The Note: A Lifetime in Politics

You decide which of those three you think SHOULD get traction, and which one(s) will …

The politics of Rehnquist:

The likes of Gary Bauer and Ralph Neas would like to see the Supreme Court at the front and center of the presidential campaign. Here's the Los Angeles Times' Savage. LINK

It is impossible to know how, if it all, this one plays out.

ABC News Vote 2004: Bush vs. Kerry: where things stand:

Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times does his very best not to lead with the horserace numbers of the paper's new national poll — as compelling as they are.

"President Bush and Senator John F. Kerry, in a race dividing Americans far more along lines of cultural values than economic interests, remain locked in a dead heat one week before election day, a Times poll has found." LINK

Here are the numbers: "Among likely voters, Bush and Kerry each draw 48%, with Nader attracting 1% and with 3% undecided."

It seems as if everyone is holding their breath these days and Brownstein explains why:

"These results underscore the enormous pressure on both candidates in the waning days of a contest that appears as if it could be tipped by almost anything — a misstatement on the campaign trail, favorable or unfavorable news for either side or the two parties' competing efforts to turn out the vote."

More Brownstein: "Bush's message, which stresses his national security record and his commitment to conservative cultural values, is helping him gain ground among lower middle-income and less-educated voters ambivalent about his economic record. Conversely, the message is costing him with more affluent and better-educated families that have historically supported Republicans."

"Strikingly, Bush leads Kerry in the poll among lower- and middle-income white voters, but trails his rival among whites earning at least $100,000 per year."

Marriage status, frequency of church attendance, and gun ownership are just a few of the social issues, Brownstein sees driving voter preference. "Consistently in the poll, cultural indicators prove more powerful predictors of candidate support than economic status," he writes.

" … By 47% to 40%, likely voters think Bush is more likely than Kerry to develop a plan for "achieving success in Iraq."

And Brownstein's penultimate, must-read graph:

"That finding, like others in the survey, suggests that in the campaign's final days, many voters are still balancing doubts about Kerry with discontent about Bush."

USA Today 's Nichols and Page report on the new Gallup poll showing Bush up 51% to 46% nationally and 51% to 43% in Florida among likely voters — and Teresa Heinz Kerry's unfavorable rating up to 40%. Kerry is "running better in other battleground states," "fueling speculation" that Bush could "win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College this year." LINK

Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe explains just how volatile everyone is getting over this election — and much of it over misconceptions. "Through a bad combination of unusually strong political passions and unusually divergent interpretations of facts, this campaign is wreaking havoc in America's bars and living rooms, barbershops and offices." LINK

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