The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Friday, October 29, 2004

HERE WE GALLUP ALL OVER AGAIN? -- From The Angry Liberal we see that on October 27, 2000 a Gallup/USA Today/CNN poll put Bush at 52 percent nationally and Gore at 39 percent nationally. Ralph Nader scored at around four percent. See for yourself. If Gallup favored Kerry right now I wouldn't be comfortable.

A NEW FLORIDA POLL -- gives John Kerry a lead of less than two points over George W. Bush. However, there is more good news for Senator Kerry in this poll.
Florida may be headed for a repeat of 2000, with President Bush and John Kerry locked in an extremely competitive race for the presidency in a state that could hold the key to the national election, a new Florida Poll shows.

The two candidates are in a virtual tie in the contest for the state's 27 electoral votes, according to the poll conducted by the New York Times Regional Newspapers.

Kerry has 48.3 percent of the vote to Bush's 46.7 percent, while Ralph Nader claimed 1.5 percent of the Florida vote. Heading into the last weekend of the campaign, fewer than 4 percent of the voters are undecided.

The poll, which surveyed 802 likely voters from Oct. 23 to Oct. 27, had a 3 percent margin of error.
...
Other poll findings show why Kerry, the Democratic candidate, is remaining competitive in a state governed by the president's brother, Jeb Bush.

Kerry is winning the battle among independent voters, claiming 48 percent of the vote to the president's 40 percent.

Kerry also has a lead over Bush in the critical Interstate 4 corridor, with 50.5 percent of the vote to 45 percent. The I-4 corridor was defined as Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Osceola, Orange, Seminole and Volusia counties in the poll.

Kerry is also running surprisingly strongly among male voters, with each candidate taking 47 percent of the male vote. Among women, Kerry has a 49 percent to 46 percent lead, within the poll's margin of error.
People who know more about the byzantine political and social ways of Florida than I do tell me that winning the I-4 corridor is critical to winning the state. The candidate who wins that corridor will win Florida, I am told by reliable Florida political veterans. If this poll is accurate then John Kerry is putting himself in good shape down there.

VOTE GETTING OUT -- A big part of winning Florida [and thereby the national election] will be determined by which party does a better job of getting its supporters to the polls. This is called Get Out The Vote [GOTV] and right now it appears the Dems are doing well in Broward County, Florida, where early voting has been going on for some time.
Overwhelming numbers of Broward County Democrats have turned out to vote early in next week's election in what analysts say could be a bad sign for President Bush's chances to win the state.

Sen. John Kerry's campaign has pressed hard to get voters to the polls early in Broward's Democratic strongholds, knowing it must run up huge numbers here to offset Republican areas in Northern and Central Florida. As of Thursday morning, more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans had either voted at early voting sites or returned absentee ballots in the county.

The success of the Kerry get-out-the-vote drive is raising the stakes for local Democratic officials to fix problems that threaten to dampen turnout. On Thursday, the county ordered early voting centers to stay open late and began resending 16,000 absentee ballots that may have been lost.

"This makes it an extremely competitive situation in the state," said Mitch Ceasar, chairman of the Broward County Democratic Party. "We are on target for where we hoped we would be. People are so upset and distraught by the last four years of this president that they want to exercise their constitutional right to vote as soon as possible."

Pre-election balloting has long been a boon to the Republican Party. To counter that this year, Democratic campaign strategists targeted key bases among minority, senior citizen and union groups. Kerry, Bush and their surrogates repeatedly have come to South Florida over the past two weeks to tout early voting.

The Democrats' biggest success has been getting their base to cast ballots at the 14 early voting centers since they opened Oct. 18.

Although Democrats account for half of all registered voters in the county, they comprise more than 60 percent of the 95,000 people who have voted early.

Democrats also are outpolling Republicans in absentee balloting, but by margins more in line with registration. More than 29,000 registered Democrats have mailed in absentee ballots so far, compared with 20,000 Republicans.
...
Jim Kane, a bipartisan local pollster and editor of the Florida Voter newsletter, sees the trend as an early indicator that Kerry is on track to get the numbers he needs out of Broward. In 2000, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore carried Broward by a 210,000-vote margin only to lose the state to Bush by 537 votes. "The Republicans are getting their butts kicked on getting out the vote," Kane said. "The Democrats are doing a much better job, and that doesn't bode well for Bush on the day of election."
I guess the big question now is how many of these votes will actually be counted. The GOP will make a big push to disenfranchise as many African-American and non-Cuban Hispanic voters as possible. It'll be up to the Dems to prevent them from getting away with it because the national media has washed its hands of democracy in this country.

