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Sunday, October 31, 2004

State Poll update from Race 2004

for battleground states. Kerry has pulled ahead in Wisconsin. His lead is not statistically significant, but, I think, given that undecided voters split for the challenger, he should win Wisconsin. Kerry's lead in Ohio has narrowed slightly. I am sorry to say thatt this is partly because I counted a L.A. Times poll twice yesterday (LV and RV for same survey). I also made a similar mistake with Wisconsin, but it didn't affect the average as much. Data are from

My reading is OBL that is the only barrier left between Kerry and the White House is Osama Bin Laden. OBL Only Bin Laden can save Bush and it would take more than a video.

Average of polls at since 10/20
Bush Kerry

S.E. Dif
49,28 44,78
Arkansas 1,90

49,38 45,28
Colorado 1,67
48,23 46,56
Florida 0,93
46,00 45,40
Hawaii 4,05
48,07 46,45
Iowa 1,28
44,64 49,19
Michigan 1,42
45,20 47,23
Minnesota 1,54
48,86 46,09
Nevada 1,58
42,17 48,83
Jersey 1,62
49,28 44,68
New M 1,86
47,07 47,53
Ohio 1,25
46,36 48,93
Penn 0,95
46,55 47,62
Wisconsin 1,70

Average of polls at since 10/25
Bush Kerry

S.E. Dif N

50,47 45,30
Arkansas 2,43
50,30 43,23
Colorado 2,39
48,37 46,78
Florida 1,16
47,86 46,93
Iowa 1,50
45,40 48,38
Michigan 1,79
45,27 47,43
Minnesota 1,70
49,60 46,43
Nevada 2,11
42,00 48,33
Jersey 2,10
49,33 44,90
New M 2,09
47,21 47,87
Ohio 1,48
46,97 48,95
Penn 1,17
46,20 48,12
Wisconsin 1,90

Mickey Herskowitz

fired ex ghost writer of "A Charge to Keep" claims he has the goods on Bush. If he could prove these claims he would guarantee Bush's defeat. I'm afraid he is blowing smoke, because he has not presented proof.

Russ Baker via Brad at Shrillblog

According to Baker, Herskowitz claims that

1) Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq.

"He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.'”

2) that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow.

3) Bush told him that after transferring from his Texas Guard unit two-thirds through his six-year military obligation to work on an Alabama political campaign, he did not attend any Alabama National Guard drills at all, because he was “excused.”

4) "He [Bush] told me[Herskowitz] that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistakeThat was one of the keys to being a leader.”

5) In 2003, Bush’s father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son’s invasion of Iraq.

6) George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

7) Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War."

The problem is that, while Baker has Herskowitz on tape, Herskowitz does not have Bush on tape. Baker says he said that "A campaign official arrived at his home at seven a.m. on a Monday morning and took his notes and computer files." I thought ghost writers usually tape record their converstions with "authors", Herskowitz doesn'teven mention a cassette (that's a molecular biology joke). There is no way of knowing if he has nailed the guy like Mickey Spillane, hit it out of the park like Mickey Mantle (another client) or made a fool of himself like another journalist named Mickey.

Unless unless he had a tape and kept it.

Here is a critical state update from

Sam Wang explains that they are slightly quicker than

Average of polls at since

Bush Kerry

S.E. Dif
48,85 45,23
Arkansas 2,16
48,74 45,96
Colorado 1,84
48,13 46,53
Florida 0,87
46,00 45,40
Hawaii 4,05
48,19 46,00
Iowa 1,51
44,36 48,99
Michigan 1,58
45,02 46,92
Minnesota 1,88
48,64 45,54
Nevada 1,88
42,20 47,80
Jersey 1,80
49,37 43,27
New M 2,42
46,29 47,67
Ohio 1,25
46,19 48,88
Penn 0,98
47,06 47,18
Wisconsin 1,80

Average of polls at since 10/25
Bush Kerry

S.E. Dif

50,2 46,45
Arkansas 2,97
49,15 43,9
Colorado 2,97
48,2 46,76
Florida 1,23
47,92 46,48
Iowa 1,90
45,275 47,625
Michigan 2,15
45,075 47,15
Minnesota 2,21
49,8 45,4
Nevada 3,04
42 45,5
Jersey 2,62
49,5 43
New M 3,04
46,1 48,07143
Ohio 1,48
46,76 48,87
Penn 1,23
46,75 47,7
Wisconsin 2,32

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bush 47.8 Kerry 45.6 is the population weighted average of the average post 10/20 poll at in each state. The standard error due to sampling alone is around 0.56%.

