Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Saletan on The Polls: Good News

Since I'm supposed to be writing lectures, I am, of course, watching too much CNN and spending too much time on the internet instead. And I've started to think that some Bush supporters have begun to sound a little...well, desperate. Last night I heard Ed Gillespie or one of those guys frantically and repeatedly asserting that Kerry was in the weakest position of any challenger in recent history, apparently basing this assertion on the fact that Kerry (allegedly) got the smallest bounce in recent history. Since I'm constitutionally inclined to analyze arguments first and speculate about psychology...oh, tenth or twelfth, I puzzled over this for awhile before the awfulness of the inference and something about the tone in his voice came together for me. Damn, this guy was worried... I mean, a big bounce would be better than a small one, but who on Earth expected a big one when the electorate is this divided and solidified?

And there's plenty of reason for Bush supporters to be worried these days. From the estimable Statisticasaurus Rex, I receive a synopsis of recent polling numbers by William Saletan at Slate. The numbers aren't good enough to warrant complacency on the part of Kerry supporters, but they're plenty good enough to warrant a touch of foreboding in the Bush camp.

I don't get too excited about this stuff, in part for the obvious reason that much can change between now and November, but in part because I'm so appalled and just downright freaked out that this race is even close... I mean, I'm a guy who thought about voting for not only John McCain but Bob Dole fer chrissake (er, I didn't, but i thought about it.), and I wouldn't vote for a ten-foot pole....or whatever. Jeez, I know that Kerry is sub-optimal in a number of ways...but I'm simply astounded that about 45% of the population is still willing to vote for Bush. Even if Kerry wins, I guess I'll always think that the big story is really about how the race was ever even close. So, in a way, these numbers are good news only if we turn a blind eye to the incomprehensibly bad news that almost half of our fellow citizens are still planning to vote for a man who is demonstrably unworthy of the office.


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