HELL FREEZES OVER -- And I expect pigs flying through the air over New Hampshire at this very moment. Via Daily Kos we learn that former Senator Robert Smith of New Hampshire, one of the most right-wing politicians in the history of the United States, is endorsing John F. Kerry for President.
As someone who worked with you daily for 12 years as a United States Senator, I am acutely conscious of the fact that we disagree on many important issues. Despite our differences, you have always been willing to engage in constructive debate in an effort to forge sound public policy.

I deeply respect your commitment to our nation and your patriotism which, I believe, was forged when you-like I-proudly wore the uniform of the United States Navy in Viet Nam...

Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism.

President Bush has failed to restrain federal spending, sending our deficit spinning into the stratosphere. I well remember that you were one of a handful of Democrats who crossed the aisle to forge a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to balance the federal budget [...]

John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you. So will my wife, Mary Jo, and all three of my children: Jason, Bobby and Jenny.

Moreover, I will do all that I can to encourage my friends in New Hampshire and Florida to join me in supporting you.
This one just about takes the taco. I confess I have no idea what to expect from this election anymore. Ed Koch is working for the gay-bashers and Bob Smith is voting for John Kerry. Figure that out and get back to me.

WHERE'S THE FRAUD? -- Here is the fraud:
When Catherine Herold received mail from the Ohio Republican Party earlier this year, she refused it.

The longtime Barberton Democrat wanted no part of the mailing and figured that by refusing it, the GOP would have to pay the return postage.

What she didn't count on was the returned mail being used to challenge the validity of her voter registration.

Herold,who is assistant to the senior vice president and provost at the University of Akron,was one of 976 Summit County voters whose registrations were challenged last week by local Republicans on behalf of the state party.

She went to the Board of Elections on Thursday morning to defend her right to vote and found herself among an angry mob -- people who had to take time off work to defend their right to vote.

After hearing some of the protests, the board voted unanimously to dismiss all 976 challenges.

The move, ironically, came from Republican board member Joseph Hutchinson and was seconded by Republican Alex Arshinkoff after they determined that the four local Republicans who made the challenges had no evidence to back up their claims.
...
In addition to dismissing the challenges, the elections board ordered that none of those voters whose registrations were called into question could be challenged again at the polls.

The board was giving each a letter to present at the polls should their registrations be challenged there.

``I'm 62 years old, I've been voting for 40 years.... I think it's appalling. It's scare tactics,'' Herold said after her hearing.

Herold said she moved in January, but changed her address with the board of elections and has voted twice since then -- in the March primary and in the August special election.

But returning the Republican literature landed her on the ``challenged'' list.

Many of the challenged voters -- initially 35,000 statewide -- were targeted because cards sent to them were returned to local boards of election as undeliverable.

Herold was angry when she was notified that her right to vote was being challenged.

``I felt that my voracity was being challenged, that my honor was being challenged. They basically were saying that I lied about where I lived. I resented that.''

The challengers, all older longtime Republicans -- Barbara Miller, Howard Calhoun, Madge Doerler and Louis Wray -- were subpoenaed by the elections board and were present at the hearings. Akron attorney Jack Morrison, a Republican, volunteered to represent the four.

Democratic board member Russ Pry suggested that the four could be subject to criminal prosecution for essentially making false claims on the challenge forms. The form states that making a false claim is subject to prosecution as a fifth-degree felony.
...
Wray filed a challenge against 25-year-old Barbara Jean DeWilde of Stow, but testified that he had no personal knowledge that DeWilde didn't live at her Stow address, other than information he received from Summit County Republican Party headquarters.
...
Twinsburg resident Errol Horam's registration was challenged twice.

An immigrant from Jamaica, Horam, 55, said he came to the United States because ``it is the greatest democracy on the face of the earth.''

``I am disappointed in the Republican Party,'' Horam said as he left the hearing room.

``I'm really disappointed that they are trampling on people's rights and democracy and depriving them of their right to vote.''

The angry voters had the Republicans on the defensive.

``Why'd you do it?'' one challenged voter shouted out at Calhoun. ``Who the hell are you?'' the man asked.

``What the hell do you care?'' replied Calhoun, an attorney.
...
Lisa McCraney of Tallmadge, whose husband RaShawn McCraney's registration was challenged, stepped up to the microphone and took to task those who filed the challenges.

