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:: Friday, January 30, 2004 ::

Roy Neel lays out Dean strategy

No real surprises. It's gutsy, but it's also about all they have.
This campaign has always defied conventional wisdom. Our extraordinary rise last year defied conventional wisdom--so did our fall in Iowa, and so did our comeback in New Hampshire after most pundits predicted Howard Dean was finished.

Conventional wisdom has been consistently wrong about this race.
So when conventional wisdom says a candidate must win somewhere on February 3, or that John Kerry will have wrapped up the nomination after fewer than 10% of the delegates have been chosen, we disagree.
Our goal for the next two and a half weeks is simple--become the last-standing alternative to John Kerry after the Wisconsin primary on February 17.

Why Wisconsin? First, it is a stand-alone primary where we believe we can run very strong. Second, it kicks off a two-week campaign for over 1,100 delegates on March 2, and the shift of the campaign that month to nearly every big state: California, New York, and Ohio on March 2, Texas and Florida on March 9, Illinois on March 16, and Pennsylvania on April 27.
We believe that when the voters of the post-Wisconsin states--which constitute 75% of the delegates that will be chosen in the states--compare Howard Dean and John Kerry, they will conclude that Dean, not Kerry, has the best chance to beat George Bush, because only Dean offers a clear vision of change and a record of results that contrasts against the rhetoric emanating from Washington. We believe they will increasingly reject the rubber stamp presented to them by the media.

Has such a strategy ever worked before?

No. It's never been tried.

But prior to this year, no candidate had ever raised $46 million dollars, mostly from ordinary Americans giving $100 each. Prior to this year no candidate for President had ever inspired the kind of grass-roots activity that has been this campaign's hallmark. Prior to this year no candidate for President had so clearly revitalized his party, allowed it to reclaim its voice, and shifted the agenda so clearly to a call for change.

Let the conventional wisdom and the media declare this race over. We're going to let the people decide.
I have to agree with the posters in the diary. It's pretty much Dean's only choice, so revealing it doesn't carry much of a downside. Plus, it keeps the Deanies "in the loop", so the 2/3 results aren't as discouraging. It's also an attempt to frame the 2/3 results, to spin them before a single vote is cast.

If it works, it heads off the Dean obituaries that would otherwise be written. In the meantime, Dean and his surrogates (including Gore) are going to be campaigning in the 2/3 states, and Dean's still getting more than his share of media time.

And, as the days pass, it's becoming obvious that Kerry's got a target on his back. I'll be blogging this weekend, because I still expect that oppo research to be floated. I expected it last week, but...well, timing is everything.

:: Morat 7:57 PM :: ::

I swear..

If I hear one more idiot claiming that Zogby "called the New Hampshire election perfectly", I'm going to be forced to shoot someone.

Were they even watching Zogby? ARG called the election. They showed Dean moving to within 10 points of Kerry by election day, and that's exactly where Dean was when the votes were counted.

On the other hand, Zogby showed Dean closing to even with Kerry, then claimed Dean magically collapsed after 5:00 PM Monday night, which dropped Dean to....within 10 points of Kerry.

Now, I don't know about you, but that looks like someone "covering their ass". It's pretty obvious that Zogby screwed up New Hampshire. His methodology overstated Dean's growth, and he changed his model so that his election morning results were the same as everyone else's.

The man's best defense for the drastic change in his poll numbers was "There was a sudden massive Kerry surge at 5:00 PM exactly on Monday night, and only I saw it! Haha! I'm so great!". And people apparently bought this.

I've heard George Bush tell better lies.
:: Morat 2:28 PM :: ::

Dean's strategy?

Needlenose has a theory on Dean's strategy: Basically, Dean is counting on the same media cycle that first pumped him, then destroyed him, to take out Kerry.

So he's lying low, figuring Kerry will take a hammering in the next few weeks. After that, Dean's betting the voters will want to take another look at Howard Dean, the plucky fighter who stayed in it even after taking a beating.

Will it work? I have no idea. It's gutsy, risky, and unlikely...but it's probably the best play Dean has left.
:: Morat 10:42 AM :: ::

Dean's Finances

According to the latest news, Dean's numbers aren't as bad as some are claiming. He's down to about 5 million after all debts are paid.

While not "good", it's certainly not "dead broke". It's enough to make a stand through 2/10. After that, though, he's toast without a win.

