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September 27, 2004

EARLY VOTING A PROBLEM FOR KERRY

THIS MORNING'S WALL STREET JOURNAL has a significant piece on early voting--which has become so prevalent, especially in battleground states, that estimates are between 25% and 30% of the vote will actually have been cast before November 2.

This has got to be a disadvantage for Kerry--who, as polls we've cited show, only a little more than a third of the electorate believe has a clear message. . Kerry will need ever day he can get to convince voters to fire Bush. And, since his campaign's mystifying decision to focus the final weeks on Iraq has shown no signs it's working so far, a huge chunk of the electorate actually will be casting its vote one, or two, or three, or four weeks before the rest of the country. And, consequently, with less exposure to any Kerry course corrections or TV ads.

Moreover, this crucial fact makes this week's first presidential debate even more of a make or break for Kerry. Early voting means that some people will have already voted by the time the second and third debates are aired. Thus, if Kerry doesn't do extraordinarily well in the first debate--traditionally the most-watched in any case--he won't be able to recover any lost early voters by better performances in the later debates.

And, don't forget, thanks to an idiotic decision by the Kerry campaign's debate negotiator, Vernon Jordan (which I analyzed earlier), the topic of the first debate has been switched from domestic policy to foreign affairs--meaning Iraq and the war on terrorism, two areas where the polls continue to show a sizable Bush advantage over Kerry. So, the early voters won't get a chance to hear Kerry talking in a focussed way to the nation about jobs and the economy, as many Nov. 2 voters presumably will. And, in close battleground states, this Bush advantage among early voters (doubled, because traditionally they tend to be upscale on the economic ladder--, and thus more pro-Bush because of his tax cuts) may be enough to provide the margin of victory in those states.
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The Associated Press this morning has a nice compilation of Bush quotes on Russia and Chechnya. Talk about flip-flopping! ...

This morning's Los Angeles Times has a piece proclaiming that Kerry cannot take Oregon for granted--and explaining why. Since traditionally Democratic Oregon is now in play, that means the Kerry campaign will have to spend money there to make sure the state doesn't slip to Bush instead of in a battleground state. And, don't forget, the brilliant Karl Rove decision to hold the GOP convention late meant that--because of the federal spending limits for the fall--the Bush campaign had a $13 millilon advantage in spending for the fall campaign, since Kerry had already spent part of his permitted cash after his convention but before the Republicans. The federal caps mean that Kerry's campaign is stretched very thin already....

Also in the L.A. Times, an intelligent Ron Brownstein piece making the point (which we've been arguing for some time) that "in a country split evenly on other issues, national security has become a thumb on the scales for the GOP."


The Hotline , which has the best state tracking, this morning has Bush ahead in 30 states, Kerry ahead in 14, and 7 tied--giving Bush 262 electoral votes, with 72 still up for grabs....

THE ANTI-GAY MARRIAGE crusaders are devouring their young. The Southern Voice reports that the Christian Coalition leader in Georgia who led the charge against marriage equality there has an out lesbian daughter who lives with her partner and their child.... And this morning, Christian Grantham's blog for Outlet Radio Network suggests that Alan Keyes--who denouced Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter for "selfish hedonism"--has a lesbian daughter himself...


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Traditionally Democratic Oregon? Only if American history starts in 1988....

Posted by: Steve Smith | Sep 28, 2004 12:32:25 AM

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