From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
The Myth of Kerry's Electability

February 11, 2004 8:42 PM

Will Saletan does the legwork crunching the exit poll numbers and exposes the myth of Kerry's electability.


Among voters who picked the candidate they wanted based on the issues, not the candidate they thought somebody else wanted, Kerry did not win the New Hampshire primary.

Because the far left is so focused on picking the candidate they think can defeat Bush, Kerry has skated to easy wins, but that's not how the people who will decide the election will pick their candidate. Will explains:

If people support Kerry because they think he's electable, he goes up in the polls, which makes him look more electable. The best way to filter out this distortion is to focus on the voters least likely to make their decisions in November based on electability. These happen to be the same voters who hold the balance of power in most elections: independents, conservative Democrats, and moderate Republicans. They aren't principally trying to figure out which Democratic candidate can beat Bush, because they don't necessarily want the Democratic nominee to beat Bush. They're trying to decide which Democratic candidate, if any, would be a better president than Bush.

How well has Kerry done among these voters? In absolute terms, well enough. But in relative terms, the numbers show a disconcerting pattern. By and large, the closer you move to the center and center-right of the electorate, where the presidential race will probably be decided, the worse Kerry does. The opposite is true of Edwards.


The numbers indicate that Edwards is more electable than Kerry.

Could I be wrong about all this? Sure. We pundits have been wrong before. Punditry is a dangerous game. But according to the exit polls, that's exactly the game Democratic voters have played in nominating Kerry. And if they're as shaky at it as we are, the price isn't just embarrassment. It's defeat.

More from the archive in John Kerry.

The Myth of Kerry's Electability (02.11.2004)

Next Entry: Nobody likes bad news... not even Rummy (02.12.2004)
Previous Entry: Don't let Bush pin this entirely on the CIA (02.11.2004)

Read the 1 comments.

dhermesc:

Look at "The Drudge Report". Is Kerry about to have a "Gary Hart" like implosion?

Fri Feb 13 2004 6:31 AM


Jim Gilliam
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