Update: Judging by the latest polls, if someone doesn't kill Kerry by Monday, Dean is toast no matter what. I'll support him until he drops out, but he better be praying that Kerry hoses up somewhere.
:: Morat 9:26 AM :: ::

Georgia considers banning 'evolution'

Georgia considers banning 'evolution' :
The state's school superintendent has proposed striking the word evolution from Georgia's science curriculum and replacing it with the phrase 'biological changes over time.'
Cox repeatedly referred to evolution as a "buzzword" Thursday and said the ban was proposed, in part, to alleviate pressure on teachers in socially conservative areas where parents object to its teaching.
And this will work because it's the word religious nutjobs object to, not the concept?

I'm not sure what universe Kathy Cox is living in, but it's not ours. Perhaps, in her world, saying "Evolution" is like saying "dick" instead of "penis". Just not clinical enough...

But in our world, it isn't the word people object to. It's the concept. (I won't get into "why" in this post. Suffice to say that either the phrase "ignorant of biology" or the phrase "religious whackjob" would be succinct summations of the two main types of people who object to evolution).
:: Morat 9:21 AM :: ::


A Kos poster used his diary to highlight a picture he took in New Hampshire.

I'm not sure what's more disturbing: That I wouldn't be cynical enough to try that, or the fact that it worked.

Assuming that Kerry sign is real (it's a professional looking sign, and no one has said anything about it yet), I think it says volumes about the electorate and about what we're getting with John Kerry.

*sigh*. Still, better Kerry than Bush.
:: Morat 9:15 AM :: ::

White House raising estimated cost of Medicare overhaul

White House raising estimated cost of Medicare overhaul:
President Bush's new budget will project that the just-enacted prescription drug program and Medicare overhaul will cost one-third more than previously estimated and will predict a deficit exceeding $500 billion for this year, congressional aides said Thursday.

Instead of a $400 billion 10-year price tag, Bush's 2005 budget will estimate the Medicare bill's cost at about $540 billion, said aides who spoke on condition of anonymity. Bush will submit on Monday a federal budget for the fiscal year 2005, which starts next October 1.
Bush? Lowball costs? I'm shocked. SHOCKED.

I mean, just because he deliberately underestimated the cost of his tax cuts and the Iraq war doesn't mean he's a habitual liar about these things!

Seriously. I could faint. I'm going to have to go lie down.

PS: Hey, GOP...want respect? Don't vote for this guy. Let's face it, whatever he is, he's not a "conservative".
:: Morat 7:59 AM :: ::

Latest Zogby polls

There's no good for Dean anywhere in SC, OK, MI, or Arizona. Arizona is the only place Dean breaks into double digits.
Kerry's double victories have clearly propelled him into front runner status. As we launch this four states tracking, Kerry has huge leads in two states (Missouri and Arizona). He is running competitively in the other two states (South Carolina and Oklahoma). And, as of now, he looks like the only candidate who will emerge from all four states with delegates.

:: Morat 7:37 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, January 29, 2004 ::

Who is robo-calling against Dean?

Daily Kos has an excerpt from an upcoming GQ article, which has Trippi (pre-firing) fingering Kerry for the robo-calling in Iowa and New Hampshire.

As Kos notes, it's anecdotal...but Kerry was pretty much the only one with both the need and the resources. Gephardt sure wasn't doing it after he dropped out, and Clark would have been doing it to Kerry too.

I said, way back when, that the first wave of such calls would only benefit Kerry. (At the time those calls were made, independents went for Dean and Clark, but Dean didn't have enough of an advantage for Clark to want to spike them).

If it's true that someone was targeting Dean supporters and Dean leaners, then that pretty much has to be a candidate who is heavily canvassing that state. Every campaign knows who it's supporters are, but every campaign also tracks who is supporting someone else.

It's not something you can do without extensive effort and visibility, so it's not likely the GOP was doing it.

Nor is it something a "rogue staffer" could be doing. It's expensive as hell. Kerry better pray that nothing emerges to tie him to those calls, because heaven help him if the voters find out he was push-polling that Dean was "unchristian" and an "environmental racist". Much less that he was calling Dean supporters and misdirecting them to the wrong caucus sites.

Update: Some people feel Kos is unfairly fingering Kerry, without any real proof. Well, first off, a Kerry staffer was caught push-polling on tape. He made the mistake of calling up a Dean precinct captain when they were doing a documentary. Kerry fired the staffer, but he wasn't the only one.

