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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Only Poll That Counts

Posted by DavidNYC

Yesterday, the state of Florida released a new poll (definite voters, no trendlines):

Kerry: 47
Bush: 52
Other: 1
(MoE: ±0.0%)

I have to say, I find this poll a bit suspect. First off, have you ever heard a poll with a zero percent margin of error? And what do you think their "definite voter" model is? It seems like a total outlier - most other polls had Bush at 50% or less. Just one poll in the last month had Bush at 52!

Oh, wait...


So how did we get here? Why did Bush wind up with stronger final results than just about every single pollster predicted? It's not as though the "truth fell somewhere in between" any given sets of results. Everyone (except that one LA Times poll on 10/26) had Bush below 52%. Did the incumbent 50 percent "rule" fail us? (Research shows that it occasionally does.) Did undecideds break toward Bush?

Or was the polling all somehow screwed? Yes, I know - one or two percentage points "falls within the margin of error." But again I say, we aren't talking about a single poll. We are talking about a few dozen. The odds of them all being under don't seem that good to me.

As you all know, I based most of my analysis and projections on polling. I'm not a statistician or any kind of expert - my approach is that of an interested lay person. I was wrong about Florida (and Ohio, too). I'm not looking to "blame" anyone or anything for that, but I think my "output" was off because the "input" (ie, the polls) were off. I can't really think of any good reasons as to why they were so consistently off, though. As I say, it's also possible that the incumbent rule didn't work properly here. But again, I'm not sure as to why this might have happened.

I obviously realize that the question of why one lefty blogger was wrong about the election is hardly of major importance right now. But I think a lot of people were wrong about how things would turn out, and a lot of them were wrong for the same reasons that I was. (Some people were wrong for different reasons, largely having to do with arguments that Dem voters were being under-polled and that a disproportionately and atypically big turnout for our side would carry the day.) I think we need to understand where we all went wrong this time so that we can avoid the same mistakes again.

Lastly, I just want to let you all know that I definitely plan on keeping the site going for a little bit longer in the near term. Posts won't be as fast and furious as they were at peak times, but I'd like to be able to do some post-mortem analysis, in conjunction with all of you.

So what do you think? Was the polling data bad, and if so, why? Was the incumbent rule wrong, and if that was the case, then why? Or was it something else entirely?

(And a note to the Bush supporters who are acting like the worst kind of sore winners: Cut it out.)

UPDATE: Mark Blumenthal says the incumbent rule "obviously" failed. The only possible reason he cites is that given by another Democratic pollster, Mark Mellman, who said that "we simply do not defeat an incumbent president in wartime."

This may be right. But the problem with this thinking is that the sample size is SO tiny. We've fought several big wars, but we've seldom had an incumbent seeking re-election during one.

Yes, Nixon won a crushing re-election victory in 1972 in the midst of a very unpopular war (Vietnam). But Lyndon Johnson chose not to run again in 1968 - and would very likely have been defeated if he had. Truman was barred by the 22nd amendment from running again in 1952 (during the Korean War). I don't know if he would have run again, but he might very well have lost to the popular Ike (who beat Stevenson by 11 points).

FDR, of course, won re-election in 1944, but with the smallest margin of his four victories. World War I, though, was over by the middle of Wilson's second term. The same was true of McKinley and the Spanish-American War. You have to go all the way back to the Civil War to find another example of an incumbent fighting a re-election battle, when of course, Lincoln won.

So in three prior cases, incumbents have been re-elected during wartime. But I'd argue that in two other cases, had the incumbents run, they would have stood a good chance of losing. Again I say, this idea may well be right, but I just don't think we have enough data to go on.

UPDATE: Les in the comments reminds me that the 22nd Amendment did not bar Truman from running again (it only applied to presidents after him), and that he did in fact make a stab at running again in 1952. However, he realized his unpopularity was too great and chose to abandon his effort early on.

Posted at 03:09 PM in Florida | Technorati


In CNN's Florida exit poll, it shows that people who decided in the last week did go for Kerry more than Bush, but not by a huge margin. Here are some summary numbers:

When did you decide who to vote for?
- Within the last week (11%): 52% Kerry, 46% Bush
- Earlier than that(89%): 47% Kerry, 52% Bush

Here is a link: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html

These CNN exit polls are pretty interesting. In my state of WI, for example, Bush would have won had all voters been white, all been male, or all been over 30 years of age. eeks! Just go to cnn.com and pick any state. It even shows a break down of Kerry/Bush support by county.

BTW, I'm very, very sad. Glad I have this site to read.

Posted by: WisVoter at November 3, 2004 03:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thank you for turning me on to all of the wonderful lefty blogs that kept me humming this political season. Swing State Project was the first that I stumbled across and it turned me on to the rest. Great writing across the board and I truely enjoyed every click, BUT....

From this point forward I will not let myself get so caught up in polls. I learned my lesson and in the future I will try to avoid them at all costs. This defeat has left me stunned, shocked, and sad. This defeat will cause me to become more active in Democratic organizing starting..... NOW. The first order of business is to put polling into context, it is only one of many tools. More important for the next election will be to volunteer my time from now until 2008 and beyond getting the LIBERAL agenda out in front of people and let them realize that we aren't as immoral as they have been lead to believe.

For now I have to say that Kerry ran the best campaign that any Dem could have run this year. Please try not to kick him in the nuts like we did Gore. Kerry put it all out there and he was the best man for the job. We got beat. Lets MoveOn.

The first thing I want to spend time and money working towards is a uniform voting process across the country. If we can get bipartisan support to get a standardized voting platform in every polling place across the country (hack proof and paper trails), a lot of the voting fraud/litigation can be eliminated. Randi Rhodes just went off on the black boxes and the gist is that she believes this election was stolen right in front of our eyes. I don't agree, but it is a compelling argument.

Again, thanks to all the bloggers and those great comments over the past few months. You all had me believing!!

Posted by: Jerry Sacramento at November 3, 2004 03:50 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just a stupid idea, but why do we concentrate on a two party system? The Democrats certainly do well in the Northeast, Illinois and west coast. We can't compete in the south because we can't cop to being fundamentalist Christians and hypocrites at the same time.

If only there was a Christian fundamentalist party that was conscious of social issues and could win in the south.

After the elections, the Southern Christian Fundamentalists with a conscience can get together with the Democrats and get things passed, Parliamentary-like.

Posted by: Johng at November 3, 2004 03:57 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks, Jerry, for the kind words and for your conviction to keep pressing forward. I should add a note about why I started focusing on polls. Early on, I wrote more qualitative pieces on the swing states, looking for reasons why they might stay as they did in 2000 or shift in 2004. I wrote about things like how unemployment was bad in Ohio, or how lifting steel tarrifs was pissing off West Virginians.

The problem was, I didn't have the ability to analyze the effect of each of these things. Sure, they were on the radar, and sure, they mattered - but I had no idea how much each one matter. And without being able to poll detailed issue questions (something that is rarely done), it didn't seem fruitful to puruse those inquiries.

Also at the time, there was no Dem nominee, so Bush v. Dem polling was useless. (Go look at the very first post on this site - I put up a Bush v. Dem poll for NH taken in September of 2003. He was leading 50-36.)

But once we had a nominee, the state polling got interesting. And its quantitative, more objective nature gave me (I felt) a better sense of what mattered and what didn't.

Posted by: DavidNYC at November 3, 2004 04:00 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

My Election Day projections were Bush 247, Kerry 252, tied 39. I had FL, IA, & NM tied (all went Bush). My prediction was Kerry 279 Bush 259 being an optimist. I had slight leans for Kerry in HI, PA, NH, & WI. Slight leans for Bush in OH, NV, & CO. My projections worked pretty well. I used Zogby, ARG, Rasmussen, and the latest poll (excluding partisan polls) for each state. I assigned values based upon the lead in each poll. This approach worked out good for me. I used my math except I bumped VA up on election morning from slightly leans Bush to weak Bush. I also bumped NH & PA from tied to slightly leans Kerry.

Posted by: DFuller at November 3, 2004 04:00 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Our biggest mistake was that we just naturally assumed that 85% of undecideds would vote for Kerry, when in fact Bush & Co. played the fear card beautifully. They were able to get the message that "a vote for Kerry is a vote for the bloody, agonizing death of everyone you know and love" ingrained into the skull of many Americans. Although the "Wolves" ad was kinda dumb...

