Tuesday, October 05, 2004

All Your Polls Explained Right Here!

RCP has all the post debate polls, and it looks like Kerry may have gotten a slightly larger national bump than I predicted. I note, however, that the battleground surveys seem to show Bush holding steady at worst. (Vodkapundit has his own electoral college analysis, and links to a few others here. The state-by-state numbers on Tradesports.com come up with the same breakdown as VP: Bush 295, Kerry 243. I think the only difference between the two is that Tradesports gives Bush New Hampshire and Kerry Maine. Interestingly, when I looked a bit ago, the only races that were very close either way (ie, under 55.o for either guy) were New Hampshire and Iowa, which were at 51.0 and 54.1 for Bush, respectively.)

This suggests that the debate reenergized some of Kerry's previously demoralized base on the coasts, but didn't help him much where it counts. This renewed excitement among the base would also explain why there are suddently a lot more Democrats in many national surveys.

But remember, a decent chunk of Kerry's base really doesn't like him - they just hate Bush. When Kerry looks like he might get rid of Bush, they get excited and tell pollsters they're definitely going to vote. When it looks like Bush will probably win, Kerry's base disappears. I think this explains why there have been a few wild swings in the polling despite the fact that there really aren't many swing voters. It's not (so much) the people in the middle who are switching between Kerry and Bush (pace Mark Penn) - it's the people on the far left switching between Kerry and none of the above.

If Kerry's "comeback" means he's still down in most of the polls after a couple more days, look for the base to lose its newfound energy, show up less and less in the likely voter samples, and thus further swing even the national polls back somewhat towards Republicans and Bush. (Of course, the MSM will strive to prevent this, just as they predictably strove to spin the debate into the start of The Comeback. Let's see how effective they are at hiding the state polls and pumping the Kerry-friendly nationals.)