``We work hard, just like you do, trying to make our living, trying to prove ourselves in this world to get to the point where we are 80 years old like you.

``But you signed your name to 200 documents of people you have never met a day in your life, challenging our right to vote.''

She finished talking to the four by telling them they needed to apologize.

Arshinkoff, chairman of the Summit County GOP, pointed to the state party and said Chairman Robert Bennett should be held accountable.
If it is going on in this one place in Ohio, you know it is going on elsewhere in that state, and in Wisconsin and Florida--anywhere the GOP thinks it can get away with stealing another election.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

HAROLD MEYERSON HAS SEEN THE FUTURE -- and he thinks it works. Mr Meyerson spent some time with liberal activists working to elect John F. Kerry on November 2nd and it was an impressive sight.
have spent the past week observing the official Democratic Party and unofficial 527 field operations in the battleground states of Ohio and Florida. And I have found something I’ve never before seen in my 36 or so years as a progressive activist and later as a journalist: an effective, fully functioning American left.

Those liberal organizations that already knew how to do politics — the AFL-CIO, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and a few others — are doing it better than they have before. Those liberal groups that stayed aloof from elections or phumphered ineffectually are now playing the game like seasoned pros. New organizations have arisen to mobilize sometime voters; the largest of them — America Coming Together (ACT) — will have 12,000 staffers in each of the three biggest battleground states (Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida) on Election Day.

And most amazingly, all the 527s — ACT, the AFL-CIO, the LCV, the Sierra Club, the NAACP, Emily’s List, MoveOn and 25 others — are working together under the umbrella of a single coalition, America Votes. They meet together, plan together, divvy up turf, parcel out messages, coordinate their mailing and phone banking.
...
If John Kerry is elected next Tuesday, the tsunami of volunteer activity within the independent groups will be in large part responsible. Whether this tsunami can be bottled — whether this coalition will take on a permanent life of its own, become an enduring progressive presence in American politics — is a question of resources, opportunity, Zeitgeist and even law (the legal status of the 527s may be under attack if Bush wins). But the leaders of progressive organizations, Democratic elected officials, and the hundreds of thousands of phone bankers and precinct walkers, each for their own reasons, want the outpouring of 2004 to become a fixture of American politics. “Progressives have been waiting for decades for a citizen-based movement to happen,” says Ed Cyr. “One that’s independent of the party, that’s integrated, that’s effective.”

“This is it,” says Cyr. “It’s happened.”
Let's hope Mr Meyerson and Mr Cyr are correct. The Democrats and their allies have potent GOTV talents, but the GOP effort to suppress the vote is at least as potent. I'm not quite as confident as Mr Meyerson appears to be. In a fair vote I have no doubt John Kerry would win this election by several percentage points. I just don't think we're going to see a fair vote. I don't think we're going to see anything like a fair vote.

WHAT WE'RE FACING -- The GOP will do anything to win steal this election and disenfranchising millions of African-Americans is near the top of their agenda.
Democrats on Wednesday denounced a Republican lawmaker quoted in a newspaper as saying the GOP would fare poorly in this year's elections if it failed to "suppress the Detroit vote."

State Rep. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, acknowledged using "a bad choice of words" but said his remark shouldn't be construed as racist.

Pappageorge, 73, was quoted in July 16 editions of the Detroit Free Press as saying, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election."

"I'm extremely disappointed in my colleague," state Sen. Buzz Thomas, D-Detroit, told reporters Wednesday during a conference call. "That's quite clearly code that they don't want black people to vote in this election."

Blacks comprise 83 percent of Detroit's population, and the city routinely gives Democratic candidates a substantial majority of its votes.

Pappageorge's remark reflected the GOP's failure to send black voters a persuasive message, said Rep. Alexander Lipsey, D-Kalamazoo.

"This is the endgame strategy the Republican Party has decided to utilize, rather than positive strategies," he said. "They are strategizing, "How can we get those folks we don't care about from going to the polls?"'

Pappageorge said he had not read the remark attributed to him but did not deny making it.
Never forget: This is what we face. [My emphasis.]

THIS MUST HAVE HURT -- The Economist has endorsed John F. Kerry for President. Guess they were wrong about Bush four years ago. So were a lot of people.

A NEW POLL FROM -- The Economist puts Kerry over Bush at 49-45 percent. Not sure I buy it, but there it is anyway.

