Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

May 12, 2004

by V

He's not even nominated yet!

Panicky Dem staffers who like to see their complaints in the Post (and the Village Voice) saying "Kerry's screwing it all up!" would do well to listen hard to pollster Mark Mellman. He provides a useful sanity check for anyone inclined to treat May like it's November:

Kerry's legendary lead =The Hill.com=
...some incumbents who went on to lose were doing better than Bush is today. The president's father led Clinton by six points at this stage but was beaten anyway.

Thus, Kerry's [5-point] margin is 11 points better than was Bill Clinton's at a similar point in time against Bush I. What, you haven't seen that "Kerry stronger than Clinton" headline?
Excellent media jab.
... I keep referring to "this point in time." Why? Because campaigns are events that unfold over the course of the cycle. Most of the movement in polls comes in the aftermath of the conventions. Incumbent presidents are the best-known politicians around. Challengers are usually not as well known. Kerry is no exception. Today, many voters are expressing a preference for the Kerry they donít know over the Bush they do. That is striking. Often, unpopular politicians still lead at this stage.
The election is not tomorrow. Kerry's running neck-and-neck even before he's had his big nomination party hoo-hah.

And you know, funny thing: there's a full-length Presidential campaign season that starts right after the party's convention. Weird, I know! But I think that's how it usually works.

Relax!

Well. Don't relax, exactly.

But stop acting like the sky is falling. So far, Kerry's doing better than just about any challenger, ever (and raising more money than any Democrat in history).

That's praiseworthy, not panic-inducing.
Posted by V at May 12, 2004 03:22 PM
Comments

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir


Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush


Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror


LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right


The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling


The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow


Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars


Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative


Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

In Association with Amazon.com