Tuesday, November 02, 2004

FINAL TALLY. Well, you know, the final before-the-votes-come-in tally. Electoral-Vote.com: Kerry, 298; Bush, 231; Slate: Bush, 269; Kerry, 269, with Bush more likely to win because his support is a bit firmer. Both award Florida to Kerry, which worries me. I mean, Kerry may win Florida, but will he get Florida? Just ask Al Gore.

Slate gives Ohio to Bush; Electoral-Vote.com gives it to Kerry. That's the main difference.


John Kerry is down by several thousand votes in New Mexico, though not one ballot has yet been counted. He's also losing big time in Colorado and Ohio; and he's way down in Florida, though the votes won't be totaled until Tuesday night.

Through a combination of sophisticated vote rustling - ethnic cleansing of voter rolls, absentee ballots gone AWOL, machines that "spoil" votes - John Kerry begins with a nationwide deficit that could easily exceed one million votes.

This morning, Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens - generally thought of as one of the good guys - allowed the Republicans to station party goons inside polling places across Ohio to challenge the credentials of voters who look like Democrats. (I'm pretty sure that means voters with black or brown skin.)

Unless turnout is so high that the Kerry forces are able to swamp the Bushies, this could be a long, ugly day (week, month, take your pick).

KERRY: BETTER ON TERRORISM. A Media Log reader passes along this, from Gallup Poll editor-in-chief Frank Newport. According to Newport, Kerry significantly closed the terrorism gap with Bush during the last week of the campaign.

Is there any indication that the missing weapons in Iraq and/or the Osama bin Laden tape will affect the outcome?

Bush's positioning vis-à-vis Kerry on both Iraq and terrorism has slipped in the most recent poll, and it is reasonable to assume that this slippage is, at least in part, related to the weapons and bin Laden tape. Among all national adults, 49% now choose Kerry as the candidate best able to handle Iraq, while 47% choose Bush. This marks a significant pickup on this measure for Kerry, who was down nine points to Bush last week. In fact, Kerry has lost out to Bush on this measure in every poll conducted since the Democratic convention.

Bush's margin over Kerry as the candidate best able to handle terrorism is now seven points 51% of Americans choose Bush and 44% choose Kerry. This again marks a significant change. Last week, Bush had an 18-point margin over Kerry, and the 7-point advantage is the lowest yet for Bush.

I don't buy the idea that the bin Laden tape had much to do with it, but it would seem that the steady drumbeat of bad news from Iraq (culminating, in my mind, in two reports: the disappeared explosives and the assassination of Iraqi security-force recruits) may have finally caught up with Bush.

The final Gallup poll: 49 percent to 49 percent.

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