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Obama's election to lose? (US Election Part 8)

by Frank Schnittger Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 03:06:18 PM EST

Oh no!  Not another Obama diary I hear you say.  ET has been a relatively Obama free zone in recent times despite some commentary on his European tour and his Irish roots.  And yet the outcome of the US Presidential election could have very profound implications for Europe indeed.

Obama is being almost universally applauded for running a very professional election campaign machine - in sharp contrast to McCain's relatively inept performance.  And yet Obama has consistently failed to achieve a clear lead over McCain in opinion polls - the   Real Clear Politics  average of polls shows him only a few percentage points ahead - and his favourable/unfavourable ratings are hardly better than McCain's.

His triumphant Middle Eastern and European tour didn't yield the expected bounce, and even the most ridiculous McCain attempts to target his "celebrity" status are not widening the gap in Obama's favour.  Maybe   Paris Hilton  set the right tone by targeting the white haired wrinkly guy and making a better fist of articulating an energy policy...

Incredible as in may seem to many in Europe, an Obama victory is anything but a foregone conclusion.  Much greater swings in opinion polls occur regularly in US politics (witness Hillary Clinton's demise after earlier 30 point leads).  So what is wrong with the Obama candidacy, and why might McCain still win?


Beats me!

Ok, but here are some theories.

Firstly, however much Obama might wish to transcend race, to many he is still the black candidate.  For the McCain attacks at his being "elitist", read an "uppity" black who upsets the residual natural status hierarchy of small town US society in many states.

Secondly, despite Hilary's active endorsement and support, many Clintonistas still bitterly resent her defeat and see it as part of the sexism endemic in US society.  They may only be huffing and puffing and come round by November, but as yet many pumas have not transfered their support to Obama.

Thirdly, despite almost unprecedented economic collapse, almost no one, including Obama, is challenging the dominant MSM and political paradigm of free markets, less regulation, lower taxes, and greater inequality to get America moving again.  In this paradigm he is an inexperienced left-winger who will do the opposite of what "America" "needs" to get the economy back on track.  The greater the economic or national security anxiety, the more some Americans will run to the father figure.

Fourthly, xenophobia.  Many Americans don't know where Yurp is, and Obama's popularity here smacks of a lack of patriotism and a potential betrayal of American interests rather than of a positive movement towards a more cooperative and consensual world order.  If you think your security depends on having a strong military, you're not going to be too happy with a conciliator, are you?

Fifthly, no one is effectively challenging "the surge is working" narrative, which makes Iraq - the original basis for Obama's campaign - much less of an issue going forward, despite the fact that Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki effectively endorsed Obama's withdrawal timetable proposal.

----

So what can Obama do to address these issues and sharpen the campaign focus on his areas of strength?

Firstly he needs to soften and blur his "black" identity.  I have already suggested a stop off in Ireland to highlight his Irish roots would do him no harm at all.  Obama ancestor opposed corruption in Dublin - The Irish Times - Thu, Aug 07, 2008

BARACK OBAMA had a distant Irish cousin who went on to become provost of Trinity College and later bishop of Ossory, new research shows.

It has also been revealed that an Irish ancestor opposed political corruption in Dublin.

The Democratic nominee for the US presidential election is directly descended from the Kearneys of Shinrone and Moneygall, Co Offaly, the research has revealed. His ancestry had already been traced back to a shoemaker in Moneygall on the Offaly-Tipperary border. Further research shows a Tipperary connection.

---
 The Kearneys prospered in the 18th century, with John Kearney, a distant cousin, becoming provost of Trinity College and later bishop of Ossory.

Michael Kearney, described as Obama's sixth great granduncle, entered the guild of barber surgeons and periwigmakers in 1717, and was enrolled as a hairdresser in the freemen's rolls in 1718. He had the right to vote in elections to the city council in Dublin.

In the 1750s, "when the aristocracy tried to gerrymander elections in Dublin city council, to put in their own candidates", Michael Kearney was prominent among guildsmen in opposing them.

