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Obama wins final debate...yawn

by Frank Schnittger Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:26:55 AM EST

I'm beginning to feel I'm outstaying my welcome here on ET with all these US Presidential race diaries, but at least you have the consolation of knowing that this will be the last one - on the debates at least.  You'd want to be a real politics junkie to watch these things in the middle of the night, but I am fascinated by the politics of persuasion and how these things are played out in the media.

For those who just want the bare facts these are as follows:

  1. The pundits on CNN thought this was McCain's strongest performance and thought he won the first half hour at least.  They thought McCain showed real passion whilst Obama was flat and professorial.

  2. They began to temper their views somewhat when the results of their own focus group (of undecided voters) and viewer survey came in which both gave the debate to Obama by clear margins.

  3. The CBS and Media Curves viewer surveys came up with similar findings.

  4. Conclusion:  There is nothing in the debate which will significantly alter the existing trend of a gradual movement of undecideds to Obama.

However I believe there is something much deeper going on here, something which cannot be captured in a few headline phrases.  If you really want to know you're going to have to follow me below the fold...


Thanks for coming!

First, for the numbers junkies, here are the survey results:

1. CNN (all viewers)

Who won the debate? - Obama 58, McCain 31
Favourable rating before/After debate? - Obama 63/66, McCain 51/49
Who would do the better a better job on the economy? - Obama 59, McCain 24.
Who would do the better a better job on taxes? - Obama 56, McCain 41.
Who would do the better a better job on health care? - Obama 62, McCain 31.
Who expressed his views more clearly? - Obama 66, McCain 25.

Poll: Debate watchers say Obama wins - CNN.com

By 23 points, those polled said Obama was the stronger leader during the debate. By 48 points, they said Obama was more likeable. Watch entire debate: Part 1 » | Part 2 » | Part 3 »

McCain won in two categories. Eighty percent of debate watchers polled said McCain spent more time attacking his opponent, with seven percent saying Obama was more on the attack. Fifty-four percent said McCain seemed more like a typical politician during the debate, with 35 percent saying Obama acted more like a typical politician.

"Independents tend to prefer debates that are dominated by substance and light on discussion of personal characteristics," said Keating Holland, CNN polling director. "The perception that McCain attacked Obama gave red meat to GOP partisans, but it probably didn't help McCain with independents." "There was a notable gender gap as well," Holland said. "Women thought Obama won the debate by a 62 percent to 28 percent margin. Among men, Obama's lead was narrower, 54 percent to 35 percent in Obama's favor."

During the debate, McCain demanded to know the full extent of Obama's relationship with William Ayers, a 1960s radical. But the poll suggests that line of attack may not resonate with Americans. Fifty-one percent of debate watchers said Obama's connection to Ayers didn't matter at all to them, with 23 percent saying it mattered a great deal.

(n = 620, MoE = /-4%, sample 40% Dem, 30% Rep - roughly in line with general population).

15 members of CNN's focus group of uncommitted voters thought Obama had won, to 10 for McCain.  3 stated they had decided to vote for Obama in consequence, none for McCain.

2. CBS (Uncommitted voters)

Who won the debate - Obama 53, McCain 22
Will raise taxes - Obama 64, McCain 50
Trust on health care before/after debate - Obama 61/68. McCain 27/30
Share my values before/after debate - Obama 54/64, McCain 52/55
Handle a crisis before/after debate - Obama 50/63, McCain 78/82
Manage Economy before/after debate - Obama 54/65, McCain 38/48
Understands voters' needs before/after debate - Obama 66/76, McCain 36/48

(N 638. Uncommitted voters are those who don't yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds)

3. Media Curves

Their numbers for the second Presidential debate were as follows:


So what are the key conclusions to be drawn from these numbers?

  1. Firstly, because Obama already has a lead in the polls, the CNN poll of all viewers may, to a certain extent, reflect the pre-existing predispositions of the viewers.  This does not, however, fully explain the almost 2:1 margin in the poll.  The debate itself seems to have had only very slight effects on overall voter perceptions of Obama (positive), and McCain (negative) which are within the MoE of the poll.  However Obama won decisively on every other metric in the poll including all the key issuues, clarity, leadership, and likeability. (There doesn't appear to be much evidence of racism in this and similar polls I have seen).

  2. In is doubtful whether much significance can be attached to the numeric findings of the CNN focus groups perceptions. Focus groups are more useful for qualitative rather than quantitative data collection.  The two key finding here seemed to be that the focus group did not like negative attacks and women were more favourably disposed to Obama than men.

  3. However the CBS poll of uncommitted voters is much more interesting and important. Firstly, because uncommitted voters are the key target for both the campaigns, and secondly because Obama won the debate by a much wider margin in their eyes. Obama's positives increased much more during the debate than McCain's.

  4. This result is reinforced by the MediaCurves findings which also finds Obama winning decisively among undecideds - even more so in the third debate rather than the second.


So what's my take on all of this?  Before the debate I wrote the following comment on Booman.  Booman Tribune ~ Debate

What are the low information undecideds and persuadable leaners looking for at this stage?  Not a stag fight - that's strictly for the partisans who will never change their vote.  What they do want is:

  1. Reassurance - that their next POTUS will have a cool head, good analytical skills, and  good grasp of the issues

  2. Warmth - a sense that their next POTUS has some degree of empathy and understanding of the fears, feelings, and concerns

  3. Safety - that their next POTUS will "take on the enemy" if they have to

  4. Confidence - that their next POTUS has the fitness/stamina/health/poise/priorities/focus required to lead the USA through a really rough patch

  5. Unity - that their next POTUS is capable of uniting the many fractious competing powers into a coherent national consensus

  6. Pride - that their next POTUS will represent them well on the world stage in an era where the US is disconcertingly dependent on the good will/cooperation of others

  7. Judgment  - that their next POTUS has similar values, cultural beliefs, experiences to themselves

Facts and logical argument are simply some of the props used to create such a sense around a candidate.  Chiefly the candidate has to build a relationship with his audience - undecided or persuadable voters - such that they feel he understands them and has their best interests at heart.  A lot of this is done through body language, eye contact, picking up familar themes, refrains, smiling, warmth, and an aura of awareness, smartness, and confidence.

The change Obama is asking people to believe in is embodied in his being.  Build a relationship of trust with that and he wins.  McCain is simply a prop to assist in the development of this process - he speaks to peoples fears and insecurities.  His personalised attacks on Obama actually reflect his own lack of self-confidence.  Its like saying - "I don't have the answers but this guy is no better than me"

The worse McCain behaves, the easier it becomes for Obama to present himself as the epitome of calm, Presidential, reassurance.  If McCain plays the attack dog he is only playing to Obama's strength.

The problem for McCain is that that  is the role he has assumed in the campaign so far, and not to do so during the debate risks disheartening his own supporters who badly need their anger ventilated and their confidence restored.  However in giving in to their needs he cedes the middle ground and the game is over.  The media want a bunfight and will mark him down if he doesn't deliver.

Obama's great strength is that he doesn't have to appease his partisan base.  He is under no pressure to try to demolish McCain, he doesn't have to.  He can be respectful, even kind to McCain, and it doesn't damage his core vote -whilst reassuring all the persuadable's out there that this is a guy who can be trusted to deal sensitively with their fears - fears which, at some level, McCain has come to embody in this campaign.

McCain embodies the dark side of the fears and anxieties of an aging generation who are losing control and who need reassurance that they will not be forgotten in the new order.  Obama represents their brighter, more optimistic, and more hopeful side,  He just needs to reassure them that he understands their needs.

Having painted Obama as a black, Muslim, terrorist loving appeaser, the McCain campaign and its partisans has given Obama a relatively low bar to clear.  It is not hard for Obama to exceed those fears and expectations.  He doesn't even have to win the argument.  


