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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

As you can see, I never did return to blogging the campaign after March 3, when Kerry essentially locked up the nomination. Now, it's Election Day, and I have no idea who is going to win. I thought that either Bush or Kerry would be winning right now, but they're going into election day tied. Elections this close are rare in modern American politics, and two close elections in a row are rarer still. In fact, I can't think of a recent example of two too-close-to-call elections in a row. The elections of 1960, 1968, and 1976 were pretty close in the popular vote, but they were all preceded and followed by landslides. This year, there are hopeful words on both sides suggesting that their candidate might win by a larger margin than the polls show, but I would be surprised by a popular vote difference of more than 3 points.

This has been a dirty campaign, with the Swift Boat Veterans ads as the lowest point. When everything is over and a winner is declared, I doubt that peace between the Bush and Kerry factions of the country will come easily. Even if the election ends with a clear victory for one candidate, it's unlikely that the country will be united. After all, even though Clinton won by sizable margins in 1992 and 1996, the Republican effort to destroy him was relentless. A President Kerry would be opposed just as bitterly as Clinton, if not more, and a re-elected President Bush would not suddenly win the hearts of the half of the country that wanted him out of office. No matter what happens, we're in for a rough four years.

It might be slightly foolish of me to make a prediction, given the uncertainty of this election. Not even the "experts" and politics junkies agree on the result, so there's no reason for me to expect to have any special insight. But I'll make a guess anyway: I think that several factors favor a victory for Kerry. I think that his supporters are more motivated than Bush's, even though both sides are more motivated than in many previous elections. Early voting and new registrations in swing states seem to favor Kerry as well. If the conventional wisdom on undecided voters is correct (i.e. that they break for the challenger), then the tie in the polls will translate into a lead for Kerry. Finally, it seems like the momentum is in Kerry's favor, with small surges in many swing states and in the nationwide tracking polls. Nothing I'm saying here is earthshattering, and the factors I'm mentioning have been analyzed, refuted, and defended in far more detail on other sites than I could summarize here. I certainly would not stake any significant amount of money on this prediction. The Democratic turnout could be less than expected, or the Republican turnout greater, or the undecideds could break more for Bush than expected, or the voting and registration figures could be misleading, or the most recent polls could be completely off. Furthermore, faulty voting equipment, voter intimidation, and other dirty tricks could nullify or shift just enough votes to alter the election results, and the extent of this sort of thing is difficult to predict in advance. So my prediction could easily be proven wrong on Election Night (or later, if there are recounts or lawsuits).

I've noticed that the title of my blog somehow got cut off when I made a small modification to the template. I'm not sure what the issue is with that, because the title still appears in the template HTML. In any case, I'm probably not going to bother to track down the glitch. If you're reading this, you probably know that this is (was) the Campaign 2004 News Blog (perhaps more appropriately titled the Primary 2004 News Blog). This might be my last post, depending on whether I feel like I have anything to add on Election Night. Like most of you, I'll be glued to the television no matter what.

--Posted at 1:53 AM |
link

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

The first stage of the 2004 presidential campaign is essentially over. The general election campaign begins now. I'm going to use this occasion to put the blog on hiatus. I might return occasionally to comment on major campaign-related events, and I might return to daily blogging at some point. But for now, I'm giving up any pretense of posting on a daily basis.

It has been almost exactly a year since my first post on this blog. I'm busier now than I was then. And the amount of work required to "cover" the campaigns effectively has increased dramatically. Back in March 2003, only a handful of publications were regularly writing about the campaign. It could be a challenge back then to hunt down interesting campaign-related links, but at least there was a managable number. Now, everybody is providing news and opinion about the campaign. This would be no problem if I had the time to sort through it all, but increasingly it seems like I'm missing things that a decent campaign blog should be covering. I'm still a political news junkie, but I don't get a chance to read as much as I'd like every day. Some days I'll spend hours reading news sites, online magazines, and blogs, while other days I only get a chance to skim the headlines. And when I only skim the headlines, the best I can post is a link to a headline--which is less than what people should expect from political blogs these days.

So this will be the end of this the Campaign 2004 News Blog for now. It's been fun, and I've found that maintaining it helped me learn a lot about the campaign that I might have missed otherwise. But it's not going to be a priority in the next few weeks.
--Posted at 12:03 AM |
link

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Here are the results of the Super Tuesday states. Although the percentages in some states are likely to change as more votes are counted, it's unlikely that there will be any dramatic shifts. (Only 6% of precincts in California have reported, but it looks like Kerry is going to win in a landslide.)

Only double-digit percentages are included below. The percentage of precincts reporting is in parentheses.

