Saturday, October 09, 2004


Economic recovery for whom?

A story in today's Blade speaks volumes. Talking at a meeting ofsmall business leaders at the University of Toledo, U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said Friday:

"Manufacturing is recovering, "but more slowly, unlike services.

But later, Snow admitted something very revealing:

"Asked when he thinks manufacturers will start hiring again, Mr. Snow said companies in general have had record profits and high cash flow for some time, focusing on productivity gains, not expansion." [emphasis added]

So, manufacturing has actually already recovered in the Midwest, for everyone, that is, except workers.


ACT has act together with absentee ballots

Absentee ballot levels in Akron and other areas are surging ahead of 2000 levels. According to a story in today's Beacon Journal:

"The number of requests already has exceeded the 18,900 [Summit] county residents who voted absentee in the 2000 presidential election -- and voters have until Oct. 30 to ask for the ballots.

'We expect to be up around 30,000, easily. It could be even higher than that,' said Bryan Williams, director of the Summit County Board of Elections.

[. . . ]

[Cuyahoga County Board of Elections director Michael] Vu said he expects absentee ballot requests in Cuyahoga to exceed 100,000 this year. His office already has begun mailing the more than 66,000 absentee ballots that voters there have so far requested.

[. . . ]

In Stark County, the elections board already has sent out 11,973 absentee ballots, compared to the 9,443 staff put in the mail in 2000, said Jeff Matthews, elections director."

Apparently much of the credit goes to ACT.

"Vu said tracking of absentee ballot applications in his county shows that 18,702 came from America Coming Together, while 7,041 were provided by the Republican Party"

The article also credits ACORN, and Bring Ohio Back for increasing absentee requests.


Sinclair Corporate contacts

Corporate Headquarters
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030
410-568-1500 (Main Telephone)
410-568-1533 (Main Fax)

Investor Relations Contact
Lucy A. Rutishauser
VP Corporate Finance and
Corporate Treasurer


Plain Dealer: Zogby predicts Kerry win

I don't know if this is old news or not, but this is the first time I have seen Zogby mentioned in this regard in today's Plain Dealer:

"Pollster John Zogby thinks John Kerry will probably edge past President Bush in the race for the White House.

[ . . .]

"The race is John Kerry's to lose," Zogby said. After meandering for a few weeks, the Democrat seems to be sharpening his focus. Besides, undecided voters traditionally swing 2-to-1 for the challengers and already rate Bush poorly.

It may hinge on turnout. If as few as the 105 million votes of 2000 are cast, Zogby expects a Republican win. But he predicts 115 million to 120 million votes, with a Demo cratic plurality."


Bush debate performance like a lead balloon in Ohio

It's not the only issue, but jobs and the economy is still the main issue in Ohio. More than security and terrorism.

Working class, middle class Ohioans aren't happy about their economic security to begin with. So, on a day that its announced that only 96,000 news jobs have been created nationally, my sense is that many, many fellow Ohioans were especially listening to that part of the debate.

Strictly from an Ohio perspective, I wish Kerry had hit Bush harder. Frankly, I wish he had looked into the camera and ask Bush to explain to Ohioans how the latest BLS report shows anything but a failure of his economic and tax policies.

But, Kerry did hit Bush on the economy and - again from an Ohioan's perspective - there was absolutely nothing in Bush's response to offer hope to Ohioans. Zero. Zip. Nada.

It's no accident that the BC04 folks having been ramping up the 'guns-n-abortion' campaign in southern Ohio, but that is a losing strategy. That only gains them, at best, the same votes they had in 2000. They have to make new inroads to counter the growth in anti-Bush turnout and the job-security voters, but there is no real way to do this.

In Ohio, the debate was a slamdunk loss for Bush and there is no doubt that the polls will continue to show Kerry expanding his margin in the state.


Sinclair to prempt Nov. 1 programs to air anti-Kerry: Time to call WSYX advertisers

I think this is a huge opportunity for Kerry folks and an utter blunder by Sinclair. From the LA Times:

"The conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose television outlets reach nearly a quarter of the nation's homes with TV, is ordering its stations to preempt regular programming just days before the Nov. 2 election to air a film that attacks Sen. John F. Kerry's activism against the Vietnam War, network and station executives familiar with the plan said Friday.

