Dead warhorse

What do the current polls tell us? It depends on who you ask. Either Bush is faring surprisingly well considering the amount of bad news coming out of Iraq, or Kerry is doing surprisingly well for a challenger going against a sitting president. Or both. Or neither.

For what it's worth, my personal opinion is that Bush should be pretty happy about where he is right now. The month of Abu Ghraib May hasn't been kind in terms of the Iraq situation, and April was no walk in the park either. In fact, there hasn't been much good news from Iraq since early March. of 1991.

No matter how many more juicy photos of Iraqi prisoners in humiliating positions surface, no matter how many more setbacks our forces in Iraq encounter, and no matter how little real progress is made in Afghanistan, Bush's numbers probably depend on more important things.

Like the unemployment rate and gasoline prices.

What if Bush were rumored to have had personal knowledge of the Iraqi prisoner abuse? The media, of course, would tar and feather him. And many Americans would be rightly angered. But I don't think it would really affect Bush's numbers.

Then, what if Bush and Cheney were rumored to have had personal involvement in the high gas prices? (Well, I mean more than they already are.) Personally I think that would have a far more negative effect on the Bush campaign than nearly any Iraq issue.

For over a year we've been blasted by the "He led us to war on a lie" story. Sure, some folks are upset about this. But if people really thought that over 800 American soldiers have died and hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent because of a lie, would Bush have even the numbers he does now? He's neck and neck with Kerry virtually everywhere.

Economies, that of the nation and the personal economies of the voters who will pull the levers (or touch the screens - whatever) in November, will determine the outcome of the election. Many are trying hard to make the 2004 election a referendum on the invasion of Iraq. I don't think it's working.

Election Projection, if you haven't been there, uses the 2000 election as a starting point and factors in current polls in an attempt to estimate what the election would look like if it were held today. Right now it projects Kerry with a big lead of 327 electoral votes to 211. But it hasn't been updated since the 13th. A number of polls since then, though showing poorly in job performance, have Bush a lot closer than that.

The war is very important, obviously. But it appears that there might not be much left to attack Bush over during the summer and fall. Not because there won't be issues, but because most of the issues have long since reached the dead horse stage. Rightly or wrongly, I believe that the economy will carry the day and the media's fixation with the prison abuse issue reinforces my belief.

Posted by murdoc at May 26, 2004 8:00 PM