Football, Followed by a Stiff Scotch

With the election countdown now calculated in hours, bloggers have been inspired to do a little feverish, last-minute poll-searching in the hopes of reaching some new state of enlightenment vis-a-vis E-Day. And despite the purplish hue of this campaign — reddish-blue endorsements, bluish-red poll results, and those dear violet Undecideds — any blogger with a pair of purple-tinted glasses has cast them off like last night’s Halloween costume.

A 55-45 Kerry win is the “lighter than air prediction” of James Wolcott, who eschews the “electoral wonk explanations” that he could use to explain this calculation in favor of a quickie: he worked off of the Nickolodeon Poll for kids, which correctly divined the last four elections. The 400,000 “bright youngsters” went 57-43 for Kerry, but given that “kids are naturally exuberant, until it’s beaten out of them by the System,” Wolcott decided to shave two points off Kerry and gave them to Bush.

Over at The Corner, Peter Robinson went to bed a happy camper last night after a little trick-or-treating at The Horse Race Blog. As he learned from Jay Cost, who “possesses a thorough knowledge of statistics and polling techniques,” he can cheerfully bid adieu to weekend tracking polls showing a Kerry surge. The reason? High school football. Apparently midwestern and southern men were all out at local football games on Friday night and Saturday in the pro-Bush school districts, which distorted the tracking poll samples.

Perhaps Robinson was following the advice of fellow Corner blogger Cliff May, who suggested going to The Horse Race Blog “if you’re getting nervous, irritable, and edgy.” May’s other suggestion: “Pour yourself a double scotch.”

Over at Pandagon, Ezra Klein seems to have downed far more than one tumbler’s worth before writing his poll post. First, he refers to an academic poll showing that, while most Bush supporters believe that Iraq had WMD and ties to al Qaeda, a majority would not have supported the war had they known that intelligence cast them into doubt. Klein then plunges into the sewage system of analogies, as he asks his “conservative friends”: “If you win this election, will you feel bad that your win came from voters deceived about your intentions and misled on the facts? I know that if I got a girl into bed based upon my great wealth and recent pictorial in Vanity Fair, the night would ring pretty hollow.”

Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg opts for a far drier route, regurgitating some of the “the pollster-confab on ‘Meet the Press’” for us. The “best chunk,” helpfully provided by Goldberg, came when Tim Russert yammered off a litany of state polls, Bill McInturff spouted the GOP spin (“we’re seeing instead Bush stabilizing in a number of states”), Peter Hart countered with the Dem spin (“massive does not work for an incumbent”), and Charlie Cook floundered about with the Nader factor and individual state predictions.

Over at Talking Points Memo, Joshua Micah Marshall highlights some worthy statistics from the “mega-final-ultra” Gallup poll released last night. Marshall notes that signs look good for Kerry among the 30 percent of registered Floridians and 27 percent of Iowa adults who have already voted, but he points out that the Bush and Kerry percentages don’t add up to 100 percent and asks: “Are the remainder folks who wouldn’t answer? Or have they already voted but moved back into the undecided column? Or they’ve forgotten?”

No questions linger in the mind of Hugh Hewitt (if there ever were any). All signs point to an elephantine victory: “Newsweek has Bush surging,” RealClearPolitics has an average Bush advantage of 2.5, but “multiple signs of momentum” suggest a larger margin, 40 states will go red … But then again, the outcome is apparently self-evident, since the “candidate of ‘global tests’ was finished the moment he uttered the phrase.”

According to Matthew Yglesias, however, “anyone who tells you they know what’s going to happen is lying.” He chooses to focus on the polls showing a “confidence gap” — “way more people plan to vote Kerry than believe he will win” — and concludes that the “outcome will be decided by turnout, fraud, intimidation, and judges.”

If all that is any indication, E-Day is going to be pretty purple.

We think we’ll take that double scotch now.

Susanna Dilliplane

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Susanna Dilliplane is a contributor to CJR.