MINORITY TURNOUT, 1 -- The Republican party is desperately attempting to keep African-American and Hispanic voters away from the polls on election day. However, their plan to suppress the minority vote in Ohio has just suffered a setback.
A U.S. District Court judge yesterday effectively ended efforts by Republicans in Ohio to challenge the eligibility of tens of thousands of voters in one of the most closely contested states in this year's presidential race.

Judge Susan J. Dlott in Cincinnati issued an order preventing local election boards from going forward with plans to notify challenged voters and hold hearings until she hears legal arguments tomorrow. But because her ruling means that those election board hearings cannot take place within the time frame state law requires before the election, Dlott's ruling killed the GOP effort that had targeted 35,000 voters, Democratic and Republican party officials said.

David Sullivan, director of the Democratic Party's Voter Protection Program in Ohio, praised the ruling and said the GOP was never able to offer proof that the challenged voters are ineligible. "The Republican assault on tens of thousands of Ohio voters was an unprecedented effort to intimidate voters, especially minorities, but it has backfired," he said.

Mark Weaver, a lawyer for the Ohio Republican Party, said yesterday's ruling does not prevent the party from going forward with plans to place 3,400 monitors in polling places, particularly in heavily Democratic urban areas. The challenges will take place Tuesday instead of being decided beforehand, he said.

States allow political parties to monitor polls and challenge voters' eligibility. In Ohio, the challenge is considered by a bipartisan election board.

"The ironic twist here is that now there will be longer lines [at the polls] because questions about voter eligibility will have to be decided on Election Day, rather than ahead of time," Weaver said.
So although the Republican plot to hold down minority turnout cannot go forward at the moment, it will be in full operation on election day itself. Will the media care? Of course not. That's why WE must care. The Bush-Cheney gang must not be allowed to steal this election, too.

MINORITY TURNOUT 2 -- Everyone knows minority turnout is important to a Democratic victory on November 2. However, a new poll from the Republican firm of Fabrizio McLaughlin Associates [FMA] demonstrates just how important minority voters are to Democrats and how dangerous to Republicans.

The sample that FMA drew from the battleground states was 89.5% white, 4.3% black, 1.9% Hispanic and that sample had a 47%-47% tie. However, exit polling from the 2000 election showed that turnout in those states was actually 85.3% white, 7.5% black, 5.7% Hispanic. When FMA conformed his sample to those ratios, Senatory Kerry holds a lead of 49.2% to 45.7% over Mr Bush.

Since the 2000 election, minority population has grown in the battleground states. To account for that, FMA combined the turnout ratios of 2000 with the current populaton mix as shown by the census figures, and with the cross tabs of his sample. Under those assumptions, Senator Kerry leads 49.9% to 44.7% over Mr Bush. As FMA put it:
[W]hen the data is weighted to reflect minority turnout based on the 2000 exit polls, Sen. Kerry leads by 3.5% and if minority turnout is weighted to census levels Sen. Kerry’s lead expands to 5.2%.
Republican attempts to suppress the minority vote in places like Florida and Ohio now becomes very clear. Unless the GOP can keep African-Americans and Hispanics away from the polls, they cannot win this election.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

A NEW NATIONAL -- Harris Poll puts Kerry at 48% and Bush at 47 percent.

COULDA HAD HIM -- Abu Musab Zarqawi, the madman Jordanian terrorist who is famous for beheading foreigners in Iraq and organizing innumerable attacks on U.S. troops in that country, should be dead by now. He would be if the Bush administration had not let him go. Those commies at The Wall Street Journal tell the story.
As the toll of mayhem inspired by terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi mounts in Iraq, some former officials and military officers increasingly wonder whether the Bush administration made a mistake months before the start of the war by stopping the military from attacking his camp in the northeastern part of that country.

The Pentagon drew up detailed plans in June 2002, giving the administration a series of options for a military strike on the camp Mr. Zarqawi was running then in remote northeastern Iraq, according to generals who were involved directly in planning the attack and several former White House staffers. They said the camp, near the town of Khurmal, was known to contain Mr. Zarqawi and his supporters as well as al Qaeda fighters, all of whom had fled from Afghanistan. Intelligence indicated the camp was training recruits and making poisons for attacks against the West.