And that is more or less what I believe actually happened.  Obama didn't win the argument, he barely tried.  (I believe an impartial listener on radio might well have given the debate to McCain). Obama played defense to McCain's attacks and didn't use any of the obvious lines of counter attack suggested by his partisans.  He rose above the fray, saying he was happy to take such attacks for the next 3 weeks, but that what the American people really needed was to know how they were going to get out of the current economic mess over the next few years.

Whenever McCain attacked, his ratings by the focus group collapsed.  Independent/uncommitted voters simply aren't interested in partisan jousting, they won't solutions to their problems.  By speaking (direct to camera) to their problems, Obama won them over.

An an intellectual level it must really have pained Obama to allow McCain get away with all his crap.  But the debate wasn't about intellect, it was about building a relationship with the viewers.  Obama smiled when McCain attacked.  McCain scowled, jutted his tongue, rolled his eyes and looked askance.  He sometimes gave a weak nervous forced smile amd rarely talked to the camera - to the American people.  He was talking to Obama, trying to beat him down, and yet he never once used the word "experience" something which had been the centrepiece of his campaign before he picked Palin.

In another comment on Booman prior to the debate I wrote:Booman Tribune ~ Debate

A lot depends on the moderator - what questions he asks, and how much time he gives respondents to go into details.   I hope he asks relatively few questions and probes for more detail in the responses.  Previous debates have been a mile wide and an inch deep with moderators having too much ground to cover.  We never got beyond prepared talking points.

But what happens if, say, he devotes half an hour to Ayres, Troopergate, Alaskan Independence Party, William Timmons, Randy Sheunemann, Rick Davis, and the plethora of dodgy lobbyists on McCain's team - what happens if they get beyond the prepared talking points and have to think on their feet as their talking points are challenged and undermined?  Then we could have a real argument and see how both perform under pressure.

Obama has been very clever - baiting McCain on Ayres, and calling him erratic. This makes it more difficult for McCain to come up with a new hail mary proposal.  The strategy is - think what your opponent shouldn't do and try to goad him into it.  Make it difficult for him to do what he wants to do.  This debate will probably be a snooze for policy wonks and party partisans.  But it will be an interesting game of chess for aficionados of the psychology of persuasion.

McCain wasted perhaps 30 minutes on his attacks on Ayres.  It was an argument he couldn't win, and it was where he lost his uncommitted audience.  His partisans might have been pleased (Palin herself urged him to raise Ayres just hours previous to the debate), but the focus group dials went down and McCain became the grumpy grandpa who never seems to get the message: Uncommitted Americans are frightened of what the future might bring.  They need confidence and reassurance that the next POTUS has a plan to get them out of this mess.  Nothing turns them off more than the incestuous partisanship they associate with Washington.  They have just found someone who is focused on their needs, and not his own.  And it isn't McCain.

Display:
First off, I've liked your analysis of the debates. So thanks, Frank.

Yes, I listened to the debate on radio. I couldn't stand watching another 1 hour and 30 minutes of John McCain. Yes, I'm partisan for Obama. But, I doubt that simply listening to the debate rather than watching the debate would have helped McCain out.

He came across as peevish and focused on things I and I'm guessing most Americans do not care about such as how mean the ads are to him, or moaning on about Ayers and ACORN. Obama started out slow, he did well in the middle, and closed rather rather flatly, but calm. McCain started out as if he was hopped up on uppers, but as soon as he drifted into Ayers -- yawn -- he got lost. He came across at the end as out of touch, petty, and whiny.

People are already voting. Gone are the days when just election day mattered. Many people have made up their minds and are sick of this campaign. I think most Americans are fed up with it.

After nearly 8 years of Bush and 22 months of this campaign, I sincerely doubt there are many truly undecided voters. Certainly I believe there are not enough undecided voters remaining to make a difference to the projected outcome on November 4. McCain needed to have Obama supporters think again about voting for Obama. He didn't do that. McCain offered nothing new on Wednesday night.

Simply put: McCain didn't change the game.

What it comes down to now are three things: the economy that won't magically be fixed in the next 3 weeks, the inevitable bin Laden audio tape which will attack the pro-war candidate, and the GOTV effort. Two out of three should help Obama.

The primarly interesting aspects of this campaign remaining for me are how big of a majority the Democrats will have in the House and will they get a 60-seat majority in the Senate without Lieberman.

by Magnifico on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:54:35 AM EST
I think the Bin Laden tape would be too obvious this time around.

"The womb that spawned that thing is fertile yet"
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:14:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

What are the low information undecideds and persuadable leaners looking for at this stage?  Not a stag fight - that's strictly for the partisans who will never change their vote.  What they do want is:

   1. Reassurance

   2. Warmth

   3. Safety -

   4. Confidence

   5. unity

   6. Pride

   7. Judgment

Facts and logical argument are simply some of the props used to create such a sense around a candidate.  Chiefly the candidate has to build a relationship with his audience - undecided or persuadable voters - such that they feel he understands them and has their best interests at heart.  A lot of this is done through body language, eye contact, picking up familiar themes, refrains, smiling, warmth, and an aura of awareness, smartness, and confidence.

If you were speaking about the children in my 6-year old's class, your words would be more appropriate.
It's not that I'm no longer interested in the subject, Frank, it's that the level of cynicism, the ---contempt
that permeates the quote above is more than I can take.
In the years that I have posted on ET, I have never before leveled a direct attack on anyone-Diarist or commenter.
I admit to the occasional snark, but this is too much.
Your diary is a clear description of democracy reduced to a cheap sales pitch worthy of the door-to door soap merchant. The democratic idea has many flaws, and there are no doubt lots of infantile fools out there among the undecideds, but this is not a critique of the system, but a blanket condemnation of those who participate.

You reduce these voters to a cartoon, a caricature of human beings.

As such, it's over the top.

There's a lot to be said for someone who can exercise the restraint to withold judgement--right to the last moment-- to say,  "I'm not deciding this case until all the evidence is in, and that will be an hour before I pull the lever."


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:23:48 AM EST
I think any ad person will tell you the cynicism is justified.

People who vote on facts or choose anything based on objective comparisons are not in a majority.

People are much more likely to vote and buy according to gut feelings and personal impressions - of a product, of a candidate, of a salesman. This is why sales people spend so much time learning selling techniques - the bullshit actually works.

If you exclude the crazies, McCain has been a very bad salesman. 'Give it to me because I deserve it and I totally know what I'm doing while that one doesn't' isn't any kind of a pitch.

Obama has been much better - he's been calm, reassuring, aggressive enough not to be a push-over, but not so aggressive he's shrill or out of control, and enough of a patriot to be convincing.

And it's worked. I think we'll see Obama getting at least a point or two after this debate, while McCain could sink below 40%.

McCain turned off his base last night, while turning on the undecideds. I think the debate will be more significant than people are thinking, because McCain was so bad that some of those decideds will change their minds now - the best he can hope for is that they'll stay at home, but I think a percentage point or two may switch.

So - barring a Total Melodrama, with aliens or invading Muslim hordes from Siberia or some other Hollywood epic, the only question now is the scale of the rout.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think any ad person will tell you the cynicism is justified.

But would not this perception of human nature follow from the nature of the job?
And would it not be important to job success, as well?

People are much more likely to vote and buy according to gut feelings and personal impressions - of a product, of a candidate, of a salesman. This is why sales people spend so much time learning selling techniques-

We were talking about the declared undecideds, and everything I've read suggests they are the most strongly issue-oriented group out there.

