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Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Wabbit Season! Duck Season! No, it’s the Official Campaign Season Toast-O-Meter!

By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:55 am

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

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


Well, it is always said that the Official Presidential CampaignTM starts after Labor Day, and here we are. Of course, to even the more casual of observers it is clear that we have been in the mano a mano phase since late February/early March.

This Week’s Toast-O-Meter reading

This has clearly been Bush’s week.

A successful convention, two polls with a double-digit Bush leads (and another with a 7-point lead), and Kerry having to engage in some re-organization all register as Wonder Bread for Bush.

On the other hand, the flames can be seen for Mr. Kerry for various signs of desperation, including reshuffling his staff and being told by President Clinton to tone down the ‘Nam talk. The fact that national security has become the issue doesn’t help Kerry either.

It ain’t over until one of these gentlemen is permanently toast, to be sure. However, at the moment, Kerry is approaching French-looking Toast


  • Bush and Kerry Trade Jabs on Campaign Trail.

  • Presidential Candidates Hit Midwest.
  • Kerry Takes Outsourcing Attack to N.C.
    McCain: Kerry’s Criticism of Bush Unfair
    “John Kerry’s characterization that the president is unfit for duty is unfair,” said McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona. “I categorically reject that just as I categorically reject allegations that Senator Kerry didn’t serve honorably.”

  • Swing-State Distortions: A Presidential Campaign Tinged With Rust

Brewing Issues

The Republicans have succeeded in making security, and specifically terrorism, the focal point of the campaign. Kerry must respond, and citing the number of people who need health insurance isn’t going to be sufficient. Unless some especially bad economics numbers come out (for example, if September job creation numbers are especially bad, or, if we lose jobs in September—which seems unlikely) then I am not sure that security will be eclipsed.

Kerry’s problem here are manifold. First, trying to compare Bush to Hoover is a dead end, in my opinion. For one thing, it is demonstrably the case that the current economy, net job losses or not, simply does not look like Hoover’s. For another, do most voters know who Hoover was? The guy who invented the vacuum cleaner or that FBI dude who allegedly wore dresses? Seriously: aside from a vague notion that something economically bad happened when Hoover was president is about all people know, if that. It is hardly a blazing memory seared, seared I say, in the minds of voters. If you want a President who is emblematic of a bad economy who people would remember cite Carter. Never mind, he was Democrat.

Second, while generically speaking the health care issue does resonate with the public, but it does not appear to be the case that public sentiment has shifted all that much since the early 1990s when the Clinton attempt at major health care reform resulted in a political disaster for the Clinton administration and contributed to the 1994 debacle at the ballot box for the Democrats. Further, by making promises on health care, Kerry opens up the ability for the Bush administration to attack Kerry as a Big Government Tax-and-Spend Massachusetts Liberal.

Third, Kerry’s lack of clarity on Iraq blunt his attacks on the President. Also, Kerry’s promise to withdraw troops from Iraq may please his base, but it sends a signal of weakness, calling into question as to whether he is really willing to fight the war on terror. Certainly that is the spin the Bush administration will put on the stance.

Indeed, in viewing the headlines, Robert Tagorda notes that despite the Kerry campaign’s desire to attack on domestic issues, that they are having trouble escaping security.

  • Bush, Kerry Clash Over Latest Jobs Report.

  • Kerry, Bush Duel Over Medicare, Terror War.
  • Kerry Needles Bush Over Health Care, Jobs.
  • Bush Reiterates Call for a Simpler Tax System.
  • In this NYT piece, Kerry Enlisting Clinton Aides in Effort to Refocus Campaign, we find out that President Clinton tells Kerry to take the focus off of Viet Nam. Good advice, but it may be too late.
  • Kerry Attacks Bush on Handling of Iraq.
  • Bush Says Kerry Tax Plan a Threat to Workers.
  • The Candidates: Bush and Kerry Clash Over Iraq and a Timetable.


  • Time: 11 point lead for Bush.
  • Newsweek: 11 point lead for Bush.
  • USA/CNN/Gallup: 7 point lead for Bush.
  • Kevin Drum notes several polls that will inspire more Democratic confidence than either the Time or Newsweek polls.
  • Zogby has Bush up by 2: 46-44 (with 9% undecided).
  • Rasmussen shows only a 1 point lead for Bush.
  • Mickey Kaus has much to say on polls (click and scroll-I am still at a loss as to why Slate can’t buy Mr. Kaus real live permalinks).
  • Political Wire has a run down of the latest polling, with some links to explanations and some state-level numbers to boot.
  • Joe Gandelman has extensive comments on the most recent polls.
  • Dave Wissing has the national head-to-head numbers.


  • Electoral College Scoreboard: Bush 305 Kerry 233.
  • Check out the latest at Election Projection - 2004 Edition.
  • As always, Dave Wissing has the state-by-state numbers.
  • Daly Thoughts and Dales’ Electoral College Breakdown has some new state-level numbers. Click and scroll.
Filed under: US Politics: 2004 Campaign
  • The Command Post - 2004 US Presidential Election linked with Post-Labor Day Toast
  • Backcountry Conservative linked with Texas Toast or French Toast?
  • mypetjawa v. 2.0 (beta) linked with Light, with rasberry marmalade please
  • Outside The Beltway � linked with Beltway Traffic Jam
  • Little Miss Attila linked with It's Always Breakfast Time
  • Dean\’s World linked with Toast-O-Meter
  • Dean\’s World linked with Toast-O-Meter
  • The Moderate Voice linked with New Political Toast_O-Meter

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  1. It may be instructive to include Zogby in your poll data. Either he knows something no one else does, or he is self destructing in spectacular fashion.


    Comment by Rich — Wednesday, September 8, 2004 @ 1:21 am

  2. He’s in there (there was an HTML glitch that had merged two of the bullets, however, making it harder to notice-it is fixed).

    Zogby, as of yesterday, had Bush up by 2.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Wednesday, September 8, 2004 @ 6:15 am

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