Senior Pentagon officials who were involved in planning the attack said that even by spring 2002 Mr. Zarqawi had been identified as a significant terrorist target, based in part on intelligence that the camp he earlier ran in Afghanistan had been attempting to make chemical weapons, and because he was known as the head of a group that was plotting, and training for, attacks against the West. He already was identified as the ringleader in several failed terrorist plots against Israeli and European targets. In addition, by late 2002, while the White House still was deliberating over attacking the camp, Mr. Zarqawi was known to have been behind the October 2002 assassination of a senior American diplomat in Amman, Jordan.

But the raid on Mr. Zarqawi didn't take place. Months passed with no approval of the plan from the White House, until word came down just weeks before the March 19, 2003, start of the Iraq war that Mr. Bush had rejected any strike on the camp until after an official outbreak of hostilities with Iraq. Ultimately, the camp was hit just after the invasion of Iraq began.

Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who was in the White House as the National Security Council's director for combatting terrorism at the time, said an NSC working group, led by the Defense Department, had been in charge of reviewing the plans to target the camp. She said the camp was "definitely a stronghold, and we knew that certain individuals were there including Zarqawi." Ms. Gordon-Hagerty said she wasn't part of the working group and never learned the reason why the camp wasn't hit. But she said that much later, when reports surfaced that Mr. Zarqawi was behind a series of bloody attacks in Iraq, she said "I remember my response," adding, "I said why didn't we get that ['son of a b-'] when we could."

Administration officials say the attack was set aside for a variety of reasons, including uncertain intelligence reports on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts and the difficulties of hitting him within a large complex.

"Because there was never any real-time, actionable intelligence that placed Zarqawi at Khurmal, action taken against the facility would have been ineffective," said Jim Wilkinson, a spokesman for the NSC. "It was more effective to deal with the facility as part of the broader strategy, and in fact, the facility was destroyed early in the war."

Another factor, though, was fear that a strike on the camp could stir up opposition while the administration was trying to build an international coalition to launch an invasion of Iraq. Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, said in an interview that the reasons for not striking included "the president's decision to engage the international community on Iraq." Mr. Di Rita said the camp was of interest only because it was believed to be producing chemical weapons. He also cited several potential logistical problems in planning a strike, such as getting enough ground troops into the area, and the camp's large size.

Still, after the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, President Bush had said he relentlessly would pursue and attack fleeing al Qaeda fighters regardless of where they went to hide. Mr. Bush also had decided upon a policy of pre-emptive strikes, in which the U.S. wouldn't wait to be struck before hitting enemies who posed a threat. An attack on Mr. Zarqawi would have amounted to such a pre-emptive strike. The story of the debate over his camp shows how difficult the policy can be to carry out; Mr. Zarqawi's subsequent resurgence highlights that while pre-emptive strikes entail considerable risks, the risk of not making them can be significant too, a factor that may weigh in future decisions on when to attack terrorist leaders.

Some former officials said the intelligence on Mr. Zarqawi's whereabouts was sound. In addition, retired Gen. John M. Keane, the U.S. Army's vice chief of staff when the strike was considered, said that because the camp was isolated in the thinly populated, mountainous borderlands of northeastern Iraq, the risk of collateral damage was minimal. Former military officials said that adding to the target's allure was intelligence indicating that Mr. Zarqawi himself was in the camp at the time. A strike at the camp, they believed, meant at least a chance of killing or incapacitating him.

Gen. Keane characterized the camp "as one of the best targets we ever had," and questioned the decision not to attack it. When the U.S. did strike the camp a day after the war started, Mr. Zarqawi, many of his followers and Kurdish extremists belonging to his organization already had fled, people involved with intelligence say.

In recent months, Mr. Zarqawi's group has been blamed for a series of beheadings of foreigners and deadly car bombings in Iraq, as well as the recent kidnapping of Margaret Hassan, the director of CARE International there. According to wire-service reports, Mr. Zarqawi's group, recently renamed the Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq, on Sunday claimed responsibility for the massacre of more than 40 Iraqi army recruits in eastern Iraq.
Among the many colossal screw-ups the Bush administration will be famous for in the years to come, letting Mr Zarqawi escape with his life will rank high on the list.

ARIZONA IN PLAY? -- I had stopped thinking about Arizona, but a new poll from Arizona State University indicates we might want to start thinking about it again. The poll gives Bush 47% of the vote and John Kerry 42% of the vote.
Support for Bush dropped by two per cent since September, while backing for Kerry increased by four per cent. In August, the Republican held an eight per cent lead over the Democrat in the Grand Canyon State.
A five point lead looks okay right now except that 47% for an incumbent is a bad sign. If I had to predict I'd still give Arizona to Bush on election night, but I think this poll indicates the state is actually competitive and if the Kerry GOTV effort is good and undecideds break against the incumbent, as they have historically done, an upset in Arizona is not out of the question.