My beef is with the fact that the entire tone of Frank's diary is so dismissive of the democratic process- and the voter in general- that, viewed rfrom that perspective, it seems pointless to even participate.
Yes, it's a tough road, this democracy stuff. Needs good info, a good education, a fully working brain--
Yes, this is a low point in history for democracy.
No, none of that reveals an innately unworkable system.

I think a good case could be made that the greatest blow to workable democracy has been the growth of a pervasive marketing culture inside it.

---the bullshit actually works.

Bullshit has always worked. For some. And those same "some" -particularly those in the bullshit business- would like to think it works for everybody.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The empirical data points are that Bush polled near 50% in 2000 and more than 50% in 2004.

McCain is still polling at least 40%, not 3% as he would be if voters had a clue.

The voting public in the US has consistently punished Democrats of clue and voted in charlatans, cranks, crooks and liars.

Where's the ability to see through bullshit?

We'd all like to believe in an informed and thoughtful electorate, but there's nothing in reality to suggest that many voters make decisions on anything but the most superficial reasons and uncritical Pavlovian salivation, as led by the media.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:40:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's more pathetic is that, were it not for an economic crash of Biblical proportions, McCain would be in the mid- to upper-40s.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:42:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually believe McCain would be leading in the polls now were it not for the economic disaster making people so desperate, they are willing to try anything - even at the cost -in many cases - of putting aside inbred racial fears and prejudices.

Clinton said "Its the economy, Stupid" when the economy was the most important issue for 41% of the people.  Now it must be nearly double that (haven't seen recent figures, but it was 60%+).

In a "normal" election year the Rovian election tactics and branding of McCain as a Maverick with nothing to do with Bush might well have succeeded.  And isn't Palin such a "breath of fresh air" with a track record of reforming government - as opposed to Obama who never even resisted the corrupt Chicago political machine.  

That shit might just have worked.  He would have been branded a liberal to the left of Kerry/Gore and a typical Dem losing candidate - ref. McGovern, Mondale etc. etc. - who didn't share heartland USA values.  Clinton bluffed the "liberal" thing - coming from deep south Arkansas.  Obama is a northern liberal par excellence and probably would have been successfully swift boated by now.  (Isn't Acorn a communist organisation?)

All of this is not to saw Obama has not run an extraordinary ground campaign the like of which has never been seen before.  But an October Surprise could have blown all that away.  Now, it is doubtful whether even an October surprise could do it.  We've already had it.  Its called Wall Street.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:00:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where's the ability to see through bullshit?

Democracy in the US is a bad, sad joke. True.
Not trying to make a case for the analytical powers of today's American voter.

It's true- democracy dies in an environment saturated with commercial-speak. Or with a 3rd generation tubehead audience. Or with adults educated in edufactories that make androids. All are indeed nasty pimples on the democratic visage.
But we know how to fix it, and the ultimate defeat is to write all this current idiocy off to "human nature".

We'd all like to believe in an informed and thoughtful electorate, but there's nothing in reality to suggest that many voters make decisions on anything but the most superficial reasons and uncritical Pavlovian salivation, as led by the media.

The magic thing about humans is that, to a significant degree, "human nature" is ours to change.
-That's what a good education can do-
-A good, non-input-starved brain can do-
-Good, reasonably low-bullshit information sources (like experience with the real world) can do-
-Wealth. Lots of it. Not necessarily money.

Given these, democracy often works, I maintain.
Lose any one of them, and you're in deep drek.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:35:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you realize that 20 to 25% of the electorate is awaiting the rapture, the apocalypse, the end-of-days, I'd say there's a lot more going on than just ignorance.

1/4 of Americans are religious fanatics.

That leaves a relatively thin margin for victory.

So, even if there's a lot of stupidity in the public, it's distributed more evenly among both parties. It's the religious right that has produced the problems in the USA.

25% religious fanatics + 10% stupid idiots + 10% greedheads = John McCain's 45%.

by Upstate NY on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:11:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seeing how the participation rate in the US is rather low in the presidential elections (50%?), if those are percentages of religious fanatics among voters what are the percentages of the population?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:45:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The religious right is generally very well organised and mobilised - not just as voters but as volunteers on the ground.  That was why McCain - with a history of discord with the religious right - needed to pick a VP acceptable to them - for their votes, their volunteers, and their money.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:05:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can make a reasonable guesstimate by looking at Bush's approval ratings before the economy started tanking.

He was at somewhere around 25 %, give or take a few points. Make that the top five to ten percent of the income distribution and fifteen to twenty percentage points of fundagelicals. Sure, those are not the only two groups rooting for Bush at this stage, but it gives you a reasonable ballpark figure.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 03:41:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
-That's what a good education can do-

It's funny that people always say education will make the situation better.  America is more educated than it has been at any point in time, yet people look back to the good old days of yore, when lots and lots of people never completed high school and few went to college.

Let alone the 19th century, when people sat through debates comprised almost entirely of difficult rhetoric -  yet many of them had probably never gone to school.

As an educator, I'm as much inclined to label education as the problem rather than as the solution.  The insularity bred by 16 years of book learning seems as much the cause of the problem as the solution.

by Zwackus on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:35:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As an educator, I'm as much inclined to label education as the problem rather than as the solution.  The insularity bred by 16 years of book learning seems as much the cause of the problem as the solution.

Veblen, the Higher Learning.  No need to say more.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And those same "some" -particularly those in the bullshit business- would like to think it works for everybody.

Not everybody, it just has to work for enough people, and enough can be very few indeed especially in a first-past-the-post system.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:26:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And those same "some" -particularly those in the bullshit business- would like to think it works for everybody.

Would the people it doesn't work for be an elite?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:39:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I would like to be so sanguine about everyone but I don't think that what Frank is saying is wrong.

"What are the low information undecideds and persuadable leaners looking for at this stage?"
he said.
Which is not the same as saying that reserving your judgment makes you one of those people. He qualifies by low information and persuadable. Are you saying those people don't exist?

Then, we are talking about one specific race. Being undecided when one of the candidates is today's McCain, in the current situation, is quite something.
More, we can look at the last two elections. Fraud aside, Bush got a lot of the vote (even though he actually lost, it was reasonably close). In fact, he surged after a debate with Al Gore in which he talked utter nonsense, and got a big boost against Kerry when a Bin Laden tape suddenly appeared (also, the terror level spikes everytime something was on the agenda for Kerry worked a treat).

Would you say that those surges for Bush were th sign of people who exercised reasonable judgment based on all the evidence? Or of being very poorly informed (I'm not necessarily blaming them for that given the state of the US media) and easily persuadable?

This is not to say that all voters are like that. But those people do exist. Otherwise Bush would never have had more than 5% of the votes.

"The womb that spawned that thing is fertile yet"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also don't know that Your diary is a clear description of democracy reduced to a cheap sales pitch worthy of the door-to door soap merchant is necessarily a bad thing to say about election coverage in this day and age.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:14:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
election coverage

Not talking about election coverage, Mig. It IS surely bad.
I was talking about a characterization of a process that describes that process as almost comically pointless, and the participants as brain-damaged.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:24:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, he described the participants as humans. Most rationality is a pose.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:43:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aha. There you are.
Very convenient point of view.
One can always say--"I was just posing!"

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are making no sense, except maybe if I was to interpret your reply as a personal attack.

Humans only act rationally if they try really, really hard. Almost all decisions are made emotionally by all  of us.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The process does not proceed nor has its point according to the culturally accepted narratives about democracy.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:00:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Granted. But then there are few systems of governance that end up conforming to the "culturally accepted norms". Sometimes that's a feature.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:25:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but when parties and politicians lose control of the voters, "serious" people worry a lot about "a crisis of democracy".