Morever, Kerry was the only one with the resources and the need to do it in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Gephardt never had the polling (or the need) to do it in New Hampshire, and Clark would have focused on Edwards in New Hampshire. The GOP simply didn't have the demographic data.
:: Morat 6:25 PM :: ::


One of the weirdest complaints about Trippi's firing has been about who replaced him. Not complaints that Neel is the "wrong guy", or "bad for the job", but complaints like "Well, so much for running against the Washington insiders".


Here's a big fat hint: First off, politics is a game, and national politics is a completely separate game from state politics. If you're new to national politics, even if you hate national politics, you need to have some people on your team who understand it. Let's face facts here: Dean got hammered by Kerry, the quintessential Washington politician....Dean needs someone who understands it, and can play the game at that level.

Being blunt about it: Do you think Joe Lieberman is going to be making any changes to anything?

So, no, I don't have a problem with hiring Neel. I think it's a gutsy move, and it might be the wrong one, but at least it's an attempt to change a failing approach. Neel isn't going to change who Dean is, or what his issues are -- although we can hope he convinces Dean to open up with his tax plan now, before it's too late.
:: Morat 11:04 AM :: ::

Thar she blows! Dead whale explodes

Well, that's truly disgusting:
Residents of Tainan learned a lesson in whale biology after the decomposing remains of a 60-ton sperm whale exploded on a busy street, showering nearby cars and shops with blood and organs and stopping traffic for hours.
(Link via Byzantium's Shores)
:: Morat 10:57 AM :: ::

"Where We Stand"

If any doubting Deanies read this blog, you might want to check out this piece on Not Geniuses.
:: Morat 10:35 AM :: ::

Is Dean broke?

Probably. Some people are, reportedly, "shocked" that a campaign would spend money and lose.

Frankly, that's what virtually all of them do, but apparently it's still quite shocking.

Other people are wondering how Dean blew "35 million" in Iowa and New Hampshire. Simply put, he didn't. Dean made plenty of 2/3 ad buys, and national ad buys, and built staff and organizations in dozens of states. Dean spent a ton in Iowa and New Hampshire, yes. And he lost, yes. Which is one of the reasons Trippi got demoted.

I'm not surprised he's asking his staff to defer salaries for two weeks (if that's the case. It's all unsourced), as two weeks see him through mini-Tuesday and the more Dean-friendly primaries after. If he doesn't get some wins by then, it's over. He can pay off his staff and concede.

He, like Kerry and Gephardt before him, is going to have to go for broke. On the bright side, even the most pessimistic reports of Dean's finances have him at "zero". Unlike say, Kerry, Dean doesn't' have a six million dollar loan to pay back too.

So a big fat hint to anyone upset that Dean has spent money: He's running a campaign. You spend it. I donated money in order for Dean to spend it on campaigning. And I think it's a damn good sign that, having spent all that money and having little to show for it, that he demoted the guy in charge of campaign expenditures.

It also appears that part of the shakeup is in his ad staff. They're not -- as of yet -- replacing his ad team, but they're bringing in outside talent and revamping the ads. Good for them. Dean's ads were pretty damn bad.

Update: The latest bat just broke a million. So Dean has at least a million more dollars than he had before 10 PM on January the 24th. Also, MSNBC just reported (via their embed) that Dean's raised about 5 million in January alone, and has a staff of almost 500 (everyone he pays, in various states).

Also, a lot of this is coming from Salon, and Trippi rather likes Salon. The "sour grapes" thing has to be taken into account.
:: Morat 9:53 AM :: ::

No surprise

It looks like the Kerry bashing has begun. I saw bits and pieces in the usual places -- generalized "More liberal than Ted Kennedy" type things, but my absolute favorite are the "Kerry/Botox" stories circulating around the usual rags (like the New York Post and The Daily Mirror).

Given Kerry's current position, I'd imagine this will actually filter to the mainstream news. Yes, America, whether or not Kerry has had Botox injections -- and whether he's being honest about it -- is apparently important political news.

Some days, it just makes you want to cry.

Update: It appears the issue isn't so much the botox, which is just bad press (a vain Presidential candidate? Never!) but the fact that Kerry flat out lied in an interview about it, claiming he'd never heard of it. While it's possible, just barely, that he didn't have botox treatments, his wife has, and has said as much in interviews.