Connecticut (99%)

Kerry - 58%
Edwards - 24%

Georgia (94%)

Kerry - 46%
Edwards - 42%

Maryland (81%)

Kerry - 60%
Edwards - 25%

Massachusetts (88%)

Kerry - 72%
Edwards - 18%

Minnesota (49%)

Kerry - 50%
Edwards - 27%
Kucinich - 18%

New York (96%)

Kerry - 61%
Edwards - 20%

Ohio (95%)

Kerry - 52%
Edwards - 34%

Rhode Island (99%)

Kerry - 71%
Edwards - 19%

Vermont (94%)

Dean - 58%
Kerry - 34%
--Posted at 11:39 PM | link

Sharpton won a mere 8.5% of the vote (89% of precincts reporting) in his home state of New York. Not that this will make much difference in his decision to stay in or drop out...

Kucinich did even worse in his own state, Ohio, with 7.5%. I'm assuming that he's following the same rule as Sharpton regarding dropping out.

Unless somebody decides to set up a Kucinich-Sharpton-Kerry debate, these guys are going to get less coverage as time goes on. I wonder if they mean it when they say that they're going to fight until the convention. They could regularly get double-digit chunks of the vote, now that they have no opposition except Kerry. Their performance might tell us whether there's a significant chunk of people who are unhappy enough with Kerry to vote for anyone else.
--Posted at 10:54 PM | link

With 82% of precincts reporting, Georgia is now being called a Kerry victory. But it's very close--45-44 right now. Pretty much everywhere else is a Kerry landslide, except Vermont. California and Minnesota haven't reported yet. But no matter what happens with these races, Kerry is the nominee and the campaign will be entering a new phase, beginning tomorrow. Of course, the Bush-Kerry matchup has been expected by both campaigns for a while now, but now they can focus all of their resources and attention on each other.
--Posted at 10:17 PM | link

CNN has something called "SpatiaLogic" maps that show results by county as they come in. It's kind of interesting, if you want to see how various parts of your state voted at a glance (or to see which counties are quickest to report).
--Posted at 8:31 PM | link

Kerry is being called the winner in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland in addition to Ohio. No results or projections have come out yet for New York, Rhode Island, Minnesota, or California. Edwards is still ahead in Georgia, with 25% of the vote counted. Maybe Edwards was committed to dropping out no matter what happened in Georgia, if he didn't do well elsewhere. Or maybe he's making his decision based on exit polls.
--Posted at 8:27 PM | link

Oops. Just turned on CNN. Edwards is dropping out. So much for things getting interesting in Georgia.
--Posted at 8:10 PM |
link

Some results for Super Tuesday are coming in.

John Kerry was projected to win
Ohio before any votes were counted. Apparently the exit polls showed him overwhelmingly ahead.

Howard Dean is the winner in Vermont. Yes, it's his home state, but I think he deserves some credit for winning a primary after dropping out of the race.

John Edwards is slightly ahead in Georgia. Only a small percentage of the vote has been counted, but this could get interesting.
--Posted at 8:08 PM | link

Exit poll numbers are trickling out. It looks like Howard Dean will finally win a state--he has a huge lead in his home state of Vermont (where Edwards is not on the ballot). As for the other states, let's just say that there are no surprises.
--Posted at 4:44 PM | link

Monday, March 01, 2004

For several weeks now, people have been occassionally mentioning Roy Moore--the judge who refused to remove the Ten Commandments from a state courthouse--as a possible third-party candidate who would challenge Bush from the right. This never really seemed likely, but Moore refused to foreclose the possibility. Now, it looks like any chance of Moore being a major player in the upcoming election is gone:

Moore, viewed by many religious conservatives as a hero, complained that an amendment [to prohibit gay marriage] would represent a misguided intrusion into legal territory historically left to the states and warned against the unintended consequences of attempting to define morality through constitutional measures.

"I don’t think you can make a constitutional amendment for every moral problem created by courts that don’t follow the law of their states,” said Moore, who is currently waging a legal appeal to get his chief justice job back. "If you do, you pretend to do what God has already done and make it subject to the courts. I think it’s a problem to establish morality by constitutional amendments made by men when the morality of our country is plainly illustrated – in Supreme Court precedent and in state-law precedent and in the common law – as coming from an acknowledgement of God.”
Moore is using religious language to criticize the amendment, but the point is that he's criticizing it, which should make him unpopular among those who would otherwise be likely to vote for him. I don't know if Moore has given up all pretence of making a White House run, but he's not going to win much support with this stance.