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:22:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sticking to "frivolous", myself.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:46:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paraphrasing JK Galbraith here... advertising is not useless despite the fact that standard economic theory (which postulates that advertising is just to inform the consumer and the consumer is sovereign) makes it look like it is. The function of advertising is to influence consumer behaviour so that the firm can control the demand for its products. It is more or less successful but 1) it is not a hopeless or unsuccessful attempt; 2) the control of its own demand has an economic velue to the firm that justifies the advertising expenditure which otherwise looks like waste.

Similarly for the role of propaganda/advertising/PR/sociology ( '/' not intended to signify equivalence) in politics. Postulating that political messages are informative and that the voter is sovereign is a non-starter.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any professionally run ad campaign includes feedback metrics.

Some are ridiculous - like 'brand recognition.' Bizarrely, but perhaps not surprisingly, some corporates are happy to be fobbed off with non-metrics like these - possibly because as far as ad agencies are concerned, the most important metric in any campaign is the ad budget, and any toy metric which can be rolled out to spin a success will be rolled out on cue.

Even so, a decent percentage of campaigns include a useful ROI estimate calculated from increased sales.

The challenge for ad people and propagandists equally is to read the motivations of the public successfully. This is harder than it sounds because motivational triggers shift all the time and are unconscious and preverbal.

If the campaign gets this wrong, it will bomb.

I think all Frank has done is tried to create a list of likely motivations. I'm not sure it's a complete and definitive list, or even necessarily an accurate one, but there's nothing wrong in principle with thinking like this.

In fact there's fifty years of evidence that people really do decide to vote and buy in line with their perception of how much they're likely to have their irrational desires fluffed, even when this is out of line with the most likely real world outcomes.

New Scientists had a mini-feature about this last week. Not only is decision making largely emotional, but it's also trapped in fairly rigid schemas and suppositions which can have counter-intuitive effects.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 01:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it was a stab in the dark by me, and meant to be provocative.  I'm happy to debate their merits especially with people closer to the ground in the US.  However any marketing strategy has to begin with some testable hypotheses of what voters are looking for - and how your candidate might, or might not best fit those needs.

The McCain strategy still seems to be stuck in the Rovian - "lets fire up the base" strategy - which is fine if your base if bigger than the opposition.  But McCain did start off with a genuine base amongst independents (and a much lesser base amongst fundamental christians and social conservatives).  I can understand why he needed to shore up his base by appointing a fundi VP - although Palin had the negative of destroy his central "experience" argument/brand.

But since then he needed to tack back to the centre to shore up his independent base - and let Palin keep the GOP base happy.  I can't understand why he hsn't dome that.  In the based the Rovian tactic of whipping up fear helped to polarise the situation and force the independents to the "right" side.  

That's probably their one remaining strategic option.  Maybe he does have an "October surprise" lined up which is guaranteed to force independents like sheep into the arms og the GOP.  But he had beter hurry.  Early voting is proceeding apace, and its not just the partisans who are turning out.  There's independent votes (not just voting intentions) being lost out there as we speak.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:07:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's just not suited to coping with it. It undermines what he has been fighting for, for two decades plus. And given how badly out of line with his basic policy instincts any policy will be if it "sounds good" to independents, he just can't make a convincing frame for it.

He says "I'm not George Bush". Then spend a good chunk of the part of the debate where he is not engaged in character attacks arguing for tax cuts for the wealthy and Bush-like policies to boost home ownership.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:51:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... number of voters who are persuaded at the last minute by things like McCain looking like he was seething with anger at Obama and Obama looking cool under pressure ... for the rest of the election, the electioneering is a waste of time. The framings have been framed, the events have eventuated, the election environment is set, 90% of the result is already on track to be what its going to be. They are trying to sweep up the crumbs and avoiding the negative impact of it looked like they were recognizing that for the most part, its all over bar the shouting.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 12:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think McCain lost not a few 'decided' women with his scare quote 'health of the mother' line.

That was a staggeringly stupid and inept thing to say, followed on by the Palin as role model line.

I'd be surprised if there isn't at least a point or two of movement away from him for women because of those.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 01:45:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the CNN worm, McCain was already well behind among women, who seemed especially turned off by the seething with anger business, and so that could well have crystallized it for those women already leaning away from McCain on the non-verbal level.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just not sure there's anything left to lose among women.  I mean, what's the worst that could happen to McCain with them?  He's already losing women by 15-20 points.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I dont think that any women who were going to vote for him before that will have had a "Wait a minute" moment from that statement.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:53:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, maybe a few.  TBG may be right about a point or two's worth of movement.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:59:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If that 1 or 2 percent voted Bush in 04 and votes Obama it means a net swing of 2 - 4 percent -- right around the Margin of Victory in 04.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:33:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the bookies in Ireland are now paying out early.

I'm guessing that means they believe it's over.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:37:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the motivation for doing this? Don't people usually prefer to hold onto the money as long as they can?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:56:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no idea.  Ceebs would know.  I'm not a betting guy.  Had a friend in Nottingham who ran a bookies, but I never really got how the whole thing worked.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:04:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ladbrokes: Bookmakers Make Headlines By Paying Out Early - Gambling News
Betting company Ladbrokes has said that it can often make business sense to pay out early on certain markets.Sports betting firms sometimes pay out on markets early for a number of reasons, according to gambling firm Ladbrokes.

Group spokesman David Williams has said that doing this can create headlines for a company and make business sense at the same time.

Often, there is apparently no point holding on to someone's cash if it is almost certain that an event is going to end in a predictable manner.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:16:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So a combination of publicity and near-certainty of the outcome.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, if they think  its certain enough then its all free publicity, plus it reinforces the publics view of the bookmaker being honest. Honesty in bookmaking is as important as confidence to Bankers.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 05:21:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure the prospect of the people betting on something else with the money never occurred to them.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:43:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
INTRADE GAMBLERS DEMAND BAILOUT AFTER McCAIN ELECTION MELTDOWN

Paging the Onion - incoming on Line One.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:12:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
-like to be so sanguine about everyone-

Come on, Cyrille- "everyone" was hardly the point. Sure there are idiots out there, but not every person who chooses to withhold his or her public judgement till the end is an infantile fool.

I referred to what I feel is a gratuitous, insulting characterization, that I thought was incredibly elitist, and innacurate to boot.
I still do.

Would you say that those surges for Bush were th sign of people who exercised reasonable judgment based on all the evidence? Or of being very poorly informed (I'm not necessarily blaming them for that given the state of the US media) and easily persuadable?

I have said many times here that the failure of policy -or of even understanding any human process- comes, more often than not, from oversimplifying it- from being yourself limited by a language structure, a linear vision, a vocabulary that narrows not only the questions asked, but the answers that are acceptable. "Easily persuadable"? Diehard independent? oxymoron.
You can easily set up categories- "low information", "persuadable" -that have an element of truth, but read to me like code words (marketing speak?) for characterizations from oddly, more honest corners. like George Wills' infamous "Lower orders". Ol'George is not ashamed at all to be an elitist.  


Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:55:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... be affected by the debate.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 12:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I probably am an elitist. Not as in despising anyone who is not elite. But I do believe that being more clever than most ought to be a GOOD thing for running for public office. That sort of stuff.

You may not like words like "low information". OK, so just tell me how someone could suddenly decide to vote for Bush because of his debate performance or because Bin Laden appeared on TV and NOT deserve to be described as poorly informed (or, alternatively, stupid)?

Same here -most Sarkozy or Berlusconi voters have to be qualified as either breathtakingly cynical or very poorly informed. As I said, I don't blame people for beeing poorly informed, and I guess people who employ me would have reasons to blame me for my level of information.

In the case of Bush or McCain, I would argue that it goes further, and that you have to be either a terrible bastard, appalingly informed or stupid or a combination of them to vote for them. But that's quite extreme.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:31:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
geezer in Paris:
In the years that I have posted on ET, I have never before leveled a direct attack on anyone-Diarist or commenter.

