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Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Your Weekly Toast
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:33 am

-Rounding-up, analyzing and handicapping the 2004 election-

Texas Toast or French Toast?
Tracking the race to the White House.


This Week’s Toast-O-Meter reading

Many analysts have declared that the situation, if taken in historical terms, looks quite favorable to Kerry. Mostly there has been a great deal of discussion about “the rules? (what the horse race figures usually look like at this point for a president seeking re-election, “re-elect? numbers, “right-track/wrong-track? numbers, approval ratings, a number of things). Now, the bag is mixed: some of “the rules? favor Kerry, other favor Bush. However, one thesis is that people make up their mind on the incumbent first, meaning that the undecided tend to break for the challenger at the last minute. Given the tightness of the polls, this scenario would favor Kerry.

In other words, historical trends would tend to indicate that President Bush’s support is largely locked in, and that Kerry has more growth potential. Since “growth potential? in this race could mean a few percentage points, if this theory holds Kerry is in really good shape.

However, for a variety of reasons I am not convinced that “the rules? hold in this cycle. For one thing, the clear polarization of the electorate is unusual, historically speaking, and the extremely small number of “undecideds? is an unusual phenomenon as well-especially given that the numbers in question have been steady from very early on in this election.

Further, I don’t think that some of the current analysis takes into account the heavily back-loaded aspect of the Republican campaign. There are three sets of events that have yet to happen that I think will have important effects on this race: the Republican National Convention (prediction: the “rule? that says that the incumbent only gets 2/3rds of the bounce of the challenger will be broken this year), the 9/11 anniversary and the debates.

While it is true that Kerry’s numbers have improved on issues of national security, if one looks at the Pew number cited below, it is only the hard-core Democratic base who see Kerry as the candidate who will best deal with terrorism. Further, while the Kerry camp argues that the DNC made the case that Kerry could be a credible commander-in-chief, I am thinking that the RNC and the 9/11 memorial will reinforce the image of Bush as CinC. Further, someone needs to put Kerry’s Senate career on a milk cartoon, but it is currently missing in action.

This week’s reading of the Toast-O-Meter shows a tie, after two weeks of a slight edge for Bush—call this Toast within the margin of error:

And before you feast on the individual departments of this week’s toasty tome, WaPo has some great overview charts on this race that are worth a look.


  • McCain campaigns with president in Florida (Bush’s 24th trip to that state since assuming office).
  • Bush, McCain Campaign in N.M., Arizona.
  • Kerry Stumps for N.M. Votes.
  • Front-Porch Chat: Birth of a Kerry Campaign Tactic.


  • Bush Ad Assails Kerry on Intelligence.
  • Company Corners Market on Political Ads.

Brewing Issues

  • Kerry Talks Prescription Drugs.
  • Bush Says National Sales Tax Worth Considering. My guess is that this goes nowhere. I am simply surprised he even uttered the words.
  • Bush Challenges Kerry on Iraq Withdrawal.
  • Mocking Drowns Out Kerry’s Explanation of Iraq Vote.
  • Gay Marriage Becomes a Swing Issue With Pull.
  • Oil Above $46 and Far Above OPEC’s Ceiling.
  • Stephen Green discusses the potential political implications of the McGreevey situation to the presidential elections.



  • Kerry promises more money for national parks.
  • Kerry Promotes Energy Independence Plan.
  • Edwards Promises Aid to U.S. Farmers
  • Bush Promises Quick Hurricane Relief. This is one of those deals where being President is to one’s advantage. Of course, if relief isn’t “quick” (and such things are subjective) then such a promise could easily backfire.


(Wherein it just so happens that I decided to reveal my plan to promote the greater usage of celery as an alternative fuel at the National Celery Association’s annual meeting).

  • Kerry Criticizes U.S. Plan to Send Nuclear Waste to Nevada
    Seizing on an issue that this state’s Democratic senator calls “the most important to the people of Nevada,” Senator John Kerry vowed Tuesday not to send nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain and accused President Bush of breaking a similar promise he made four years ago.

    In a state that Mr. Bush won by four percentage points in 2000, Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, hammered at the administration’s support for the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

    “Yucca Mountain to me is a symbol of the recklessness and arrogance with which they are willing to proceed with respect to the safety issues and concerns of the American people,” Mr. Kerry said of the administration.