Posted by: Dale at November 3, 2004 04:01 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Gosh, I think you did a great job. I was saying that personally I won't get so EMOTIONALLY wrapped up in the polls. I wasn't able to keep it in perspective. Addictive/codependent by nature I guess ;) No, you guys did a great job. I think we took a lot of things for granted. I know I didn't visit enough GOoPer sites to get any perspective so last night was a total shock. I thought it was Kerry in a landslide.

I feel my calling is to get out and change some minds. I feel like I need to defend my worldview and since you guys have the blogging front down stone-cold, count me in as one more foot soldier in this "Cultural Civil War".

Posted by: Jerry Sacramento at November 3, 2004 04:19 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

There are two winners this dark day; Bush and the future of polling.

Edward and Kerry's concession speech signaled the now clear win for Bush. We now only wait (and worry) to see how Bush shall use this second mandate and the GOP controlled Congress.

But polling was the big winner yesterday. National LV models seemed to be right on, the President cruised to a 3.5 million popular vote victory. States that were given political spin and analyst speculation fell way to previous polling numbers such as PA, NH, MN and MI. Zogby had bizarre midday and final calls, but in the end there were no surprises....save Florida and late deciding voters.

There may be some post-conession suspicion about FL polls. Nevertheless, the returns were still within the margin of error. And there were a number of polls pointing to Bush having a strong majority in FL even considering MOE. Ultimately, when Kerry woke up on Tuesday morning (after his midnight rally), he knew it was OH that could carry him, not FL. And he was right.

The late deciding voters -that now not so crucial 1%-2%- were not so surprising. Rasmussen held a poll on decision making and candidate support on Oct 26. The later in the race a voter made a decision the more likely it went for Bush. That supports the political analysts that speculated that late deciding voters would go along with the current approval rating of the President. As I said, no surprise... unfortunately. The exit polls were the gloom and doom of yesterday. Mis-balanced exit polls gave early reports that should have had most of us suspicious, but instead had us praising the big voter turn-out.

So, four more years of President Bush, and the validation that polls are becoming more sophisticated and accurate.

Posted by: Jason Gill at November 3, 2004 04:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Well, my view is far different from most of the views here.

1. Senator Kerry never passed the authenticity test in the midwest. If you are a liberal, be a liberal, nail it to your mast and go after it. If you are a conservative, nail it to your mast, and go do it. Kerry ran a moderate conservative campaign. There's only one problem. He's not a moderate conservative. People can smell that out a mile away, and it won't fly.

2. Democrats aren't going to win when they have to apologize for themselves. You don't craft your entire portfolio of policy based upon what you think people want. Most of it must be principled, and be proud of it. This isn't pro-Bush demagogary, it's political marketing 101.

3. Don't believe your own press clippings. Democrats kept saying over and over "Worst job loss since the Great Depression". Sorry, the job situation in Ohio is not great, but this ain't the great depression folks. Such routine and patently false charges just didn't hack it.

4. Your messanger is wrong. Massachusetts politicians are not properely raised to run a competitive campaign in the midwest and the south. Dick Gephardt, or John Edwards would have been a better messanger, in my opinion.

5. Stop fixating so much on regional stuff. Democrats lost the vast majority of rural counties by at least 2:1, even in blue states. When you right off the south, what you really are doing is writing off the rural vote, EVERYWHERE. It doesn't kill you in blue states, because it can be made up with NYC, Boston, San Francisco etc, but that is lethal in battleground states. But this doesn't hide the fact that dems still have a problem in rural California, New York, etc.

6. Simply being the anti-Bush isn't enough. Rejection or suspicion of the incubent is good, but you must sell your plan. Kerry relied too much on the anti-Bush strategy.

7. Karl Rove had a better strategic plan, and a better tactical plan. Love him or hate him, the guy knows how to count votes.

8. Labor and old civil right's mantras won't put urban turnout high enough. Labor let down Gephardt in Iowa, and Kerry in Cleveland. You need a better solution.

9. Out-side workers who are zit-faced, idealistic, ranting lunatics will not boost your vote, but can transport the other guys voters to the polls. Use in-state people whenever possible.

Posted by: Mark Olsen at November 3, 2004 05:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I don't think the polling was necessarily wrong or that we overestimated the undecided break. First, I don't trust any exit poll data. Why should the demographic data be correct when that same data had Kerry winning? I think what happened was that we underestimated the intensity and size of the evangelical Christian vote. We won the swing counties in Ohio, and then Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) by 218,000 votes. Before the election, Democrats said they needed to win Cuyahoga by 150,000 votes, while Republicans said they could afford to lose it by as much as 200,000. Kerry won it by more than that, and still lost by around 150,000 votes. Clearly, the Democratic Party is going to start their usual routine of figuring out why we lost. They will say we needed a better candidate, or that we didn't turn out our base. I don't think either of those things are true. I just think there was this surge of Christian Evangelical Vote for Bush that was anticipated, but not to the effect that it had. I can't think of a candidate who we could have run that would have done better than Kerry. We ran into a buzzsaw, and didn't know it was coming.

Posted by: Sam at November 3, 2004 05:14 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The 'greatest job loss since the Great Depression' is accurate. Its not the great depression, but it did hurt a lot of people. Kerry actually did a little better among males (probaly because of the job issues) in the industrial midwest, but a little worse among women (because of the security issue).

Rural areas: I do agree the Democrats need to be a little better on the gun issue. However, the real battlegounds in the US are the suburbs. The Dems need to take them, and to minimize losses in rural counties. Rural areas alone will never go for Dems.

Karl Rove is a smart guy, but he's not Svengali. A few hundred votes in FL would have turned him from genius into dud in 2000 for spending time and money in CA. Also, less close, but 100K votes in OH or a better Dem turnout this year would have made him into a dud for spending crucial time in PA, MI and NJ at the end.

Outside workers did achieve some successes this year, but they could never be as successful as people rooted in a community. This is something the Dems have historically done with minority preachers, unions, but they need to work more on it.

WHile the loss is disappointing and does call for some re-architecting of the Democratic party (ala Clinton), it was always going to be hard to defeat a sitting wartime president. Bush had a $200 M warchest in March, whereas the challenger had to scramble to raise money. Kerry did raise money, but it took time and energy in the early days. Also, Bush had the advantage of building a huge GOTV operation in Ohio, PA and other states from Day one. It was a lot harder for Kerry to catch up [ Incidentally, thats why groups like ACT and the like were used, because the Dems did not have the money to do the setting up of such a group]. With all these strikes against Kerry, despite a miserable war in Iraq, and a generally poor economy, Bush's victory is not really that surprising. Kerry actually ran a reasonably good campaign in the last month, and a better GOTV operation in Ohio could have won him OH. If he had $75 million more and 8 months more to build an organization, he could have done better.

Gephardt and Edwards would have had their own pronblems. Every single Gephardt vote would have been attacked. He would not have been necessarily a better candidate and I do not think he could have carried MO. Edwards would have been decried as a lightweight. Clark -- the repubs were already bringing out Tommy Franks and Schwarzkopf to discredit him.

Posted by: jont at November 3, 2004 05:45 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

So how do we turn out our own voters to combat the Christian Evangelical turnout ? Liberal groups worked hard and may have helped to turn WI, MN, PA and MI into winners. But they were ultimately outnumbered by this new vote. And some devout African Americans and even some Hispanics voted Bush, maybe for this reason.

Many eligible adults are not registered, and only 60% of those vote. We need to mobilize the vote better among these communities. Maybe we'll have our own surprise next time ...

Incidentally, I think that the margin in OH will probably shrink after the absentee ballots are counted to below 100K. Still a formidable difference, but could be overcome.

Posted by: erg at November 3, 2004 05:54 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Something that I just realized is that Dems actually did pretty well in state legislatures and held their own in Governorships. I hope they take WA as well. The future for the top spots lies in these lower level grass root Dems, who can work up strong candidates for the higher positions.

And we have to build grass-roots, MLM turnout organizations. Using people from out of state can work occasionally, but its not a good overall tactic. We have 2 years. We have less money than before, but what we need is dedication. not money.