That kind of tiny lie about a stupid subject is the sort of thing the media feasts on. If Kerry doesn't nip it in the bud quickly, it has the potential of being the story right into mini-Tuesday, because it plays right into that "Elite Liberal" thing.

Who is hosting tonight's debate? A large chunk of the press would have a difficult time not asking it, especially when coupled with the fact that Kerry's almost certainly lying about knowing what it is.
:: Morat 8:28 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 ::

Opp Research time!

MSNBC - Comeback Kerry:
As the undisputed front runner, Kerry will also now find the gloves are off. Other campaigns are staring at their do-or-die moments. Their best chance of survival rests on prolonging the fight by halting Kerry's romp home. "We've moved a lot of material," says one rival-campaign aide of the voluminous oppo research on the Massachusetts senator that is now finding its way into journalists' hands. Other rival-campaign staffers are salivating at the prospect of digging into Kerry's Senate record, especially his fund-raising records, to see if they can dig up anything on those infamous special interests inside the Beltway. "We'll see if he can take the pounding," says one.
Kerry is in for a rough few weeks. A very rough few weeks. He's got a long record, and much of it isn't going to play well in many states. If Kerry can survive this trial by fire, then he'll be ready for Bush. If not, best to find out now.

It looks like Dean chose the right moment to shake up his campaign staff. I don't think it's going to get much notice in between the New Hampshire results, the upcoming debate, and the concerted attack on Kerry.

For the record: I'm glad they're replacing Trippi. He was instrumental in the beginning, but his Iowa and New Hampshire strategies failed....and wasted a ton of money. It wasn't a bad plan, but it didn't work. And I'm doubly glad Dean is revamping -- or replacing -- his advertising staff. We're moving into the all-TV primary, and Dean will need some killer ads. The ones he had simply weren't up to snuff.
:: Morat 4:49 PM :: ::

Dean shakes up staff, taps longtime Gore associate

Not surprising. Replaced Trippi with Neel, eh?

I don't know much about Roy Neel (anyone?) but while I like Trippi, his strengths mean he was an excellent campaign manager back during the fundraising primary, but not so great later.

We'll see where this goes.

Update: Posters on Kos mention three things: First, Dean is running low on cash, and is down to 5 million or so (probably parity with the rest of the field). Second, this was probably in the works since Iowa, and Neel might have had a hand in some of the changes Dean has undergone in the last week. Third, part of the shakeup resulted in switching ad companies. Which is great, because until the last week, Dean's ads were the worst in the field.

Gutsy move, but it'll probably be lost in the post-Iowa noise and the debate tomorrow night. I'm sure that's the hope, at least.
:: Morat 2:36 PM :: ::

Polls galore

Kos has a bunch of new polls up. They're all pre-New Hampshire, so expect some Kerry movement. Maybe a little Dean, maybe a little Clark. You get three polls for Arizona, one for Oklahoma, and two for South Carolina.

Kerry -- obviously -- is doing pretty well. What's interesting to me, however, are Dean's numbers. If you take a look at the states with multiple polls, Dean does uniformly better as time passes. In Arizona, Dean moves from 10 (1/23-25) to 14 (1/24-25) to 23(1/27). In South Carolina, Dean goes from 9(1/23-24) to 16(1/24-26).

ARG, in fact, polled Dean on the 1/23-25 (the 10 in Arizona and the 9 in SC). In the New Hampshire tracker, Dean was 15-16-20 over that time-span.

It appears, at least, that Dean won't have to worry about Iowa-damage control. That seems to have worked itself out of the electorate. On the other hand, he still has the "Kerry's got big momentum" problem to deal with, but at least Edwards and Clark are likely to be helping there.
:: Morat 10:43 AM :: ::

Kerry really is the frontrunner

William Saletan has already started slamming him. *sniffle*. And I thought William and Dean had something really special going.

He's got a few interesting points, mostly around the theme that Kerry doesn't sell himself well. People like Vilsack and Shaheen sell Kerry, and he's not going to have that sort of backstop anywhere else.

I'm not sure I agree with it, but it's worth a read.

:: Morat 10:23 AM :: ::

Boston Bound: New Hampshire Edition

The latest Boston Bound is up. Jay Bullock feels -- as most people do -- that Kerry has the clearest road by far, and that Dean's best bets are for New Mexico and maybe North Dakota and Delaware.