[. . . ]

Sinclair has told its stations — many of them in political swing states such as Ohio and Florida — to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," sources said. The film, funded by Pennsylvania veterans and produced by a veteran and former Washington Times reporter, features former POWs accusing Kerry — a decorated Navy veteran turned war protester — of worsening their ordeal by prolonging the war. Sinclair will preempt regular prime-time programming from the networks to show the film, which may be classified as news programming, according to TV executives familiar with the plan.

[. . .]

Station and network sources said they have been told the Sinclair stations — which include affiliates of Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, as well as WB and UPN — will be preempting regular programming for one hour between Oct. 21 and Oct. 24, depending on the city. The airing of "Stolen Honor" will be followed by a panel discussion, which Kerry will be asked to join, thus potentially satisfying fairness regulations, the sources"

Sinclair's holding in Ohio include 5 TV stations:

1261 Dublin Rd.
Columbus, OH 43215

Main Phone: 614-481-6666
News Fax: 614-481-6624
Community Affairs Fax: 614-481-6804

5177 Fishwick Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45216
Jeff Fosco

1731 Soldiers Home Road
Dayton, OH 45418
Glenda Hoagland

Besides some public statements (labor folks, Ohio Dems, ACT, etc. - you hear me?) about this, it's time for some calls to advertisers. I will post a list with contacts.

In the meantime, it looks like a few others have had a problem with WSYX. See this.

Friday, October 08, 2004


Toledo greets you, Mr. President

This from the

From Act:
"On President Bush's recent visit ACT Ohio greeted him with a giant "Outsource Bush" sign in a field next to the Toledo airport."


AP/Ipsos shows Kerry with lead nationally

This poll of likely voters indicates:

Kerry-Edwards - 50%
Bush-Cheney - 46%


Strength and resilience? Buck up Ohio

Good news Ohioans! Labor Secretary Elaine Chao responded to the pathetic growth of jobs with this:

"the strength and resilience of our economy and that the labor market continues to improve."

The "Up is downism" is out of control.

UPDATE: By the way, Chao was suggesting that the hurricanes had something to do with the numbers. But, according to her department's own report:

For weather conditions to reduce the estimate of payroll employment, people have to be off work for an entire pay period and not be paid for the time missed. While some employed persons were off payrolls during the survey reference period because of the hurricane effects some jobs were added as part of recovery efforts. . .

At the ment growth, but not enough to change materially the Bureau's assessment of the employment situation in September.

Also, the "Household Survey" that Bush-Cheney folks occassionally like to use as a defense when the numbers are convenient shows a loss of 200,000 jobs.


Ohio Congressman shows how to be straight with the American people

Tim Ryan represents parts of Summit, Mahoning, Trumbull and Portgage counties in Congress, and a new video of his ripping the Bush administration is burning up the internet. Thanks, at least in part to Kos, the video is now available in PC and Mac compatible formats. Link to the right version off that site.


Uh, you know that robust jobs report that was expected?

It didn't happen. Shocked? Instead of the 150,000+ net new jobs that had been predicted - which would have even been very modest by any measure except the White House's - the numbers show only 96,000 new jobs.

That's well below expectations. That's only 96,000 new jobs nationwide! It's been a bad, bad week for Bush, and I think it's going to get worse in the debate tonight.


Akron police now investigating Issue 1, Nader petitions

Hypothetically Speaking has been urging that reporters and prosecutors take some time to dig into the firms and payments behind a huge number of forged signatures on petitions for Issue 1 and Nader. Earlier stories detailed fraud found in several counties and the opinion of a Sect. of State hearing office who recommended that a criminal investigation be pursued.

Today's Beacon Journal reports that the Summit Co. sheriff's office and begun an investigation and has asked for assistance from the Akron police department.

"Akron police said Thursday that their department has assigned two lieutenants to join the effort, although they weren't sure which election matters they would pursue. Sheriff's investigators are looking at forged signatures on voter registration cards and anti-gay marriage petitions"

[. . .]

The sheriff got involved in the marriage petition probe Tuesday after the Board of Elections referred about two dozen signatures that appeared to be forged. The sheriff already was looking into scores of allegedly fraudulent voter registration cards that were sent to Akron from collection points in Cuyahoga County.

The names that keep coming up are two petition circulating companies, JSM and Arno,
and Citizens for Community Values, one of the groups that initiated Issue 1.

We now know that CCV hired Arno, and Arno hired JSM. A good prosecutor's office should know how to work their way up that chain.


