May 06, 2004


Well, I guess itís possible:

2004 could be a decisive victory for Kerry. The reason to think so is historical. Elections that feature a sitting president tend to be referendums on the incumbent--and in recent elections, the incumbent has either won or lost by large electoral margins. If you look at key indicators beyond the neck-and-neck support for the two candidates in the polls--such as high turnout in the early Democratic primaries and the likelihood of a high turnout in November--it seems improbable that Bush will win big. More likely, it's going to be Kerry in a rout.

Iíll take that bet.

(Via Chris Sheil)

Posted by Tim Blair at May 6, 2004 04:09 AM

"... undecided voters "know [the incumbent] well, and if they were going to vote for him, they would have already decided. Thus support for Mr. Bush should be seen more as a ceiling, while support for Mr. Kerry, the lesser-known challenger, is more like a floor."

What a load of crap.

(BTW Tim one of the kids I was tutoring was doing an assignment on media bias and innacuracy, and I made sure that Phillip Adams and Turkeygate both rear their ugly heads.)

Posted by: Random_Prose at May 6, 2004 at 04:37 AM

Ted Rall or Michael Moore ghost wrote this, right? How else to explain how vapid, innacurate and plain stupid this "analysis" is?

Posted by: gary at May 6, 2004 at 04:51 AM

It's a weak argument. If "historical" is the game, then the author needs to contend with the fact that since 1952, when the modern New Hampshire primary began, every incumbent who lost in the general election faced a big-name challenger who won more than one-third of the vote. No such challenge for Bush. The ambivalence of one's base seems the real kiss of death, and though this year's early months were spattered with stories about Bush's disaffected base, the ballot box didn't oblige.

The Carter comparison leaves much to be desired, too. What of 11.5% unemployment, a 35% approval rating, bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983? Nicaragua in 1984? We know what Mondale won. Clinton was largely blamed for Democrats' loss in 1994 and faced more than a little buyer's remorse. Bob Dole couldn't find the outrage.

Reelections are referendums on incumbents? Well, yes. Consider Kerry's low likeability and the ambiguous reasons for voters' support against the very clear indications of how and why Americans like Bush, even if they disagree with him. Caring little for either guy does not beget stylus-punching.

Posted by: Michael Ubaldi at May 6, 2004 at 04:57 AM

Here's a more likely scenario. The article is from 2002 but is still extremely relevant. If I understand him correctly, the author is saying the next US election may well resemble the contest of 1972. If true, the President will win comfortably but with a strong Democratic Congress. Sounds possible, whether you like the latter part of the equation or not.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 6, 2004 at 05:02 AM

"Strong votor turn-out in the primaries"? I seem to remember that the pundits were lamenting the light voter turnout.

Posted by: rabidfox at May 6, 2004 at 05:36 AM

"High turnout in Democratic primaries"? Did he really say "High turnout in Democratic primaries"?

pause to chamber a round...

John Kerry's hometown newspaper cited non-partisan analyses of the turnouts in the 2004 Democratic primaries that have shown that the "...intensity level was less than described":

WASHINGTON -- Turnout in the Democratic primaries, heralded by party leaders as a strong showing of unity and outrage against President Bush, was actually in line with past primaries, lower than many recent Republican contests, and included some record lows in later states, according to a full accounting released yesterday.

Which is a nice way of saying that Terry McAuliffe, the architect of Jeb Bush's landslide re-election in Florida and of John Kerry's current Vietnam troubles, is once again, to put it delicately, full of cr*p.

Posted by: furious at May 6, 2004 at 05:39 AM

"If you look at key indicators beyond the neck-and-neck support for the two candidates in the polls--such as high turnout in the early Democratic primaries..."

The thing is, there hasn't been high turnout in the Democratic primaries, that's just spin being put out by the DNC.

As for the other "indicator", more likely Kerry's personality and inability to include minorities in his inner circle will likey depress turnout...

Posted by: moghedien at May 6, 2004 at 05:39 AM

If Bush's cabinet were as white as Kerry's inner circle, and Kerry's peeps were as racially diverse as Bush's, do you think the media - and Kerry - would be making a big deal about that? Or is the silence about this disparity simply because we've all matured to the point that racial bean-counting is passe and we define people by their competence and not their color?

Bwa-ha-ha! Just joking!

