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September 04, 2004

Bush's Temporary Rally

I think that the convention was just about as successful as one of these things can be. It accomplished three key goals:

* It apparently succeeded in persuading some undecided voters, at least for the moment.

* It re-convinced many of what they had at one time believed. A lot of people who once strongly supported the War in Iraq and Bush's handling of same were, to some extent, reminded of why they'd once felt that way.

* It energized religious conservatives, who had soured on the Bush presidency. Karl Rove thinks that if he can get the votes of four million evangelicals who had sat on their hands in 2000, Bush is a lock for re-election. That's a lot of votes. But the base does seem to be much more enthusiastic now than it was two weeks ago. A lot of this was accomplished not by promising them the moon (although Bush did of course state we needed to "make a place for unborn children" and that marriage was between a man and a woman), but by persuading them that a John Forbes Kerry presidency would be flat-out intolerable to them.

All of these are very important.

But Bush's newfound electoral strength is likely to be short-lived. Voters favor Bush when 9/11 is the issue; but we also know their memories quickly fade. The RNC did a superb job of reminding everyone Why We Fight, but, if the public largely forgot about 9/11 three years after the actual tragedy, it's not likely to remain in their minds for very long after a mere reminiscence.

Of course we're coming upon the anniversary of 9/11, and that will extend memories for a time, but by the end of September, the public will forget again.

And Bush still faces major potential setbacks. We have not yet dealt with al-Sadr because we fear that when we do deal with him (and by "deal," I mean "kill"), the country may explode in civil war. We are attempting, I think, to put off this inevitable confrontation as long as possible, but I don't think we can dely for much longer. I don't think the public will gladly accept another month of intense fighting and high casualties.

Al Qaeda will, of course, attempt a major terrorist attack before 9/11. I don't believe that such an attack "helps Bush." I think it hurts Bush just as it hurts the country. And while we may be better at thwarting terrorist attacks now than I'd previously thought, it's impossible to stop many kinds of terrorist attacks, and especially when the Bush Administration is still somewhat unserious about doing what is necessary to protect us.

All that said, there is still the potential for good news as well as bad news. One big month of job production in September will seal the deal.

So would a major Al Qaeda capture.

A bit of pressure can crack John Forbes Kerry's confidence and shatter the fragile loyalty of Dean-lovin' Democrats.

And, of course, it's better to have a temporary lead than a temporary deficit. Bush seems to have more potential voters than Kerry, too; the numbers suggest that, on his best day, Bush can garner 50-52% of the vote, while Kerry can only garner 48-50%. Bush on a good day will beat Kerry on a good day, but November 2 won't necessarily be a good day for Bush.

There's a lot of things that yet have to happen, or not happen, for Bush to win this election.

Electoral Watch: As expected, Bush advances in electors.

And Terezzzza Will Be a Continuing Source of Good News, Too: The "candid, refreshing" idle-rich billionaire gold-digger delights in a 1994 speech by explaining that the Christian right "broadcasts its hatred" and appeals "to the dark corners of the human soul."

I had been a doubter, but I will concede it right now: She really is refreshing.

I feel very refreshed. Keep the refreshments coming, Terezzzza.

Skewed Sample in Newsweek poll?: So says this poster on Free Republic, pointing out that the poll sampled 374 Republicans, 303 Democrats, and 300 Independents.

Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are roughly at parity in this country, but this poll sampled about 25% more GOPers than Dems.

This is always a problem in polling. If you get a lot of people identifying as Republican, does that mean there's been some big shift of people to the party (in which case your numbers are accurate, more or less) or does it mean you just got a non-representative sample (in which case your numbers are worthless)? Do you attempt to correct/adjust for this imbalance, or do you report the raw figures?

I actually think that the convention might have minted a few more people identifying as Republican -- Guiliani and Schwarzenegger did a great job, and so did Bush, it turns it out -- but 25% more? Seems very high.

Good Point: Fred Barnes notes:

Kerry won't have an easy time making up ground he lost since the Democratic convention in late July. It's clear now his theory of the campaign was wrong. A majority of Americans haven't basically decided against giving Bush a second term. Thus it's not enough for Kerry to demonstrate simply that he's competent to be president. The bar isn't that low. Kerry will have to be far more appealing than he's ever been to scoot past Bush. Or the president will have to screw up badly. Both are possible, especially the latter.

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posted by Ace at 02:50 PM

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