C'Mon Geezer, this is your second time in a two days!

First you accused me of patronising you  geezer in Paris:

Let's agree to disagree--or, you can assume senility or good drugs have simply addled my wits--but please stop patronizing me.

and now this:geezer in Paris:

If you were speaking about the children in my 6-year old's class, your words would be more appropriate.
It's not that I'm no longer interested in the subject, Frank, it's that the level of cynicism, the ---contempt
that permeates the quote above is more than I can take.

I'm amazed that you as a Sociologist could say that.

I don't pose as either a marketeer, public relations expert, psychologist or sociologist but have some experience in all four.  What I am describing are the processes at work from the perspective of my experience in all four "disciplines".

It is neither cynical nor contemptuous, nor is it directed at you personally.  It is describing the processes I saw at work, and would be amazed if Obama had not been explicitly coached and advised along those lines by "communications" and PR professionals.

We all regularly buy "products" and "services" based on little rational knowledge but because of the images, feelings and needs we have been socialised into believing those products/services will address.  It is the ABC of marketing and PR.  It works, which is why consumer businesses invest huge percentages of their revenues in it.

You may be above all of this, but you were never the target market.

Whether we like it or not, politics has become dominated by insights derived from sociology, psychology, marketing and PR.  The US Presidential election is the example par excellence, but we saw the same thing in the recent Irish Lisbon referendum where Libertas, with a budget of €2 M - (more than all the political parties combined) was able to defeat the referendum on almost totally spurious grounds using just those techniques.

Whether you or I like it or not is neither here nor there.  If you don't like what I write, that is your privilege.  I left your last diary discussion because I don't like to be accused of being stupid or patronising - especially when I was devoting some time and effort to contributing as intelligently as I could to a discussion you were hosting.

I find it alarming that a sociologist could such a rationalist/idealist view of politics, but that too is your privilege.  Put please, if you disagree, make your case.  Don't insult me or my motivation for attempting this analysis.


Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:02:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Booman makes a somewhat similar argument here.  He does so in a more outspoken way, and I wouldn't quite share his optimism that Obama will gain a further two points because of this debate.  

Obama's performance, too, had its flaws, and the number of undecideds remaining out there is quite small - c. 7% - in the average of all the polls.  What may happen is that Obama's momentum will continue to cause him to surge as more and more people see his election as inevitable.  This could demoralise the GOP base and embolden the Dem one.  

But I wouldn't put much of it down to this debate.  The evidence of the polls is that debates have a marginal influence on voter behaviours.   McCain needed a game breaker, and he didn't get it.  Obama had to avoid a major gaff and succeeded.

But I wouldn't be confident of predicting a major change in campaign trajectory and voting intentions based on this debate.  It will mostly have reinforced existing intentions/perceptions - changing just a few at the margins.

However we are now approaching the end game and McCain is running out of "Hail Mary" opportunities.  Everything he does will now be analysed by the media in terms of "what his campaign needs to do to turn his campaign around" rather than "what is good for America".  The end game imposes its own dynamics on a campaign and McCain needed to prevent Obama from "closing the deal" this far out.  

He didn't do that.  He played to his own base rather than to the undecideds and with the Republican brand so damaged this year that is never going to be enough.  A new dominant narrative has emerged, and we all know how difficult it is to change that

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:44:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought Obama's performance was weak, but I'm not looking for the same kinds of things that an undecided voter is looking for.  I have a very low opinion of undecided voters this late in an election.  Anyone still undecided is too lazy and/or stupid to do his/her homework.  The debates, last night being the exception, were better than any others since 1992, but, still, making decisions based upon the back-and-forth of these debates is ridiculous.  You'd learn more spending five minutes on Obama's and McCain's websites than you'd get out of 90 minutes in a debate.

Obama's talk on clean coal also pissed me off.  I've made peace with the pandering on offshore drilling (since fortunately the states it would apply to don't seem interested), but not "clean coal".  I'd love to win the Middle-Aged White Hick vote in West Virginia and Ohio, but I'm inclined to say that both can go to hell if the price is coal.  Maybe Baby Jesus can deliver another industry to them with their prayers or something.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:07:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding...I do, however, agree with Stoller that Obama's talk on the PAYGO rules was reassuring from my perspective.  He didn't fall into the "Balanced Budgets Now!" trap that Clinton wound up falling into under the guidance of Bob Rubin.  We can't fall into that trap of spending eight years cleaning up the Republicans' mess instead of doing what we need to do.  So, from both an immediate-stimulus perspective and a long-term investment perspective, that was good.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is always the Machiavellian perspective that the Republican plot is to run the economy into the ground so much that it will take the Dems 8 years to fix it - and fatally damage the Dem brand in the process.

Obama would be making a big mistake if, in his inaugural address, he doesn't make it quite clear that things are so bad that it will take 10 years to fix it - and that some things are so broken they will never be fixed again.  Otherwise, withing 6 months, his honeymoon is over and it is all his fault.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:31:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds a lot like Twank talk to me.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Twank you!

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:22:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, now, don't be elitest!  (That seems to be my new job title around here :-))  West Virginian's need a livelihood too, and there is no way Obama could have gained their trust without addressing this.  I feel the same way about his comments about bio-fuels, but it sure as hell plays well in Iowa and Indiana etc.  

But do we seriously believe the main thrust of his energy program is going to be anything other than wind/solar/conservation.  I sincerely hope it will be - whilst recognising every politician has to make compromises and consider short term as well as long term economic/political requirements.

But what is really interesting about the debate is the almost total lack of substance.  Did Obama mention de-regulation once?  Did he mention McCain's incredible lobbyist appointments?  Did Obama say anything new or negative about McCain except to defend previous comments?  He didn't even challenge McCain's archetypal Republican tax cut refrain except to target it slightly differently.

The bottom line is that negativity loses you the remaining undecided (this may be a new post-Rovian reality in the USA - I will leave it to others to make that judgment) but Obama was clearly coached to say nothing at all - if he couldn't find something positive to say.  And it seems to have worked with his target undecideds market even if it pissed off his base a bit.

The political calculation seems to be that Obama's base is sufficently mobilised not to require reinforcement - whilst McCain is still trying to secure his base - when he should be playing to the undecided at this stage.

As Booman and many others have said - the Dem and blogosphere strategy was to goad McCain into negativity - by saying he wasn't man enough to say to Obama's face what he had been saying in his attack adds.   Palin fell for it big time and left McCain with no choice.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:27:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no, I agree that it's highly unlikely Obama actually goes through with a big emphasis on clean coal and drilling.  His energy policy is going to wind up being basically a lot of subsidies, tax breaks and infrastructure to support wind/solar/etc, because that's the bill Congress will write given the majorities I expect.  (As always, there's too much emphasis on presidential candidates and what they'll do.  They won't do anything but implement what Congress tells them to implement, because, with few exceptions, that's all they're allowed to do.)

It's the reinforcement of the ideas that pisses me off.  Obama basically decided, "I want to win Ohio and West Virginia, so I'll bullshit about clean coal."  Democrats always do that.  Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dukakis, Mondale -- all of'em.  And normally WV and southern OH don't buy it, because they're mouth-breathers who think blowjobs are more important than job-jobs.  But the economy suffers from almost unprecedented suckage right now, so Obama got an opening.

I, personally, would go there and say, "Look, your industry is filthy.  I'll give you some cash to build new stuff, but, if that isn't enough, well you can just suck on it, and I'll go to Florida, NC and Virginia."

And that, my friends, is why I'd never win an election.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except maybe in Florida, NC and Virginia...

