But whose grave?
kf unburies the lede from deep within Frederic U. Dicker's N.Y. Post column today:
Meanwhile, senior New York Democrats have privately been told to expect a "significant" shakeup in the Kerry campaign sometime soon. [Emph. added]
Hey, we can panic again! The highly-anticipated Gallup-USA Today-CNN post-convention Labor Day poll shows Bush with a 52-45-1 lead and a 5-point convention-week bounce in a three-way race. ... kf's earlier report that Gallup would show only a one-point lead and a two-point bounce (in a two-way race) appears to be of questionable epistemological status. A full investigation is underway. ... Update: Everybody's right! An in-depth probe reveals that Bush leads by 7 among "likely voters" but by only 1 among all "registered voters" in a two-way race. ... In a three-way race, Bush's "registered" margin is two, not one, and his "likely" margin remains 7 points. Got it? ... I'd say the 4-5 point shift among "likely voters" is a bounce, not a non-bounce, but make your own call. Here's Gallup's 'small bounce' line, which oddly emphasizes the Bush convention-week rise but not the simultaneous Kerry fall. ... P.S.: If you go by "likelies," John Ellis' contra-CW mid-August suggestion that Bush would be "up by, say, six in the Gallup Poll after Labor Day" now looks eerily prescient! ... 1:27 P.M.
Here's pollster Scott Rasmussen's non-subscription, sensible-sounding explanation of why he thinks the Time and Newsweek polls roughly double the size of Bush's still-substantial convention bounce. ... 12:51 P.M.
Reality 1, Nagourney 0: Was this really the best weekend for the NYT's Adam Nagourney to write a "Week in Review" lead based on the premise that none of the campaign's "Big Moments"--such as conventions--has "proved to be very big at all"? By Sunday, when Nagourney's piece ran, it sure looked as if the actual news of the week was that Bush had a big moment that really was big--maybe not as big as the Newsweek and Time polls sugggest, but big enough to at least temporarily change the trajectory of the race. ...
P.S.: Nagourney's groping here for a Neutral Story Line, a smart yet seemingly even-handed take on the campaign that doesn't favor one side or the other and thus expose the reporter to charges of bias. The ideal Neutral Story Line is durable in that it can withstand assault by any number of actual events. Classic NSLs are "Is This Any Way to Elect A President?" and "Oh, What a Dirty Campaign!" ... The problem, of course, is that usually the most important thing to be said about a campaign isn't neutral--one side is cleaning the other's clock, for example, or one side is playing a lot dirtier than the other side. In this case, Bush did have a big moment, so Nagourney's "Big Moments Don't Matter" Neutral Story Line in practice skewed the news in an anti-Bush direction. ...
P.P.S.: Nagourney (writing with David Halbfinger) redeemed himself with a dishy Kerry "slow-motion shake-up" story today. Was that Kerry "senior aide" joking when he or she said:
"I think our negative frame should be that George Bush is a liar. He misled the country on Iraq. And then everything else that he lies about, bring it back to that."
If that's how Kerry's old, non-Clintonian staffers seriously think, it would explain a lot about the inefficacy (so far) of Kerry's attacks. Most voters like Bush (and, more important, want to like Bush). It's easier to convince them to retire this likable person than it is to convince them he's evil! Note to Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill: Could you fire that "senior aide"? Unless, of course, it's you. ...
P.P.P.S.: The proposed new Clintonian Kerry campaign message--"If you want a new direction ..."--sounds good to me! But then most campaign messages sound good to me, which is why I'm not a campaign strategist. ...
Photograph of Howard Dean on the Slate home page by Jim Bourg/Reuters.