Posted by: erg at November 3, 2004 06:22 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


The real problem is that the country is more conservative than Democrats. . .Kerry was/is a moderate and still couldn't win. Carter barely squezed by @ 50% of the vote, but other than that who was the last democratic canidate to get a majority of the US voting population - Johnson, 1694. The further left a canidate is, the worse they do. We need a third party - Ross Perot, George Wallace type - to steal some of the middle ground and open an ally for the left. Hell, might as well push the Dem a little more to right and leave the 30% of liberals is the country without any party which is where they are now anyway.

The Christian Right is the swing vote that is controlling the elections (Abortion, Gay Rights) and Kerry wasn't really standing up for them anyway.

This isn't a knock on Kerry, who I think ran the best race possible against what I considered an very poor opp and clearly dominated him in the debates. But if you can't win under those circumstance (with record turnout), then when can you win?

Posted by: Brendan at November 3, 2004 06:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

A couple thoughts -

On incorrect projections - First of all, I think having undecideds break 85% for Kerry was a hopeful and ultimately wrong assumption. From what I've seen, they only broke 55-45. As a "lurker" on this page for the past year, the General Cattle Calls have always been more pro-Kerry than practically every other poll out there. Wishful thinking? I have to think so. Self fulfilling prophecies do happen. But not in this case, I think. Also, not all polls are created equal. Zogby's predictions look awful in comparison to the real outcome. Rasmussen looks much, much closer to reality. They predicted OH to go 46-50 and FL as 45-50, both of which were reasonably accurate.

On Kerry & the campaign - I have nothing against John Kerry. It's a tough job, and he did as well as a man could ask. I do think the Dems ran an inferior campaign to the Republicans. Karl Rove is a genious - keep it simple, stupid: Terror & values. That's all the Bush
campaign was about. Most independents *still* don't know what Kerry is really about. Sure, all the card-carrying Dems do - but you need the swing voters to win. I think a simple message of "Bush lied about Iraq, and he'll lie again" repeated over and over and over would have been much more effective. Instead, 42% of Americans still believe Saddam was connected to 9/11 - a travesty. Instead, we're harping on Bush for missing explosives in Iraq instead of concentrating on the reasons for being there. The campaign could have been better.

On the Democrat party - Well, things will change out of necessity. I'm not sure how it will change, the two parties will balance each other out. Whether the Dems need to shift more to the right to get more voters, or shift back to the left to offer a clear alternative... I don't know. Something will have to happen, though.

Posted by: Kallinan at November 3, 2004 06:37 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

As a "lurker" on this page for the past year, the General Cattle Calls have always been more pro-Kerry than practically every other poll out there.

I disagree. Early in the summer, Chris was very optimistic. But his final call was quite conservative, predicting a narrow Kerry win. But the ultimate authority on this is Ed Fitzgerald, who tracked all the trackers assiduously. I don't think there was anything exceptional about the GECC.

Posted by: DavidNYC at November 3, 2004 07:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I was criticized by some for worrying about the gay marriage referendum in OH. As I said, while it might not win OH, it certainly would not help John Kerry. The evangelicals were out in full force, just as I feared they would be. I don't believe that polls could properly reflect this in OH, which is why it was such a "surprise" to so many. As many of you know, I was born and raised in OH. I lived there for about 20 years. I have lived in the South for nearly 20 years (2 in VA, 18 in NC). Trust me when I say, OH is something like a GA on Lake Erie--the most northern Southern state.

The polls were deceptive in many ways, and that is why I largely ignored them during the campaign's final week. When I did sort of take them somewhat seriously on the eve of the election, my optimism for Kerry was raised. And the early exit polling results had me positively giddy. The first sign of something wrong was when I saw how quickly the networks called WV. I fully expected it to go for Bush, but not so immediately. In the South, Bush did far better than what most polls were indicating. By the time FL was called, I felt like the proverbial doe in the headlights. From that point, it only got worse.

In conclusion, I think polls are fine for narrowing down the swing states (though they failed in OH and especially FL, which turned out to not be so close). However, once we know the swing states, they are not very helpful, and can actually give a false impression, good or bad.

I also felt that since this was the first post-9/11 election, history might in some ways not be of help. I never thought undecideds would break 80/20 for Kerry, though I thought he would get perhaps up to 60/65 of them. It was much lower than that in FL and especially OH--where they broke for Bush, if I'm not mistaken. This election came at a unique time in our history, and 9/11 was, I always felt the wild card.

This site has been wonderful, and I'm so thankful to DavidNYC for creating it and putting so much time and effort into it. I know I've learned a great deal here, and I'm sure many others have, too. Thanks, David!

Posted by: pepe at November 3, 2004 07:33 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I just wrote a piece about the 10 things we learned from this entire election travesty, on my website...check it out. It made me feel slightly better to write it, so it might help reading it --


Posted by: AnthonySF at November 3, 2004 07:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think everyone underestimated the effect of the Gay Marriage Amendment, except Pepe. In retrospect, had that Massachusetts Court (and don't think it didn't hurt that it happened to be the Court in Kerry's home state) not forced gay marriage on the people, none of these amendments and ballot initiatives would have been there, and I think the Christian Right vote would have been much less, probably enough to win us Ohio and the Presidency. I think it did win Ohio for Bush when you consider how well Kerry performed where he needed to in Ohio.

The Democratic Party's future is muddled. I don't know where to go from here. The country is still divided 50/50, but the make-up of the Senate and Electoral College strengthens the power of more rural states, while dampening the power of some of the larger states. This hurts us considerably. And with redistricting by both parties basically ensuring re-election for candidates in the House, it is becoming an increasingly difficult proposition for Democrats to win anything. With the increasing polarization of the country, we need Democrats to win senate seats in red states. Since the state breakdown is basically 30 red-20 blue (I just pulled this number out of thin air but it seems about right), winning the Senate is obviously difficult. Winning the Electoral College is also difficult since states like the Dakotas, Montana, etc. all have disproportionately high power when compared to the percentage of the population that lives in those states. So it is an advantage for the Republicans. And the house is almost static at this point.

We face an uphill climb. We got out the left yesterday in battleground states. The problem is that there were more people from the right in those states. It is hard to gauge who would have actually won the popular vote if that decides who wins the Presidency (I made the same argument in 2000 when Democrats claimed Gore was legit for winning the popular vote). Clearly people in safe states are less likely to turnout then people in swing states, so the popular vote does not necessarily reflect the entire electorate. There does not appear to be an easy solution to this problem. I think we all learned again that a Democrat from Massachusetts does not play in Middle America regardless of who it is. I think the best chance in 2008 comes from someone popular in Middle America, like an Evan Bayh who will really play well in states like Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, etc. For now, it is our responsibility to tow the line as a minority party for the 50% of the country which is basically unrepresented now. It is our responsibility to protect their rights, and ensure that their voices, and our voices are heard.

Posted by: sam at November 3, 2004 08:33 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I agree with sam on Evan Bayh. A senator from Indiana that coasts to victory there has to be the face of the new democratic party.

Posted by: Brett at November 3, 2004 09:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sam, I was wrong about Ohio, but we came close. I think that a lot of Ohio comfy suburbanites voted for Bush because they are scared sh*tless.
These suburbanites are scared of gays, taxes, terror, and Osama bin Laden. I have to admit that the GOP had an enormous phone bank effort with continuous taped messages scaring them out of their wits.

As a disgruntled Democrat, this is one great article from CNN:

OTTAWA, Canada (Reuters) -- Disgruntled Democrats seeking a safe Canadian haven after U.S. President George W. Bush won Tuesday's election should not pack their bags just yet.

Canadian officials made clear on Wednesday that any U.S. citizens so fed up with Bush that they want to make a fresh start up north would have to stand in line like any other would-be immigrants -- a wait that can take up to a year.

"Let me tell you -- if they're hard-working honest people, there's a process, and let them apply," Immigration Minister Judy Sgro told Reuters.

Asked whether American applicants would get special treatment, she replied: "No, they'll join the crowd like all the other people who want to come to Canada."

There are anywhere from 600,000 to a million Americans living in Canada, which leans more to the left than the United States and has traditionally favored the Democrats over the Republicans.

But statistics show a gradual decline in U.S. citizens coming to work and live in Canada, which has an ailing health care system and relatively high levels of personal taxation.

