If the election were held today, a professor at Princeton University says that John Kerry has a 98 percent chance of beating President Bush. Professor Sam Wang used recent polling data from swing states to calculate Kerry's odds, and, at this point, he's telling Democratic donors to give to candidates facing tougher contests, such as South Carolina Senate hopeful Inez Tenenbaum.
Sound a little too good to be true? It might be. Wang gathered a lot data from small-time or methodologically questionable polling organizations to make his calculations. Even then, the data just represent a snapshot in time, not a prediction about the future. Expect Kerry's prospects to look even brighter during next week's Democratic National Convention and the post-convention ad blitz the Democratic National Committee is planning. But Bush will have his time in the sun beginning the end of next month at the Republican National Convention. And the president will probably gain a few points during the 9/11 anniversary. Let's wait and see what the odds look like in, say, October.
Stephen W. Stromberg
Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.