New Wall St. Journal/Zogby continues to show upward trend for Kerry in OH

Updating the recent Zogby poll, the Oct. 6 WSJ/Zogby now shows Kerry with very slight marging over Bush among Ohio voters:

Kerry - 49.1
Bush - 48.8
Nader - .4
MoE - 2.3%

Thursday, October 07, 2004


Solution to provisional ballot dilemma probably not in HAVA

Not being an attorney, I am on somewhat shaky grounds interpreting HAVA. Many pro-Kerry forces (including myself) have been hoping that the federal court would rule that because of HAVA, Sect. of State Ken Blackwell cannot enforce his directive to block the use of provisional ballots when a voter shows up at the wrong precinct.

The OSU Moritz School of Law's Election Law website has posted an extend analysis of how HAVA may affect the ruling and their conclusion isn't promising.

In brief, writer Edward Foley acknowledges that "both sides have plausible arguments." A point of conflict is over what the term "jurisdiction" means in HAVA. Does it refer to something larger like a county, or something on a much smaller scale such as a precinct.

However Foley says a look at the legislative history of the bill sheds some light. The House version of the bill would have explicitly permitted provisional ballots to be offered under certain circumstances to voters at the wrong precinct. While the House was concerned about creating more opportunities for fraud, it was concerned about the following situation:

“Voters may appear at the wrong precinct because they did not receive, or received but did not heed, a notice that their polling place had moved.”

Unfortunately, when the Senate considered the bill, the Republicans led an effort to delete this provision. In conference committee, the Senate version - at least in this area - seems to have prevailed.

Not all legislators apparently agree on this point. One in particular is/was Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. According to Foley, Tubbs Jones:

". . . referred to the experience of voters in the state’s 11th congressional district during the 2000 election. 'Because of a 1996 State law cutting Cleveland precincts by a quarter, their polling places had been changed.' Although the local board of elections purportedly notified residents of this change, many voters said they never received the notice. They showed up at their usual polling places expecting to cast a ballot without difficulty. Instead, they were turned away without even the opportunity to cast a provisional ballot. Rep. Jones argued that these voters “should have been given provisional ballots, to be certified later,” and she urged HAVA’s enactment on the premise that it would guarantee the availability of a provisional ballot in this situation."

Nevertheless, Foley indicates that the legislative history probably favors Blackwell.

Foley warns, however, of the dilemma a voter could face if the voter "gambles wrong" about what his or her precinct is:

"Of course, it is conceivable that a voter could get bounced around from one polling place to another, where at each one the pollworkers think the voter is in the wrong place. In this circumstance, the voter has no idea what to do in order to protect against the risk that his or her vote ultimately will be discarded under state law. If the voter guesses incorrectly, the voter loses. One might think that going to the polls should not be a gamble about whether one’s vote will be counted. But it seems as if, under the system of provisional voting adopted as a result of the bargain struck as a result of Senator Bond’s leverage over the process, a voter has no fail-safe way to cast a provisional ballot if there is genuine uncertainty among all concerned about where a particular voter should vote."


ARG LV poll confirms up trend for Kerry in Ohio

The American Research Group's new poll conducted Oct. 4-6 of 600 Likely Voters has the race as a dead heat. But like the other recent polls, ARG also shows Kerry on an upward trend since ARG's last poll. The results are as follows:

Kerry - 48%
Bush - 47%
Nader - 1%
Undecided - 4%
MoE - 4%

Without Nader:
Kerry - 48%
Bush - 48%
Undecided - 4%

This compares favorably to ARG's last OH poll, Sept. 20, that showed
Kerry - 46%
Bush - 48%
Nader - 1%
Undecided - 5%


Black recruits decline

The Wall Street Journal (sorry - pay site) has a story today that indicates that the number of African American recruits in both regular Army and reserves has fallen dramatically over the last four years. The numbers are down 21% since fiscal 2002 for the Army and 27% for the Army reserve.

In what Josh Marshall would probably call a classic case of "Up is downism" the WSJ writes that the
"Army says the drop in black recruits as part of the overall force is a positive sign, since it wants to build an organization that roughly matches the demographic makeup of the nation."

Oh, that bag of shit? Yes, of course we always designed it to smell bad. . .


AP: Kerry takes lead with LVs, tied with RVs

In my opinion, we are moving into the phase where Likely Voter polling is starting to be more accurate than Registered Voters. There is not exact science here. We are dealing with a continuum where at one end, far from election day, Registered Voter polls are more accurate and on the other end, at or near election day, Likely Voter polling is more accurate.

