Mansfield Fox

Law student. Yankees fan. Massive fraggle. Just living the American dream.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I'M GENERALLY INCLINED TO DISTRUST POLLS, but I wanted to pass on this nugget from the latest CNN/ USA TODAY/ Gallup poll. Scroll down to question 13, which asks regarding a hypothetical Bush/Dean matchup in November (which I think we can all agree is the most likely scenario): "How certain are you that you will vote for Bush or Dean next fall, or do you think you may change your mind between now and the November election?"

Look at the numbers (in the "likely voter" category):

Certain for Dean 20%
Vote for Dean, may change mind 17%
Vote for Bush, may change mind 12%
Certain for Bush 47%
No opinion 4%

Those numbers are, to put it mildly, astonishing. If these numbers are correct (and that's a BIG assumption, obviously) then all Bush has to do, between now and election day is convince an additional 4% of likely voters to vote for him, and he'll lock in a win, with the first presidential-election majority since his father won in '88. Dean, on the other hand, has to either convince essentially every likely voter who isn't already locked-in with Bush to vote Democratic, or else bring to the polls such a huge number of previously-unlikely-to-vote persons to overcome Bush's apparently huge advantage among likely voters.

There numbers aren't determinative, not in one poll, not eleven months out. But they surely don't mean nothing.