You can afford to make a few targeted enemies in politics - e.g. the pro-life, creationist,neocons, libertarians.  But the dems have had to compromise on guns, drilling, nuclear, bio-fuel, clean coal etc. to win their target constituencies.

That buys them 4 years to change the agenda on those items in practice - but it will e hard to do if they haven't managed to create alternative employment opportunities in those areas

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:30:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So kos seems to think Obama will turn on Fox, and there are hints there that he's not just thinking about Fox but the entire Right Wing Hate Machine.

If that happens it's going to be unusually interesting.

The US has a huge media problem, and while the Hate Machine is protected by free speech laws it's also the single most obvious and direct cause of voter moronitude. If Obama can make a start on pulling its teeth in his first term, he's going to find it much easier to make positive changes in his second one.

Assuming that's what he really wants to do.

It's a very literal war of words. The propaganda war is the first front, and it's going to be difficult to make changes of depth and substance without winning it.

Otherwise Obama will always be vulnerable to being Cartered with some fake war porn foreigner outrage, followed by yet another crank, creep, or crazy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First step would be to not allow Fox into the White House press room.  Strip their credentials.  Should also get with the congressional leadership to freeze out Fox for appearances by Dems.

Then bust up the media empires.  Obama's already talked about that a fair bit.  Which is why I suspect Murdoch tried to intervene with Ailes.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:04:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My first salvo was not insulting, in my opinion. I thought it was, in fact, pretty patient- I responded pretty calmly to your endless attempts to educate me about the "Bradley effect" --what, three times? Still, you hit it again.
You WERE patronising.
So I didn't include that as an attack, but an opinion. By bringing the issue here, you amplify it. But those who would read the exchange (pretty dull) can look at my diary about Obama and risk, and judge for themselves.
Time for Obama to Take a Risk

THIS one, however, was an angry response to a diary that I think was incredibly elitist and patronizing, and, as a sociologist, (not a marketing person- they are NOT the same), poorly informed.

If you take it amiss, I'm not surprised.

Sigolene Royale, in her best line of an otherwise lackluster campaign told Sarko the Magnificent something to the effect that "there are some things about which you should be angry".
For me, this is one.
 

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:55:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You kept accusing me of not having read your diary, but I was responding to your diary comment that: European Tribune - Time for Obama to take a risk
And anyone who discounts the Bradley effect is making a bad mistake. The best estimates suggest at least another 3-4% difference between poll words and voter deeds.

In my reading I came across no evidence that supported that assertion and much which debunked it.

I was disagreeing with you, and providing linked evidence which you seemed to ignore.  I still disagree with you and wrote a diary which discussed and linked to some of the contrary evidence.

You seem to regard my persistent disagreement on the Bradley effect as patronising, insulting, elitist, cynical, or contemptuous, but it is just that - a disagreement based on the evidence I have seen. Neither have I seen you quote any evidence or cite sources in support of your assertion.  Obviously what happens in November will be the acid test and you may be proved right.  If so, I will be happy to acknowledge your superior wisdom.  In the meantime, please forgive me for relying on other sources.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:14:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't catch geezer's diary, but seriously: Are we still discussing the Bradley Effect?  The Bradley Effect, if it even existed in the first place, hasn't revealed itself in 15 years.

Further, and again, while the consensus seems to be that it did exist back in the early 1980s, it's certainly debatable, as one of the Tarrance Group's pollsters -- someone who actually worked on the campaign -- noted.  (Tarrance Group conducts the GWU/Battleground Poll.)  The gap was closing on Bradley long before election day.

And, again, all of the recent evidence points in the opposite direction.  Obama outperformed polls by margins ranging from slight to Earth-shaking.  Harold Ford went from getting his ass kicked in pre-election polling to losing by only 3.

I don't know why there is so much fearmongering about the Bradley Effect.  I don't know why so many people talk about the Bradley Effect without actually knowing how it works.  The ignorance of statistics in the press and in the blogosphere is difficult to bear even in a normal election, but they throw the appalling ignorance about the Bradley Effect into the mix and there simply are no words.

This notion that Obama has to be up 3 or 4 points, or even 6 to 9 points (as folks in the press have stated), is complete and utter nonsense.  Even under the scenario in which the Bradley Effect does exist, and all undecideds go to McCain (a maximized Bradley Effect), that still puts him at 47%.  (So ya only got beat by 5 instead of 9, John.  You go, girl.)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:32:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... artifact of the slow move of the racist vote from the Democratic column to the Republican column. The bulk of the racist vote has been going Republican long enough for the rationalizations to be well entrenched, and for the people concerned to have no internal dissonance at all telling a pollster that they are a Republican and they are going to vote for the Republican candidate.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 02:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... there are enough people who convinced themselves that Kerry was a chance of winning in 2004, and going into election night with that conviction, and then with enough voter suppression and likely vote rigging in Ohio to be suspicious of the margin ...

... they want to provide themselves with emotional protection from assuming an Obama victory and getting hurt again.

Its been 34 years since a Democrat won an open election in a two-way race, and that was a tight one ... as was the one in 1960 ... so the last big two-way win by a Democrat who did not have the advantage of incumbency was 1932. The Republicans have more experience with taking strong leads into the last month of a two-way race, with Eisenhower in '52 and HW Bush in '88.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's a two-way race and why doesn't Clinton in 1992 count?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ross Perot?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:24:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A two way race is without a serious third party or independent candidate swinging the election ... in 1992, Clinton took 43.01% of the vote, George HW Bush 37.5%, and Ross Perot 18.9%. By contrast, in 1988, the strongest third party result was Ron Paul with 0.47% of the vote.

Actually, in terms of the final result, 1980 could be included, since despite John Anderson taking 6.7% of the vote, Reagan took 50.8% ... but in the above terms, a lot of that broke late ... it was by no means as clear three weeks before the election.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So 2000 was not a 2-way race, then?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:27:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Gore's win in 2000 was by the narrowest of margin ... narrow enough, it turned out, for a partisan State Secretary of State to steal the result. And Al Gore was behind in the latest polling ... he only won as a result of a late break of undecided voters.

When the race is close enough, the closing days really do count.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:33:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... electorate he is talking about. It is the 10% who, after one of the most dramatic contrasts in living memory, in the midst of the most dramatically charged public policy environment in living memory, are undecided or, at least, unwilling to express a commitment to one or the other side.

Pretty much any member of the electorate that takes heir democratic responsibilities seriously and is an active, information seeking voter knows who they are going to vote for.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:38:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find that I have to agree with you both to a considerable degree.  Sadly, Frank's analysis seems right on target.  So don't shoot the messenger.  I doubt that he is happy with the existing situation either.  Yet I have to agree with GiP that what Frank describes and the implications it holds are unacceptable for a society that is to have a future.  We must be able to see the weaknesses in our society clearly without succumbing to despair or revulsion.  I struggle unsuccessfully with this burden regularly.

What we need is to find a way to raise the level of awareness of the US population.  Perhaps education standards in the US could be modified to include effective, practical exercises that would make high school students aware of the techniques and power of advertising over their lives.  Some of the worst aspects of popular attitudes in the US are passing away every day.  Old racial attitudes are declining due to mortality.  The biggest challenge remains that of how to deal with the stultifying effects of literalist, fundamentalist religion.  There the worst of that lot are getting on in age.

Who knows?  The Obama campaign is buying 30 minute blocks of prime time nation wide TV time on network TV, including Fox, during the last week in October.  Perhaps he will use it to set forth and sell some clear and needed changes.  By that time, he may have such a lead that he will have little to lose and much to gain.  He still will have to govern after he is elected.    

