The Right Coast

October 09, 2004
More bad news
By Tom Smith

Sorry to be the dead possum in the swimming pool, but it looks like the lines are still pointing clearly to a tightening of the race after last night's debate. The change has held this morning, so it's not just a blip. It's now a 10 point spread in the price of Bush vs. Kerry futures, where it was about 20 before the debate. That's cutting the spread in half. That's heap bad medicine.

So what the market she be thinking? I don't know, and nobody else does either. I note that Iowa tightened dramatically (there are state by state lines as well). Florida tightened some. W still seems OK in Ohio, but it's tighter than it was. You'd have to know the local politics in these states, but my guess, and it's only a guess, is that there are more Catholics in Ohio and that Iowa is more socially liberal. Bush was quite firm on the culture of life last night. He made it quite clear he thought abortion was wrong, plain wrong. You could see one woman in particular, sitting up in the corner in a black pants suit, scowling like crazy. (The idea they were a bunch of undecided voters was rubbish. The combination of question order and format gave Kerry a big advantage. The GOP negotiators let the Pres down on this one.)

It's all rather frustrating. Of course, things may change. If I were an amoral Bush advisor, I would tell him to make Kerry noises about how much he respects people he disagrees with. When Kerry said that, and talked about how he was a Catholic and his religion got him through Vietnam, I wanted to puke. But maybe it's something else, or a combination of things. We'll see if the race continues to tighten. Bush is still the favorite. But not by much. Take a deck of cards, and take out the red kings and queens. Now shuffle the deck and draw a card at random. If it's black, Bush wins. If it's red, Kerry wins. Roughly, that's how close this race is now.