Man Without Qualities

Saturday, October 23, 2004


The Man Without Qualities believes that pollster John Zogby often manipulates his results for media effect, and it's no surprise that Mr. Zogby now has a comfortable relationship with Reuters, the "news" service. In addition, John Zogby's brother, James Zogby, is founder and president of the Arab American Institute, which bills itself as "the policy and political research arm of the Arab American Community" but whose activities are often rather partisan. The two brothers are on very good terms. That fraternal relationship was hardly worth a mention in 2000.

For all that, Mr. Zogby is a very intelligent and talented man who has lots of information at his command. So it's worth reading what he has to say, even though what he has to say should be viewed with more than one's customary level of skepticism. Here's some of what he's saying today:

Bush led Kerry 47-45 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, a statistical dead heat that was within the poll's margin of error. Bush had an identical 47-45 percent lead the previous day.

About 6 percent of likely voters are still undecided between the president and the Massachusetts senator 10 days before the Nov. 2 election, and neither candidate has been able to break 50 percent since the poll began on Oct. 7.

Pollster John Zogby said the tense White House battle evoked memories of the disputed 2000 election narrowly won by Bush over Democrat Al Gore. At this stage of the 2000 race, Bush had a one-point lead over Gore in the tracking poll.

Zogby said Bush was performing slightly better this year in the states he won in 2000 -- the so-called "red states" named for the color used by television networks to identify them -- than Kerry was in the states won by Gore.

"Bush leads in the 'red states' 51 percent to 42 percent, while Kerry leads in the 'blue states' by only 47 percent to 43 percent," Zogby said.

So according to John Zogby, Mr. Bush is now doing better in the states he won in 2000 than he did in that campaign. Senator Kerry is doing worse in the states that Mr. Gore won. Mr. Gore took some states in 2000 by only a handful of votes, and, because of redistricting, the states Mr. Bush won in 2000 count for more in the Electoral College in 2004 than they did in 2000, and the states Mr. Gore won count for less than then did in 2004.

When do the undecideds start to break for the challenger?

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