Government officials, real estate brokers and Democrat activists said that while some Americans might talk about moving to Canada rather than living with a new Bush administration, they did not expect a mass influx.

"It's one thing to say 'I'm leaving for Canada' and quite another to actually find a job here and wonder about where you're going to live and where the children are going to go to school," said one official.

Roger King of the Toronto-based Democrats Abroad group said he had heard nothing about a possible exodus of party members.

"I imagine most committed Democrats will want to stay in the United States and continue being politically active there," he said.

Americans seeking to immigrate can apply to become permanent citizens of Canada, a process that often takes a year. Becoming a full citizen takes a further three years.

The other main way to move north on a long-term basis is to find a job, which in all cases requires a work permit. This takes from four to six months to come through.

Statistics show the number of U.S. workers entering Canada dropped to 15,789 in 2002 from 21,627 in 2000. In 1981 some 10,030 Americans gained permanent residency, compared to 5,541 in 2003.

Asked if there had been signs of increased U.S. interest, Sgro said: "Not yet, but we'll see tomorrow."

The Canadian foreign ministry said there had been no increase in hits on the Washington embassy's immigration Web site, while housing brokers doubted they would see a surge in U.S. business.

"Canada's always open and welcoming to Americans who want to relocate here, but we don't think it would be a trend or movement," said Gino Romanese of Royal Lepage Residential Real Estate Services.

Those wishing to move to Canada could always take a risk and claim refugee status -- the path chosen earlier this year by two U.S. deserters who opposed the Iraq war.

"Anybody who enters Canada who claims refugee status will be provided with a work permit...it doesn't matter what country they're from," said an immigration ministry spokeswoman.

Refugee cases are handled by special boards, which can take months to decide whether to admit applicants. The rulings can be appealed and opposition politicians complain some people ordered deported have been in Canada for 10 years or more.


I wonder if you can apply for dual citizenship?

Just an aside, but I was listening to a foreign policy analyst who stated that the Iraq War was with Bush for the next three or five years and would cost another 1,000 U.S. soldiers' lives.

If the exit polls are correct, I'm a typical Democrat worried about the economy/jobs and the war in Iraq.

Posted by: Shar at November 3, 2004 09:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think everyone underestimated the effect of the Gay Marriage Amendment, except Pepe.

On August 6th, someone wrote:

As you may know, the state of Missouri voted this week to amend its state constitution to explicitly prohibit gay marriage. (I'm personally of the opinion that these kinds of laws will ultimately run afoul of the federal Constitution's full faith and credit clause, particularly as it relates to the issue of gay divorce - but that's neither here nor there for the purposes of this blog.) What's especially distressing - beyond the actual vote - is the fact that turnout was up dramatically. Considering this was an August primary, I'm amazed that 41% of voters came out (when the usual range is 15% to 25%).

This becomes a real problem because similar measures are on the ballot in other swing states this fall: Arkansas, Michigan, Oregon and, yes, Ohio. Everyone expects the vote in Ohio to be especially close this year. I'll be beside myself if we lose that state because hatred and fear drive record numbers of voters to the polls to vote for an abomination of an amendment - and pull the lever for George Bush while they're at it. The Missouri turnout is really troubling. This whole thing could wind up being a big sleeper issue for the GOP.

And yes, I am now beside myself. I wish we had focused on this problem more. (Though the way to do it would have been re-direction: Ballot proposals for stem cell research.)

Posted by: DavidNYC at November 3, 2004 10:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Lets remember a "liberal" from Massachussetts got 48% of the vote nationally against a wartime, fundamentalist president. Could this have happened 20 years ago? Ohio was lost by 1%. In 2000, we didn't see the Republicans moaning about how out of touch they were with America, even though their guy got about the same % Kerry got this time around.

We don't need to move to the left, we just need to show strong convictions, and repeat them. As few key phrases is right: i.e. child care for every child and relief for businesses struggling with health care costs.

Has anyone thought of proposing "civil union" ballot initiatives in some of these same states that banned gay marriage? Civil union gains strong majority support in most polls. This could neutralize the issue by settling on a nice "middle ground" that provides civil rights while recognizing people's sensitivities.

I agree with Jerry we need electoral reform. I think the four things that would be great:

1) Non-partisan commissions overseeing a professional civil service administering voting
2) Non-partisan Congressional redistricting in most states by 2010
3) Instant runoff voting so there are no "spoilers"
4) Free media air time and mailings for major + minor party candidates.

With these we could truly move forward.

Posted by: Marc at November 3, 2004 11:21 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Marc, I agree that all of those things would be great. But the question is, how can you possibly defeat the interests that are entrenched against those reforms?

Posted by: DavidNYC at November 3, 2004 11:27 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Personally, I believe the bad results were due to two reasons: allocation of undecideds and the polls. Starting with the polls, they simply just cannot measure who is going to turn out, as that varies election to election and is always a big surprise. The youth vote was supposed to be huge this year; perhaps the pollsters were expecting this and weighing the samples accordingly. As we all know the youth did not turn out as well as we had hoped. This year the evangelicals came out (I believe this is why bush won). Particularly in florida this can be seen where in many counties except the largest gore counties kerry had the same number of votes as gore, and bush outperformed his expectations. since the evangelicals had not really voted lately, the several million increase this year could definitely have pushed bush over the top (I am basing my statements on evangelicals from what I've been hearing and looks at the exit polling, where morality was a surprise issue). Also, the writing may have been on the wall about this with the gay marriage amendments up in several battlegrounds. Who knows? I think all that really says is that the discrete factions that turn out election to election are dynamic, and given the randomness it is difficult for a pollster to be able to predict an election precisely when the model itself is uncertain. Finally, the incumbent rule did not hold out. I did not believe it would. I would be curious to see what the data shows for incumbents at wartime. I'm not sure, but I was always kind of suspect of your projections because I always thought they painted perhaps too rosy a picture for us. They were nice for the rainy days but it's difficult to believe kerry being up in a projection when bush is ahead in all polls used, given the exposure of the race and the polarization of the electorate. Best, hope next election it turns out better.

Posted by: Geoff at November 4, 2004 12:08 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Has anyone thought of proposing "civil union" ballot initiatives in some of these same states that banned gay marriage? Civil union gains strong majority support in most polls.

Marc, it's unlikely. In I believe 5 or 6 of the states with gay marriage referenda (including OH and MI), their amenments not struck down gay marriage, but gay unions as well. Ironically, this is actually to the right of where George Bush currently stands on the issue. Basically, this is all about state-sanctioning of discriminating against gays every way possible. Voters in OH and MI passed their discriminatory referenda quite easily, too. The gay marriage controversy reminds me of the abortion issue before the Supreme Court declared it a woman's right.

Posted by: pepe at November 4, 2004 07:01 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DavidNYC said:
I disagree. Early in the summer, Chris was very optimistic. But his final call was quite conservative, predicting a narrow Kerry win. But the ultimate authority on this is Ed Fitzgerald, who tracked all the trackers assiduously. I don't think there was anything exceptional about the GECC.

It's easy to criticize after the fact, and we're all feeling the pain of "four more years," so I won't drag this on. As you yourself mentioned, the undecided rule didn't work. Through each GECC, there was always a troubling disclaimer - "I allocated undecideds." This made the GECC inherently rather pro-Kerry when undecideds are allocated 85-15. Glancing at Fitzgerald's site, it was pretty accurate in predicting a slight Bush victory - and the GECC actually looks like a bit of an outlier in the statistical sample.

As for the gay marraige issue, I believe pepe is spot on. Folks have to remember that while this isn't (or should not be) a Christian country, the majority of its citizens are Christian. Some are evangelical bible bangers, some are more progressive, many grew up in the Chruch but have since left. While this issue undoubtedly galvanized the conservative base, it also legitimately drove some Christian moderates away from Kerry. Ironic that Kerry's own state would potentially lose him the election.

I have an extraordinarly interesting view on this all living in a decently wealthy and slightly conservative suburb of Cleveland. At the last second, my wife voted Bush. Although she's quite tolerant of gays, she's afraid of the term marraige being devalued through civil gay marraige. Civil unions, fine. The term "marriage"? Don't go there. Combined with the reminder that our Supreme Justices are aging quickly, she felt it was more important to vote for a more Christian-oriented candidate. She wasn't even "duped" by the Bush campaign - she's fully aware of all of Bush's failings in Iraq & the economy.

