"What are those guys up to this time?", Part II

Tom Tomorrow has this to say about bad polls:

It’s all bollocks, of course. Republicans just want to psyche

you out. They want you to think they can’t be defeated. They want you to doubt

yourself, to stumble, to give up. But there are way too many variables at play.

Iraq, the economy, terrorism–it’s a confluence of events which hasn’t come

together like this before. We’re in uncharted territory.

The future hasn’t

been written yet. Don’t forget that.

This is pretty much what I said below about rumors. During the last weeks of the campaign, you don’t want to spend too much time asking yourself “Is that really true?” Just ask “What are those guys up to this time?” Everything is a move in the game.

As Mr. Tomorrow pointed out, we’ve recently had polls asking the same question during the same time period coming up with results that are ten points apart. It doesn’t make a lot of difference why this happened. There certainly are Republican pollsters out there lowballing Kerry’s polling results, but maybe it’s just bad methodology. Obviously, someone’s got to be wrong.

I think that there is definitely a silver lining here. From the scuttlebutt I’ve seen, apparently pollsters’ methods of defining “likely voters” aren’t very sensitive. This means that if the Democrats get-out-the-vote campaign is better than last time, Kerry is really doing better than the polls say. (Because Bush’s get-out-the-vote was already pretty good last time, he has less room for improvement.) Furthermore, if Bush believes his own polls, maybe he’s become over-optimistic. For example, if the polls are wrong which show West Virginia to be safe for Bush and Minnesota a tossup, then Bush’s recent Minnesota trip was a big mistake.

If you look at most of the polls, Kerry is hanging tough. I presume that the Kerry campaign is starting to counterattack on issue other than National Guard service, and I’ve seen evidence of that already.

The main point is to keep fighting. Don’t let any of the daily fluctuations in the news — polls or anything else — get you down. A lot of it is fluff, and some of it is disinformation.

Here’ Conason on the polling