Man Without Qualities

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Fox News Poll

After several days of the Bush administration being harshly criticized by a former staffer, as well as two weeks of heavy and hard-hitting advertising by both campaigns, this weekÂ’s Fox News poll shows no movement in the vote for president. Bush and Kerry each capture the support of 44 percent of voters in a head-to-head matchup, if the presidential election were held today. Earlier in the month the race was also tied at 44 percent each.

When independent candidate Ralph Nader is included he receives three percent, Bush 43 percent and Kerry 42 percent.

And what we've seen over the last few days was pretty much the Democrat's best shot.

POSTSCIPT: One might note that the Fox News Poll is conducted among registered voters, where the Rassmussen tracking poll - which most recently showed Bush trailing Kerry by 4% - is conducted among likely voters. It is worth asking how much faith one has in a pollster's determination of who is a "likely voter" eight months before an election, and it is more than strange that shifting from registered voters to likely voters in this case would favor John Kerry, whose "hard support" numbers are a lot lower by many counts than are Bush's. In the delicate phrasing of the Los Angeles Times article on the subject: Kerry's Task Now Is to Win Enthusiasm of Democrats:

[E]ven as he sets his sights on the fall contest against President Bush, Kerry faces a challenge within his own party, rallying Democrats who seem more passionate at this point about beating the Republican incumbent than backing the party's apparent nominee-to-be. "The early Kerry people are certainly enthusiastic about their guy," said David Rosen, a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago. "But the rest of the folks, the folks coming over and jumping on the bandwagon, I don't think they have this great enthusiasm yet for Kerry." Rosen is convinced that will change as the senator becomes better known. But for now, Rosen and others say Kerry is still a mystery to many fellow Democrats, who know little beyond the fact that he once served in Vietnam and won a succession of primaries to clinch the party's nomination in record time.

John Kerry's personal history is not, to my knowledge, full of evidence suggesting that he receives greater enthusiasm the better he is known - quite the contrary. But Mr. Rosen is entitled to his own enthusiams. For the moment, it is odd, to say the least, that a candidate who is not even known in his own party would be doing better among likely voters that he is among registered voters. That stronglysuggestss that Rassmussen tracking poll definition of likely voter is, shall we say, eccentric.

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