By the time you read this, the presidential elections will be a mere five days away. So with that fast approaching, I figured I’d give a recap of some polls and an idea of how I think things will turn out.As of Oct. 25, it seems that the race is pretty close. The best way to look at it is that President George W. Bush now has about a three to four point lead. Both campaigns should be happy with these numbers. Senator John Kerry headed into the first debate with Bush in a commanding five to six point lead. Due to Bush’s poor performance in the first debate, Kerry was able to shrink the campaign to a dead heat. Bush should be happy with these numbers because they show he’s gained ground after the first debate and expanded a dead heat into a small lead. For general information on polling, I recommend It’s a great site because they take all of the state polls as well as national polls and put them all in one easy format to look at. It’s pretty much a one-stop shop for all your polling needs – though it is sad any of us would have a “need” for polls on a regular basis. In any case, that’s where the race presently stands according to those polls. I think they do show an accurate picture of the feeling of the voters. Overall, Kerry has failed to make his case to a majority of voters, and I think Bush’s folksy style, though maybe not the best way to communicate all the time, really allowed him to connect in the last two debates. I think Bush especially won the last debate. By the time of the last debate, the only people who were “undecided” were voters who really weren’t paying attention. I’m sorry, but there are a few minor differences between the candidates and if “undecideds” hadn’t picked that up by the third debate, they never were going to. Therefore, the people you had to appeal to in the third debate were people who are largely voting on superficial reasons. “He’s a nice man” or “He seemed so mean!” I think Bush did the best job there, and really knocked the question about his wife out of the park. He was personable and really got across – even to people who don’t like him – that he really loves his wife. Kerry, I think, fumbled that question – to mix my sports analogies – since he never actually mentioned his wife’s name. I think that resonated with a lot of swing voters, specifically women, and I feel that’s what explains Kerry’s loss in the polls. However, there are some big variables heading into the election. First, I think that the strong anti-Bush sentiment, specifically among young college students, isn’t being factored in. I think there could be either a huge jump for Kerry based on all these new young voters, or it could have a minimal impact – largely because these young voters will continue with trends and not really get out to vote in large numbers. I’m not sure where I fall on that issue, but I think the youth vote will come out in a relatively normal level, though highly in favor of Kerry. Second, I think the 2000 election will have a big impact on turnout. After people have realized a mere 500 votes can determine an election, they will be more likely to go out and vote. Polls really can’t account for something like this. Those who didn’t vote in 2000 would be considered as less likely voters than those who did vote, but the very fact that these same people didn’t vote in 2000 might prompt them to vote this time around. These are just two factors of a much larger theme – turnout. Turnout, in my opinion, will determine this election. For Democrats it’s a matter of how much anti-Bush feeling, rather than any strong support for Kerry, will get them out to the polls. For Republicans, it’s a matter of how many conservatives will look past some of the poor fiscal moves by the President and focus instead on foreign policy. So, by the time you next read my article, we will, hopefully, have an election all wrapped up. I can only think of a few better words than this – go vote. And go Bush!Clemm can be reached at

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