One last thought - where were the young voters? I've heard many numbers, but none have been good. Less than 20% of voters age 18-24 showed up. As Winston Churchill once said, "Any man under 30 who is not a liberal has no heart, and any man over 30 who is not a conservative has no brains." While not entirely true, there's a good kernel of truth there. College age students are exceptionally liberal, and often despise the conservative agenda. Additionally, the spectre of a draft would affect them the most. Yet they didn't show up to vote. I have to view this as another failing in the Democratic campaign to court these voters.

Posted by: Kallinan at November 4, 2004 08:31 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I guess the point I failed to make about the GECC above - In the future, perhaps do not allocate undecideds at all. After all, if we knew how they were going to vote, they wouldn't be undecided.

Posted by: Kallinan at November 4, 2004 08:36 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Why no trendlines? Did something go wrong with the last poll taken of this sample size in Florida? ;-)

Also, I thought Truman didn't apply the two term limit to himself. He merely chose not to recontest.

Posted by: anon at November 4, 2004 08:43 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The gay marriage issue was the one that really troubled me during this election year.

1) Bush's argument that it violates the sanctity of marriage. How? What violates the sanctity of marriage is adultery, spousal abuse, and spousal neglect. No one can violate the sanctity of a marriage except one of the two people in that marriage.

2) It is blatant discrimination against a class of citizens because they are in the minority. I thought we were getting beyond this. This is the dirtiest form of politics there is.

I am starting to feel that this country is heading towards a George Orwell book.

George Bush stars as Big Brother and leads the Inner Party.
The Untied States and Britain have formed Oceania.
Bin Laden is the leader of Eastasia.
John Ashcroft and Rumsfeld run the Secret Police.
Iraq is part of the Disputed Territories.
I am a member of the Outer Party.

Posted by: DFuller at November 4, 2004 08:59 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I guess it is time to start thinking about 2008. I am thinking of a governor this time. Senators have voting records that too easily manipulated. I am also thinking our candidate should come from a state other than the Northeast. It seems like the candidates from the Northeast have problems connecting with the south. He is my first thoughts of potential candidates who fit the category:

Rod Blagojevich of IL
Mike Easley of NC
Janet Napolitano of AZ
Ed Rendell of PA
Bill Richardson of NM
Tom Vilsack of IA
Mark Warner of VA

Posted by: DFuller at November 4, 2004 10:14 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The presidential election in 2008 can be taken care of later. We should start on state governments, and getting Democratic governors elected to them. My favorites:

1. Mark Warner, governor of VA, needs a good Democrat to replace him next year. Perhaps Lt. Governor Tim Kaine?

2. My own Bob Ehrlich is up for reelection in '06, and needs a worthy opponent. Townsend blew it big last time; I'm thinking Barbara Mikulski next time. She got more votes than John Kerry.

Just my suggestions.

Posted by: Dale at November 4, 2004 10:26 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

It really is worth looking at possible candidates for President this early. Its worth it because it gives everyone time to review past votes and consider personal style.

I do think style is a really big issue. So many people, especially swing voters, base their opinion of a candidate on how they feel about him. We need someone that actually does display strength and poise while still not being too robotic. I guess I'm looking for the mix between Edwards and Gore. Maybe Joe Biden or Evan Bayh.

Posted by: Dan Hogan at November 4, 2004 10:50 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

1) Bush's argument that it violates the sanctity of marriage. How?

Simple, because the word is being re-defined. Main entry for marriage from dicitonary.com:

1 : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a legal, consensual, and contractual relationship recognized and sanctioned by and dissolvable only by law

It's not justification for mistreatment of minorities, but one should understand where the opposition is coming from.

2) It is blatant discrimination against a class of citizens because they are in the minority. I thought we were getting beyond this. This is the dirtiest form of politics there is.

I agree, which is why I voted against the Ohio ban on gay marriage. But "marriage" is quite literally sacred to religious folk - which is over half the country. Re-defining marriage to include same-sex marriage is going to raise some blood pressures. I think offering "civil unions" with the same legal status as marriages may be the easiest way to get equal rights. In this case, I think use of the word "marriage" itself may be the biggest barrier.

Posted by: Kallinan at November 4, 2004 10:55 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

In my state of Texas, our Republican governor is very unpopular. The problem is there are absolutely no statewide elected Democrats in Texas. Our party is also disorganized here.

We are basically left with big city mayors:

Houston - Bill White
San Antonio - Ed Garza
Dallas - Laura Miller (way too liberal to win)
El Paso - Joe Wardy
Austin - Will Wynn

Posted by: DFuller at November 4, 2004 11:06 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DavidNYC wrote: Did the incumbent 50 percent "rule" fail us?
Mark Mellman said: "we simply do not defeat an incumbent president in wartime."
DavidNYC then wrote: This may be right. But the problem with this thinking is that the sample size is SO tiny.

Hi David,
I'am a French fan of your blog. Congratulations.
It's quite painful here to realize we now are in the "4 more years" scenario.
I think that what Mark Mellman said is absolutely true, even if there are not enough examples in american History to make it a statistical "sample".
What happened is not rational, it's emotional.
In addition, don't forget that this is the first war taking place in the heart of the land of the USA since the Spanish-American War. George W has been very good at convincing people that this war in Iraq was the same war as the 9/11 war which started by hitting the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC. George W has been very good at making people believe anyone in the USA can be hit by a terrorist attack at any time of the day, and that he is the toughest guy on earth able to fight terrorism.
I have read a news yesterday about farmers in the Middle Mest being afraid their village or their own farm would be attacked by terrorists. This is not really rational.
If terrorists attack again, they will probably hit New York City or Chicago or Boston. People who live there and work in towers vote Democrat. On the other hand, people living in villages in Nebraska or Wyoming have no risk to be hit but they vote for Bush.
It reminds me of farmers in Alsace (an region in the East of France where votes for extreme-right Le Pen are high). When asked : "Are you afraid of being victim of violence", one of the farmer said "Oh yes !". When journalist added: "But you live in a very nice, rich and quiet vil

Posted by: Stephane at November 4, 2004 11:21 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Everyone is throwing around the name Hillary Clinton for 2008. I think this would be a disaster. I love Hillary Clinton, but she does not play in Middle America, and as this election shows, we need a candidate who can compete in Middle America. DFuller, I like your list but I would caution about Janet Napolitano. Do you think an average American would trust a woman to fight the war on terror? I know it is sexist, and I would trust a woman, but I think a lot of people wouldn't, which is another reason why Hillary Clinton would not win. I really think Mark Warner would be an excellent choice. I am sure Edwards will run too. We need to expand the field where we play ball. We can win the coasts, but we don't win anything in the middle of the country, and regardless of who we put in there, we won't win most of it, but we just need to win some of it. Despite the disaster of campaign night, we just needed 70,000 people in Ohio to vote for Kerry instead of Bush, and we would have won. So, we need to pick a candidate who can get enough support that when the Democratic base comes in it puts us over the top in some of these moderate states.

As for 2006, we need to set up a party platform and make a principled opposition stand. We need to stand for something. Right now, we don't. We need a clear, concise platform, and say this is what we want to do to help average Americans. Then, when the Republicans screw up, which they will, we can have a clear alternative and hopefully win back some of these senate seats in 2006 and create some momentum for 2008. Anyone have any idea what John Edwards is going to do now?

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 11:21 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DavidNYC wrote: Did the incumbent 50 percent "rule" fail us?
Mark Mellman said: "we simply do not defeat an incumbent president in wartime."
DavidNYC then wrote: This may be right. But the problem with this thinking is that the sample size is SO tiny.

