A lot of Democrats are getting awfully nervous over national polls that show President Bush with as much as a 13 point lead over John Kerry. Well, that’s why the media focuses on the horse race… they want to make you nervous, so that you’ll stay tuned for every second of the homestretch.
For some reason people keep asking me for my prognostication, as if I have any special insight or inside knowledge. And they are usually surprised by my calm confidence that Kerry has the upper hand.
Admittedly, my opinion is based mostly on instinct, but I just don’t trust the polls. I believe that there are large numbers of closeted Kerry voters, struggling to admit their preference to themselves, let alone pollsters. Besides… does anybody really believe that the GOP convention was convincing enough to produce such a large and permanent swing?
Of course, I’m just an arrogant blowhard, so perhaps my optimism is based on wishful thinking. But I feel a lot better thinking wishfully after reading the latest “Kumbaya, Dammit” column by political consultant Dan Carol: “Forget the Polls“.
Well, the dirty little secret is that polling is less scientific than we’re led on.
So I am here to tell you, as a supposed expert on politics, that the race will stay ugly and close to the end — no matter what the latest polls say.
That plus this: we’re gonna win, for sure. No matter what the polls say.
Dan’s a thoughtful guy who has been running campaigns for a living for years, so he’s drawing from a wealth of personal experience. He’s also pretty well connected, so I’m sure he has access to the kind of inside information I can only dream of.
His thesis is that the polls are wrong because they rely on a faulty voter turnout model. He’s counting on Democratic efforts that have registered 3 million new voters nationwide (a 3 to 1 D-to-R ratio in Oregon), and a higher than usual youth vote. (Can anybody say “draft”?)
Personally, I think Democrats are just plain more enthusiastic about this election than Republicans. In Washington state, most of the media was quick to dismiss the Dem’s 20 point turnout advantage in last week’s primary, but I think part of that reflected an eagerness to go to the polls that will be repeated on November 2… nationwide.
Like Dan, I’m not suggesting you can sit back and relax. There’s still a lot of hard work that needs to be done. But jump into the homestretch with the confidence that we can and will pull this out at the end.