Saturday, October 16, 2004

I've been getting a lot of mail about my prediction that President Bush will claim 55% of the Popular Vote in this election. Some people have wondered whether I am serious about my call, or whether I'm just selling pro-Bush excitement. Yes, I am serious, and while I could go into the technical reasons how I arrived at 55%, for this article I'd rather just explain how it's really a common-sense position.

Since World War 2, what I'd call the modern political era, there have been six presidents who ran for re-election. Four got re-elected, and two were defeated. In a quick glance, I find Dubya's position a lot more like Clinton in 1996, Reagan in 1984, Nixon in 1972, and Eisenhower in 1956, than I do GHW Bush in 1992, or Carter in 1980. When a President wins re-election, it tends to be by a big margin.But there's more. I find Dr. Ray Fair's economic model valid, and that model says Bush will win with between 54 and 58 percent of the 2-party split. The three key issues voters say will decide their vote (Terrorism, Iraq, Taxes), are issues where Bush hold a commanding lead. Also, the state polls which are getting the most attention since the debates ended, all show Bush gaining strength. That means a small Bush lead now, is growing and will continue to grow.

But there's more. The polls right now like to push respondents to pick a candidate, regardless of their strength of support. And that inflates Kerry's numbers, to be blunt. EVERY poll tracking strength of support, has put President Bush well ahead of Senator Kerry in every poll this year, by anywhere from five to twenty points! That means, to me, that the people saying they support Bush and plan to vote for him, are likely to do so, but some of the people saying they support Kerry, will not, in fact, actually vote.

Also, there is the old myth that undecideds break for the challenger, 2 to 1. That's not true. Sometimes a challenger gets the undecideds, but sometimes the incumbent does. In 2000, for example, Al Gore (representing the incumbent party, since Clinton was President at the time) took 65% of the undecideds. A lot of people made a lot of noise about Kerry "winning" the debates, but when asked who they will vote for, of three focus groups asked, between 60% and 75% say they will vote ... for President Bush.

Finally, recall one critical question that warned us early that Kerry's support wasn't very good. All year long, most of Kerry's supporters have said they were not voting for Kerry, but against President Bush. Not too many people have thought it through, to realize that this means no matter what Kerry says, these Kerry supporters are paying attention mostly to the President. If he convinces them to switch back, that's a big thing, and no, there are no Bush supporters of any number who are basing their decision on anything Kerry says or does.

Bush 55%. It's for real.

Friday, October 15, 2004

How The Democrats Are Helping Dubya Get Re-Elected


I never thought I'd be one to write this, but: Thank you, John Kerry.

Thank you for concentrating your campaign on the issue where President Bush is the strongest, and for insisting that his most obvious success came from a road you would not choose to take .

Thank you for reminding America that you would demand that America get World permission before defending itself against Terrorists, whom you equate with misdemeanor crimes like Prostitution and Gambling.

Thank you for reminding us in the Primaries that the World, Iraq, and America are all safer with Saddam captured, then throwing away that position in the General Election to claim that somehow we would be safer with Saddam in power.

Thank you for admitting that you think Human Rights are "given by our courts", rather than God or our own existence.

Thank you for displaying your boorish condescension of Mary Cheney to the nation on television, attempting to demean her and her family in order to insinuate a prejudice that they do not exhibit, but you and your running mate displayed repeatedly.

Thank you for never elucidating a clear explanation of your policies and positions.

Thank you for demonstrating that while you claim to represent the average man, your idea of the average man is a fellow who hunts deer on his belly with a shotgun, who can afford weekend jaunts to the coast for windsurfing at a private resort, who hates successful people and doesn't mind more taxes, and who botoxes his face and paints it orange in the belief that he looks more natural that way.

Thank you for being so thin-skinned, you over-react to every reasonable examination of your record.

Thank you for letting yourself be connected to thugs like Michael Moore and, and for showing your true character in your treatment of the men assigned for your protection.

There was a time, Senator, where you really did have a chance at winning the White House. Thank you for throwing that chance away, and insuring that George W. Bush will be re-elected.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Thoughts on the Spin

This morning, I was listening to the radio on the way to work, and thought about the 'Insta-polls' from the night before, which boldly declared that Kerry won the debate.

I knew all the reasons not to believe in those works of spin. I was well aware, for example, that many Democrat websites and groups had planned ahead of time to swamp the polls for Kerry, and I also knew that there is absolutely no science to those things; even the network polls admit they have no detailed demographics and use a much smaller base than anyone would consider reasonable for even a snapshot. But more than anything else, they miss the critical question. They ask who won the debate, assuming that this matters in the election. They do not, I think intentionally, ask who the voters will support in the Election. Because they already know that answer, and they want to sell a different story.

But I also thought of another way to explain why the spin is not important. A couple years ago, my department was expanding, and my company had me interview a number of applicants. I remember one woman in particular. She was very attractive, very intelligent, and very articulate. Of more than thirty interviews I had, I would have to say hers was the most enjoyable, and she made a very good impression. However, when it was time to make the decision on the two people to hire, this woman was not one of the two I chose. Why not? Because for all her appearance, intelligence, and personality, she was not nearly the best qualified. My department has no direct contact with the public, so beauty and fashion have no value for our group. My department does analysis and investigations, and the team members have to be very familiar with the relevant laws and codes in force. This woman did well in her interview, but completely failed to show why she should be hired for the position; she possessed none of the requisite skills.

