In the polls

By Jeff Horwitz
Published October 15, 2004 8:28PM (UTC)
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A new poll by Scripps Research Center at Ohio University finds that, over the last two weeks, Kerry has led Bush 50-45 among registered voters, but trailed Bush 48-47 among "likely voters" who regularly voted in the past. Which is a more accurate predictor of how people will vote on election day? Well, Scripps comes up with solid evidence that it's a bad idea to exclude people who only rarely vote.

"Marginal voters are often ignored by pollsters because, by their own admission, they usually aren't players in the political process. But 'rarely' does not mean never, and there are plenty of signs that marginal voters are taking interest in this election. In fact, that's what they're saying.


"Voters were asked: 'How much attention would you say you have been giving to the presidential election. Would you say you have been following the race very closely, somewhat closely or not too closely?' About 90 percent of regular voters say they are either 'very closely' or 'somewhat closely' watching the race. But about 75 percent -- an extraordinarily high number -- of registered voters who 'rarely' vote in major elections say they also are watching the presidential race closely."

Zogbys three-day tracking poll puts Bush in the lead 48-44, though only yesterday, and with some of the same data, the firm gave Bush only a 46-45 advantage. Thats a pretty big overnight jump for Bush, particularly since most polls have shown that Kerry won Wednesday's debate. Zogby thinks he can explain the results, however:

"While Bush -- now at 48% -- had another good night continuing his upward trend, Kerry appears stuck at 44%. The good news for the President is that he has improved his performance among the small group of undecideds. Nearly a quarter now say that he deserves to be re-elected -- up from 18% in our last poll."


Finally, Survey USA put in another word on who won Wednesdays debate. Dividing up debate watchers by state, the firm found that Kerry was considered the victor in the following locations: New York, New Jersey, Maine, California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Bush won in Texas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma.

In a statistic that doesnt say much for anyones objectivity, Survey USA also found that, in every state in which the firm polled, Republican respondents overwhelmingly thought that Bush had won, and that Democrats were convinced by equally large margins of a Kerry victory. Independents in nine of the 14 states thought Kerry had won, though in the crucial battlegrounds of Florida and Pennsylvania they were more impressed by Bush.

Jeff Horwitz

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