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Missing Surveys Bode Ill for 2004 Democrats

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  • Missing Surveys Bode Ill for 2004 Democrats

    The missing exit polls for the 2002 mid-term elections have finally been released and they offer strong evidence that the country is not as politically polarized as generally alleged. Rather, the national consensus has been shifting steadily to the right.

    The Voter News Service, a media consortium that interviewed thousands of voters as they left the polls, didn't deliver its results on Election Night last year because of computer errors and other glitches. After some scrubbing for suspect numbers in individual states, the surveys paint a picture of a country that is not nearly as divided on a political knife-edge as conventional wisdom has it. In the 2000 presidential and House races, America may have been split exactly down the middle. But in 2002, Republicans opened up a gap. The GOP won the national vote for House seats by 51% to 46% and voters who identified themselves as "conservative" increased to 34% from 30%.

    Even more importantly, the number of self-identified "liberals" shrank in 2002 despite all the frantic efforts of Michael Moore and Al Franken to whip up the troops. GOP pollster David Winston notes that, in 2002, the number of self-identified liberals dipped to the lowest level in the past four elections -- 17%. "Moderates" continued to dominate the electorate, representing 49% of all votes cast.

    If the 2002 exit poll numbers were duplicated in next year's presidential electorate, the sledding would be rough for a liberal candidate. He or she would have to carry the Democratic base plus pick up "moderate" voters by a 2 to 1 margin. That's why if Howard Dean becomes the Democratic nominee, you can expect he will madly dash to the center, spewing rhetoric about balanced budgets and the need to leave social issues out of the campaign. But Democratic consultants wonder if a man who has called for repealing all the Bush tax cuts and signed a bill legalizing civil unions for gays in Vermont can pull off that trick.

  • #2
    I guess we have our answer to the conspiracy theorists here that think the 2002 election was rigged.