« If there is a wolf... | Main | Who is the post-Bush Republican Party? »


I don't have much of a track record with electoral predictions, so I'll just endorse this one, from Mike Lux. Mike's one of the invisible geniuses of Democratic politics, one of the very few people who can bridge the worlds of outside activist groups, donors, the party, and the realm of ideas -- without losing sight of his core values. Long ago, Mike was describing the outlines of the "citizen-based movement, independent of the party, that?s integrated, that?s effective" that Harold Meyerson proclaimed a done deal in the LA Weekly a few days ago.

Lux's prediction is basically that Kerry does four points better than the last polls in most of the swing states, which would result in a pretty solid electoral college win, and he's also reasonably optimistic about the Senate races outside of the South. That's about where I see things, Osama or No-sama. It's not because I believe in the iron law that undecideds break for the challenger, because in presidential races they obviously don't always. But the particular dynamics of this race are such that Bush has essentially demanded an all or nothing choice, and if a voter hasn't signed on yet, I don't know what's going to make them. (Although for every ultra-thoughtful undecided voter interviewed in the paper today, there's one whose logic is utterly impenetrable, like the woman interviewed last week who thought that Bush would do more to keep down prescription drug costs and she hadn't heard Kerry mention that.)

The real question is still turnout and new voters, and that's where the four points will come from. I had my doubts, but it does all seem to be coming together. Let's look at the alternative argument. I've started reading the right-wing blog redstate.org, a dailykos clone, although humorless and entirely without subtlety, and here's their case against Kerry's chances:

Kerry is running even in New Jersey and Hawaii, two Democratic states. He has pulled out of Colorado. He and Bush are focusing on the same core states, but Kerry is having to defend more. In addition, and a weakness of Kerry's campaign, grassroots activism has been outsourced to 527 organizations. Coordination with the candidate is illegal. The Bush campaign, on the other hand, has had an iron hand clenched around its 72, now 96, hour program. It knows who will be voting on a block by block basis in most, if not all, of the swing states.

If Bush can turn out his voters, he will win.

The interesting thing about this analysis is that it is demonstrably false in each and every particular: New Jersey is not in play, and Bush is still well below 50% in Hawaii, a weird glitch which the Democrats dealt with in time. Colorado would have been a bonus, and might still be. The only states Kerry is still seriously "defending" that Gore won are Wisconsin and Iowa, whereas Bush is "defending" the much larger states of Ohio and Florida as well as Nevada and New Hampshire. And while I have always worried about the "outsourcing" of political activity to independent groups, and especially about disconnecting advertising from the candidate, I have seen absolutely no sign that it has been any kind of a problem at all in the voter turnout activities. I'm sure that Americans Coming Together and the other 527s will ultimately turn out to be a mixed bag, with some areas a mess and others very strong. But none of the problems that I have heard about seem related to lack of coordination with the Kerry campaign, and there are many reasons to believe that the effort is much stronger for being able to operate independently. It is just so clear cut that the more people vote, especially new and infrequent voters, Democrats will win, that there is no need at all for any kind of coordination on message.

I'm sure it's true that the Bush campaign's "96 Hour Program" for voter turnout is much more tightly controlled and that they know their voters. But they have to. Even if Rove's fantasy of 4 million missing white evangelicals who didn't vote in 2000 because they were turned off by the news of Bush's DUI were totally true, the Bush campaign would still have to find those voters and identify them. The potential pool of missing voters for Kerry is much larger, and you don't need as precise a list: increasing the number of new voters, young voters, African-American and Hispanic voters, and women will serve the purpose quite well, even if a few Bush voters get caught in the net.

p.s. When I first posted this, I didn't link to this historical analysis from earlier in the week that demonstrated that undecideds don't always break for the challenger in presidential elections, which raised some questions. I found this analysis generally persuasive, though not relevant. The best example of an incumbent getting the break is Ford in 1976, who mounted a ferocious comeback which despite his loss is still considered one of the most successful moves in modern politics. He almost got out of the hole Dick Cheney and Dick Nixon had dug for him. The other examples are mostly cases where a challenge failed to materialize, such as Stevenson in 1956, McGovern in 1972, and Mondale in 1984. By the last weekend, it was pretty obvious they were losers and undecideds went with the winner. But those examples don't apply here, and neither does Ford. Ford was the incumbent, but he was carrying Nixon's baggage, and as he separated himself and voters became comfortable with him on his own, he got a second look. Bush's baggage is his own.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on October 30, 2004 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Predictions:

» Presidential Election Predictions from Wampum
Here is a sampling of Presidential election predictions from around the 'sphere: From Meet The Press: Charlie Cook: Bush 271 Kerry 269 (sic. I think he means 271-267). Peter Hart: Kerry 277 Bill McInturff: Bush 278 Atrios: Kerry 284 Slate... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 17, 2004 9:22:08 AM

» Furniture search by phrase: Daybeds from Searching the Catalog
Modern furniture design store : Contemporary lighting, cool accessories and ... with the exact phrase. with at least one of the words. without the words ... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 12, 2006 10:52:41 PM

» POLITICS: Early Christmas For Jews; Palestinians Trying to Kill Each Other. from Mahmoud Abbas.
working relationship. That relationship worsened on Thursday when Hamas appointed a well-known militant to a top security position in the ministry. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 25, 2006 7:49:18 AM

» James' 39 Help Raptors End 10-Game Skid from as the Raptors
James scored 20 of his career-high 39 points in the fourth quarter as the Raptors [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 27, 2006 4:18:43 AM

» Many Fear Russia Slipping Into Secrecy (AP) from show of openness
that forced the government into an unprecedented show of openness that paved the way for reforms leading to the Soviet collapse. [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 27, 2006 9:39:21 PM

