New poll results look much better for Kerry:
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry gained ground at President George W. Bush's expense in polls taken in Florida, New Jersey, Iowa, New Mexico and New Hampshire after last week's presidential debate.
Kerry has a 2 percentage point edge in Florida and the candidates are tied in New Hampshire, two states that were among those Bush won in 2000, according to the American Research Group.
In New Mexico and New Jersey, Kerry leads by 3 percentage points, within the error margin, according to polls. Bush and Kerry are tied in Iowa. The three states backed the Democratic nominee in 2000.
“Independent voters, who shifted to Bush from Kerry beginning just prior to the Republican convention, seem to be shifting back to Kerry, and that trend has intensified in the days following the first debate,'' American Research Group President Dick Bennett said in an e-mail.
One's tempted to say this is the start of major Kerry “momentum.” Trouble is, I have come to mistrust all the polls. In order to believe one, I'd need to know lots more, starting with what percentage of the electorate they think will vote, and how that number compares to 2000. I think that turnout, at least in the 'swing' states, will be substantially greater than four years ago, especially among the younger voters. Is this reflected in their models?
Then again, I suspect that exit polls got the Florida vote right (showing a Gore win), and the actual count got it wrong — in substantial part due to the “butterfly ballot” people who were polled but not properly counted. But with exit polls we don't have any doubt about who the 'likely voters' might be, so the sampling problem is easier.