He also says that there are reports that Karen Hicks might be taking a larger role in the organization, while Joe Trippi steps back a bit. If so, good move. I've heard nothing but good things about Hicks, and she was instrumental in repairing Dean's post-Iowa damage.

And he notes that yes, CNN carried Dean's entire post-New Hampshire speech.
:: Morat 10:13 AM :: ::

What Dean needs

First off, Dean really needs a February 3rd win. He's got a couple of long shots, but nothing solid. Failing that, Dean needs to be close to Kerry in every state Kerry wins, and needs to poll ahead of Kerry in the states Kerry isn't going to win (like South Carolina). Dean has friendly (and delegate rich) territory after the 3rd, so it's mostly a matter of "hanging on" and avoiding the "Dean is fading" storyline. A win in New Mexico or Arizona would be nice, though.

Will that happen? Beats me. Ask me after tomorrow's debate. We're moving into the television primary. Candidate's don't have the time to campaign like they did in New Hampshire and Iowa. It's TV ads and media coverage from now on. More of the mini-Tuesday voters are going to see Kerry's debate then will get to hear Kerry's stump speech.

Update: A minor wonder here: I noticed that Dean's speech last night seemed to get a lot of air time. It was an excellent speech, and I wonder how many people tuned in just to see if Dean would scream again, and got to hear the best speech the guy has made in months?
:: Morat 9:24 AM :: ::

One thing to watch for

Alright. So I lied. I can't stop watching the primary. It's more interesting then watching Bush claim black is white and up is down.

Back to the point. Kerry's money situation will be interesting to watch. He spent most of COH in Iowa, and I'm betting he spent the bulk of what he raised between Iowa and New Hampshire in New Hampshire.

And now he's facing seven states, without the benefit of much advance campaigning...or regional advantage. I'm not sure how much he's going to have to spend on ad buys, and I'm willing to bet that Dean, Clark, and Edwards all make stands in different states. So it's going to be interesting to see who Kerry ends up going head-to-head with in what states, and how much money he's going to have to work with, or what sort of press coverage he's going to get. Worst case, Kerry's facing a critical press (the "perk" of being frontrunner) while trying to battle Dean, Clark, and Edwards in separate states....each of whom has a lot more money, per state, than Kerry does...and a lot more time to devote to campaigning there.

First clue will be tomorrow's debates. If Kerry gets raked over the coals, he's in for a fun week.
:: Morat 9:17 AM :: ::

New Hampshire wrap-up, Part I.

This will probably be a multi-part post, as I've just started poking through the newspapers and blogs. However, a few things have already popped out. First, according to a comment by Fester, Democratic turnout was a record 214,000. That's two record turn-outs in a row. Bad news for Bush, as the CW is that the 2004 election is going to be a turnout battle.

Second, I might have written Dean off too early. Dean might have been a distant second, but Clark was just as far back from Dean as Dean was from Kerry. I'm going to take a "Wait and see" attitude here. This article by MSNBC pretty much sums up my attitude.
With his bounce-back-from-the-brink 26 percent finish in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, Howard Dean can claim a moral victory and a surprising one, if one keeps in mind that exactly a week ago, Dean was gasping for breath after his stunning third-place finish in Iowa.

The problem in politics is always: What do you use as your baseline? Is it the dominant Dean of October or the deflated Dean of last Thursday?
That's a damn good question, and the answer will determine how much breathing room Dean has. I lean towards the latter, personally, if only because the average voter got his first introduction to Dean as the Iowa results came in.

I think a lot of things depend on how harsh the spotlight is on Kerry now, and how he handles it. He's got the "Big Mo", as they say, and that can't be overstated. I still say Kerry's got the odds, and Lieberman is certainly out. As for Dean, Clark, and Edwards....you've got me. I've made too many bad guesses, and seen the CW upset too many times in the last few weeks to have anything solid beyond the obvious.

And, for the record, I'd like to note that Zogby's New Hampshire tracker sucked, and if he hadn't changed the numbers the night before (Did anyone believe that "I noticed a massive Kerry swing at 5:00 PM Monday BS?), he'd have been wildly off. ARG, on the other hand, was pretty rock solid.
:: Morat 8:44 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 ::

This makes me happy

There's one very bright silver lining for Deaniacs tonight. In the Republican primary, nearly 2500 people wrote in a vote for a Democrat.

Bush got 86% of the vote in the GOP primary, but John Kerry got 1.9%, and Howard Dean got 1.4%. Clark and Edwards got 1%, and Lieberman almost hit 1% himself.

