Friday, October 29, 2004



This was a big topic of conversation today at lunch, here where I work -- who's going to win the election?

My gut feeling is: Bush will win, and it won't be particularly close. We may see court battles in some states, but they won't determine the outcome of the election. (I might add that, at this point, I'd prefer a clear Kerry victory to another too-close election.)

So. Why do I think that? (It's worth noting that, of the staunch Kerry supporters I spoke to today, not a one thinks Bush has a chance. I have to wonder if they're confusing their predictions with their wishful thinking. Sure, I want Bush to win... but I think I have better arguments to back it up than "nobody I know will be voting for Bush".)

I don't tend to be as partisan as Hugh Hewitt (as I said earlier), so I don't agree with some of his conclusions; but some of his arguments do make sense to me.

For example, he's argued that the locations of the campaigns' last-minute electioneering are quite telling. If Kerry was doing quite well and knew it, he'd be doing his utmost to capture known Bush territory. If he thought he was doing badly, though, he'd have abandoned the battleground states, and he'd be focusing on his base, trying to keep them from defecting to the other side.

And that seems to be exactly what he's doing, and has been doing for the past month. Bush, on the other hand, is campaigning in battleground states and in Kerry-land. (Heck, he sent Dick Cheney to Hawaii today. For all of Hawaii's measly 4 electoral-college votes, and the time needed to get there (five hours or more each way by commercial jet, Los Angeles to Honolulu), he could have covered five other states in the time it'll take him to cover Hawaii. He wouldn't go there unless he was delusional... or unless he had good reason to believe he could afford it.

Kerry is fighting a losing battle, in other words, and Bush is fighting a winning one. That's not definitive, but it sure is convincing, at least to me.

What else? Well, both sides are saying that the other is getting increasingly desperate and shrill in its attacks. I'd certainly say that Kerry is sounding shrill to me -- he's still pushing the now-debunked story of 377 tons of missing explosives in the appropriately-named "al Qaqaa" site... and he's pinning the blame squarely on U.S. troops! (No, he didn't blame the 3rd Infantry Division by name... but it'll certainly be interpreted that way, by the troops and their families.)

Mr. Hewitt's comment was that Kerry is ending his political career as he began it, by trashing American troops and their reputations. I'm not sure why he's doing that, but it sure isn't going to win him sympathy or votes.

In short, I'm expecting Kerry to go down. I'll be disappointed if I'm wrong, but I've certainly lived with disappointment before. But I don't expect to be wrong.

Daniel in Brookline


I think your analysis is correct. I've heard that the campaigns spend a lot more on their polls than the news media do, so their decisions on where to campaign are very significant.

Hawaii is not quite that difficult, because of the time-zones. Cheney can appear there while the rest of the country is asleep. Then snooze on a comfy bed on Air Force Two on the way back.

But I thought the best suggestion was for Bush senior to do another sky-dive...over Diamond Head.
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