Un-panic (cont’d)

Kerry and Bush are tied in the latest IDB poll.

IDB/CSM polls the race even as of Thursday-Sunday.

Rasmussen has Kerry down only 0.8% over the past three days, implying (given the earlier numberss) that he was actually ahead a point or so in Sunday’s polling.

The Newsweek poll that had Kerry down 5 also shows him leading among independents and dooing nearly as well with Democrats (87-7) as Bush is with Republicans (93-4). Since more Democrats than Republicans go to the polls (Republicans have higher turnout, but from a significantly smaller base) I don’t see how this adds up.

Historically, undecideds have broken against the incumbent. If that’s right, GWB needs to carry a couple-of-point lead into Election day to have a shot.

No, the national numbers don’t matter much, except in a blow-out: what matters is the state-by-state results. If GWB’s gains in the national numbers mean that he’s going to win huge rather than just big in, e.g., Texas and Alabama, that doesn’t really matter. Right now the electoral map doesn’t look bad for Kerry.

Even the Tradesports odds, while discouraging (Bush favored now by about 3 to 2) aren’t formidable.

The perception that Kerry is blowing this thing threatens to be self-fulfilling. But I don’t see it in the numbers. Bush has improved his position since the Democratic Convention. Averaged over the polls, Bush now enjoys a small lead, but that lead is shrinking rather than growing.

I say again: Relax, and get back to work.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com