Hi David,
I'am a French fan of your blog. Congratulations.
It's quite painful here to realize we now are in the "4 more years" scenario.
I think that what Mark Mellman said is absolutely true, even if there are not enough examples in american History to make it a statistical "sample".
What happened is not rational, it's emotional.
In addition, don't forget that this is the first war taking place in the heart of the land of the USA since the Spanish-American War. George W has been very good at convincing people that this war in Iraq was the same war as the 9/11 war which started by hitting the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC. George W has been very good at making people believe anyone in the USA can be hit by a terrorist attack at any time of the day, and that he is the toughest guy on earth able to fight terrorism.
I have read a news yesterday about farmers in the Middle Mest being afraid their village or their own farm would be attacked by terrorists. This is not really rational.
If terrorists attack again, they will probably hit New York City or Chicago or Boston. People who live there and work in towers vote Democrat. On the other hand, people living in villages in Nebraska or Wyoming have no risk to be hit but they vote for Bush.
It reminds me of farmers in Alsace (an region in the East of France where votes for extreme-right Le Pen are high). When asked : "Are you afraid of being victim of violence", one of the farmer said "Oh yes !". When journalist added: "But you live in a very nice, rich and quiet village where there is no violence at all", the farmer said : "True, but I watch TV and I'm afraid". Indeed, TV infos continuously show violences taking place in those urban or suburban areas with high rates of unemployment and poverty. In many cases, the examples showed on TV involve an arab or a black person.
I am afraid there is a high risk that Republicans keep the White House + Senate + Congress for a long time, for two reasons:
1) Their action, instead of really fighting terrorism is encouraging it around the world, but they can take advantage of the kind of fear it creates in the USA.
2) "Compassionate conservatism" and "family values" are politicaly extremely efficient in a country where so many people go to church every Sunday.

Posted by: Stephane at November 4, 2004 11:21 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The focus of 2008 should be to get someone who can hold WI, take back IA & NM and win some western or southern states.

Match up I like:

McCain vs. Richardson

Richardson can deliver NM, FL, and probably TX. It would make CA a swing state though.

Match up I do not like:

Giuliani vs. anyone.

Giuliani delivers NY to the GOP and is a Northerner who can do well in the south.

Posted by: DFuller at November 4, 2004 11:47 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Truman was eligible to run in 1952. He lost the New Hampshire primary to Estes Kefauver. Truman then dropped out of the race due to his unpopularity. Kefauver won most of the rest of the primaries and led the first delagate count at the convention but eventually lost out to Adlai Stevenson. Of course, Truman continues to be re-evaluated and is quoted by both parties!

Kansas City, Missouri

Posted by: Les Thierolf at November 4, 2004 11:59 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I would not recommend NC's Governor Mike Easley as a candidate for 2008. I voted for him, and he easily defeated his younger opponent. However, he doesn't have a lot of personality/charisma. He also is quite aloof, and very private. He's not highly visible. I think he's a reasonably good governor, but I don't think he has what it takes on the national stage.

I sure hope we don't see Hillary Clinton in 2008. Don't get me wrong--I love her, and I believe she'd do a fantastic job; but she will not only lose us the entire South, she could even cost us MN and WI, along with OH and IA. She would also not be popular in potential swing states like NV, NM and even CO. In the era of post 9/11 it's less likely that a female presidential candidate would be anything less than a huge political risk.

Posted by: Pepe at November 4, 2004 12:00 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


Although Hillary is popular among Democrats, she would be creamed in the general election. Please, no Hillary. As conservative as some of these rural (don't take away my gun!) and suburbanite voters are, they would never vote for a woman as President.

I still like Gore and believe that he is the best Democrat next to Clinton. During the recent campaign and election, I wish Gore had been running again against Bush instead of Kerry.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's non-endorsement of Kerry helped Bush, IMO. If the PD had come out with a strong, ringing endorsement of Kerry, it could have swayed some of the suburban voters from voting with their fears and listening to the phone bank messages.

Catholic bishops urged their parishioners to vote against gay marriage and this message was noted in the church bulletins or was delivered in their sermons.

Posted by: Shar at November 4, 2004 12:32 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I still like Gore and believe that he is the best Democrat next to Clinton.

I meant Bill Clinton, not Hillary.

Posted by: Shar at November 4, 2004 12:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

This could have helped us last week:


Posted by: DFuller at November 4, 2004 12:43 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

how about a gore-kerry loser ticket. the reality is gore can never be elected, once you lose a national election your dead meat.if the democrats let hillary run it`s suicide.she cannot get better than 45% of the vote and would probably lose 4 or 5 blue states. someone needs to talk some sense into her or the democrats won`t get back into power for a generation.
by the way does this new empowered bush scare the crap out of anyone like it does me!

Posted by: joel at November 4, 2004 01:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

One thing that Dems need to understand is that the GOP rallies people with symbolism, not concrete policy. Dems like to offer concrete, well thought out ideas that can be rather complicated. We need to start offering an alternative to the symbolic issues that the GOP offers.

I was beating the abortion issue around on this site quite a bit yesterday due to the fact that I think it is the deal breaker for many people who otherwise would vote Democrat. (Get by it and we can win WVA, IA, MN, AZ, NC, VA, CO, FL, OH, etc) With this issue, remember they do not want to hear policy, they want to hear a 'value'. Then they will listen to the policies that will make the economic part of their life better

The GOP preaches the value but will never do anything about it. The partial birth abortion act was deliberatly designed to be struck down by the courts. However, it expressed the value and makes people comfortable who do not want to feel responsible for killing babies. (Powerful symbology, no policy)

The Democratic candidate must be able to preach a value of how much he or she hates abortion, without regard to the policy that he or she may support. Don't even talk policy on it! A candidate from one of the red states that is popular at home will be needed to speak on the issue and be believable.

Posted by: Tom at November 4, 2004 01:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

See, I strongly disagree about the missing Iraqi weapons. This did not help John Kerry. Worrying about one instance of an army depot screw-up is petty - and that's exactly what moderates see it for. As a party, we need to overlook the petty and deliver a simpler message - "Bush lied."

If we had repeated that 50,000 times, people probably would have believed it. Shoot, people still believe Iraq & 9/11 are related, and that's not even true.

Posted by: Kallinan at November 4, 2004 01:15 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Hillary Clinton would be a diaster for the Democratic Party -- unless the country turns dramatically to the left.

Bill Richardson has a couple of problems. One, there are rumors that he has Clintonian problems. 2, more seriously, there were the security scandals when he was Energy Secy. In a security dominated environment, that is not likely to go over well.

Guilaini will not be the Republican nominee. Someone who is pro-gun control, pro gay rights, pro illegal immigration, pro-abortin will not make it past the primaries. The gun control issue may hurt him even now if Bush proposes him as AG or something.

Posted by: erg at November 4, 2004 01:18 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Tom I like your thinking re the abortion issue, I think you are right and it is crucial for dems to get it right.

The words "pro-choice," "right to choose," and "roe vs. wade" must never escape the dem candidate's lips, or he is totally screwed.

To the extent he discusses abortion at all, it should be to mention how deplorable he finds them.

Posted by: The Other Rob at November 4, 2004 01:21 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I agree the Dems need to change the abortion debate a little. For one, they should oppose partial birth abortion (except for medical necessity) and support parental consent for minors (except in cases of rape/incest). Also, Dems need to allow pro-life people in their party. The Republicans has Guiliani, Pataki and Arnie in their convention. The Dems had almost no pro-lifers.

The Dems do want the suburban vote and are concerned about the abortion issue.

Roe V Wade is likely to get thrown out soon. The Republicans will not necessarily suffer a political price either for that, because they will simply appoint Justices who do that.

Posted by: erg at November 4, 2004 01:29 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Another lurker here.

I'm officially jumping on the Mark Warner bandwagon. I'd love to see him get the nomination, and I think he'd have a very good chance of bringing VA into the fold (especially with the whole shifting demographics thing too) and he'd play well in those close midwest states.

I love Biden, but I don't know that he'd make a great candidate.

No Hillary and no Edwards. I think they'd both fall hard in a general election.

It's clear we need someone who is strong in the southwest and the midwest.

As to the whole MD Ehrlich issue that came up, I'm pretty sure the MD democratic primary is shaping up to be Martin O'Malley (mayor of Baltimore) vs. Doug Duncan (MoCo county commish). I'm for O'Malley all the way, and then I'd like to see him make a national splash in 2012 or so.

