CHRIS NELSON OF THE NELSON REPORT IS ONE OF THE BEST INSIDER’S INSIDERS in Washington. I have been trying to reach him tonight to secure permission to reprint this excellent piece from his private newsletter but have thus far been unsuccessful.
So, hopefully I will be forgiven. If he hollers at me, then I’ll have to take this down. . .but he shares some interesting insider gossip:
1. Pollster John Zogby, who has proven very accurate in recent years, has put his reputation on the line by already calling the election for Democratic nominee John Kerry. Zogby bases his call on his own models and the trends already reported.
2. Our sources say that private Republican pollsters like Frank Luntz agree, and that President Bush has been told he must win BOTH Ohio and Florida to have a chance at a second term. The latest numbers, however, indicate that Kerry is enlarging his earlier, one-point lead in both Ohio and Florida, as per the above.
3. White House sources say the Republican effort now is aimed at enlarging the Senate majority. . .a goal which seems likely, despite good leads by Democrats in Colorado (Salazar over Coors) and Florida (Castor over Martinez). A measure of the President’s difficulty is that exit polls show Kerry to be doing twice as well as Gore/2000 with key elements of Bush’s 2000 Florida strength. . .non-Cuban Hispanics, and Cubans.
4. We understand that a national press plane headed for Ohio and what had been assumed to be the “midnight poll watch” has turned around in mid-air and is now headed for Boston, and Kerry’s Headquarters. This is a rumor, but from a press source.
5. There are private messages flying around the Internet, some allegedly from key White House staff, some quoting Vice President Cheney replicating his famous admonition to Sen. Leahy, only this time aimed at political director Karl Rove, and spin-meister Karen Hughes. While perhaps apocraphyl, the reported conversations seem symptomatic of a growing malaise at the top levels of the White House, as today’s numbers blend into tonight.
Yes, it could be spin, but Chris Nelson is great at getting the very best stuff.
I’m off to my parties shortly. Stay tuned, and vote.
— Steve Clemons