Polls and Polls

I’m not even going to post the most recent nationwide polls, other than to note that they’re all over the place. The Washington Post has George W. Bush in a commanding lead; AP/Ipsos has Kerry surging ahead; Pew says Kerry has new street cred as a leader; Zogby disagrees. The fact is, these surveys don’t matter — or don’t matter much, because they shed very little light on the real battle — the smackdown for battleground states.

Mason-Dixon has published a survey of Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and West Virginia. Bush leads in all six, although barely in Ohio. Other polls have Kerry leading in New Hampshire.

In other states, the president leads in Iowa, Wisconsin and New Mexico; he lost all three in 2000. Meanwhile, Michigan has sprung into play. Polls by the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press have Bush up 4 and Kerry up 1, respectively. This could be the shocker of the year, and it all depends on turnout: If Detroit voters don’t swarm to the polls in support of Kerry, it not only could tip the election in Michigan, it could guarantee a Bush victory — even without wins in Ohio and Florida. Trent Wisecup offers a rosy scenario for Republicans here.

On the other side of the ledger: Maine has gone Democratic this time; the wan hopes of winning Pennsylvania and New Jersey seem to have dwindled; Kerry seems to have secured all three, although the president might eke out a single electoral vote in Maine, which splits the electoral vote by congressional district. Here’s a round-up of all the latest state polls.

There is but one conclusion to draw from all the surveys: Only an idiot would call this race at this juncture.

Teresa and the Lumpenproletariat

Teresa Heinz Kerry has taken considerable heat for having said of Laura Bush, “Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job — I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things. And I'm older, and my validation of what I do and what I believe and my experience is a little bit bigger — because I'm older, and I've had different experiences. And it's not a criticism of her. It's just, you know, what life is about.” My wife argues that this is much ado about nothing, and I have come to the conclusion that she’s right. Mrs. Kerry dissed stay-at-home moms and dads, but she really did seem to be attempting a nice comment. She also did something previously unheard-of: She apologized, a gesture Mrs. Bush graciously declared unnecessary.

Meanwhile, in the chivalry-is-dead category, John Kerry seems to have said nothing about the incident. While his wife was batting away incoming fire, he was shootin’ geese and consoling the widow of Christopher Reeve.

But I digress: This is in fact a silly tempest, and a sign of people’s eagerness to take offense at every bobble and miscue on the campaign trail. Frankly, there are much bigger issues to hit — which is exactly what I will do, in great passion and depth, next week.

Sleepless in Seattle

I am withholding more extensive comment on the day’s politics because I’m in Seattle, the guest of our affiliate, KVI. Tonight, I’ll appear onstage with KVI talk hosts Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson.  I’ll also get a chance the play onstage with the Shock and Awe Band, a motley crew of KVI employees, who also happen to be terrific musicians. I don’t know if they’re up to the standards of Beats Workin’, but I’m eager to find out.