Just had an interview with Jay Cost of the Horse Race Blog, which, in a period of one month, has become the must read site for analysis of the election. Jay, a graduate student in Political Science at the University of Chicago, has taken to blog commentary like breathing and has provided enough insight to be quoted across the internet by both conservatives and liberals.
I asked Jay about the youth vote that many are saying will sweep Kerry into office. “That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at the 7/11,” said Cost. “18 to 22 year olds have done nothing but squander [the right to vote] over the last thirty years.” Cost says the problem is that most young voters at college are not registered to vote where they are in school. Without extreme diligence and an active political machine at the university, the young voter will probably not have his ballot cast. “Just ask Howard Dean,” Cost interjected.
Jay Cost also does not believe in the much hyped incumbent rule. The conventional wisdom is that undecideds will break against the incumbent. Jay agrees that the rule applies to legislative races, but in executive races, i.e. governors and Presidents, the undecideds will break for the incumbent. Privately, some Democratic strategists have been whispering the same thing to me.
Finally, Jay Cost predicts a Bush win. He points out that, regardless of what the horserace numbers say in the polls, every poll agrees that the top two issues are terrorism and Iraq. Every poll has been consistent in showing a majority prefer Bush to handle both.