Where we are on that continuum is guesswork that, in my experience, depends on how far from election day we are, how many undecided voters there are, and what the likelyhood is of a major event that could cause another swing among votes (like the first debate). So, given that we still have two debates to go and some opportunities for other surprises (bad jobs numbers, bin Laden capture, etc.) but less than four weeks away from the election, I think that both the RV and LV results have to be discounted somewhat.

Having said that, the new AP poll confirms the upward arc of Kerry support with a lead outside the Margin of Error. The hust completed poll was conducted Oct. 4-6 of 944 Likely Voters:

Kerry - 50%
Bush - 46%
MoE - 3%

This same poll put the candidates at 47-47 among Registered Voters. Either way, the trend is great news, especially when coupled with the Survey USA and Zogby results for Ohio.


Take a look at Jeff Seeman (Akron Congressional candidate)

From today's Beacon Journal:

"Seemann sees [incumbent Ralph] Regula's recent tenure as a rare opportunity to go after the incumbent.

"'For the longest time he was untouchable,'' Seemann said of Regula. 'He was a moderate Republican who did everything for his people, then he took a hard shift to the right.'"

"Since Regula's run for the appropriations chairmanship, ``he's stopped caring as much about the people of the 16th District,'' Seemann said. ``Right now he's more concerned about pleasing (House Majority Leader) Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and President Bush. He's more involved in raising money for other Republicans than he is in saving jobs at the Timken plant.''

"Seemann began his political career volunteering for Bill Clinton's campaign in 1992. He also worked for Howard Dean, and has won Dean's endorsement for the office in Ohio.

"As a candidate against Regula, Seemann virtually was invisible until he gained wireless celebrity by standing up for the First Amendment right of an Internet blogger who made a tasteless remark about dead American contractors in Fallujah."

"Practically overnight, Seemann was nationally known to progressive politicians and tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions richer."

"'I didn't agree with what was said, but I was tired of watching people turn good Democrats against each other,' Seemann said.'"

"'We sat back, and got eight years of Clinton investigations. We sat back and we lost (U.S. Senator) Max Cleland.'"

"'We brought lawyers to a knife fight,' Seeman said. 'It has to stop.'"

"If elected, Seemann said, he would work to see that companies who outsource to other countries or who threaten to close down plants in the United States would not get tax breaks. He opposes any privatization of Social Security and supports the repeal of federal tax cuts."

"'Congressman Regula has had power for a long time and things are not getting better at Hoover and Timken,' Seemann said."

"'It's time for a fresh perspective from someone with new ideas. Every floor vote I will make will be for the people of the 16th District,' he said. 'Just throwing money at the district is no longer effective.'"

"Regula has rejected an offer to debate, but said he has agreed to joint appearances with Seemann arranged by the League of Women Voters after the House session ends."

"Seemann thinks the attention his campaign has received is wearing on the incumbent. 'Ralph came back from the Republican Convention a day and a half early to go to the Stark County Fair,'' Seeman said. 'That shows me that getting our message out is making him feel pressure.'"

"Seeman said he fully expects to be the next congressman from the 16th District, but if he isn't? 'People can expect to see my name on the ballot in 2006,' he said."


Voinovich, DeWine oppose Issue 1

I know what the Enquirer's headline writer meant, but "Gay-marriage measure splits senators, bishops" made me think Voinovich and DeWine disagreed with each other and there was split among the bishops. Even more bizarre was the bumper headline: "GOP officials also divided on proposed amendment"

In fact, I think nearly everything got a little mis-edited in this story. The gist is that both US Senators DeWine and Voinovich (both Republicans) came out against Issue 1, the proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Details or evidence for the aforementioned division among GOP officials is not provided.

The story also indicated that Akron mayor Donald L. Plusquellic and the state AARP chapter also announced their opposition Wednesday to Issue 1.


Clogging the voting lines

Increasingly, there is growing concern among Democratic circles that Republicans in Ohio will try to jam up voting centers by aggressively challenging registered voters. The thinking is that in Kerry-leaning precincts, Republicans designated as "official challengers" will argue that many voters should have had their names purged from the rolls because they had become 'Inactive" because they skipped voting in recent prior elections.

Besides the obvious concern about denying legal voters, a big concern that this will create enormous delays and long lines - long enough to cause would-be voters to give up before they cast their ballots.