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 12:14:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks ARG, for being the peacemaker.  I am of course open to criticism that my analysis is wrong - and have conceded above that it is something of a shot in the dark given that I am not close to the US scene.  But I do know that a lot of marketing plans start out by making the sort of testable hypothesis that I made in this diary and are then based on empirical evidence rather that "pre-conceptions" of what influences human behaviour. We can challenge the empirical methodologies as well, but they are almost universally used in business, and that is an entirely separate argument.

Where I take umbrage is if someone challenges my motivation or ascribes motives to me which I believe are unfair and untrue.

For the record, my motivation is as I said in my response to Helen below:Frank Schnittger:

My other concern is that - again, whether we like it or not - the techniques being developed in US elections are the leading edge of what will soon become the norm here.  Thus far from being elitist, patronising, cynical, or contemptuous, I am expressing my fears and concerns as to what we may soon be up against in Europe as well.

In my view American liberalism falied because it clung to an idealised, rational view of human behaviour - ironically defying the emerging "sciences" of psychology, sociology and Marketing whilst the conservatives since Reagan took a much more reality based scientific approach to what actually changes human [voting] behaviour.



Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 09:06:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In my view American liberalism falied...
I do think that the use of the past perfect tense is inappropriate here.  I hope we are in the midst of a teachable moment in the USA.  What we need is for someone with a microphone and TV camera to make effective use to this moment.  

Step one: Know what you are up against.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 02:03:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They announce that Obama will be buying 30 minute spots in prime time at a cost of million$, he's got the bucks to do it, but the Republicans don't have that kind of money to blow, and I go WHAAAAAAAAT?!

When did it occur that Republicans are the po fok, the people without the bucks?  Republicans DON"T HAVE THE MONEY?!  ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!

Are they saying that the Republicans have punted, have the bucks, but they accept the loss because:

  1.  Why throw money down a toilet?  No amount of money can save McCain.  or

  2.  Let Obama win.  America is going up in flames next year.  We'll catch it on the rebound.  Later!

Well ladies and germs, let's hear it.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:21:41 AM EST
McCain took federal funding and so his campaigning budget is constrained by the strings that come attached with those funds (I don't recall the details exactly but that's the nut of it).

Normally it doesn't matter because the Dems take federal funding as well and generally don't do as well in the 'above the line' fundraising (so they get outgunned there) and they don't do anywhere near as well in the 'below the line' soft money funding that feeds the attack dogs of the republican slime machine.

This time it does matter because Obama has been a phenomenal fundraiser, so hasn't had to take the federal grant and thus is proceeding to blow McCain's 'above the line' campaign out of the water.

The republicans still have plenty of money for slime, but that doesn't work so well without air cover provided by the legit campaign.

Regards
Luke

-- #include witty_sig.h

by silburnl on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank You!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:53:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's on my mind after the debate: This morning we discovered that Joe the Plumber is not even registered to vote.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:38:01 AM EST
Obama should ask Acorn if they can put through a late registration for him....

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 12:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think we are getting sick of the coverage. there is less than 3 weeks to go and then I think we'll be entitled to a couple of months off. The primaries and the campaign have lasted for the best part of 20 months and the fact that it's not really close any more does lead to a certain "it's over so why can't it end ?" ennui.

finally, many of us here came into the political blogosphere by way of the US sites. So we start off with an interest in US politics, not surprising given the impact it has on us. However ET has taken my pro-EU sentiments and firmed them up considerably, moving me from a disenchanted Brit and disgusted US politics watcher and  to an enthused EU one. Yes, I want more coverage of the EU here these days, and we're moving towards it, you might say this november may be a last-hurrah of that ideas that brought us here.

We're not a bunch of europeans who watch US politics anymore, we're a bunch of people who are interested in EU politics and keep a weather eye on the US cos it has such an influence. But frankly, I'm increasingly interested in events to the East than to the West. The East is our future, not just for energy, but where the political action will be. Clear all the way to the China Sea. And we have the people here who can talk about theat, inform me about that and fill in these gaps in my knowledge.

But, no, I'm not fed up with US politics, the debates are interesting, but this race has been over since the Palin appointment crashed and burned. The only real cliffhanger is that Senate and whether the Dems get to 60

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:30:10 AM EST
Aren't there EP elections next year ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misčres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:44:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In June

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the election campaign will last all of 4 weeks.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:23:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in Ireland.  It is tied up with local elections and may coincide with a second Lisbon Referendum.  The EP is starting to actually matter and the elections are a great opportunity to kick the Government in the groin...

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:34:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's - ironically - harder to feel connected to EU elections.

  1. They're not as influential.

  2. They're far more diffuse politically - less a single gladiatorial elimination contest of titanic personalities, more a lesson in minority proportional rule with factions and alliances which change so fast that they're impossible to track...

  3. ... even if you could understand what the contenders are saying...

  4. ...and even if the BBC and other trad media in the UK bothered to cover them in detail, which mostly they don't.

The influence of language delimits much more than comprehensibility. US culture is far more viscerally familiar in the UK than European culture is - so much so that we're importing the language and traditions. (Flats are now apartments, and kids now have proms here. [shudder])

The EU seems to have no concept of cultural evangelism, except in a rather comical camped-up Eurovision/It's a Knockout sense - which is terribly jolly and fun, but not the way to win friends and influence important people.

If the EU wants to have its politics taken seriously, it could do a lot worse than make a start on breaking Hollywood's death grip on self-styled glamour and cool and presenting a Europe as a place which isn't just for sleek modernism-minded intellectuals but is cool in a much hotter sense.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:36:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(was thinking that'd be the time to bother about covering EU politics... Starting real soon now. Actually, the French Verts have kickstarted their European campaign)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misčres
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 06:46:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish I shared your absolute confidence.  I'm very much of the "its not over till the fat lady sings" school of thought, and even Nat Silver a statistician and avowed Obama supporter still only puts Obama's chances at 95% - with his current 7% lead in the national polls.  This could tighten up quite a bit in the last few weeks/days and even without another October supprise, mass vote suppression, and counting Fraud this could still go against Obama.

My other concern is that - again, whether we like it or not - the techniques being developed in US elections are the leading edge of what will soon become the norm here.  Thus far from being elitist, patronising, cynical, or contemptuous, I am expressing my fears and concerns as to what we may soon be up against in Europe as well.

In my view American liberalism falied because it clung to an idealised, rational view of human behaviour - ironically defying the emerging "sciences" of psychology, sociology and Marketing whilst the conservatives since Reagan took a much more reality based scientific approach to what actually changes human behaviour.

What Obama has done is turned these techniques to his own advantage.  His campaign is the antithesis of the classical liberal, elitest, rationalist, idealist approach to political organisation, campaign management, and advertising.  He also seems to have found an effective way to counter Rovian fear mongering negative attack adds.  We may hate him for doing the dirty work that liberals have so often eschewed.  But he has shown there is also a way to use those techniques for progressive causes - and we may all have to learn them fast - starting with our attempts to promote the ET brand in Europe!

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:07:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It will likely tighten some, but the question is, "From what margin do we begin to see it tighten?"  If Obama's up 10 when tightening begins -- well, McCain's screwed in that case, because there simply aren't enough undecideds to make up the gap.  If it tightens from (say) a 5-point lead, it's competitive.

Right now, the state polls suggest a 7- to 9-point lead for Obama.  The national polls are wobbly but are in the same ballpark depending on the turnout model.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The election is over. McCain has had his last chance and he made a mess out of it. The big question now is the Senate. Will you get 60, or even, 60 without Lieberman?
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:41:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when McCain does make a small comeback the MSM narrative will change to "the comeback kid" the "anti-establishment underdog" and a few slanted polls will be thrown into the mix to make it seem that Obama's lead is only a "statistical tie".  I give it a 40% chance that we will yet sweat on a tight results night - but a 90% chance Obama will eventually win.  Looking on the bright side, that leaves a 50% chance of a big win!!!