Billmon suggests that Moore might be "trying to go to Bush's left and right simultaneously." If that's true, I don't think it's a winning strategy. Religious conservatives didn't abandon Bush for Buchanan in 2000, so I don't think they'll ditch him this time around unless there's a third-party candidate who's everything they've ever dreamed of. And they're probably not dreaming of a judge who opposes the gay marriage amendment, no matter what his reasons are.
--Posted at 8:33 PM | link

It seems like Bush is not going to talk much about the gay marriage amendment, at least in the near future.

White House officials say that Mr. Bush will not speak out about the amendment banning gay marriage in his political trips around the country and will leave his five-minute Roosevelt Room announcement as his major show on the issue.

That was obvious at a political fund-raiser in Louisville, Ky., last week, when Mr. Bush never once used the words "gay marriage" in his stump speech. His only allusion to it was a line about judges who have cleared the way for gay marriages in some states.

"We will not stand for judges who undermine democracy by legislating from the bench, or try to remake the culture of America by court order," Mr. Bush said, to applause from the $2,000-a-plate crowd.
Okay, so that's sort of a reference to the amendment, but it's a very vague one. I wonder if Bush is backing off partially in response to the lack of public enthusiasm (and congressional support), or if it was his plan all along to make his support for an amendment official and then leave the issue hanging. Either way, he has the support of religious conservatives for now, but he's going to have to make some move toward pushing through the amendment eventually. Maybe he's just waiting for the legal conflict over gay marriage to intensify, so that he can make a stronger-sounding argument that it is "necessary."
--Posted at 2:52 PM | link

Here's the transcript for Sunday morning's debate. I didn't catch it, but the buzz seems to be that things were a little more tense than the debate a few days ago. Also, it seems like the moderation was horrible. Things between Sharpton and the moderators got pretty nasty, but the other candidates had their conflicts with them too. There are lots of stupid questions in the transcript, like "Are you a liberal?" and "Do you think your supporters know that you live this way?" (directed toward Edwards about his wealth)--not to mention the question about whether God is on America's side. Anyway, it doesn't seem that there were any major goofs or anything that would dramatically affect Tuesday's result.
--Posted at 2:51 AM | link

Sunday, February 29, 2004

ARG has two new polls for March 2 states. These are February 28 numbers; February 25 numbers are in parentheses.

Georgia

Kerry - 48% (45%)
Edwards - 38% (37%)

Maryland

Kerry - 46% (42%)
Edwards - 34% (35%)

In both states, Kerry has widened his lead slightly. Georgia is probably one of Edwards' best chances, but a loss by a ten-point margin isn't going to get him anywhere. Edwards says that he'll continue no matter what happens on March 2, and he'll have a shot at four southern states on March 9. Without a close finish in Georgia or somewhere else, however, he doesn't have a prayer.
--Posted at 1:53 AM | link

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Here's another count of the Senate votes on the gay marriage amendment--31 "yes," 56 "no," and 13 "undecided." This, like other tallies, makes some educated guesses about what certain Senators will do. But no matter what, it's looking more likely than not that this will fail with over 50% of the Senate vote. If that's the case, how effective could the amendment possibly be as a political weapon, even in swing states? A Democrat being hammered on this issue needs only to point out that 10 Senate Republicans are also against the amendment--pretty good evidence that it's not contradictory to oppose gay marriage and oppose the amendment. According to the New York Times, even some evangelicals have doubts about the amendment.

The amendment might even fail to achieve what was probably its #1 goal--energize the base. If Bush just sits on the amendment, making no effort to push it through Congress, even the hard-core amendment supporters will lose their enthusiasm. But if he pushes hard, he'll lose--and perhaps lose ground with everyone except the hard-core supporters. He has to somehow keep the issue dangling, in a way that suggests that a vote for Bush (and other conservative Republicans) in November might lead to a gay marriage amendment later on. If he's lucky, somebody will start moving a case up to the Supreme Court to test whether the "Full Faith and Credit" clause applies to gay marriage. That will allow Bush to make the argument: "Those activist judges on the Court might decide that the clause applies, in which case you need me in the White House, because a Democrat will never pass this amendment." The timing will determine whether it's Bush or the "liberals" who will seem like aggressors on the issue. If no one is actively testing Full Faith and Credit, there's a good chance that the amendment will look like a premature, probably unnecessary preemptive strike.
--Posted at 1:03 PM | link

Friday, February 27, 2004

Via Kos, here's another Maryland poll, this one showing a huge lead for Kerry in contrast to a recent ARG Maryland poll.
--Posted at 6:40 PM | link

Here's the transcript from yesterday's debate.

Pandagon has a review of the debate that seems to be pretty accurate.
--Posted at 5:51 PM | link

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