Posted by: Zack at November 4, 2004 01:36 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Erg is dead right on Giulliani. He is popular in the South, but will have a hell of a time winning a Republican primary when they find out he is, as erg pointed out on several issues, a Northeast liberal. Even if Giulliani does win the nomination, if we run a conservative Southern Democrat, you might see the map flip, with red being coastal states, and blue being southern and midwestern states. The difference between red and blue states are cultural, not political. People in the south and midwest do not support a giant tax cut for the wealthy. It is a cultural thing. And culturally, Giulliani is a blue stater. That is why Clinton dominated, he was a red stater culturally. He could identify with those people, then carried the coasts by being intelligent and making fact-based arguments. I agree with Zack, let's jump on the Mark Warner bandwagon. He will definitely bring VA, but that is not the point. To have general election success, we need a candidate who appeals to all parts of the country. I think Warner will do that. That is what Clinton did. As for Al Gore, I like him, but we have been there done that. By 2008, people would have 8 years of Republican control of everything. There was some serious Clinton-fatigue in 2000 that contributed to Al Gore's loss. There will be Bush fatigue in 2008. The way to capitalize off of that and sweep to electoral success is to introduce a new fresh face onto the national scene. I think Edwards would have been ideal, but since he was on the ticket this time, he is going to be associated with Kerry and Northeastern liberalism. Warner is my choice, but we could also look at Easley, or other moderate, Middle/Southern America types. We need a newcomer, who no one really knows right now, so people are not predisposed to not liking this person. Then, he can introduce himself to America, and hopefully leave a positive impression.

As for Richardson, he has a less than stellar record as energy secretary. Richardson will not bring in Texas with him, as stated above. I think he will help in the southwest, but what are we talking about here? Bringing in NM, maybe AZ. And then what are we going to do? Sacrifice the entire south and midwest again, and try and pick up AZ, NM, and run the miracle like we actually managed to do the last 2 elections of holding increasingly conservative MN, WI, and MI. That is not a proposition I like. I think Richardson will be an excellent VP choice in 2008, because he might encourage hispanic support and turnout in the southwest by being on the ticket. But we need a top of the ticket that has a broader appeal than that. Again, I come back to Warner.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 02:25 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

To add one more comment to erg, if Bush appoints Giulliani as AG, I will be doing cartwheels. I can't think of another Republican (and it has to be a Republican) that I would rather have as AG. I don't agree with him politically, but I think the differences between him and Ashcroft are glaring, and it would help to heal this country. In this depressing time, I am also heartened by Senator Specter's call to the Bush administration to appoint more moderate judges. One can always hope.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 02:40 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sam -- the Clinton fatigue in 2000 was largely the result of the right wing media's attack on him. We need to point out weaknesses and flaws in Bush (many) using the left wing media (Air America, Liberal blogs).

I think Guiliani may have serious trouble over becoming AG. His views on guns would be a serious problem with the gun lobby, but they might forgive him because he's a celebrity.

I'm not entirely sure I support him as AG. As an NJite, I was impressed by his leadership after 911. On the other hand, he has a real fascistic, control freak kind of attitude. You saw it in NYC all the time, and despite his general competence, this disturbs me. Maybe in Homeland Security, but not AG.

Posted by: erg at November 4, 2004 02:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I am from Florida, so clearly you know Giulliani better than I do, and I will defer to you on those issues. I just think he is more socially liberal, as far as being pro-choice, etc. And he is not driven by religious idealogy. When considering the alternatives, a new Ashcroft for example, I think we can do a lot worse. Also, just out of Bush's mouth was this: "I earned political capital, and I intend to spend it". That scares the hell out of me.

In a completely unrelated matter, does anyone know what Senate seats are open in 2006? Even if we can win some seats back in 2006 (even if we don't get a majority) it can create some positive momentum. We have had 2 disasterous elections in a row, 2 elections that were so bad that we couldn't even come close to spinning anything positive out of it. Any sort of movement, picking up any seats, will help moral in 2006.

An a sadder note, the hits keep coming. Elizabeth Edwards has breast cancer.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 03:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Oh yes, one more thing.

Arnie apparently went over very big at the Republican convention. I'm still a little confused. If values are such a big issue, how come a pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro gay rights , Hollywood, Gropinator went over so well. There is still talk of him running for President.

Why ? Are republicans so blinded by the sight of a Hollywood celebrity who is Republican that they forget everything else ? or is the supposed adherence to values lower than expected ? I think the Dems could have survived losing the values vote, but they lost the value vote and the security vote.

One or two bright points. It looks likte Washingtion will elect a Dem Governor. The left coast may be solid for the Dems for a while.

Also, I look forward to Colorado being more competitive. Tom Tancredo, god bless his miserable soul, and his Hispanic bashing may help to delvier the state to us, just as Pete WIlson helped to deliver california to us.

Posted by: erg at November 4, 2004 03:08 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I agree with erg's more upbeat assessment. All is not lost. If we would have won Ohio, right now Republicans would be saying how they need to get more liberal to compete in the liberal northeast because they can't afford to lose the entire thing and get elected.

I think the difference was in GOTV. The republicans won on the values issue because they know how to play it. Yes Arnold is socially liberal, and that who is the Republicans use to appeal to swing moderate America. But they were able to turn out their base via the church. All church's support a gay marriage ban. They used that to jack up turnout in Ohio to vote against a gay marriage ban. While they were there, they voted for Bush. Those voters might not come back in 2006 or the future, we don't know. But to show where they succeeded and we failed, we had an issue where we could have driven out voters, stem cells. I don't think anyone went and voted for stem cells. We need to figure out a way to get our people to the polls as well. And, as a side note, stop campaigning with hollywood celebrities. It is hard to say that you are the man of the people when you go to a rally with Whoopi Goldberg making crude jokes. We need to de-Hollywood the party. We have the Hollywood voters, because they agree with us on political issues. We need to appeal to middle america on values issues.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 03:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The security issue is going to be key in 2008 as well. The Dems definitely need someone strong in that front. A decorated war vet lost, so who can win for the Demos ? Maybe another decorated war vet ?

For Presidential candidaates for 2008, I would like to suggest Bob Kerrey if he's interested. He's a genuine Medal of Honor winner, doesnt have the Vietnam war protester tag that hury Kerry. He does have a possible problem with being accused of war atrocities in Vietnam, but that is probably more likely to attract Republicans.

Posted by: erg at November 4, 2004 03:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

You are right about security erg. I don't know if we can win on security though. A lot of it will depend on what happens in the next 4 years. After WWII, we were the party of security, then Vietnam happened. Now the Republicans are the party of security, and the events of the next 4 years will determine whether they maintain that status. In retrospect, Wesley Clark might have been the best candidate we had out of the field this year. Whoever we run, they have to be able to connect with Middle America. We will see what happens with events.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 03:41 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Can someone here answer a question for me? How is it that Dubya gets such high ratings on security and the war on terror in Middle America while failing so miserably on these issues in NYC, the primary target of America's enemies? I am fuckin' confused!! Excuse my language...

Posted by: bigguy at November 4, 2004 04:02 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


People in Middle America think like he does. They like him. He does talk straight. And he talks tough, which they like. People in New York like people who are sophisticated like John Kerry. That is why.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 04:07 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I appreciate that, Sam. However, it still doesn't explain why little threatened Middle America can buy into the notion that they are somehow in danger from terror, and trust idiot to keep them safe. I think it might have something to do with the fact that Rove and his pack of dogs ran a MARKETING campaign, not a political campaign. Wanna know what they marketed? FEAR!!! Pure, visceral, primordial FEAR!!! And the corporate media played right along with them. If anyone of you can argue that America has not began a steep descent into Fascism, fascism being defined as powerful corporate forces working in cooperation with government, with the media being willing bystanders, I ask you to do so. The descent is not complete, but it is quickly becoming so. Somebody, prove me wrong. PLEASE!!!

Posted by: bigguy at November 4, 2004 04:19 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Has anyone closely watched Barack Obama in this election? I know he took Illinois 70/27 against Keyes. Granted, Keyes is incredibly conservative and really made some people mad during the campaign, but he still got 56% of the Republican vote there. I think this guy could really be that new face we all seem to be looking for a few election cycles down the road.

I can't imagine this guy running directly yet, but is he ready to be a VP candidate? If I'm not mistaken, he will have more legislative experience four years from now than Edwards has now. I think I could really get excited about Warner/Obama or Kerrey/Obama tickets. Or 2008 be an election or two premature for this?

Where could John Breau fit into the mix here? He could be put onto a Dem ticket to attract more southerners and moderates. Not to mention, he probably won't have people talking about the fact that he couldn't get re-elected in his home state.

