Monday, October 25, 2004

More confusion
in the Garden State

"What to believe?!" writes Sallie SixToes from South Jersey, urging us to check out the latest Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers Poll of likely New Jersey voters. The poll, reported last Tuesday, shows Kerry ahead by double digits:

A Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers Poll estimated Senator Kerry is supported by 51 percent of likely voters compared to 38 percent for the President--a 13-point margin that would, if accurate, mark Kerry's largest lead this month in New Jersey. The survey was conducted by telephone with 805 registered voters from October 14 to 17, 2004--after the final debate but before President Bush’s October 18 campaign stop in the state. [Emphasis added by cybertrix.]
In the meantime, Quinnipiac reports, in a survey conducted over the same period, only a four-point margin--which is practically a tie when one considers the margin of error. And The Record of Hackensack reports Kerry as being seven points up. Says SixToes:
I can tell you everyone in Monmouth County is busting their butts to make [a Kerry victory] happen. Not so in some other counties, from what I hear. And a trip north on Sunday to the Ridgewood area left this Kerry supporter more than mildly depressed.
In fairness, your écrivaine must note that Ms. Sallie sent her missive a week ago, but your Webwench has been so caught up in her oppo factory, doing the offline work of regime change, that she has been remiss in reporting the observations of her refined readership.

Nonetheless, today's edition of The Record, an excellent newspaper (with a crummy Web site) out of Bergen County, perpetuates the confusion with a well-reported piece by Tom Troncone, "N.J. lead for Kerry shifts when subject turns to terrorism" (reg. req.):

Sen. John Kerry enjoys an unassailable lead against President Bush in New Jersey polls measuring usual election-year issues--health care, the economy and the environment.

So Kerry can put New Jersey in the blue state column, right?

Not so fast.

An 800-pound gorilla lurks in Kerry's path to New Jersey's 15 electoral votes, and its name is terrorism.
Troncone goes on to talk to a number of different people--some regular folks, some pollsters and some analysts--to deliver a hodge-podge of numbers and emotions (the numbers being largely the result of emotion).
In a Quinnipiac poll released last week, 27 percent of state residents listed terrorism as the most important issue in the presidential race, followed by the war in Iraq, 25 percent, and the economy, 24 percent. When the poll asked which condidate could better deal with terrorism, respondents gave Bush a 53 percent to 37 percent advantage over Kerry. [Emphasis added by blogstress.]
And while Kerry wins, hands-down, on domestic issues, there's this chilling bit of réportage to consider:
"Even the approval ratings of Bush's handling of the economy increases with terror alerts," [said Cornell University sociologist Robb Willner]. "That suggests that people have security concerns that can even swamp other issues." [Emphasis added by Webwench.]
How much ya wanna bet on some dire warning for Northern New Jersey this week, say, just in time to make the Sunday papers?

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