That is the same problem for John Kerry. he is clearly intelligent, and dresses well. He does not, however, have the necessary abilities and resume to be President of the United States. Somehow, Kerry managed to forget that while his "Hate Bush" message was sufficient to get people to give him a look, he still had to convince voters that he could do the job. For all the months he spent campaigning, for all his time in front of cameras during the Primaries, during the Democrats' Convention, and the three Debates, John Kerry never showed any compelling reason to believe he could make the hard choices, or that he understood the priorities and mission of the White House. Yes, he managed to look and sound impressive at times. But that only qualified him to replace Martin Sheen. It never came close to qualifying him for the Oval Office.

It remains to be seen, how much damage will be done by the Old Media spin machine, by the frantic efforts of his '527' attack dogs, or the smear tactics of the lawyers sent to extort a Democrat win in the swing states, but in the end it won't be enough.

John Kerry has proven to the nation that he is not up to the job, and President Bush has affirmed that he is competent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Why Dubya Will Win

I love getting mail. One of my readers, Marc Straus, asked me why I was so confident President Bush will win re-election. I sent him back a reply, then decided I should post my argument here, as well.

I predict a 55% to 43% Bush victory; there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

I'll put up another post between now and the election about why the numbers will be this high, but basically, it comes down to three factors; Key Issues, Strength-of-Support, and Turnout.

First, Key Issues. There's a lot of chatter, but over the past two years, people have clearly said over and over they really only wonder about three big issues: The Economy, Iraq, and the War on Terror. The Economy was weak last year, but has been steadily growing for a long time. Notice how the Democrats have had to progressively back off their talk about Recession, then about no new jobs, then they finally resorted to statistics, trying to get people to stop thinking things are good. That's not a winning hand. Next, things in Iraq have really settled down since May, with the Handover of Sovereignty and the coming elections, and the news that the Sadr Militia is disbanding. Then there's Terrorism. Kerry somehow still doesn't get it, to the point that he talks about the #1 issue with voters, as a "nuisance". All of these work to Bush's advantage.

Now, about Strength-of-Support. Even when Kerry had a lead this summer, I noticed that his internals showed his voters weren't hard-core, but soft, while the President's support has always been concentrated, very focused. Kerry never got around to specifics in his plans, and his attacks on Bush ran only on emotion; even with all the attention, there was never a scrap of substance to them, so Kerry also became seen as a man attacking a strong President. Strong enough, that even after a poor first debate, Bush was seen as a more decisive leader, and a better man in a crisis. That keeps things going in the same direction.

Then there's turnout. A lot of people talk about the 48-60% turnout, but few people pay attention to what causes the dropoff. In the end, the fact is that most people don't think much about elections, especially since most voters only show up for Presidential and Congressional elections. It's not routine, it means getting registered, then remembering to find out where and when to vote, and if you don't vote early (most people don't), then you have to remember to make extra time on one day to go to a place you have likely not been before. Basically, people only turn out in big numbers when they are really excited by a candidate, or they are really mad at his opponent. Simply put, Kerry is not exciting to very many people, but Dubya is, and more, Kerry has said the same things for so long, it doesn't really charge people up. But the attacks on Bush, especially the lies told, have revved up the Bush people.

Put it all together, and yes, I'm comfortable with the idea that President will put up big numbers. Actually, President Bush had the chance for some really big numbers, but he is not as eloquent as Reagan, and the media has slammed him pretty good. But with a good economy and a decent foreign policy, 55% is not unreasonable.

Thanks to Marc for his question, and to all of you for reading, and your comments! Alternative opinions are also welcome, but I'd like to see your reasoning, as well.


Monday, October 11, 2004

Two Men, Two Battles, Two Attitudes

Many people opened their newspapers or websites this morning, and read about the tragic death of Christopher Reeve at age 52. Already, the more Left-leaning partisans have begun to work political outrage from the passing of the popular actor/advocate. It's not unexpected, given the words and arguments of the past year.

Coincidentally, another man passed away last night, also from a heart attack. Ken Caminiti, the one-time National League's Most Valuable Player, and beloved member of the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres organizations, died at age 41, alone and bankrupt. His death, equally tragic, brings no calls for accountability from anyone, and indeed, little enough attention. The differences between these two men, and the people who knew them, is worth comment.

Nine years ago, Christopher Reeve was a succesful Hollywood actor, who was already using his name and influence to support favored liberal causes. In May of 1995, while riding a show horse, the horse balked, and Reeve fell, landing on his head and crushing several vertebrae in his spine. Only prompt medical attention and expert surgery saved his life, but it left him paralyzed. Reeve was able to recover limited use of his body, and he went on to write books and speak publically, often tying his disability to the need to suport his chosen causes. Reeve never said so directly, but often suggested that he would recover faster, if his favored research into embryonic stem cell research had been fully suported, even though a primary source for embryonic stem cells is aborted fetuses. The fact that embryonic stem cell research has not been established as leading to the cure for even one disease, and shows no promise whatsoever for chronic conditions, Reeve conveniently ignored.

