officials are still considering whether to go "electronic" in the November election. The recounts in Florida in 2000 were bad enough. It's too easy to imagine the horrific possibility of 20 or 30 states where the vote count is unauditable and maybe half of those where the results are either close enough or unexpected enough that they are contested. Even without something obvious - like a discrepancy between counts in districts using paper and districts using electronic voting machines - how does an election day breakdown of the electronic machines affect the final count? Is there adequate back up?

Posted by: Mitch_CalifProgressive at August 13, 2004 02:55 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

This looks like a decent new blog if it holds, on

Posted by: joseph at August 13, 2004 07:25 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sorry to screw up the html on the last post. I hate it when that happens.

Anyway, this looks like a decent new blog if it holds, on swing Catholic voters, who happen to be a big block in swing states. Eleanor Clift quotes a survey that says as many as 18% of Catholics may be undecided. She predicts they'll lean Kerry.

In another post there, a Gallup article demonstrates that Bush had a lead among Catholics up until May, but Kerry had a lead after May. Wasn't that around the time of Bush's visit to His Holiness?

Posted by: joseph at August 13, 2004 07:26 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment