Pollster John Zogby, in a telephone interview with me yesterday, predicted that John Kerry will win the election. "It's close," he said, "but in the last couple of days things have been trending toward Kerry - nationally and in the swing states. Between this and history, I think it will be Kerry."
When Zogby talks, politicians listen. He made his bones in the Bill Clinton-Bob Dole election of 1996, when he came within one-tenth of a percentage point of the final tally.
Bet me that when the Bushies read what Zogby told me, not just the rhetoric will rise, but so will the fever.
Particularly since one of their favorite columnists, Robert Novak, reported in yesterday's Washington Post that Zogby called the race for President Bush in a conversation he had with the pollster on Monday.
Zogby was jocular about the Novak column, although he has decided not to post a comment on his Web site. Here's what he told me: "I said Bush was winning, I didn't say I thought he'd win. On Monday, he was indeed looking good. But on Tuesday, things changed. Kerry, in that one day, picked up 5 points."
Well, what about New Jersey? Al Gore took the Garden State by 16 points, and now the Quinnipiac poll makes it even. If Kerry loses Jersey, it could be a landslide for Bush, no, Mr. Zogby?
I could hear Zogby shrug. "New Jersey?" he said. "Take out your navy blue crayon and color Jersey dark. I don't even poll New Jersey."
The politicians of both parties appear to agree. If they believed Jersey was in play, Kerry and Bush would be in Newark and Jersey City on the spot. But nobody showed.
Maurice Carroll nodded - I heard that on the phone, too. Mickey runs the Quinnipiac poll, and being straight, he said, "It makes me trepidatious about our numbers."
"I've gotta look it up, too," he laughed. "But of course when the politicians pay no attention, we have to wonder if we got it right."
And then he added: "Maybe because our poll had 6% undecided. Historically, the undecided vote goes big to the challenger."
Polls, polls, polls. Is that all there is, Alfie?
Let's check the London line. The legal bookies across the sea have been uncannily right over the years on our elections. They probably called 1776 for George Washington.
And on this one, the Republicans have to love it.
The latest line from sunny old England makes Bush, in their funny lingo, a 4-7 favorite. (Vegas would say it 7-4.) That's almost 2-to-1.