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August 02, 2004
The survey showed Kerry losing 1 percentage point and Bush gaining 4 percentage points from a poll taken the week before the Boston convention. The change in support was within the poll's margin of error of +/–4 percentage points in the sample of 763 likely voters. But it was nonetheless surprising, the first time since the chaotic Democratic convention in 1972 that a candidate hasn't gained ground during his convention.
I don't think that polls tell us much, and a Newsweek poll showed a slight gain for Kerry. But this can't be good news.
But hey, Kerry's way ahead in this poll! "When asked who would be a better president, the journalists from outside the Beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1. Those results jibe with previous surveys over the past two decades showing that journalists tend to be Democrats, especially the ones based in Washington."
UPDATE: Many, many readers have emailed this chart from the Iowa Electronic Markets showing Bush pulling ahead since the convention. I don't know how much these are worth, either.
Meanwhile, reader Jon Roscoe has been watching the morning TV shows and says that it's surprising how little attention the first poll is getting. Maybe that's because of the second poll. . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, Howard Kurtz notes: "Kerry, for his part, proved a big draw, attracting more than 24 million viewers for his acceptance speech, compared to 21.6 million for Al Gore at the last convention." There's a number for everybody!
Meanwhile Sardonic Views writes that the real winners in the polls are media companies in the battleground states, and the real losers are media consumers in the battleground states: "That puts me in the 'loser' category since I live in one of the battleground states and can only expect the partisan crap on both sides to get worse over the radio, TV and in print."
Democracy ain't pretty.
MORE: Some interesting stuff on electronic markets vs. polls in terms of accuracy.