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40 days until Election Day 7 days until the first presidential debate 12 days until the vice presidential debate 15 days until the second presidential debate 20 days until the third presidential debate

NEWS SUMMARY

With roughly the same rigorous methodology of Paula Zahn's "Voting Booth" Internet survey, The Note brings you our regular Thursday feature — "The Odds Are …"

As always, no wagering, please, and do not try this at home.

Percent chance that Bush v. Kerry will be decided more on facts on the ground in Iraq than on the perception of John Kerry as a flip flopper: 50%

Percent chance that Karen Hughes will describe a future mocking, negative attack on John Kerry as "light hearted": 100%

Percent chance that John Kerry will at a rally between now and election day blurt out "good jobs at good wages" or "it's your fight too": 100%

Percent chance that the more interesting public aspects of the debate-about-debates are still to come: 75%

Percent chance that if John Kerry wins, Democratic strategists who aren't "Clinton people" will find Democratic strategists who ARE "Clinton people" to be totally insufferable: 98%

Percent chance that Ken Mehlman will talk too loudly in a TV appearance or on a conference call in the next two weeks: 84%

Percent chance that the Gang of 500 will declare the presidential race over if John Kerry "loses" the first debate: 70%

Percent chance that any cable television news producer will resist a chance to use a public poll as a chat element: 0%

Percent chance that Bob Shrum will appear in the post-debate spin room in Miami: 50%

Percent chance that John Kerry will appear on "Saturday Night Live" before election day: 30%

Percent chance that when Kit Seelye wrote for the New York Times this morning about the new campaign TV ads that they "created a brew of negativity that has raced to a boil," she knew full well that we ain't seen nothing yet: 100%

Percent chance that someone very special speaks at the Iowa Republican Party's Reagan Dinner in mid-October: 100% (Don't Mitt it!)

Percent chance that a campaign story not related to substantive issues will distract the media: 99%

Percent chance that Edwards or Cheney will experience a flare of attention not related to their one debate: 60%

Percent chance that Kerry will be able to maintain his heartfelt, impassioned manner and not slip back into peevish verbosity: ?

Percent chance that someone from the White House communications shop talked to Secretary Rumsfeld's PR operation yesterday: 80%

Percent chance that provisional ballot counting will delay a major Nov. 2 concession speech: 45%

Percent chance that absentee ballot counting and legal fights will delay a major Nov. 2 concession speech: 47%

Percent chance that Democrats will find examples of alleged voter intimidation by Republicans every day between now and Nov. 2: 89%

Percent chance that Republicans will find examples of alleged voter fraud by Democrats every day between now and Nov. 2: 87.4%

Percent chance that the Democratic Party agrees to station monitors alongside Republican monitors at jointly chosen precincts on Nov. 2: 1.3%

Percent chance that 30% or more Florida voters cast ballots before election day: 60%

Percent chance that Matt Blunt is turned into the next Katherine Harris by the national media: 35%

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