What’s significant about this latest poll is the MOE – margin of error. Every lead the incumbent has is within the margin of error. The President has not managed to garner a lead in a single battleground state won by Gore in 2000. The challenger, on the other hand, is ahead in at least one 2000 Bush state — New Hampshire, by 5.1% — and is competitive in every battleground state Gore lost in 2000: Florida (-1.2%), Arkanasas (-1.3%), Tennessee (-2.5%), West Virginia (-2.8%), Ohio (-3%), Missouri (-3.1%). The swing state Kerry is furthest behind in is Nevada (-3.9%).
The outcome now depends upon turnout — new voter registration and motivation of the base — and how well each party executes on its ground game.
Here’s the WSJ’s observations:
With two weeks left until Election Day, President Bush posted his best performance since June in key battleground states, according to the latest Zogby Interactive poll.
In the wake of the second and third debates, Mr. Bush now leads in seven of the 16 battleground states, up from the three states he held two weeks ago, in a poll conducted after the first Bush-Kerry contest. But Mr. Bush’s leads in several states — including closely watched Florida — are tenuous, and rival Sen. John Kerry managed to hang on to big, electoral-vote-rich states including Pennsylvania and Michigan.
All of the president’s leads are in the margin of error. Of the nine states in Mr. Kerry’s column, his leads are outside the margin of error in six. The margin of error varies from state to state and ranges between +/- 2.1 and +/- 4.4 percentage points per candidate. The battleground states Mr. Bush leads have a total of 85 electoral votes, while Mr. Kerry’s states have 92.
The latest poll was conducted Oct. 13-18, starting after the end of the third presidential debate, which addressed domestic issues, and also includes the effects of the second debate, a town meeting in St. Louis. Many pundits said Mr. Kerry won the first debate, which focused on foreign policy, but the results of the later debates were more mixed.
The next week should see the incumbent’s numbers remain frozen, barring an October surprise,while the challenger starts gradually moving up in approval, if not in the actual polling . . .
Rob Fraim is a reader of mine who puts out his own amusing comments each day via email. Today, on the 17th anniversary of the 1987 stock market crash, he put out his recollections from that day.
I found them so interesting that I suggested Rob (who is blogless) post them here. He gladly agreed. Without further adieu, here is Rob’s version of 1987 Crash Revisited
October 19 – the day that each year gives old-timers in this business a renewed facial tic and post-trauma flashbacks.
“What?” you say. “You mean you were actually there, Grandpa? You remember the Crash of ’87?”
Yes, I was, and yes I do. Confirming rumors that I am, in fact, older than dirt I note that I was in this business in 1987 – and had been for a few years prior (I started in 1983.)
I was having dinner last week with a friend who runs a hedge fund (another graybeard, although he looks younger than me) and we ended up talking about 1987. He had a great story about the whole thing (which I’ll let him tell you about someday if you ever get to have dinner with him.)
So I thought I would take a moment to reflect on my own Crash Experience – and perhaps some of you will share your October 19, 1987 story (provided you’re not a whippersnapper who would be relating what was on freakin’ Sesame Street that day! I really hate you guys. You’re svelte and unwrinkled and smart and energetic and I’m just liable to whup you if you’re not careful.) Maybe we’ll even get a recounting of the aforementioned dinner tale from last week. So if you feel like it, drop me a note with your recollections. If I get enough to make it worthwhile, perhaps I’ll compile them for sharing.)
“What I Did During the War (or What Felt Like One Anway)” or…
“Dr. Strange-Broker or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bear” by Rob Fraim
I was 29 years old, 4 years in the business, with two young children. I thought I had investing figured out, didn’t really, and was working for the old Dean Witter (now Morgan Stanley.) The market had been mostly good during my relatively brief time in the business and I had survived the crucial new-guy starvation years and had built up a fairly good book.
My latest Street.com column is up: “Ignore the Cheerleader-in-Chief”. It is a slightly cynical look at the Fed Chief’s rather undistinguished history of financial predictions. For those of you without a subscription, here’s a rather lengthy excerpt:
“In a speech at the National Italian American Foundation in Washington, D.C., Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he’s not worried by the rise of crude oil prices to a record $55 a barrel. “The impact of the current surge in oil prices, though noticeable, is likely to prove less consequential to economic growth and inflation than in the 1970s,” he said.
Once the cheerleading crossed the tape, equity markets rallied while Treasuries slumped.
Pardon my cynicism, but I am grabbing my hat and leaving before the curtain falls. I know how this will turn out: The cheerleader-in-chief will cost the unwary a healthy chunk of change”