And that, my friends, is amusing as all hell.

:: Morat 8:20 PM :: ::


I'm pretty sure Skeptical Notion is out of the horserace business. Kos does it better, and with Dean down by 13 or so points in New Hampshire, I'm thinking this is going to be an easy Kerry nomination. While it can be argued, quite truthfully, that Dean managed to go from "fighting for third" to "clear second" in less than week, I'm not sure it's enough to grab the "Comeback Kid" label...nor do I think it's enough for him to climb back up in mini-Tuesday, unless the media turns on Kerry. Since he's the clear frontrunner now, you can never tell...

Mini-Tuesday is going to sort out the "Southern Candidate" (probably Edwards), and then Kerry and Edwards -- or Clark -- will fight it out to the end. However, given Kerry's obvious skill (winning in Iowa and New Hampshire was no mean feat), I don't see him losing.

So unless something drastic happens, I'm not going to be watching the race that closely until after the nomination is clinched. My particular horse is out of the race, and Kerry, Edwards and even Clark are all strong candidates.

Obviously I didn't think they were the strongest, and I've got reservations about their chances, but I don't feel any of the three is so much weaker than the others as to warrant a "Stop So-and-So" movement.

In the end, I want Bush out of office. If the price is President Kerry instead of President Dean (especially after Doctor Dean transplanted some backbone into the rest of the field), so be it. After all, what I admired most about Dean was that he understood it was better to get half a loaf than nothing.

Maybe Dean will surprise me. Maybe he'll pull a rabbit out of his hat. As long as he's in the race, he's got my vote. But if the race boils down to Kerry and Edwards...I just don't care that much. Let me know when the general election is gearing up, and I'll see if I can help.

Unless Dean works some magic on mini-Tuesday, or Kerry manages the gaffe of all time, I'm going back to the other aspects of politics.

Update: We all know I'll be watching mini-Tuesday. And as long as Dean is still running, I'll vote for him. And, I am a hell of a lot less upset than I was after Iowa. Dean did damn well, given how little time he had to recover. I just don't think the primary schedule is going to give him any time to claw back to the top. Then again, perhaps Kerry's lack of money and narrow focus will let Dean slip by him. Stranger things have happened...

But the smart money is on Kerry. (Probably literally, though I haven't checked the Iowa Electronic Market).
:: Morat 6:21 PM :: ::

New Hampshire results

With 23% of the precincts reporting, it looks like a 39-24 Kerry/Dean with Edwards and Clark sitting at 13% each. (CNN is calling it for Kerry)

"High Turnout" in New Hampshire is around 170,000, which means roughly 27% of the vote is in, unless I flubbed the math.

Update: With 38% of the vote in, it's Kerry 39, Dean 25, Edwards 13, Clark 12. Those numbers have been holding rock solid for all four candidates. Kerry's the clear winner, and now the question is: "What next?"

Cases can be spun for the top three. Kerry, obviously, won Iowa and New Hampshire...something that can't be overstated. Dean fell from the frontrunner, but can point to a clear second...something of a comeback, given that a mere week ago the CW was that Dean was in a tough scrap just to hold second from a surging Clark or Edwards.

Clark or Edwards (whichever one comes in third) has the "Southern Strategy" fallback, which is pretty effective...but would have been more so had one of them snagged second.
:: Morat 5:22 PM :: ::

In other news....

Things continue to go well in beautiful, sunny Iraq:
Three U.S. troops killed and three others wounded late Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
Update: Fester notes that this is the third IED (improvised explosive attack) this week, each of them killing three soldiers. He's hoping that this isn't a sign that the guerrillas are getting better at making -- and planting -- bombs.
:: Morat 1:29 PM :: ::

1 p.m. exit poll reports

Kos has heard a few things about the early exit poll results. (From a "source" so, as Kos puts it, caveat emptor)

1:00 PM exit polls have Kerry leading, with Dean a close second (within the MOE). Kos has two numbers: The LA times has Dean 34, Kerry 33 and ABC News has Kerry 37, Dean 31.

These numbers should be taken with a few pounds of salt. First off, while exit polls can be accurate, their MOE is fairly large. There are some severe sample issues relating to who is polled, and what precincts and voting stations are polled, to begin with. Moreover, these are exit polls of people who voted in the morning and on their lunch breaks. Not exactly a representative sample. Offhand, I'd say it'd skew towards the youngest voters, the oldest voters, and "stay-at-home" Moms and Dads.

