We’re not a nation divided… we’re a nation at the center
: The latest WSJ/NBC poll (free link) says that Bush holds a slight though statistically insignificant lead over Kerry but that his policies hurt him with undecided voters.
I’ve long been amazed at Bush’s insistence on playing to his right wing. He certainly wasn’t voted by a mandate! He did not have a right-wing revolution behind him. He gained strength across the board because of 9/11. If he had played to the center, he might have had a chance of getting votes he never could have gotten before (see: me) but he turned away those voters by swinging further right by appointing Ashcroft and lately by pushing the edge on gay marriage, stem-cell research, and by not pulling back his Vietnam attack hawks … well, you know the list. I used to think this was ideology but now I wonder whether it is odd political paranoia: a chronic need to “solidify the base.”
But my point isn’t about Bush. It’s about America. Once again, we’re portrayed at a nation of extremes, red v. blue, when the truth is that the closeness of our votes only indicates our strong preference for the center.
The other important note from the poll is that Bush trails Kerry in 17 key battleground states. Usually by this time in an election, I’m ready to start making bets, state-by-state. But not this year, not quite yet.