  • Bush vows to fight for funds for Oregon
    Campaigning in a state he lost by less than 7,000 votes four years ago, President Bush weighed in with support for Oregon on Friday, saying his administration will fight for federal money that would boost the state’s economy. After repeated requests, Bush says the White House is supporting $15 million in proposed congressional appropriations to deepen a 100-mile channel from Portland to the Pacific Ocean.

  • Kerry looking for votes among sportsmen who once shunned Democrats.
Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | |Send TrackBack

Outside The Beltway linked with Kerry: The Missing Years
The American Mind linked with Weblog Math
Mark the Pundit linked with Toast
Dean's World linked with Toast-O-Meter
King of Fools linked with Ding!
Outside The Beltway linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
The Moderate Voice linked with Toast-O-Meter: The Political Conventional Wisdom May Not Apply This year
The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with Fresh Readings from the Toast-O-Meter


  1. Fresh Readings from the Toast-O-Meter
    The latest Toast-O-Meter is up….

    Trackback by The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 8:49 am

  2. Fresh Readings from the Toast-O-Meter
    The latest Toast-O-Meter is up….

    Trackback by The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 8:50 am

  3. Toast-O-Meter: The Political Conventional Wisdom May Not Apply This year
    Steven Taylor has his excellent Toast-0-Meter political pulse-taking, analysis and round up up. And it is more than worth your time — even if you’re not a political junkie. His verdict: at this point in the race, it’s a tie

    Trackback by The Moderate Voice — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 9:53 am

  4. For your pander bear attack, you need to check out some early PvP comics — some nice shots of a panda bear gnawing on a main character’s head, for example.

    Comment by Steven L. — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 10:53 am

  5. I shall give it a looksee.


    Comment by Steven Taylor — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 11:00 am

  6. Further, someone needs to put Kerry’s Senate career on a milk cartoon, but it is currently missing in action.

    Should we wear bracelets?

    Comment by Dave Schuler — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 11:17 am

  7. Beltway Traffic Jam
    The Tuesday linkfest:

    Eric Lindolm examines the similarities between John Kerry and Huck Finn.
    Eugene Volokh notes the partisan activities of some avowedly non-partisan diplomats.
    Hanah Metchis’ hair is 60% silkier than usual.

    Steven Ta…

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 12:30 pm

  8. Ding!
    Your weekly toast is ready….

    Trackback by King of Fools — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 12:31 pm

  9. THE DEBATES??? Yeah, that’ll really break it open for GW. Unless Bush is debating a retarded chimp with a cleft palate, I don’t think he stands a chance…

    Comment by drew — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 1:38 pm

  10. Toast-O-Meter
    The latest Toast-O-Meter is available for political junkies’ reading pleasure.

    Trackback by Dean's World — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 5:59 pm

  11. Toast
    Better late than never, so if you have not seen it, check out the latest Toast-O-Meter….

    Trackback by Mark the Pundit — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 6:20 pm

  12. Drew is not being very constructive with his hurtful, anthropocentric remarks directed at primates with disabilities.

    Comment by Joe Schild — Tuesday, August 17, 2004 @ 10:51 pm

  13. Weblog Math
    Bonfire + bread = toast….

    Trackback by The American Mind — Wednesday, August 18, 2004 @ 1:09 am

  14. -*
    It would be so cool if JOE LEIBERMAN pulled a WINSTON CHURCHILL and crossed the floor to the Middle and United with George Bush, what an effective Government there would be.

    Comment by augurwell — Wednesday, August 18, 2004 @ 2:13 am

  15. Kerry: The Missing Years
    Steven Taylor chronicles the flap over the Kerry campaigns staff’s claim that their fearless leader was vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when, in fact, that was Bob Kerrey. While that’s certainly rather embarrassing, I’m…

    Trackback by Outside The Beltway — Wednesday, August 18, 2004 @ 7:14 am

  16. Drew: Isn’t that what they said about the Bush/Gore debates? Expectations are part of winning debates. In that sense dabates have built-in handicaps.

    Comment by Kyle — Wednesday, August 18, 2004 @ 8:20 am

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