If I find a link to firm numbers, I'll post it. In the meantime, I'm still calling NH for Kerry, and will be thrilled if Dean closes to within 5 points. Third will be a tossup, although I think Edwards will come out ahead of Clark.

Update: The National Review has Kerry 36, Dean 31, Edwards and Clark 12. And some guy named "Ted" on Kerry's blog has Kerry 36%, Dean 23%, Edwards 21%, Clark 10% as of 3:00. (He was posting nearly identical numbers for 1:00). I can't help but wonder where Ted gets his numbers...

Update II: You know, it occurs to me that if Ted was dyslexic, his poll results would be in line with ABC News, LA Times and the National Review report. (Dean at 32 instead of 23, and Edwards at 12 instead of 21). Why do I care about Ted's results? He seems very serious about it, and what else do I have to do right now?
:: Morat 11:21 AM :: ::

Red Ink Realities

Krugman at his finest (with extra snark!):
Even conservatives are starting to admit that George Bush isn't serious when he claims to be doing something about the exploding budget deficit. At best — to borrow the already classic language of the State of the Union address — his administration is engaged in deficit reduction-related program activities.

:: Morat 11:02 AM :: ::


Shorter Eric Alterman: "Dammit, Howard, why won't you die?"

Judging from Eric's latest, and his comments over the last few days, I think I can spot the real problem. Eric feels that Dean, like the Wizard of Oz, should leave the story -- probably by balloon -- now that he's given Kerry his spine transplant.

Personally, I think Dean should hang around at least long enough to give Kerry the Anti-Dukakis Cloak and perhaps a rational explanation of his Iraq stance, but that's just me.
:: Morat 10:37 AM :: ::

No Child Left Behind

TAPPED makes a pair of points today about the NCLB act. First, Matthew Yglesias points out the fundamental flaw of NCLB is in the metrics themselves, not the schools they measure:
This is a lot of different subgroups, which makes it very hard for a school to meet even relatively modest standards. Test scores could go up across the board in your school with the exception of Latino third graders doing poorly on the math section and the school would have failed to make 'adequately yearly progress.' If next year the Latino sixth graders are doing fine in math, and so is everyone else, except for African-American eighth graders who've done badly in English, then the school is persistently failing and will face sanctions.
TAPPED then notes that, to no one's surprise, George Bush has once again failed to adequately fund NCLB.

In summation, NCLB not only ensures that most -- if not all -- schools will be deemed "Failing" within a few years, but that many of them will go bankrupt in the process.

Way to go, Education President.
:: Morat 10:16 AM :: ::

Saddam's 'evil chemistry' justified war

In response to Ashcroft's recent science moralizing, where he defined Saddam's threat to the US as based on "evil biology" and "evil chemistry", Pharyngula has -- temporarily -- 'fessed up and become an openly evil biology blog.

At least for today.
:: Morat 8:50 AM :: ::

Final Poll Roundup

ARG has caught up to Zogby, with ARG's last poll showing: Kerry 35%, Dean 25%, Edwards 15%, Clark 14%. That was a three point drop for Kerry from yesterday's rolling average, and a five point increase for Dean. Big jump.

ARG notes that women have switched back to Dean, while men continue to favor Kerry. ARG further predicts that turnout models won't mean much, as independents and Democrats break in similar percentages between Dean and Kerry. They also offer "Best Guess" numbers for today's results: Kerry 35%, Dean 29%, Edwards 16%, Clark 13%.

Zogby, on the other hand, switches 180 degrees from his chant of the last week: After spending a week claiming an ever tightening race, he now predicts a 37-24 Kerry win, with Edwards at 12% and Clark at 9%.

Zogby contradicts ARG, claiming Kerry had a huge advantage over Dean with women. He further notes that this massive Kerry surge took place after 5:00 PM on Monday, whatever the hell that means. Zogby closes with a really amusing editorial, which pretty much sums up my irritation with Zogby:
A final note: I know that my polling in the past two-days has shown a close race. I have no doubt that this was the case. Dean had bottomed out in the latter part of the week, was re-gaining some of his support among key voting groups, and had rehabilitated up to a point his unfavorable ratings. But in the final analysis, New Hampshire voters have decided to nominate a possible president instead of sending an angry message. New Hampshire voters are always volatile and its primaries are always fluid. I have never gotten a New Hampshire primary wrong. I stand by my close numbers of the last few days as much as I stand by these final numbers
Pollster or pundit, Zogby. Not both. It just doesn't fly well.