Posted by: Dave S. at May 6, 2004 at 05:59 AM

Bush '04 = Carter '80 will be hooted at by anyone who remembers 1980. The author finds superficial similarities while missing everything of consequence.

It feels like a contrarian analysis to me. Take the opposite side of the consensus and make the best argument for it. The very weakness of the effort signals how much trouble Kerry faces.

Posted by: lyle at May 6, 2004 at 06:26 AM

"If you look at key indicators beyond the neck-and-neck support for the two candidates in the polls--such as high turnout in the early Democratic primaries..."

What a load of crap. I voted around 6:30 that night (granted, it was raining), and there were about 600 ballots cast in my precinct; that number's well into the thousands in the general elections.

Just FYI / confirm the obvious for the rest of you - I live in Kerry Country, and the guy who handed me my ballot told me I was the seventh guy to grab a Republican ballot.

Posted by: Roger Bournival at May 6, 2004 at 06:33 AM

You guys are all missing the point.

Had there ever been so many votes cast in a primary before for John Kerry? No? Well, then it was a record-breaking turnout for John Kerry, wasn't it?


Posted by: Dean at May 6, 2004 at 06:50 AM

Also I was in Vietnem.

Posted by: John Kerry at May 6, 2004 at 07:06 AM

I still see it as a 50/50 dead heat, both in popular vote and electoral college. Also both candidates have substantial weaknesses (Kerry in defining himself, Bush in how his track record is perceived), and we have yet to see how those unfold.

Posted by: blacker64 at May 6, 2004 at 08:38 AM

Hey John, I wasn't. Cool, huh?

Posted by: George W. Bush at May 6, 2004 at 08:39 AM

Which is why you don't have any medals to throw. You could borrow someone elses of course.

Posted by: John Kerry at May 6, 2004 at 08:49 AM

"Iíll take that bet."

Remember Jeff Kennett.

Posted by: walter plinge at May 6, 2004 at 08:54 AM

I agree; Kerry will be routed.

Posted by: Richard McEnroe at May 6, 2004 at 11:22 AM

Nearly five years later, I still miss Jeff Kennett

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at May 6, 2004 at 11:51 AM

FYI Andrea
Jeff Kennett
Former Liberal (thats the conservative party in oz for all you yanks) Victorian State Premier. (kinda like your governor)
Largely credited with turning round the State's financial situation after it was left in the dumps by the previous Labour (think democrat) state government.
Lost reelection in 1999 when people decided to give him a kick up the backside for being too cocky, and they ended up kicking too hard.

Posted by: RhikoR at May 6, 2004 at 12:39 PM

I'm finding this all very facinating, both sides are convinced their guy will win big.

Over at Democratic underground they're only worried about the sinister Bush Co HalibutoilmosterindustrialcomplexTHATLIES!! using their CIA satillites to tamper with the voting machines, in the absence of that they are confident of a Kerry landslide. If you read Christian conservative pundits such as the Brothers Judd, it's 60-40 for Bush.

In this kind of polarised enviroment it's impossible to get an unbiased opinion, but so what? We'll know soon enough who was on the ball and who was full of shit. I know who my money's on.

It's all so exiting!

Posted by: Amos at May 6, 2004 at 12:52 PM

"...the sinister Bush Co HalibutoilmosterindustrialcomplexTHATLIES!! using their CIA satillites to tamper with the voting machines..."

Don't give away the game, man!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at May 6, 2004 at 01:05 PM

"Kerry in a rout..."

In the past sixty years, the Democratic Party's presidential candidate has won in a rout exactly once - LBJ '64 - and that was a decidedly untypical election, in the wake of JFK's assassination.

Meanwhile, Republicans have won six times in a rout. If this guy's taking bets, I'm there.

Posted by: lyle at May 6, 2004 at 01:49 PM

Jeff Kennett turned this state around. Blokes a legend.

Posted by: max power at May 6, 2004 at 02:23 PM

Rout - it's nuance for trounced.

Posted by: fidens at May 6, 2004 at 03:52 PM

I'll take it.

Posted by: aaron at May 6, 2004 at 04:00 PM

A lot of dems will vote Bush because of the war so long as he doesn't f it up. He also has to adress exagerated fears in the Arab-American community. Having large support from them will win him other voters.

Posted by: aaron at May 6, 2004 at 04:10 PM