Carol Platt Liebau

Saturday, October 23, 2004

At this point, no one besides insiders in the two presidential campaigns really knows what's going on.

Gotta love this headline in today's Washington Times: "Polls Show Bush Stronger than in 2000." Remember that if President Bush simply won everything he won in 2000, but no more, he would have 278 electoral votes.

Even so, some parts of the Times story are enough to make one vaguely uneasy. Things are still too close for comfort in Ohio, although, as the story points out, President Bush could compensate for losing it by winning any two of these three: Michigan, Wisconsin and New Mexico.

And this story in Slate reports that the Kerry team has taken to claiming that they're actually ahead -- not just tied -- in the election. This thinking relies on a host of assumptions -- most notably, that undecideds will swing for Kerry. In other years, that conventional wisdom doubtless is true. The question is whether, in wartime, even people dissatisfied with Bush will be willing to gamble on a challenger about whom they clearly have strong doubts (if they didn't, they'd be solidly in the Kerry camp by now).

Despite the nervous-making tone of some of the stories (and remember, the MSM wants a horse race for both ideological and business reasons), I suspect that something may be happening "under the surface" that none of us are seeing (because, in part, the MSM isn't reporting on it). An Ohio correspondent to the Kerry Spot speculates that Second Amendment-loving union members may be classifying themselves as "undecideds" because they don't want to run afoul of union leaders.

And at least for now, it seems that Hawaii, hitherto one of the most reliably Democratic states in the USA, has the President and John Kerry in a statistical dead heat. Think of the headlines if an anologously Republican state -- say, Georgia -- were showing similar movement toward Kerry. The press would be going wild, theorizing that a Kerry landslide was in the making.

Finally, the 4 million evangelicals who didn't vote in 2000 are, predictably, being overlooked by the MSM. I've seen virtually no coverage of massive movements like Redeem the Vote (except for this piece in the excellent Washington Times). If these good people turn out, the liberals can forget it. We're sitting pretty, and it'll be a short night.

So keep working hard but be of good cheer -- and if you're in a swing state, make sure that you take your busy but Bush-supporting friends to the polls with you!


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