Rundown of fairly close states as of 10/30 using polls since 10/20

……………….Kerry… Bush… number of polls

Florida…… 46.1..… 47.4.… 11
46.8… 48.6… 5
Michigan….. 49.6…
45..… 5
Minnesota…. 45..… 44.5… 2
Missouri….. 45.4… 49.8… 5
Nevada……. 45.25..… 50… 4
New Hampshire 49.6… 43.7… 2

New Jersey… 47..…
40.7… 3
Ohio……… 48.3…
46.3… 7
Oregon……. 49.6 … 44.6….. 5
Pennsylvania. 48.8… 45… 11

Wisconsin…. 48….. 47….. 1

one old poll which I left in by mistake has been removed from the Michigan average.

The population weighted average of the average state poll completed on or before 10/10 is
Bush 47.5 % Kerry 45.8 % with a standard error due to sampline alone of about 0.43 %

There has not been any noticible trend.

Debating David Brooks is a waste of time but I can't resist.

Jesse Taylor has the definitive interpretation of this column here at pandagon

But at too much more length.

1) Yes Jesse, Brooks lives in a world of words and spin and has forgotten that the orders of the commander in chief matter more than his slogans.

2) Brooks shows that it is impossible for him to argue that Bush should be elected without twisting Kerry's words. "Kerry vowed to mitigate the problem of terrorism until it became another regrettable and tolerable fact of life, like gambling, organized crime and prostitution. [snip] Well, the Osama bin Laden we saw last night was not a problem that needs to be mitigated. " Brooks does not admit that Kerry has very clearly said that the only way to make Bin Laden a mere nuisance is to kill or capture him. Is Brooks problem that an unburied Osama Bin Laden corpse would, indeed, be a nuisance and Kerry is not determined to bury Bin Laden's dead body ? Kerry never suggested that his aim could be achieved without killing or capturing Bin Laden. Brooks knows this perfectly well. He must also know that he will not deceive many readers of the New York Times. Clearly he doesn't mind making it clear that he is a hack.

3) Brooks assumes that on any battlefield either US forces must overwhelmingly outnumber allied forces or must be outnumbered by US journalists. "When we rely on allies everywhere else around the world, that's multilateral cooperation, but when Bush does it in Afghanistan, it's "outsourcing." In Iraq, Kerry supports using local troops to chase insurgents, but in Afghanistan he is in post hoc opposition." Kerry is inconsistent, since there is no middle ground between what Bush did in Afganistan and what he did in Iraq. Bush, on the other hand, is resolute, since he made opposite choices in successive wars.

4) Bush and Brooks fail the Osama litmus test. The assumption that, if getting Bin Laden is too important to oursource, then occupying Iraq is too important to outsource can only make sense to someone like Bush or (he claims) Brooks who has not grasped how specially deadly a threat Bin Laden is and how contained a former threat Saddam Hussein was.

5) Brooks thinks that all our allies are no more reliable than Afghan warlords who were loyal allies of the Taliban until the winds shifted. Maybe Brooks just assumes all foreigners are alike. More likely, Brooks is making an anology which he knows perfectly well is bogus.

6) Bush is not responsible for his underlings. " Bush's response yesterday to the video was exactly right." Bush is not responsible for Pletka delcaring accurate criticism to be treason, nor can he fire her. Bush is not responsible for Brooks (granted) or Bartlett (why not?) trying to use the Bin Laden video to silence Kerry in the last days of a campaign. Kerry shouldn't have mentioned the obvious, since the facts, as usual, make Bush look bad.

7) "Since he joined the Senate, what cause has he [Kerry] taken a political risk for? Has he devoted himself selflessly and passionately to any movement larger than himself?" asks Brooks having run out his 700 words so he can't answer the question. Hmm investigating BCCI, contra Contras, normalising relations with Vietman (a no lose for McCain and a no win for Kerry), the vote against the defence of marriage act, and, of course, the 11th most liberal voting record in the Senate, which is obviously not the way to get elected President. It is obscene that Bush's supporters both use Kerry's courageous votes against him and claim that he never showed courage in the Senate. One claim must be false and Brooks knows perfectly well which one.

Now obvioulsy candidates race to the center, which means they are not blunt, frank or candid. I didn't notice Brooks doubting the character of the suddenly moderate candidate Bush.

8) Brooks elides the difference between Bush supporters' beliefs and facts "Many people are not sure that he gets the fundamental moral confrontation. Many people are not sure he feels it, or feels anything." This is a sudden shift from Brooks stating his own opinions to Brooks speculating about other peoples opinions. It is a cowardly way to suggest that Kerry feels nothing without taking responsibility for the smear.

9) Again Bush failed the Osama litmus test,. I am sure he does not get the "fundamental moral confrontation" or else he would not have pulled resources outof Afghanistan to devote them to Iraq. We know that, although he lied about it, on September 12th he wanted to blame Saddam Hussein. Osama didn't hold his attention for two full days, because Bush just does not get it.

10) Kristof is cleaning Brook's clock. He actually quotes Bush. He does not have to pad his essay to get to 700 words without admitting that he is trying to slide over all the real issues.

Update: Laura Rosen has an excellent post on Brooks. The one point which Brooks made that I did not address is the claim that Kerry supported the outsourcing strategy at Tora Bora. I suspected that the claim was based on a distortion of something Kerry said, but I didn't try to look the quote up. Reader KL of Laura Rosen's blog claims exactly that.
Daneille Pletka offends the founding fathers

"I'm glad to know that Michael Moore is giving aid and comfort to the enemy."

Danielle Pletka

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

U.S. Constitution.

Pletka clearly said that Michael Moore is guilty of treason because he drew attention to a fact embarassing to the president. The use of the phrase "aid and comfort" can only be interpreted as a reference to treason. The definition is included in the constitution for one reason only -- to make it absolutely clear that dissent and criticism of the government is not treason.

Pletka has chosen to declare her absolute contempt for the U.S. Constitution by quoting it when attacking its clear intenet. She has not been fired. This is about average for the Bush team and is by itself enough to prevent any patriotic American from voting for Bush.

Dissent is not treason. Voting for Bush is not treason. It is just very very stupid.
Dust for Prints if you get a letter like this one:
"A bogus letter circulating in South Carolina, purporting to be from the NAACP, threatens the arrest of voters who have outstanding parking tickets or failed to pay child support. The NAACP said Friday the letter is a scare tactic and called for an investigation."

Not that it is likely that anyone reads this blog, or, in particular that anyone will read this blog and then get a letter like that, which, I would say constitutes the crime of attempting to deprive the recipient of his or her civil rights.
The average of Polls since 10/20 from race 2004 which has even more polls than
Bush Kerry

S.E. Dif
48,85 45,23
Arkansas 2,16
48,10 47,45
Colorado 2,04
48,26 46,51
Florida 0,87
46,00 45,40
Hawaii 3,95
48,10 46,06
Iowa 1,51
44,24 48,93
Michigan 1,58
45,65 47,08
Minnesota 1,88
48,60 45,68
Nevada 1,88
43,25 48,50
Jersey 2,02
48,67 43,73
New M 2,42
46,00 48,22
Ohio 1,37
46,24 48,96
Penn 1,04
47,30 46,98
Wisconsin 1,80

Strategic Polls from Strategic Vision ?

The Strategic Vision anomaly in state polls is much less famous than the Gallup anomaly in national polls, but it is critical to the meta meta analysis of state polls. Strategic Vision polls for Republican candidates. Partisan pollsters are suspected of getting polls favorable to their party. for this reason Strategic Vision polls are not included at however they are available at the strategic vision web page and at the excellent race2000 which is Sam Wang's spot for hot hot fresh state polls.

I checked using polls from the battleground staes Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with sample periods ending on or after October 20. This is a tiny subset of the available data with13 strategic vision polls. On average Strategic Vision polls give Bush minus Kerry 2.64% higher than the average of other polls for the same state. The standard error due to sampling of the average Strategic Vision poll is 0.83% the standard error of the average state average of other polls (with perfect correlation within states and 0 correlation across) is 0.40. This means that the standard error of the difference Strategic Vision minus average is 1.05 and the actual difference is 2.52 standard errors.

This is proof at standard significance levels that Strategic Vision is indeed biased for Bush or that the average of other polls is biased for Kerry (or both). As a result, I consider it wise to exclude Strategic Vision from my calculations, whcih I have been doing all along.

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Bush administration is using the IRS to intimidate the NAACP says Knight Ridder.

"The Internal Revenue Service is investigating whether a speech by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond last summer that criticized the Bush administration violated a federal law that prohibits tax-exempt charitable organizations from engaging in most forms of political activity. [snip]

"You can be passionate and still have a tax-exempt status," [ Frances] Hill [a University of Miami law professor] said. "If the IRS thinks that this speech is sufficient to trigger an audit, then I think we have quite a new standard and they must be planning to audit hundreds of other groups.""

Yeah like the Heritage foundation and the Christian Coalition some time after hell freazes over.
Brighter than Thirty two Suns

Below I called the missing 377 tons of RDX and HMX small potatoes. Then I did a calculation.
RDX and HMX are 1.7 times as powerful as TNT so 377 is equivalent to 640.9 tons of TNT. The Hiroshima bomb was 20 kilotons so the missing explosives would make a blast brighter than 32 suns.

248,000 tons of munitions in Iraq still unaccounted for.

Yes 377 tons is small potatoes compared to the total.

Knight Ridder via digby via atrios.

I was struck by "The Defense Department contends that the U.S.-led military coalition has destroyed or secured 402,000 tons of munitions. That leaves at least 248,000 tons still unaccounted for." From Aaron Brown at CNN via Josh Marshal I learned "Iraq had, and it's a frightening number, two-thirds of the total conventional explosives that the US has in its entire inventory," so that would make missing munitions more than 1/4 of DOD munitions. Scared ?

The point noted by digby et al is the nth proof that chalabophilia kills (it might be safe if one wears condoms over both ears) .

"Al Qaqaa was on a classified list of Iraqi weapons facilities that the CIA provided to Pentagon and military officials before the invasion, said the U.S. intelligence official.

But when the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command produced their own list of sites that a limited number of U.S. "exploitation teams" should search, priority was given to those identified by exiled Iraqi opposition groups, he said. Al Qaqaa wasn't one of them.

"The top of the list was dominated by nuclear facilities and places where we expected to find chemical and biological weapons," he said. "Iraqi exiles had a very heavy hand in determining which places got looked at first.""

I think that Marx and Fuerbach would agree that no amount of earth shattering vision, power and dynamism and makes up for failing to look for the stuff which has more shattering power than dynamite. Even imperialists have to be reality based.
My best friend from junior high Joe Frank asks

Joe Frank

to me

Is it legal? Interesting site:

Last I heard (which was for Nader traders in 2000) the answer appeared to be probably not, but votepair assures me that they are legal. In any case, posting the link must be legal no ?

I accept no legal responsibility for anything you might do after clicking on the link, but I confess that signed up myself.
One of Grover Norquist's many employers is a convicted terrorist.

Newsweek via Oliver Willis

"Libya’s status as a formally designated sponsor of terrorism—a label it is not likely to lose any time soon following recent evidence that Kaddafi sought to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia just last year. A U.S. Muslim activist, Abdurahman Alamoudi, was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison this month after confessing to his role in taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Libya to advance the plot. Sources tell NEWSWEEK that British authorities are actively investigating the Libyan plot and recently questioned Alamoudi about it at considerable length."

Recall Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ for Oct. 23
"Abdurahman Alamoudi [snip] What Alamoudi and al-Arian have in common is a guy named Grover Norquist. He’s the super lobbyist. Newt Gingrich’s guy, the one the NRA calls on, head of American taxpayers. He is the guy that was hired by Alamoudi to head up the Islamic institute and he’s the registered agent for Alamoudi, personally, and for the Islamic Institute."
Gallup Bait and Switch:

The Gallup poll has been criticized a lot recently. Gallup's defence is to point out their excellent record in predicting past elections. Notably the evidence they show is a comparison of their final poll with the actual election result. see below.

Year Candidates Final Gallup Survey Election Result Gallup Deviation
% % %
2000 Bush 48.0 47.9 +0.1
Gore 46.0 48.4 -2.4
Nader 4.0 2.7 +1.3

Now it is, in fact possible to evaluate a polling agency using polls other than the final poll. It is true that deviations of older polls from the election result are partly due to people changing their minds, but this is equally a problem for all pollsters. Ruy Teixera has noted that the Gallup poll fluctuates a lot, even compared to other polls. This means that older Gallup polls are poor predictions for some reason which does not affect all pollsters.

The explanation is very simple. I assume it is well known in the field. Unlike other pollsters, Gallup does a bait and switch (in reverse chronological order). Knowing that only the final polls are used to evaluate pollsters, they put much more effort into the very last polls.

Look at some data on polls in 2000 from polling report here and here.

for example
Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll


"If the elections for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district [rotate]: the Democratic Party's candidate or the Republican Party's candidate?" If "Undecided": "As of today, do you lean more to [rotate] the Democratic Party's candidate or to the Republican Party's candidate?"









11/5-6/00 # 49 45 6 2,350LV +/- 2

11/4-5/00 # 48 47 5 2,386LV +/- 2

10/26-28/00 # 45 49 6 1,858LV +/- 3

10/23-25/00 # 44 47 9 LV

10/16-18/00 # 45 50 5 706LV +/- 4

10/13-15/00 # 47 46 7 756LV +/- 4

9/4-6/00 # 46 46 8 777LV +/- 4

Notice the rather dramatic increase in the sample size in the last 3 polls. If there were no change in opinion, this would create a pattern of the poll moving around then stabilizing near the election result. It would look as if people were finally making up their mind, but it is really that Gallup is finally doing a serious survey.

Matthew Yglesias has (as usual) something very interesting to say. He might even be more cynical than I am about polls.
The trouble is that, for media polls, like Gallup, NYT/CBS, ABC/WaPo, etc., the incentives are all wrong. The polls are conducted in order to sell newspapers or attract viewers to television programs. As a result methods, like the Gallup LV model, that seem to exaggerate the effect of opinion swings, are actually preferable to accurate methods since they build the drama. In general, no one has any real incentive to get things right and everyone does have various incentives polling in other directions (if nothing else, there's always incentive to minimize costs).

Part of the trouble, I think, is that people only use the actual election results to evaluate pollsters. However, after the actual election, almost no one is interested in polls anymore, so polling and polling controversies are forgotten till the next election. Therefore it is important to be able to evaluate polls before the election.

Watch this space.

Average of state polls taken after 10/20 as of 10/29
For states with more than one poll taken after 10/20
Others can just be looked up at

……………….Kerry… Bush… number of polls

Arkansas….. 46.5… 49.5… 2
Florida…… 46..… 47.2.… 9
Iowa…….. 46.5… 48.5… 4
Kansas……. 30….. 59….. 2
Louisiana…. 36..… 53..… 3
Michigan….. 48.1… 45,2… 5
Minnesota…. 45..… 44.5… 2
Missouri….. 45.4… 49.8… 5
Nevada……. 45.25..… 50… 4
New Jersey… 47..… 41..… 2
North Carolina 43.4..… 53….. 2
Ohio……… 48.8… 46… 6
Oklahoma…. 31..… 62.5..… 2
Oregon……. 49.7… 44.3….. 3
Pennsylvania. 49.1… 45… 8
South Carolina 39.5..… 55….. 2
Tennessee…. 38.5… 55….. 2

Average of state polls taken after 10/10 as of 10/29

Critical state rundown. Given the pattern that undecideds split roughly 2:1 for the challenger, I predict that Kerry will win Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hamprshire. Ohio and Wisconsin. I predict Bush will win Iowa and New Mexico.
The one change in predictions is for New Mexico.

……………….Kerry… Bush… number of polls

Alabama…… 32..… 56..… 1
Alaska……. 30..… 57..… 1
Arizona…… 43..… 50..… 4
Arkansas….. 45.8… 49.4… 5
53.5… 42.3… 4
Colorado…. 44..… 49.2… 6
Conneticut… 47..… 38..… 1

Delaware….. 45..… 38..… 1
D.C………. 78..… 11..… 1

Florida…… 46.1… 47..… 17
Georgia…… 39.8… 54.3… 4
Hawai…….. 43.8… 44.7 … 2

Idaho…….. 30..… 59..… 1
Illinois….. 52..… 41.7… 3
Indiana…… 39..… 56… 2
Iowa…….. 45.8… 47.9… 10
Kansas……. 34….. 58….. 2
Kentucky….. 38..… 57.5. 2
Louisiana…. 34.6… 52..… 3
Maine…….. 50.5… 42..… 2
Maryland….. 53.5… 40.5… 2
Massachusetts 50..… 36..… 1
Michigan….. 48.2… 44,4… 8
Minnesota…. 45.9… 44.6… 8
Mississippi.. 42..… 51..… 1
Missouri….. 45.1… 49.9… 7
Montana…… 35..… 56….. 2
32..… 61….. 1
Nevada……. 44....… 49.5… 6
New Hampshire 47.5… 44.8… 6
New Jersey 47.25… 42.1… 8
New Mexico 45.3… 47.7… 3
New York….. 56..… 36.5. 2
North Carolina 44.7..… 52….. 3
North Dakota. 33..… 62….. 1
Ohio……… 47.8… 46.6… 16
Oklahoma…. 33.2… 60..… 5
Oregon……. 49.5… 44.9….. 10
Pennsylvania. 48.4… 44.9… 13
Rhode Island. 56..… 36….. 1
South Carolina 40.3..… 55….. 3
South Dakota. 39..… 53.5….. 1
Tennessee…. 38.5… 55….. 2
Texas…….. 37..… 60….. 1
Utah……… 27..… 64….. 1
Vermont…… 53..… 40….. 1
Virginia….. 46..… 50….. 1
Washington 50.3… 45.3… 3
West Virginia 44.5… 48….. 2
Wisconsin…. 46.4… 46.3… 10
Wyoming…… 29..… 65….. 1

Average poll post 10/10 for each state. Data from and