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 12:16:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a few slanted polls will be thrown into the mix to make it seem that Obama's lead is only a "statistical tie".
To wit:  Matt Drudge!

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 02:15:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the response has more to do with intellect than anyone wants to admit, Americans being perhaps uncomfortable discussing such things and of course always read to discuss their feelings until the self-actualized cows come home.

Take the abortion bit. McCain chanted his rote talking points, including a personal attack, and Obama responded with a clear explanation of his reasoning on the votes McCain had mocked, acknowledged the disagreement, and tried to sketch the outlines of a truce.

Obama's calm cool demeanor is that of someone actually listening to what is being said, while McCain's juvenile interruptions, derisive laughter, and facial contortions are those of someone who is not interested in argument and not capable of it.

I would rather have a beer with someone capable of intelligent conversation, not someone who speaks in slogans.

by melvin on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:52:35 AM EST
"Obama's calm cool demeanor is that of someone actually listening to what is being said, while McCain's juvenile interruptions, derisive laughter, and facial contortions are those of someone who is not interested in argument and not capable of it."

Someone desperate- someone seeing his last chance slipping away, was my feeling.

Interesting--much of what Obama does- much of what works so well for him- steps quite outside of the now-traditional sloganeering, talking-points limited discourse.
Refreshing.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:10:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's mainly because Obama's really lousy at getting out crisp talking points.  Professorial Democrat Disease.  The difference is that, unlike Gore and Kerry, Obama can sell it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two reasons:

Far more people watch the actual debates than the post-debate spinning.

Insta-polls put a kind of lid on the spinning. I assume there is still plenty of it, but it's a lot easier to point out that it's BS.

This means that winning the spin war is not as relevant as it was in the past two elections.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Although I thinks the Dems pulled a coup when they had Biden and Hilary do their spins immediately after the last two debates - whilst McCain put out campaign flunkies. People are still interested in what Hilary and Biden have to say, and they said it very well.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:23:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're saying that if he could adopt the mindless, repetitive technique of repeating canned talking points-but in a convincing way--he would, or should?

What if he's really doing exactly what he wants- saying what he chooses to say, in a way that we all agree works well for him? And relying on that choice to make his case?

That would suggest that the benighted voter still has enough neurons left, after several hours a day hours of commercial television and a mind-numbing job at the widget factory, to know a hawk from a handsaw.

Radical notion?

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:39:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure he could do it if he really wanted to, but I doubt he'd want to, and it works better for him to do what he's doing anyway.  Like I said a few weeks ago, a lot of undecided voters are only familiar with Obama from video footage of big rallies, so seeing Calm, Cool Obama is probably very reassuring, especially with things going to shit and McCain acting like a nutjob.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It may also be that the oft-repeated remark  one sees about how nice it is to be spoken to "as if I was a grown-up"  means something more than a need for reassurance.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 12:08:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is re-entering North Dakota and Georgia.  He's also going to make a play in Kentucky and obviously West Virginia (presumably trying to push Lunsford over the top in KY and trying to win the electoral votes in WV).

I didn't notice it, but yesterday's CNN poll of Georgia had Obama down only 3 points among registered voters when Barr was included on the ballot.  (I don't understand why firms are polling Georgia without Barr.  That's the one state where a third-party candidate could make a big difference.)  That's within the MoE for the first time.  McCain's lead grows among LVs to 4 points -- again, withing the MoE.

In other words, it may be close enough that the ground game could win it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:11:02 AM EST
You of course caught the early voter returns from Georgia from SUSA (via fivethirtyeight). But for those who didn't, the polling says 18% has already voted early. And among those voters Obama has a six percentage point lead.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was waiting for (and expecting) this announcement in the wake of a (successful) last debate.  It is a way of projecting confidence and matching words with deeds.  Even if he doesn't win those states it helps him in the national polls and psychological momentum stakes.  One Appearance in Georgia, North Dakota and Iowa will be worth 10 in Ohio in terms of media and voter impact.  It forces McCain to respond with money he doesn't have - or doesn't he care about Georgia?

Next week I am expecting/hoping for announcements that he is setting up shop in Texas and expanding out of the 2nd. congressional district in Nebraska (at minimal cost).  Maybe Clinton can do more for him in Arkansas.  His mother came from Kansas...  There's a winnable senate seat in MS etc.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 11:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The battleground states are still trending to Obama even if the national polls have tightened slightly



Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 12:38:48 PM EST


Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 01:03:07 PM EST
Can you say 'pathetic'?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm going grab that one's ass,,,

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:03:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about this?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:13:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There have been some quite serious discussions of the meaning of a tongue jut in terms of body language.  The most common meaning, apparently is "phew! I got away with that" which could mean McCain nearly stumbled in one context, or he took a chance and made an outrageous allegation which went unchallenged/undiscovered in another.  Generally its frequent use would be indicative of a "chancer", risk taker, or trickster pleased at having got away with a ruse.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alternatively:

Admittedly a cheap shot, but the shared creep factor is difficult to deny.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:59:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
McCain: poor you, please end this misery.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 03:47:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inland Empire and its fine, fine people:

Those CalGOPers are a classy lot.

I get that it's nice to have a governor who can explain Bush administration policies in the original German, but this is a bit overboard.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 03:50:36 PM EST
You mean to imply that Bush speaks German?

Or that Ahrnold can explain policies?

I am at a loss as to which one is less believable :-P

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:36:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somebody making fun of us Californicators?  Again?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not all of you.  Just the nutters away from the coast.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:41:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, I AM one of the nutters away from the coast!

Hey, was that the point?!

Hey!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sacto isn't bad at all from what I've seen. The rest of the valley, though - it's pretty much jesusland.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 01:35:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, the Press-Enterprise... The memories...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:59:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Two polls in a row -- granted, from unknown (and thus untrustworthy) pollsters -- show Obama leading in North Dakota.  I'm guessing those, coupled with internals, are the reasons for why he's re-entering.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 04:43:49 PM EST
Ron Paul is on the ballot.  Maybe split the GOP enough for Obama to take it?

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 07:45:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you're confusing ND with Montana.  Don't think Paul's on the ND ballot.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 08:58:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey!  You kids!  Get OFF my ballot!  :-)

Oops you're right.  Paul is on the Montana ballot.  Bob Barr is on the ND ballot and may play the spoiler there.

 

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 11:53:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Obama pulled to within (say) 2 or 3 points in head-to-head polling, Paul could make the difference.  Remember, he beat McCain in the caucuses there.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 01:14:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Booman Tribune ~ Obama wins final debate...yawn

Joe "The Plumber" related to Charles "the Crook" Keating?

John McCain did great tonight in the debate. But every time John mentioned "Joe the Plumber," some of us in the campaign banged our heads against the wall. If Steve Schmidt had any hair left, I hear he would have been pulling it out tonight. He reportedly screamed at John's debate prep team tonight (out of earshot of reporters, of course). "You idiots - he's related to Charles Keating... of the Keating Five scandal!" They thought they had a real live Joe Six-Pack who's spurned Barack Obama's tax plan. But what they forgot to do was check on Joe Wurzelbacher's background.

Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who's Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating's son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan.




Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 09:28:10 AM EST
Talk about incompetence and ass-covering!  Why wasn't Steve Schmidt aware of what the debate prep team was doing?  What was more important?  Can't even keep an eye on 'em?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 02:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
on the Bradley effect

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 12:17:08 PM EST
I had intended to watch SNL's Weekend Update last night, but the Al Smith Dinner speeches came on about 20 minutes after the hour on Rachel Maddow, 10 minutes before SNL did and I couldn't turn away!  

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 02:30:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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