Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, October 28, 2004
 
The Final Stretch

Only a few days left now, and it's unlikely that anything will happen to significantly change the face of the campaign before D-Day. My own feeling is that prospects are looking very good.

An incumbent generally loses the undecided voters who break in the final days of a campaign, so he's in trouble if he can't muster 50%. Bush is consistently below 50% in every state Gore wone and New Hampshire. If Kerry takes those, he starts with a base of 264 electoral votes and needs only 6 more. Bush only rarely breaks 50% in OH, FL, and CO - all three are very much in play, but Bush will likely need to win all three. And even if he does, there is another potential Kerry victory if he can grab the two small states of WV and NV. In NV, the polls are mixed as to the 50% number; Bush leads in all recent polls but the margin is consistently small. WV seems to have been conceded to Bush; oddly, there are no recent polls for the state, although the polls taken through mid-October are consistently close. There are other states, such as AR, AZ, MO, and VA, where a Kerry upset is possible, but recent polls in these states are trending towards Bush. But if Kerry holds his base states and pulls out only one of these four, which is certainly doable, it's a Kerry win.

So the electoral math hasn't moved much from where it was when I looked at this just after the Democratic convention. If Kerry can win the Gore states and NH, which it seems he can, there are a lot of other states in play and Bush virtually needs to win every one.

All signs point to a monster turnout, and that has to help Kerry. It isn't just the polls; we now have early voting numbers from several states, including FL. And the numbers look pretty consistent: early voting is way up from 2000, and it is up especially among Democratic groups and in Democratic counties. The number of new voters is going to be huge, they will break heavily against Bush, and they are being undercounted by pollsters. My prediction on the popular vote is a large Kerry margin: 7.5 to 8.5 million votes.


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