A reader brings to my attention this comment on polls by Steven Den Beste (with an interesting graph). Den Beste thinks this:
"In September, I think there was a deliberate attempt to depress Kerrys numbers, so as to set up an October comeback. Of course, the goal was to engineer a bandwagon. Public opinion isnt usually as ephemeral as these polls suggest that it is. But there can be long-term trends, and I find it interesting that such a thing actually does show through. Its quite striking how close some of the data falls to the long term trendlines which Ive drawn in. The reason the Democrats and the MSM are getting frantic is that theyre losing." This is not an unreasonable or silly opinion. There is no question in my mind that the MSM is covering Kerrys rear and they are incompletely reporting the facts of the campaign, or that they are intentionally misleading. I also understand that polls--in large measure--are political acts, yet it is very difficult to hide the movement toward one candidate or another, especially near the end (unless, of course, the election is as close as the 2000 election was).
The Belmont Club reflects on the Den Beste analysis and says this, in part: "Follow the link to his graph, which visually conveys more information than can be easily described. The most striking thing about the Kerry trend line is that it suggests a system that has been maxed out, like an engine which has reached the limit of its design. That suggests a far larger problem for Liberals then the mere weakness of a Kerry candidacy. To a substantial extent, Kerry is a proxy for an abstract candidate called Anybody But Bush. The failure to get maximum acceleration when the Left needs it most could indicate that its traditional political instruments are losing traction. Celebrity endorsements, mainstream media support, favorable reviews from academia plus street events rooted in the old antiwar-civil rights movement -- the old winning combinations -- no longer have an overwhelming effect. That doesnt mean they have no effect. We will know whether Steven den Bestes long term trend lines are correct in a little over two weeks.
A big Kerry win will indicate will indicate that the Liberal position is after all, a stable one, and that the system is returning to its equilibrium state after an accidental derangement occasioned by September 11. George Bush will have been identified as an aberration; the United Nations and the transatlantic alliance will reassume their accustomed places. The old order will be restored. But a Kerry loss or even a narrow win will suggest that a permanent sea-change has taken place."