» Glaxo and Astra drug profits soar from and AstraZeneca
and AstraZeneca both report sharp rises in profits for the first three months of [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 30, 2006 6:00:49 AM

» New ESRI Instructional Series Podcast: QA/QC for GIS Data: Recording and Tracking Errors from the benefits
of establishing an error recording and tracking mechanism and a GIS strategy for implementation. [Read More]

Tracked on May 4, 2006 10:42:07 AM

» Telecom Italia 1Q Net +13%, Margins Fall from net profit rose
Italia, Monday said first-quarter net profit rose 13% due to the buyout of its mobile [Read More]

Tracked on May 14, 2006 11:38:23 AM

» Heat Moves On, Draws Nets in Second Round from The assignment
O'Neal had his best playoff game as a member of the Miami Heat, finishing with 30 points and 20 rebounds. [Read More]

Tracked on May 21, 2006 6:14:49 AM

» Securing a Management Position Without Management Experience from Trackback
Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/dingpr.php/TWFnbi1Mb3ZlLVNpbmctQ3Jhcy1IYWxmLVplcm8= [Read More]

Tracked on May 22, 2006 9:44:22 PM

» Spurs are What Mavs Need Next from Sefko of THE
butt-whippin' hasn't been invented yet that was more thorough than what the Mavericks did to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2006 12:46:15 PM

» International PHP Conference 2006 Call for Papers from last year, we'll
2006, 5th to 8th November 2009 at Frankfurt/Main Germany, has been started. The Conference features [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2006 7:30:31 PM

» Dictionary Search Page from Dictionary Search
An unabridged dictionary from aalii to zymurgy, including a pronunciation guide... [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2006 8:34:49 PM

» Texas teenager dies of rabies from bat bite from who was bitten
teenager who was bitten by a bat while he slept in his home has died of rabies, the Houston hospital that treated him said in a statement. [Read More]

Tracked on May 27, 2006 6:59:04 AM

» Ginobili Looking to Regain Energy, Spark Spurs from playoff games,
the rest of his season. A half-dozen bruises. A couple of games where he looked to be playing [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 6:36:06 PM

» Italian Charms from ItalianCharms -- Search results
Italian charms has stainless links from companies by Zoppini, Boxing, ReFlorence, Puzzle, Ryry, Talexia & Unodomani... [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 6:53:47 PM

» India - Blasts in Delhi's main mosque, 15 injured from when two bombs
least 15 people were injured when two bombs exploded in rapid succession in the courtyard of the Jama Masjid, [Read More]

Tracked on May 30, 2006 11:44:11 PM

» Shaq Takes Shots Both On and Off Court from particular request
Ethan J. Skolnick in THE SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL. Yet this week, before facing Dampier for the first time in [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 18, 2006 3:13:21 PM

» Attacks Across Iraq Kill More Than 70 from Than 70 People,
Than 70 People, Including U.S., British Soldiers, Killed in Attacks Across Iraq [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 8, 2006 4:22:30 PM

» Israel Shows Video of Hezbollah Fighter from aptured Hezbollah
aptured Hezbollah Guerrilla Says in Israeli Video He Took Part in Raid [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 9, 2006 8:47:26 PM


"It's not because I believe in the iron law that undecideds break for the challenger, because in presidential races they obviously don't always."

Yes they do, or at least they always have until now. What would be the exceptions?

Posted by: David Weman | Oct 30, 2004 11:42:31 PM

It isn't only the undecided whose logic is impenetrable. I recently spoke to someone who is going to vote for Bush because Mrs. Kerry did not know that Wendy's sold chili (or alternatively did not know what chili was).

Posted by: ej | Oct 31, 2004 1:57:07 AM

Potential pool of missing voters? There are 8.3 million U.S. citizens who have French ancestry. I'm one. It's sure obvious who doesn't want my vote.

Posted by: ej | Oct 31, 2004 2:03:48 AM

Wendy's sells chili?

Posted by: Walt Pohl | Oct 31, 2004 2:55:54 AM

I live in Toledo, OH (Lucas Co.), which is pretty much ground zero. The GOTV efforts here going well -- better than other years.

I'm helping with MoveOn, and their work here is something of a mixed bag (though on balance, good). I have friends helping with the local party, and they are going all out, 527s or no. Yesterday, I hear Mayor Ford speak, and he outling the aid the state party was sending up, and it was significant.

So even if the 527s stummble, I don't think they are weakening the party's efforts.

Posted by: Douglas Anders | Oct 31, 2004 7:07:51 AM

Humorless?! That's it. Pistols at dawn. ;)

Posted by: Mike Krempasky | Oct 31, 2004 7:49:03 AM

Thanks for the pointer to Mike Lux's prediction! I worked with Mike twenty years ago and respect his judgment. (I can imagine him blushing furiously at being described as a genius.)

With so much to do between now and Tuesday evening, I need to swear off the net, polls, and predictions right NOW, so will join you in endorsing his four-point scenario.

Taking a deep breath and logging off until Wednesday..........

Posted by: Nell Lancaster | Oct 31, 2004 11:50:36 AM

How you feelin' about Red State's analysis these days, Mark?

Posted by: Tacitus | Nov 5, 2004 8:29:50 AM

Just ran across this post and want to quote one of the comments back to you:

"Thanks for the pointer to Mike Lux's prediction! I worked with Mike twenty years ago and respect his judgment. (I can imagine him blushing furiously at being described as a genius.)

With so much to do between now and Tuesday evening, I need to swear off the net, polls, and predictions right NOW, so will join you in endorsing his four-point scenario......"


Posted by: Granddaddy Long Legs | Jun 1, 2006 4:07:11 PM