Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Things fall apart?

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 Kerry’s numbers, so as to set up an ’October comeback’. Of course, the goal was to engineer a bandwagon. Public opinion isn’t 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. It’s quite striking how close some of the data falls to the long term trendlines which I’ve drawn in. The reason the Democrats and the MSM are getting frantic is that they’re losing." This is not an unreasonable or silly opinion. There is no question in my mind that the MSM is covering Kerry’s 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 doesn’t mean they have no effect. We will know whether Steven den Beste’s 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."

Discussions - 1 Comment

What the MSM and some of the pollsters have done appears to be a form of "sandbagging."

For those lucky enough not to be golfers, sandbagging is lying about one’s handicap by pretending to be a worse golfer than one really is (it’s something sneaks do to try and win tournaments at clubs where they’re not well known).

Mostly by the simple expedient of playing with party-identification percentages in their samples, the pollsters made Bush look stronger than he was in September so they could boom for a phony "Kerry comeback" in October. There were mixed motives: A tight race is good for ratings, and the MSM is full of people who hate Bush.

Certainly the wide swings in partisan ID in the polls around the time of the first debate were mighty fishy.

But it appears that the MSM has mostly spun itself, and at no point has the Electoral College map looked as good for Kerry as it does for Bush.

On a related note, I just heard Juan Williams on the C-Span rebroadcast of this morning’s talking-heads show that he’s on (is it Fox News Sunday?). Williams was whining about how effective the Cheneys’ flaying of Kerry and Edwards has been, and about how many people in focus groups he’s done keep bringing up what the Swifties & POWs for Truth have shown about Kerry.

Game and set to the Cheneys and the Swifties. Match Nov. 2nd.

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