I wouldn't brush this off so fast. Ohio is close, REAL CLOSE. While there are encouraging signs in OH & FL, I'd say Kerry at this moment is still down in both. I expect him to get at least a little break at the end of the race here, so they are both going down to the wire.
Rasmussen is not GOP-sponsored like Strategic Vision or Faux News.
Look more closely at Zogby's numbers. If the election finished exactly like that (even losing BOTH OH and FL), Kerry wins if he gets IA which is listed at 45-45. What this demonstrates is that if CO is really in play (Zogby seems to be an outlier here...), then Kerry may have a backup strategy even if he loses in FL and OH. The Gore states (meaning run the table in the Upper Midwest: MN, WI, IA, MI) + NH (which is almost out of battleground status) + CO = 273. There is even another possible scenario if the Big Dog can get AR back into play. If AR is in the blue column, then Kerry can afford to lose IA or NM and still get in. Of course, this all rides on Zogby being right about CO, which is still somewhat of a longshot. This does, however, possibly explain Kerry's attention to CO recently.
Of course, most other pollsters have Kerry ahead in FL and OH, so if you call Zogby's CO an outlier, maybe you should call his FL and OH results outliers as well. Bush at 46 in OH, even with a slim lead, has to have the wingers a bit restless.
Actually, the most important aspect of the Zogby poll is at the state level:
FL: Kerry 49-46
OH: Kerry 49-47
PA: Kerry 50-47
If those three results hold, the countrywide popular vote means squat. Niether guy can withstand a sweep of the "big three" swing states and cobble together enough of the IA/WI/HI/AR/NM/NV type states to have a chance.
The answer here is that the a large part of the Republican base is comprised largely of a bunch of backwards bigots with gun racks on their trucks and cars on cinder blocks in their front yard who live by the slogan "Lee surrendered, not me". Bush is only trying to shore up his base by doing this. Remember, the richest 1% of the country controls the party, but 1% can't win an election, either.
Also, though, let's be fair here and remember that both Kerry & Edwards made subtle innuendos directed towards the bigoted side of the GOP base by repeatedly bringing up that Cheyney's daughter is gay. It's ugly, but what's fair for the goose is fair for the gander.
Again, I have to bring up this state because no one is talking about it as a swing state. Like Chris, I'll start with the 3 polls in the RealClearPolitics state average to avoid accusations of cherry picking:
ARG TIE 48-48
SUSA Bush +5 51-46
Zogby Bush +1 46-45
Also, take note of the previous polls for the two pollsters that have previous numbers in the list (Zogby's previous doesn't count because his interactive & tracking polls are not comparable):
ARG (previous): Bush +9
SUSA (previous): Bush +9
So, we have 2 out of 3 polls within 1 point, 2 of 3 polls with Bush at 48% or less, and two polls moving STRONGLY in Kerry's favor. Why is this state consistently under the battleground radar?!? Factor in the feel good story of Pres. Clinton getting back out after major heart surgery, and this state is ripe for the picking. I would be very, very sad if the Dems didn't invest at least a little effort there, at the very least getting Clinton out for a speech or two in Little Rock to whip up the base a little.
I think the most important aspect of this story is what it says about W's true motives in going into Iraq in the first place. In the days shortly after the invasion, hundreds of tons of high explosives went missing, Iraqi museums were looted of ancient and irreplaceable artifacts, armed bandits roamed the streets and terrorized the population, but the oil wells were fully secured long before the statue even came down. This is what really disgusts me about the current administration.
We have been hearing about voting issues with the electronic machines. Complaints have come in from Houston, Austin and San Antonio that when "straight ticket" Democrat is selected, the machines are automatically substituting Bush/Cheney in the Pres/Vice Pres choices.
If Bush is a lame duck, I suppose he could nominate someone if he wanted, but unless the GOP picks up enough seats in the Senate to defeat a filibuster, the nomination (unless it's actually a moderate - snicker) will be DOA.
I was thinking more along the lines of the "violations of the Geneva Convention in a so-called war of liberation" narrative. Do people really not care about the Geneva Conventions any more? Violating the rules of "moral warfare" (besides being illegal) completely undercuts Bush's current jusification for the war on moral grounds (now that the "imminent threat" justification turned out to be a pack of lies...).
But you're probably right and I'm probably giving the American public too much credit. They GOP's whole campaign is about scaring you into believing we'll be nuked if John Kerry is President, so I guess the "counterscare" tactic might be more effective.
This is a blunder for sure, but it is just incompetence, not the type of story that will do any damage to his campaign. If you want a real scandal, there is currently a story on the wire that certain "high-value" prisoners were taken from Iraq by the CIA (with the blessing of the highest levels of the military) to outside countries for "interrogations" (ostensibly "interrogations" involving electrodes to the sensitive areas...) in blatant violation of the Geneva Convention. That is the kind of story that could do real damage if it gets any traction. I saw it on the scroll on Headline News, so maybe...