Republican denials sound very hollow.


Provisional ballots issue gets murkier

As reported here earlier, the Cuyahoga Co. election board said it would defy SOS Ken Blackwell's directive not to give provisional ballots to voters who show up at the wrong precinct.

Yesterday, several radio reports indicated that other election boards might join the Cleveland-area board, boards like Franklin Co. and Montgomery Co.

Now, however, according to today's Dispatch story, it seems that at least the Franklin Co. board is unsure what to do and the Franklin Co. democratic party is sending some mixed signals. Furthermore, Blackwell is hyperventilating and saying he'll seek the removal of all board members who defy his directive.

Here is what seems to be the crux of the issue, if the Dispatch story is accurate: Ohio state law does not permit that a vote to be counted if it was cast in the wrong precinct. Let me recast this in another way. Theoretically, Blackwell could relent - or the county boards could defy him - and let voters show up in wrong precinct cast a provisional ballot. But that doesn't really resolve the issue because it seems that Blackwell (and his Republican proxies) will try to keep the provisional vote from being counted.

Does this violate HAVA? According to the Dispatch,

"[HAVA] says any qualified voter who asks for a provisional ballot shall receive one. But the section also says the vote will be counted according to state law — which in Ohio says votes cast outside a voter’s precinct are illegal."

Letting people cast provisional ballots in the wrong precinct is apparently not something new. Franklin Co. Democratic Party officials seem to agree. Bill Anthony, county chairman of the party, was quoted as saying, "There's a lot of us that probably broke he law in an effort to have folks' vote counted.

One thing that baffles me is why Blackwell is waving his sword over this. He clearly knows that a federal judge is to rule on he ballot issue by Oct. 15. What does he gain by making threats at this point? As in this case, it just keeps the issue alive in the press which doesn't engender new support for Blackwell.

I know it sounds a little far fetched, but it sounds like he intends to either defy the federal ruling if it doesn't go his way or take pre-emptive action to remove board members before the election - or both.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


New poll gives Kerry leading margin in Ohio

Kerry's upward trend in Ohio is holding. Survey USA's new poll collected 10/2 - 10/4 gives a slight advantage to Kerry-Edwards. They polled 761 Likely Voters on behalf of WCP0-TV (Cincinnati) and WKYC-TV (Cleveland):

Kerry - 49% 
Bush - 48% 
Other/Undecided - 3%
MoE 3.6%

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Will new registrants make a difference?

I think it will be close.

In 2000, Gore lost by 176,426 votes. How can that difference be made up?

It currently appears that there will be at least 600,000 new registered voters in Ohio. Typically, somewhere between 40-50% of new registrants actually vote. Let's make a conservative assumption of 40%.

It also appears that the majority of new registratants will vote for Kerry. A conservative assumption is that they will split 3-2 for Kerry.

So, if only 240,000 (40% of the 600,000) actually vote, the new votes split this way:
Kerry: 144,000
Bush: 96,000
Difference: 48,000

At that point, Kerry still falls short by a net of about 129,000 votes

But there are a many wild cards here.

Not the least of which is that Nader sapped 3% of the vote in 2000 or 114,482 and other independents took 42,762 votes. That's not going to happen this time. I think the independents will take at most 1.5% or about 50,000. I think those might split 2-1 so that could swing a net of about another 33,000 votes. Whether Nader stays off the ballot will be a big concern.

Thus, Kerry's victory in Ohio rests on 1) getting a voter turnout among new registrants that is much higher than 40%, and moving about 1% (50,000 but a total difference from one side to the other of 100,000) of the swing voters from 2000 into his column. Thats's why the debates are so key. Right now, it appears that Kerry can bring enough swing voters, but that assumes no major inroads or gaffes by this campaign for the next four weeks.


Last minute registration avalanche

In Cuyahoga County, some 5,000 new registration cards were filed on Friday and possibly 20,000 Monday. (Plain Dealer)

"Yesterday’s drive increased the [Franklin] county total by at least 20,000." (Dispatch)

"2,000 new voter registration requests landed in the Lebanon[!!} election office Monday." (Enquirer)

"More than 25,000 new voters in Lucas County are qualified to cast ballots in the Nov. 2 election, with thousands more meeting yesterday's deadline." (Blade)

"The demand was steep on Monday." (Lorain Chronicle Telegram)

"[Butler County] residents rushed to be among an estimated 5,000 Monday to register." (Middletown Journal-News)

You get the idea.


