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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Thu. 10/07/04 06:21:57 PM

Somebody Is Going to Have to 'Splain This to Me

Maybe I'm wrong, but some people are trying to say that the polls indicate Bush & Kerry are neck and neck. Even steven. Too close to call. Whatever. Just like they were in late Spring and early Summer, no?

But lookee here:

President Bush is rapidly tying up the Catholic vote, according to two polls that show him gaining support among this traditionally Democratic group.
The first poll, released last Monday by the Barna Group, an evangelical Christian polling firm, showed Mr. Bush, a Methodist, edging out his Catholic Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, 53 percent to 39 percent.
Pollster George Barna termed the switch "seismic," considering that a similar survey taken by his firm in May showed the president trailing the Massachusetts senator by 43 percent to 48 percent.
"Many of the Catholics now behind Mr. Bush have traditionally voted Democratic, but have chosen a different course this time around," he said.
His poll represents a 19-point shift in preference in just four months among Roman Catholics, who make up 23 percent of the nation's electorate. Conducted Sept. 11 to 24 among 898 registered voters, it had a margin of error of 3 percent.
A second poll, released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, was not as dramatic, but it does show the president building an edge of 49 percent to 39 percent against Mr. Kerry among white Catholics. This poll, conducted Sept. 22 to 26 among 948 registered voters, had a margin of error of 3.5 percent....

Add to the mix another seismic shift: Bush has been closing the Gender Gap (though I don't have the references handy).

Let's see now. The Catholic vote went for Gore in 2000 (Kyrie eleison) and Catholics polled for Kerry a few months ago. But Catholics now poll for Bush. And the Gender Gap is narrowing, if not quite disappearing. (And don't forget the "battleground" states that are already being abandoned by the Kerry campaign as losses, nor the "blue" states that are being hotly contested by the Bush campaign.)

So, tell me, somebody: how can the race be so close? What group(s) have shifted seismically towards Kerry to offset the shift towards Bush in two very large voting blocs?

Do the too-close-to-call polls use too small a sample to be representative? Or are they just smoke & mirrors?

I think the general, high-level polls of a few thousand, or fewer, individuals nationwide are safely to be ignored into oblivion. The statewide polls are the ones to watch — but do they weight appropriately for gender and religion? And how much self-selection is involved?

See also Faith and politics.

P.S. See Dust in the Light.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 10/07/04 06:21:57 PM
Categorized as Political.


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