I'm also a bit confused as to how Zogby differentiates between voter shifts and statistical fluctuations in a single day's polling. I'm not saying he's wrong, merely that as far as I understand tracking polls, a single day's subsample is not something you extrapolate trends on. It looks, for all the world, like Zogby is playing "Cover your ass".

For what it's worth, Skeptical Notion's NH prediction: Kerry 33, Dean 26, Edwards 16, Clark 15.
:: Morat 8:13 AM :: ::

:: Monday, January 26, 2004 ::


Charles Kuffner is going to be a father. Drop on by and wish him well.
:: Morat 9:44 AM :: ::

Crack for the Weak

Latest Zogby on NH has Dean within 3 points of Kerry, both "firm" voters and when pushing "leaners". Zogby uses a different methodology than ARG, which still shows Kerry with a 10 point or better lead. Both versions of the Zogby poll (firm and leaners) have a large gap between second and third (15 points or so).

I'm not sure I trust Zogby anymore than ARG (which shows Dean rebounding, but still a good 10 points back from Kerry), so I'm not exactly ready to declare a Dean victory. I will say that, optimistically, I'm hoping for a solid second. Which is a lot more than I was hoping for on Wednesday.

Update: SUSA confirms Zogby's numbers. They completed a full poll yesterday (not a tracker) and showed Kerry over Dean 33-28.
:: Morat 9:16 AM :: ::

:: Sunday, January 25, 2004 ::

Looks like the dirty tricks have started

Karen Hicks, Dean's New Hampshire Director, made the following statement:
'In recent days, our campaign has been hearing reports from New Hampshire voters that they are receiving:

  • phone calls early in the morning and late at night;

  • 'robo calls' from soulless machines, not calls from considerate people;

  • calls claiming to originate from the Dean campaign, but do not;
    and even harassing calls and bigoted messages.
Let me be very clear. The Dean campaign does not call New Hampshire homes before 8:30 am or after 8:30 pm. Our calls are made by respectful people, not droning machines. Our callers tell the truth.

We call on the other campaigns to make the same commitments.
We are grateful for the extraordinary engagement of New Hampshire's people in this race. But our campaign believes that everyone deserves some peace, some respect, and a truthful message.'
Now, I wonder who would do such a thing? At least one Kos poster has personal experience with it, so we can be pretty sure it's happening.

One hopes the Dean campaign makes a big stink about it. They've got less than 24 hours to find out whose doing it, although I have my guesses. (I just wonder when Josh Marshall, who was quick to report about an anti-Kerry flyer in the Dean HQ, will pick up on this?)

Update: I talked to one of the volunteers in New Hampshire. Basically put, they don't know who is doing it, and don't have time to find out. They're trying to get the local media to cover it, but without having someone to point to, they're not likely to get much coverage. So, basically, they're adding the info to their lit drops (and I'd imagine real phone calls).
:: Morat 6:45 PM :: ::

Negative Mail

Joshua Marshall noticed a anti-Kerry flyer at Dean HQ last night:
An update on the anti-Kerry flyer I saw last night posted at Dean's Volunteer Operations Center in Manchester. (See earlier post: the Dean campaign says it was posted by an errant volunteer, and not connected with the campaign.) Apparently, they were also leafletted on cars last night at the Democratic party's 100 Club Dinner in Nashua. Someone's handing these things out.
He noted that it was taped to the wall, and that while there were stacks of flyers everywhere (for mailing, for handing out, etc) there were no stacks of that flyer.

Offhand, I don't find it anymore or less likely that it's Dean's group doing it. All the major candidates (even Edwards, who isn't nearly as positive as he likes to claim) need to tear Kerry down.

Who's passing them out would be interesting to know, but I somehow doubt the Dean campaign would have something like that floating around it's HQ, where visiting reporters like Marshall wander in and out.

Campaigns producing stuff like that tend to keep a very close eye on them, and those responsible for handing them out or mailing them tend to understand that "Not Getting Caught" is somewhat key.

Ask the Kerry campaign. I understand their direct mail in Iowa was very well done. And no one noticed until after the caucus.
:: Morat 8:23 AM :: ::

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