Thursday, June 10, 2004

With Kerry up by 7 points over Bush in the latest L.A. Times poll (and up by 6 in a three-way race with Nader), Deborah Orin of the New York Post plays Baghdad Bob by speculating on the possibility of ... a Bush landslide!


Now is a good time to look back at the landslide win that sent Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1980, because lots of analysts think 2004 could turn out the same way -- close for a long time and then suddenly breaking wide open.

In 1980, the break came just days before the vote, when Democrat Jimmy Carter finally agreed to debate. Reagan came off as sunny instead of scary and when he admonished Carter with a smile, "There you go again," it was all over.

Interesting point -- or it would be if Reagan could rise from the dead and debate Kerry. Unfortunately for the Republicans, Kerry's opponent in the debates will be the surly, snappish, self-righteous Bush.

Like President Bush, Carter faced voters nervous over both the economy and foreign policy and wondering whether it's time for a change -- in Carter's case, skyrocketing inflation at home plus the endless Iran hostage crisis.

But there's a big difference, since Carter kept getting bad news on both fronts, while Bush is starting to get good news on both the economy, with a surge in new jobs, and Iraq, with international support for the June 30 transfer of power....

Right -- focus on the uptick in job creation and the transfer of sovereignty. Pay no attention to the unexpected rise in new jobless claims and the ongoing Iraq chaos, the kind of bad news that's likely to keep coming (especially overseas) in the next few months.

...All of this could explain why the Iowa political futures market -- an intriguing online measure that lets anyone buy "stock" in a candidate and has a solid record in predicting elections -- is bullish on Bush.

The Iowa market ( has predicted a Bush victory ever since Kerry clinched the Democratic nomination last winter -- yesterday it was predicting a Bush win with 51.9 percent of the vote to Kerry's 47.4.

True -- but now look at IEM's vote-share prediction the night before the last presidential election, November 6, 2000: it was Bush 52%, Gore 47.5%.* IEM's bettors didn't even get the winner right.

*Go here, choose "Price History," and then choose November 2000.

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