Nine years ago, Ken Caminiti was in a slump. The All-Star 3rd baseman for the Astros appeared to be slowing down and losing power. Before the season began, he was traded to the San Diego Padres, where he worked hard to improve his batting average from .283 to .302, but nine years in the Majors were wearing him down. Ken had a well-deserved reputation as a serious player, who never missed workouts or practices, not to mention exhibition games or appearances. By the end of 1995, Caminiti had played in 1,243 regular-season games.

In 1996, Reeve's therapy allowed him some minor successes, but none more important than regaining some of his speech. He was able to direct and write books, as well as give limited interviews. In 1996, Ken Caminiti was the National League's MVP, with a .326 batting average and a .621 slugging average. He hit 40 home runs that year, and enjoyed a .954 fielding percentage, and had been on base 260 times. Unfortunately, 1996 was pretty much the high-water mark for both men.

Reeve's recovery suffered a letdown, and he broke his arm in a fall from his exercise bike. As for Caminiti, he began a slide which took years to appear in its effects. Caminiti was the kind of player who went all-out, and he paid for it in pain and muscle damage. Caminiti began to regularly use steroids, unaware at the time that there would be long-term effects; he wanted to be game-ready, and considered steroids a price he had to pay to meet that commitment.

By 2001, the two men had clearly begun their descent. Both also began to speak out against apathy in their conditions. Reeve wanted more research done to help paralysis, while Caminiti spoke out against steroid abuse in MLB, to keep other athletes from becoming addicted, as he was. Unknown to the public, however, Reeve was suffering a long-term decline in his condition, and Caminiti had also become addicted to prescription pain relievers.

By 2003, the decline had steepened. Reeve began to lose muscle tone in his lower body again. Ken Caminiti, given a chance by the Padres, the Rangers, and a second chance with the Astros, saw his career end with an arrest for cocaine possession. The 3-time All-Star, who owned 3 Gold Gloves and an MVP award, had lost his baseball career, his wife left him, and most of his friends were nowhere to be found. Even those who wanted to help Ken, found him stubborn and reclusive.

In the end, there are both striking similarities and differences between these men. Both were famous and successful at their chosen profession, famous and wealthy. But one used his disability to advance his political causes, while the other tried to fight his battles alone, accepting responsibility but unable to defeat his demons. One enjoyed the support of his family and friends, and kept his wealth and reputation, while the other lost everything, from his wife to his fortune to his health to his name to his very last chance.

Both men should be remembered. But for very different reasons.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Demographics: A Reminder

Back on August 26, I put up an article about the weight and history of demographics, as they've played out in Presidential elections. It's not a bad idea to look again at the numbers, to see if and how things stand, with just over three weeks to go.

By the way, here in Texas early voting starts October 18. I plan to get my vote in early, just in case E-day is crazy. You might want to make sure you'll get your vote in, also.

In 1992, Bill Clinton won the White House with just 41% of the Men’s vote. In 2000, Bush took 53% of the Men’s Vote. In August Bush had 49.0%, Kerry 42.2%. Right now Bush as 51.2%, to Kerry's 43.6%, which favors Bush.

In 1968, Richard Nixon won the White House with just 43% of the Women’s vote. In 2000, Bush took 43% of Women’s Vote. Kerry in August had 49.0%, Bush 40.8%, to the present average of 48.6% Kerry to 45.0% Bush. Again, the trend is moving towards Bush.

In 1992, Bill Clinton won the White House with just 39% of the White vote. In 2000, Bush took 54% of the White Vote. In August Bush had 54.0%, and Kerry had 40.0%. Now, it's 53.5% Bush to 41.5% Kerry.

In 2000, George W. Bush won the White House with just 9% of the Black vote. Kerry had 84% and Bush 12% of the Black vote in August. now, it's 82% Kerry, 14% Bush, which is very good for Dubya.

In 2000, George W. Bush took 22.8% of the non-White Vote. In August, Kerry had 73.1% and Bush 24.1% of the non-White Vote. Now it's 66.3% Kerry to 26.7% Bush, another sign of growing support for the President.

.In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the White House with just 86% of the Republican Vote. In 2000, Bush took 92% of the Republican Vote. In August, Bush had 88.4% of the Republican Vote. he now runs at 91.9%.

In 1992, Bill Clinton won the White House with just 82% of the Democrat Vote. Kerry had 85.4% of the Democrat Vote in August. He now runs at 76.4%.

In 2000, Bush won the White House with 10% of the Democrat Vote. In August, Bush was polling 8.3% of the Democrat Vote. He now claims 9.8%.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy won the White House with 5% of the Republican Vote. In August, Kerry was polling 6% of the Republican Vote. He now is getting 4.2%.

All in all, the numbers speak loudly. If you listen closely, you can make it out:

Four More Years
Four More Years
Four More Years...