Monday, November 01, 2004

I'm struck by the similarities between this election and 1976. In both cases we have a relatively unpopular Republican incumbent of questionable legitimacy. In both cases the background to the election is an unpopular war (albeit one that ended in 1975 for the Carter-Ford tilt). In both cases the electorate was wounded by recent government deception (Watergate, Iraq). In both cases most everyone knew the electoral vote was going to be pretty close, and it was (297-240 Carter). If New York had gone for Ford he would have won.

Now we see that the final Gallup poll has the race exactly tied with undecideds allocated (49-49) and Kerry with a 2-point lead among registered voters (48-46). In 1976 the final Gallup poll had Ford winning the popular vote 49-48. A miniscule swing against Ford (-1) and to Carter (+2) from that final poll gave Carter the election. The same swing to the challenger in this election would give it to Kerry 51-48. Gallup has been taking a lot of heat this election season, and I think most of the criticism is justified. But this time I hope they're right.


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