DEAD HEAT IN NEVADA -- Contrary to earlier reports, Nevada is not Bush country. At least not yet. A Reno Gazette-Journal poll puts the race at Bush over Kerry 49-47 percent, with a four point margin of error.

CRACKS IN THE FOUNDATION? -- This L.A. Times story on possible fracturing in the most important Bush voting bloc--Christian evangelicals--makes for fascinating reading.
An estimated 80% of the evangelical vote went to Bush in 2000. But Bush's senior political strategist, Karl Rove, said after the 2000 election that the president might have won the race against Democrat Al Gore by a comfortable margin had 4 million more evangelicals gone to the polls rather than sitting out the election.

This year, the Bush campaign and conservative groups have made enormous efforts to mobilize evangelicals, a group that includes more than 70 denominations, and which generally sees the Bible as the authoritative word of God, emphasizes "born again" religious conversion, and has committed to spreading its faith and values. Evangelicals are thought to make up about a quarter of the electorate.
...
A poll published last week by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 70% of self-described evangelicals or born-again Christians planned to vote for the president, down from 74% in the same survey three weeks earlier. That was not only a slight decline, but lower than the 80% to 90% support that Bush campaign officials had been forecasting.
...
Also uncertain is the effect of comments by Bush, aired Tuesday on ABC, in which he said states should be able to grant same-sex couples the right to form civil unions. That position drew protests from several conservative groups that had sought a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and civil unions.
...
In Wisconsin, as well as in other battleground states such as Ohio, Minnesota and Iowa, the evangelical vote may prove less reliable for Bush than in the South.

Unlike many churches in the traditional Bible Belt, where many generations of worshipers have aligned themselves with conservative political causes, churches in the Midwestern swing states have drawn many newcomers who tend to be more independent and moderate in their views.
The vast majority of evangelicals in the United States will vote for George W. Bush and in the Bible Belt the percentage of those who do so will be gigantic. However, if the Bush campaign cannot produce a record turnout of evangelicals for George W. Bush then it is difficult to see how the Republican wins this election.

Karl Rove has designed a remarkable and virtually unprecendented campaign in the history of American presidential politics. To run toward the center and grab as many moderate voters as possible has always been the strategy of both parties, but the Rove strategy is to build turnout among Bush's hardcore right-wing base that the moderates can go to Hell. It's a risky strategy. If it works Rove will justly be called a political genius. If it fails...Well, a lot of us will be pretty pleased, won't we?

HEAL!

NEW ZOGBY POLL -- A new Zogby poll has relatively good news for John Kerry and the Democrats.
President Bush leads Democratic rival John Kerry by 1 point with six days left in a tight race for the White House, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

Bush led Kerry 48-47 percent in the latest three-day national tracking poll, as the Massachusetts senator gained 2 points on Bush in a day. Bush led Kerry 49-46 percent on Tuesday.

Bush's lead was well within the poll's margin of error, leaving the White House rivals in a statistical dead heat heading into the stretch run.

"Today was a big day for Kerry," pollster John Zogby said.

Kerry has consolidated his base support just as Bush did early in the race, taking a 2-to-1 lead among Hispanics, 90 percent of blacks, 84 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of union voters and 65 percent of singles.

Only 4 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

At this stage of the 2000 election, Bush led Democrat Al Gore by 5 points in the daily tracking poll.
I'm so leery of some of Zogby's battleground state polls [especially Ohio, New Mexico, and Colorado] that I don't know whether to trust his stuff at all or not. Like any poll, at the very least it should be regarded with a healthy degree of skepticism.

DOWN TO THE WIRE IN DAKOTA -- A new poll by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader puts the Senate race between Democrat Tom Daschle and Republican John Thune at a dead heat, with Daschle just a nose ahead 49-47 percent. It's a tough situation for Democrats. I'd prefer to have someone with a safe seat, like Chris Dodd [D-CT] as the party leader in the Senate. Daschle is constantly hedging and trimming his sails because of concern about his conservative electorate and it affects the entire Democratic caucus in the Senate. On the other hand, if Daschle is replaced as party leader in the Senate will he lose his best electoral argument to the folks back home?