Cuyahoga Co. to Blackwell: Screw you

The Plain Dealer reports that County officials will defy Sect. of State Ken Blackwell's directives and will give a provisional ballot to every voter that requests one. I suspect Montgomery County and others to do the same.

The courts may force Blackwell on this. U.S. District Judge James Carr of Toledo says he will rule on a suit by the Ohio Democratic party by Oct. 15.

There is no possible good outcome for Blackwell at this point. Even if Bush wins, he has probably tainted his political career beyond repair. That doesn't preclude a great appointment to some hack job in the future. But given that the Republican establishment hates Blackwell and that typical Ohioans, especially African-Americans in the state, will never forget how he has blocked voter registration efforts.

From the PD:
"'We paid for the right to vote,' said [Jesse] Jackson. 'Our basic American inheritance will not be taken by any secretary of state.'"

But Kenny hasn't figured it out yet. He still rationalizes:
"But Blackwell, a Republican, said he's merely repeating a state law that says all ballots must be cast in the correct precincts - a law shared by 27 other states. Until now, he said, no one had complained that the provisional rule conflicted with federal law.[emphasis added]"

[. . . ]

"'If the courts tell us to change it, then we change it," Blackwell said."

Dragged, kicking and screaming, is a poor image for a leader.

Monday, October 04, 2004


The Republican message in a word (or two, or three)

Great new video here.


Zogby national poll shows a dead heat

From Zogby:

"Four days after the first presidential debate, Senator John Kerry has pulled within one point of President George W. Bush (46%- 45%), according to a new Zogby poll. The telephone poll of 1036 likely voters was conducted from Friday through Sunday (October 1-3, 2004). Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.1%."

[. . .]

"The close race got even closer. There is some evidence that Kerry’s debate performance and increased clarity on the war has helped him consolidate at least some of the support that he has lost. But undecideds are up to 8 percent and there is still a month to go. There is also no doubt that Ralph Nader is hurting Kerry. The post convention bounce for Bush is over and his biggest hurdle is among undecided voters who give him a 31 percent positive job performance rating and a 69 percent negative rating. Only 13 percent of undecided voters feel that the president deserves re-election (his lowest yet) while 37 percent feel it is time for someone new."


Weird Dispatch decision

Several people have asked me if I thought the Dispatch deserved more criticism than I initially gave them for the way the editors handled the results of their new poll that was taken pre-debates.

In brief, yes. I first saw the poll results in the Dispatch's online version. The problem with online versions is that you don't get a feel for the effects that story placement have on readers. Consciously and unconsciously, story placement means a lot for print readers - especially when it is the headline story on the A section.

Now that I have seen a printed version, I do have to wonder what the editors were thinking. Running "Bush pulls in front" across nearly the entire top half of the front page with 51-44 number highlighted is inexcusable, especially when by the second and fourth paragraphs the editors start running from the results with caveats and warnings.

Further, the editors in retrospect have to see that the scheduling for this poll was a total blunder.

So what happened? Here are some potential ideas:

1) They just screwed up and it never occurred to them to think about the timing. Even given the obvious post debate bounce for Kerry, once they committed the time and resources and the likelyhood that the results would be leaked anyway, they decided to go ahead. The weakness with this argument is that it doesn't explain the banner positioning. (A mea culpa is overdue. How about an explanation in the next Ben Marrison column?)

2) The editors had already bought into Republican spin that the race was already over, the debates will ultimately be insignificant, and the timing was meaningless.

3) John Wolfe issued the orders about where to place the poll results, and the editors did their best to not get fired but offer some sort of apologies through the numerous caveats.

My guess is all of the above.


Rasmussen shows dead heat in Ohio

The latest Rasmussen poll of 597 Likely Voters includes the slimest of post debate results, and they numbers are still good. It was conducted Sept. 25-Oct 2:

Bush 48%
Kerry 47%
Other 3%
Not sure
MoE 4%

The previous Rasmussen poll (approximately 2 weeks ago) showed Bush with with a 3 point margin.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Jobs situation underreported in Ohio by nearly 180,000 - Part 2

This is a continuation of the previous post


One area that has received absolutely no attention by the Ohio media is the worsening jobs situation cause by population growth. The dynamic of population growth on the jobs picture has received occasional coverage by the national media. Some have nailed the issue by noting that Bush needs to grow the number of jobs by something like 125,000 a month just to keep up with the number of new workers entering the labor market.

