The International Writers Magazine: REALITY CHECK Oct 15th
REST FOR THE DESPERATE
2004 - The Final Two Weeks
G W Bush packing his bags for Texas may just be wishful thinking...
Final Statistical Push for the White House:
By the time these
words hit the streets there will be less than two weeks for Senator
John Kerry to convince the American electorate of his legitimacy as
a presidential candidate and why the current chief must go. George W.
Bush has a similar time frame to argue otherwise. The national polls
(any one you choose to believe) are all over the map. Some have Bush
ahead by 5%, others show Kerry leading by as much. Some have it a dead
heat. No change from 2000, which ended in one of the closest, most hotly
contested and controversial presidential elections in the history of
the United States. There is no indication this will time will be any
John Kerry, as is his wont, has reconstructed another faltering campaign.
Hes done it before, as recently as Iowa earlier this year against
a surging Howard Dean. Mere weeks ago he was on the ropes against the
tide of effective attacks from the formidable Karl Rove team and a bungling
strategy of white noise. If not for the debates, a significant Achilles
heel for a president hardly used to confrontational verbal interaction
or even explaining himself, it is this observers opinion that
Kerry was toast.
But the debates proved clearly that a president sitting on 80-year and
record economic lows and a questionably philosophical war with no end
in sight has problems standing in front of a national audience at a
podium defending them. Kerry was good. Bush was worse. Im sure
if we were choosing sides for a debate team the president would not
be cracking the short list. Questions remain. Is Kerrys rally
too late for the all-important electoral state count that will decide
this contest? Can Kerry, who just this summer had several swing states
and southern states in his column, survive the body blow his campaign
took in early autumn? Was the president exposed enough in the debates
to sink his otherwise sheltered aura? Has Bush rallied his base enough
to withstand a potential loss in the final glut of independent voters?
November 2 is calling.
By taking an average snapshot of various state polls currently available
to the press and public, the Reality Check News & Information Desk
crew, tired of working with little money and no direction for lo these
past months, has rendered an interesting verdict on the 538 potential
Electoral College votes in 50 states. With most of the union going in
one strong direction or the other, the 270 votes needed to become president
comes down to a few precious states, which is why both campaigns have
been rolling out the television ads and traveling through said states
with desperate repetition and verve. They remain: Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania,
West Virginia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire,
New Mexico, Oregon, Wisconsin, with the most intriguing being Colorado.
Fully in the Bush column in 2000, Colorado has a state vote on whether
to split the nine electoral votes by district, instead of handing all
nine to the winner as 48 other states do. This could compromise four
or five key votes if this puppy is as tight as advertised. Therefore,
Colorado, looking like a Bush state by as much 10%, is now a possible
Of course there are precarious leads for each candidate in certain non-swing
states, but judging from past election leanings and the slight movement
of the percentages for almost six months, those states will be given
to the current leader. Clear evidence to support these assumptions is
that the trailing candidates have pulled their ad campaigns in these
states as late as this week, all-but a concession from those who think
the money is better spent elsewhere. Thus, if the election would be
held today (an awful sports query that never seems to pan out) the tally
of Electoral College votes without the aforementioned swing states is
Bush 198 and Kerry 179.
Considering that the swing states do have leaders, albeit ones with
a less than 5% lead, for the sake of argument and to frame the mission
of what the candidates who are trailing must do to win, we will award
the current leaders the votes from those states. If so, the president
has very shaky leads in the laughably insane Florida (27), Ohio (20),
West Virginia (5), Missouri (11), Nevada (5), and the normally Democrat
stronghold of Wisconsin (10).
Kerry is barely leading in the highly volatile Pennsylvania (21), Iowa
(7), Oregon (7), and the must win Michigan (17) and Minnesota (10).
By that count George W. Bush will be re-elected with 276 electoral votes.
Kerry comes in with 241. Three states are a statistical dead heat: New
Mexico (5), Maine (4), and the only other state besides Michigan that
has never tipped its hand when it comes to presidential elections, New
Hampshire (4). These ties are amazing when considering some seven or
eight different polls have been used for this exercise. The above states,
and their 13 electoral votes, are literally up for grabs. But Bush has
the luxury of letting them go if he carries his states. So all this
jive about a Kerry comeback and how Bush held his own in the debates
and who has more money left really comes down to how much these polls
can be trusted and what the candidates can do to budge them in the crucial
final hours of this campaign.
In a close election, as it was in 2000, two intangible factors can benefit
either candidate. Firstly, military absentee ballots normally go to
a Republican candidate, or the incumbent (its current commander), of
which Bush is firmly planted in both categories. That is unless all
this blather lately about disgruntled soldiers in Iraq is true. But
Ill believe it when I see it.
The second wild card is the youth vote. Historically young people dont
vote. They didnt vote when the adjusted age was made 18 back in
72, and for the most part they never have since. This fact killed
Howard Dean, and it will ruin John Kerry. You see, most 18-24 year-olds
live at home or dont have a stationary land phones. They are not
polled. They float in the air. Therefore they are a crapshoot. Kerry
needs them, or he cannot win.
It is also getting pretty clear that if Kerry cannot snatch Florida
and/or Ohio from the Bush column, or if he loses Wisconsin, or worse,
Pennsylvania, a distinct possibility, George W. Bush will be re-elected.
Period. Terry Mac and the Democrat boys knew that going in. They are
now, with only days remaining, the four key battleground states of this
election. Digesting all of our data and research, it may be Kerrys
only hope. Take half, or all of the dead-heat states, hang onto his
stash and steal Ohio or Florida, the latter being a more likely scenario,
or go home.
For Bush, it is stay the course, hammer home the constituency, and blanket
Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida until the last poll closes
on 11/2. If he splits those states he remains president. If not, pack
those bags and head back to Texas.
© James Campion
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