Originally posted by shetline
I wouldn't wager $10000 even on odds as good as 2:1 or 3:1, and I certainly don't think a Kerry victory is that strong a possibility.
I have already wagered, in a sense, a few hundred dollars worth of campaign contributions and some of my time spent out on the ground canvassing for Kerry. (New Hampshire's 4 electoral votes, few as the are, would have won Gore the presidency in the last election. In this election, NH is leaning Kerry at the moment, which makes me feel more like I can personally make a difference.)
If I were hypothetically forced to wager that $10000? I'd honestly go with Kerry. I'm not saying that I don't fret and worry about Bush winning, and I'm certainly not comfortable with how close things are -- even if Kerry win's, I think it's a sad thing that Bush has so much support given the failure that is his presidency.
You say that typical historical indicators and predictors favor Bush, but overall, I don't see that as true. What has Bush got on his side? Incumbency, for one thing. Being a "wartime president" for another. But his incumbency comes with many liabilities, and given that a lot of people don't support the war in Iraq, and even for those who do, most people's daily lives go on with no particular "we're in a war" feeling in the air, I don't see "wartime president" as being so strong a predictor for Bush as it might otherwise be.
The vague "war on terror", with no clear enemies, with no way to clearly measure success, isn't quite the same as any other historical precedent of wartime. Somehow, quite undeservedly in my opinion, Bush has a majority of Americans believing that his handling of the WOT is a strength of his.
If there is some sort of terrorist strike between now and Nov. 2, I think Bush will win easily. But consider the bizarre irrationality of that reaction. I know deep down that, yes, that is how people would probably react, but why? The Bushies try to scare voters with the idea that if Kerry wins the terrorists will strike, yet for some reason if Bush fails to protect us in the very same way, voters will rush to the man who failed to protect them. Rove and Co. have clearly done a good job of creating an image of strength that has no basis whatsoever in rational thought.
Those are Bush's strengths. But history is against Bush in many ways. His approval rating is not at all strong for an incumbent seeking re-election. The performance of the stock market bodes ill for Bush, as do job creation figures and satisfaction (in this case dissatisfaction) with the economy. In a close race like this, undecided voters typically break toward the challenger at the last minute since their indecision often reflects a vague desire for change and displeasure with the status quo.
High voter turnout generally favors Democrats over Republicans, and indications are good that voter turnout is going to be up quite a bit this election. I believe that lingering anger over the 2000 election, coupled by Bush's very polarizing presidency, will energize Democrats much more than Republicans. I believe Bush has more effectively stirred up his opposition to fight against him than his base to support him. A number of strong conservatives have been coming out to either support Kerry, or simply to not support Bush, because they feel Bush has, among other things, been fiscally irresponsible and that his administration lacks transparency and accountability.
Add on top of this Pat Robertson's recent remark about Bush and Iraq, and, while I know Roberston doesn't at all represent all conservative Christians in the US, you have to wonder, no matter how reliable this block of votes is, if it's even as strong as in 2000.
You've rehashed some of what BRussell posted. Some of your points about Democratic turnout and approval ratings are well taken.
As far as betting on the outcome, you're basically saying you'd be making an against the odds, emotional bet. If we were strictly playing with numbers and not emotion, Bush would be favored.
Concerning what Bush has on his side, p[lease go back and read what I posted. Nevermind, I'll report it for you:
To follow up and get back to topic:
A Kerry victory is still possible. It is, however, growing less likely by the day.
Let me explain:
1. Battleground States: The battle lines have now been drawn on Kerry's turf. In other words, several states that Gore won in 2000 are in danger of going to Bush this time around. These include WI, PA, IA, MN, NM, and possibly even NJ. By contrast, Bush is only really defending a few places. these include FL, NV, NH. Kerry is putting up good fight, but it's mostly on his turf. The fact that NJ is even close right now is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
2. Current polls are trending for Bush. Actually, nearly all of them are, with CNN/USA/Gallup putting Bush with an 8 point lead. Polls can be wrong, but that's not a bad place to be in for the President. Among RV's, Bush is still up by three.
3. Now here's where it get's bad for Kerry: Historical precedent. Incumbent Presidents with solid leads (say, 3-8 points) at this point in the cycle simply don't lose. In fact, there hasn't been one since WWII that has. The closest exception would be Carter, who led Reagan in late September/early October. However, Carter went into quick delcine in mid October, and Reagan surged. Right now, Bush is on the upswing, and Kerry is trending down. I'm not counting Ford because he was not elected to the Presidency or Vice Presidency at any point (do your best not to invoke election 2000 )
1996: Gallup Link
1984: Gallup Link
1972: Gallup Link
1964: Gallup Link
1956: Gallup Link
You'll also notice that this generally applies to Presidential candidates in general, not just incumbents.
Now, let's look at incumbent losses:
Ford 1976: Carter held a 33 point lead after his convention.
Carter 1980: Reagan held a 16 point lead in the summer.
Bush 1992: Bush was down 15 points in the summer and 11 points in October.
The conclusion is obvious: Incumbents that lose get clobbered in the polls at some point, even if not in the final few weeks. A look at this election shows that Kerry has never achieved that kind of lead. Kerry's biggest lead after his securing the nomination has been about 7 points. And, that lead quickly disappeared.
4. Convention Bounce Theory:
Originally posted by SDW2001:
No candidate who received a negligible post-convention bounce or was "out bounced" by a large margin has been able to win. The possible exception is Bush 43 himself, where Gore got twice the bounce. If we just look at challengers to an incumbent, the picture is worse for Kerry. No challenger has won without a large bounce. Period. History predicts that Kerry will not and cannot win. A challenger must experience a significant bounce to win .
(EDIT: Kerry is generally believed to have gotten only a 1-4 point bounce)
I have a .pdf of the supporting data for the above that I'll try to post later.
5. Bush's base is more energized than Kerry's.
6. The changes in electoral math favor Bush.