This same dynamic is very much a factor in Ohio, but no one has touched this issue: The number of jobs needs to keep growing in Ohio to keep up with the growth in the working-age population.

Here are the numbers. According to ODJFS's Labor Market Information "Employment Situation Indicators" reports:

Aug 2004 Working Age Population: 8,815,000
Jan 2001 Working Age Population: 8,637,000
Difference: 178,000

This 178,000 number is initially too high. Only about two-thirds of the total working age population is actively a part of the labor force at any given time. This is because about one-third are not part of the labor force by choice, by disability or by hopelessness.

So, we get a more accurate number by reducing the 178,000 by a third which gives us a number of about 118,700 additional Ohioans have joined the civilian labor force since Bush took office.

Therefore, the most accurate description of the jobs situation in Ohio is to note that ther is a "shortfall" of jobs that is currently about 407,200 (118,700 + 288,500).

Damn. Sometimes when ya want things done right, ya gotta do it yourself.


Jobs situation underreported in Ohio by nearly 180,000 - Part 1

Nearly everyone is underreporting how bad the job situation is in Ohio. The Bush-Cheney folks have a reason for getting it wrong. The newspapers reporters in Ohio seem to be in a "spin coma" but shouldn't get it wrong. And the pro-Kerry forces have absolutely no excuse for getting it wrong.

There are two part to this problem: the number of jobs lost, and the increased demand for jobs due to the growing number of workers. In this two part post I try to explain this simply, because it is simple.


I'm totally baffled by the reported number of jobs lost in Ohio since Bush took office. Newspapers have reported anywhere from 215,000 and 240,000 lost. Even a pro-Kerry site ( reports, "Ohio has lost 231,000 jobs since Bush took office. [Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001 to August 2004]."

As far as I know, the BLS gets its data from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. When I go to the ODJFS site, their numbers show as much higher number:

Jan 2001 nonfarm payroll: 5,655,100 (updated/corrected in March 2001)
Aug 2004 nonfarm payroll: 5,366,600

Difference: 288,500 jobs lost

Reporters: This is not rocket science, just back of envelope stuff. How about getting your pencils and calculators and quit ingesting the spoonfed stuff from the campaigns?


Surprise(!) - Dispatch endorses Brooks and Kilroy

Maybe the Dispatch WILL endorse Kerry. Somewhat unexpectedly (to me anyway) today the editors announced the paper was endorsing the two Democratic candidates for Franklin County commissioners, Paula Brooks and Mary Jo Kilroy.

It wasn't surprising that the paper endorsed Kilroy, an incumbent, the only Democrat on the three-commissioner panel. She has been been adminstratively and politically savvy, and has served well. But the step of endorsing a second Democrat has to be a little surprising. The weight that comes with a the Might D's endorsement could lead to an even larger expansion of the Democrats control in this region. Mike Coleman's successful run as mayor of Columbus showed the Dems what was possible.

I think that the fact Brook's opponent has some seriouos IRS problems and that Kilroy's opponent has been linked to a fund-raising scandal made the Dispatch's effort a little easier to justify.


Pre-debate Dispatch poll gives Bush lead

The Dispatch's most recent poll of 2,859 potential voters gives Bush a 51-44 lead with a MoE of 2%. The poll was "conducted" Sept. 22 through Oct. 1. Since the Dispatch does this poll by mail, I assume this means they accepted responses through Oct. 1, so technically this included one post-debate day, but this has got to imply that this poll includes virtually no reflection of the debate.

As always, it must be noted that the Dispatch has a unique polling (via mail) - but historically accurate - methodology. Its last poll from late August showed the candidates in a dead heat.

The Dispatch adds several caveats. The first, of course, is that it captured none of the presumed post-debate bounce for Kerry. More importantly, the newspaper points out that its poll does not capture the sentiments of those who registered to vote since May.

The Dispatch says, "But a crucial dynamic of this year’s campaign is that Kerry has not made the sale with many Ohioans who disapprove of Bush’s performance." At the same time, the editors point out that respondents only give Bush a 50% approval on his handling of Iraz and 48 % approval on the economy.

Obviously, that's the benefit of the debates: The heavy margin that gave the debate win to Kerry undoubtedly went far to make that sale.

The poll also shows that independents break for Kerry 47% to 41% for Bush.

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