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DEMOCRACY: Government & Politics | October 17, 2004



An E-Mail to Democratic Activists

...let's crunch the numbers: Here's where it gets really interesting and even very promising, despite first impressions.

The newest Time Magazine poll shows Bush ahead by two percentage points among likely voters...

The newest Newsweek poll shows Bush ahead by two among all voters but by six among likely voters...

And that newest Zogby poll showed Bush ahead by four among likely voters -- the average of the two polls above -- with six percent undecided...

Historically (I wish I remembered the source for this but it was reliable), undecideds ultimately back the challenger by two-to-one, which would be another four for Kerry, two for Bush -- a net gain of two for Kerry, still leaving him two percentage points behind.

But here's the kicker, only one percent of likely voters need to change their mind for a two-point switch.

So who ARE these people who constitute "The One Percent Solution"? That's the best part: I believe we know them perfectly. I believe they are EXACTLY at the middle of all the surveys of the American public. That Time article, cited above, has a great synopsis of what "the people" -- as typified by our glorious one percent -- like in each candidate (I think that's a good answer to our question..."What the heck do the people want?" They certainly have a hard time making up their mind!).

Moreover, from a statistical and political standpoint, I believe appealing to this "political center of gravity" is the way least likely to turn off any other voters. Of course, "pandering to the least common denominator" does risk alienating our base, which we need to continue to cultivate; but if our base isn't energized and mobilized by now -- in this race of races -- then they never will be...and judging by my personal contacts, that includes the Greens voting Democratic, too -- they just want Bush out and will be rightfully mad at us if we don't deliver.

It's like in Sherwood Forest. The Sheriff of Nottingham (or one of his henchmen) shot an arrow right into the bull's eye of a target, and everyone thought the competition was over. Then along came Robin Hood, who shot his arrow true, splitting the shaft of the other arrow right down the middle. I think we could learn a lot from Sir Robin of Loxley.

In a nutshell, if we reassure and win over that one-percent right down the middle; if we get out the vote, particularly the record number of new voters (57% to 36% Democratic, according to that Newsweek poll), particularly in the swing states, of course; and if Kerry and Edwards keep campaigning like there's no tomorrow (One piece of advice: Kerry does much better at a lectern or one-on-one, as in the debates, than playing to a crowd on stage; heck, even most of the clips I've seen of Bush have him at a lectern), then there really is hope we can pull this off. America's depending on us (whether they realize it or not).

I'll keep "preaching" to the middle (This very morning I believe I converted an independent, a good guy worried about being downsized during a takeover), as well as "to the choir".

Keep up the good -- Democratic -- work...

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