Posted by: Dan Hogan at November 4, 2004 04:42 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Obama is a naturalized citizen. I don't know if he is eligible to be VP or not. I know he is not eligible to be President.

Posted by: DFuller at November 4, 2004 05:33 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

DFuller, Obama was born in Honolulu. He's a full U.S. citizen.

Posted by: Dale at November 4, 2004 05:37 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

If Gore will rise up and be himself, he's the best candidate. As for values, Gore has no political bimbo baggage and he and Tipper have been married for a long time. They truly love each other. Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth have also been married for a long time. I noticed how Bush was together with his wife, Laura, during the closing days of the campaign. People want lasting marital relationships and look to others for these values.

erg, you are wrong. Nixon lost in 1960, then ran again and won.

I like Gore's stance on the environment. He's sounded better during this campaign than he had in 2000.


Posted by: Shar at November 4, 2004 06:04 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sorry, erg, but I meant to say Joel, who is wrong.

Posted by: Shar at November 4, 2004 06:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Americans have more to fear with Bush as President than the terrorists, themselves. I'll tell you what I fear: the dismantling of Social Security, more corporate giveaways, a draft, the poverty rate increasing, an increasing unbridgeable gap between the haves and have nots, and more job lossses. I also fear that the wimpy Democrats who didn't say a peep about the war will be just as wimpy when it comes to these other important issues.

That's why I like Gore so much. He's not a wimp!

Posted by: Shar at November 4, 2004 06:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

If you want to see the real Al Gore, see if you can get your hands on a MTV town hall style appearance he made back in 1992. He was so good during this appearance that I still remember it 12 years later and I was only 15 years old at the time.

He was talking to a group of college age kids and was more down to earth, articulate, and understandable that I have ever seen Clinton be. I was convinced right then and there that Gore would be President one day. Unfortunately, I never saw that version of Al Gore ever again.

Does anyone remember the show that he was on? It was about 11:30 at night on a weeknight.

Posted by: Dan Hogan at November 4, 2004 06:17 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Like it or not, and I don't, the US is absolutely not ready for a black President right now. Maybe VP, but not President.

Bush claims he's earned political capital and wants to spend it. Seeing how he governed without any political capital, its frightening how he'll govern with the lowest re-elect incumbent margin in decades.

One more thing worth noting: We lost the Presidency, and most of the Red-state Senate seats were hard to get anyway. It was just bad luck that so many such seats came vacant this year (LA, FL etc.). GA was no real change. LA, FL would not have been lost if the incumbents ran.

The House was fated by redistricting.

So for 2006 --- focus on vulnerable house seats. Not many, but there are some. I doubt there will be many Senate Changes. Maybe Jeffords will run as a Democrat. I also think we made some useful headway in NH, which is finally joining the rest of the NE.

I think we have great opportunities in NM and NV as well. AZ as well. Hispanics are liberal on economic issues, and a culturally centrist Democrat can get them. Also, some good progress in State legislatures overall. Especially in MN. Thats useful for redistricting.

I was and am continually concerned about MN going red, but I think with some good ground work, we can keep MN democratic. It may not be the MN of Walter Mondale, but a more centrist Democratic party that can win close elections. However, the Democratic party needs to replace Mark Dayton in 2006. His action in shutting down his office probably cost him reelection.

Also, unfortunately, some close elections President (down to 2% in OH), LA Senator etc. didn't go our way. Thats just bad luck. But we seem to have retained the WA governorship in a close race (it really shouldn't have been this close).

Posted by: erg at November 4, 2004 06:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Bigguy, Middle America does worry about being hit by a terrorist attack--at least Ohioans do. Last June I visited family in Ohio right on the heels of what was said to be a thwarted terrorist attack on some huge, popular mall in Columbus. I had an AM station on from Cleveland on as I drove up I-77. The airwaves were filled with one angry caller after another. Their comments were filled with rage and warnings that Ohio was not NYC, and any terrorist who dared to harm Ohio or the Heartland would rue the day they were born. I heard everything but a call to arms. I couldn't believe the frenzy these callers were working themselves into, peppered with many hateful racial remarks. After awhile, I could listen no longer to so much verbal venom, so I popped in an opera CD to calm my very disturbed nerves. All I could think of was how much my home state has changed since I left it for good in 1984.

Posted by: pepe at November 4, 2004 06:31 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Shar, somehow I don't see a Gore/Edwards ticket as one the GOP would fear in the least. Remember that in 2000 if Gore had carried his home state of TN, FL would not have mattered, and Gore would have been president. Edwards also failed even to come close to winning his home state of NC. I never thought Edwards would move NC to the Kerry column, so that was no surprise to me.

Oddly, I haven't heard anyone here or in the media note the following: if Edwards could have swung NC to the Kerry column, this election would technically not be over. Why is that? Because as far as I know, IA's EVs are yet to be officially placed in the Bush column. It looks like Bush will win there, but by under 15,000 votes. But should Kerry somehow win IA (unlikely as that is), NC's 15 EVs would have been more than enough to put him over 270! Currently, Bush leads Kerry 279/252. IA's 7 EVs, plus NC's 15, would make the final totals Kerry 274 and Bush 264.

When a candidate cannot win his home state, that is something that does not go unnoticed. If these two Southerners could not win in their home states, what Southern state will they carry in 2008? That's my point. We need someone who can appeal to at least some of the South and bring some EV's from the land of grits and magnolias to the blue side!

Posted by: pepe at November 4, 2004 07:05 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Also, Gore has moved leftward after he became a regular citizen and is probably unelectable now.

Finally, I hate to sound pessmistic, but:

Here's something else to consider. If it had not been for Iraq, this election would have been a true blowout, with Bush getting around 370 votes. If Bush can fix the Iraq problem to a manaageable level by next time, if he can capture or kill Osama, the new Republican candidate could take a lot of the country. The Republicans have so many potential strong candidates for 2008 -- McCain, Hagel, Guiliani (if nominated), even Jeb Bush (although we should be suffering Bush faitgue by that time). Jeb Bush could take half the Hispanic vote, and kill us completly if he ran.

Do we have anyone comparable ? No, Wesley Clark wouldn't do. Neither will Edwards. Maybe Bob Kerrey.

We can and should still make inroads elsewhere, but I think 2008 is going to be darn hard. Then again, in late 1991, no one thought that Bush Sr, could be beaten.

Posted by: erg at November 4, 2004 07:38 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Being on the top of the ticket and being the VP aren't the same thing. Edwards did not win his home state as VP, if he was at the top, who knows. But putting John Breaux as VP will be as effective as putting Edwards there was, which is to say it won't be effective at all if we run a northeasterner at the top of the ticket. I don't think Al Gore will ever run for anything again. I think he knows his time has passed. It is true Nixon ran twice and won the second time, but if Gore wanted to run again, he could have this time. He might have even won, because he is a southern Baptist who would have appealed better to Middle America. And if he had picked Lieberman as his running mate, making it a re-run of 2000, that portion of the Jewish vote which was lost in Florida would not have been lost. I think the same goes for Bob Kerrey. When you have not held elected office for that long, it is hard to get back in the game and go for the top job. I don't see it happening.

Posted by: Sam at November 4, 2004 07:41 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The urban/northern moderate wing of the republican party is in trouble. I don't think potential 2008 candiates like Guliani, Arnold?, or even McCain could survive a primary. This is what happens to a dominant party, it begins to splinter. Moderate republicans like PA's Specter are not going to be highly though in the Republican elite when they call for compromises on judges. I expect RI senator Lincoln Chaffe will switch to the Dems, moderates will feel increasingly isolated. This is one of our brightest hopes.

Posted by: Brett at November 5, 2004 12:33 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment


I heard it wrong on some cable news network earlier this year. They said Obama was a naturalized citizen from Kenya. I read his bio and his father is Kenyan but his mother is not. Thank you for clarifying that.

Posted by: DFuller at November 5, 2004 10:47 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think the VP can get you some votes, but not a huge number. Edwards probably helped out Kerry about 3 points in NC.

Lieberman did a lot more for Gore than Edwards did for Kerry because Lieberman was able to energize the Jewish vote. Unfortunately, Pat Buchanan told me there was a big Jews for Buchanan group in South Florida that would have put Gore over the top in 2000 if they voted for Gore instead.

Posted by: DFuller at November 5, 2004 10:52 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment