“There are lies, damn lies, and statistics”
USA Today’s reporting on their poll is misleading. The headline, Bush leads Kerry by 7 points , implies Bush has stormed ahead.
As the campaign enters its last eight weeks, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows Bush at 52%, Kerry at 45% and independent candidate Ralph Nader at 1% among likely voters.
Among registered voters, Bush was at 48%, Kerry at 46% and Nader at 4%. Bush’s lead remains within the survey’s error margin. By historical standards, the race remains too close to call.
So why the big difference between registered and likely voters? And what was the criteria for determining if someone is a likely voter?
American Research Group, Likely Voters
Gallup, Registered voters
Our biggest danger right now is the developing media narrative — that Bush is “surging” and that the Kerry campaign is in “disarray”. And I must say that the Chicken Littles among us contribute to that story line.
The sky isn’t falling. The race is tight and will tighten. And though the national polls may be showing a small Bush lead, we still haven’t seen much from the battleground states — the only place the polls matter. So what if Bush has solidified his support in Alabama and Texas? I’ll hold off on the panic button until we see numbers from Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Indeed, with many polls showing the race as a dead heat, the “Bush is surging” meme seems more like carefully planted disinformation than any actual fact.