After the 1780s, the fortunes of this line of the Kearneys declined because of economic changes after the Act of Union and a downturn in the fashion of wig-making.

A genealogy which includes a Bishop, a Provost of Trinity College, a fighter against aristocracy, and a family which experienced the brunt of British imperialism cannot be a bad heritage for Obama to highlight.  Why should his African roots be allowed to dominate all discource?

Secondly, Obama needs to stop McCain setting the policy agenda on energy and the economy.  Arguing that people should ensure that their tyres are correctly inflated may be technically correct, but hardly the best way to inspire the electorate.  Is Gore really so politically toxic that Obama can't embrace at least some of his sustainable energy proposals?  Hell, Paris Hilton would make a better energy spokeperson that McCain, so this issue should be a big plus for Obama.

Thirdly, the vexed issue of his VP choice.  He needs to diffuse the Hillary factor.  McCain is actively targeting the predominantly older, less educated, male white vote she courted so effectively.  Perhaps Obama should swallow his pride and give her the VEEP spot.  His more hysterical supporters will go ballistic - but they'll get over it come November.  A VEEP has almost no effective role in the US political system unless the President gives him/her one - and Obama can effectively sideline Hillary later if she isn't singing from the same hymn sheet.

But finally, Obama needs to take a real stand on some policy issues - and argue his case.  His headlong rush to the the current political centre marks him out as a lightweight who can't stand his ground and who will be easy meat when the Washington establishment gets to work on him.  It isn't all about getting to the White House first and then deciding what the political and economic realities of the day allow you to do. You also have to prepare the ground for a radical policy departure by "selling" it to the US electorate first.

By taking the road of least resistance now Obama also risks being seen as a weak President later - with no mandate for radical action and no means of managing a restless Democratic majority in congress.  He needs to take a stand on a few issues now:

e.g.

  1. Adopt most of Gore's sustainable energy plan
  2. No more bail-outs for banks.  If they need money they pay for it with equity which can be sold (hopefully at a profit) for the taxpayers benefit later.  Hell it could fund the Social security system if the Government had large shareholdings in many banks.  That's what pension funds do - they invest, and expect a return.
  3. Hire Paris Hilton to respond to "the white wrinkled ones'" more ridiculous attack ads.  Gentle mockery and a sense of humour is the most appropriate response.  Obama doesn't need to go there.

Display:
Firstly, however much Obama might wish to transcend race, to many he is still the black candidate.

I doubt that Obama's blackness hurts him. Much the contrary. Among the Afro-Americans it is a huge asset, where he will not only get a big share of the vote, but as well a record turn out.
The really racist people probably anyhow don't vote ever Democrats and others can say afterall they voted for a black president when accused of racism, which can be used (as well for oneself) as ignoring other discrimination issues.
It would have been a problem, if Obama would have made the elimination of discrimination of minorities as one of the key elements of his campaign, he hasn't.

Secondly ...

And the sexism single issue voters will go for McCain? If Condi or another woman would be on the other side, yes, but McCain? Obama has gone to the center, but Democrats are still the anti-discrimination gov action party.

Thirdly ...

Yes, absolutely. The reason Obama isn't challenging the model too strongly is, because it is as well the Democrats model. I don't know, what Obama thinks personally, I don't know, how the US eloctorate reacts on proposals to become more 'socialistic', but I'm sure, the Dem party elite wouldn't follow him. The people who give the big checks to the parties as well not.
However, again the Dems are the more 'socialistic' choice and Obama can't play something he isn't. He is bipartisan uniter, not a revolutionist.

Fourthly ...

Ah, I thought that is with the name. A black candidate, OK, but he should be named Jones, Smith, Wahington, or Jackson,...
Do I have to know where YURP is?

Fifthly ...
Maybe the surge is working. What was the plan what it should do?
The Dems are idiots. After more than a million killed and several million on the flight in a some 20 million people country, at some point the violence will go down, because of lack of victims. Already when these numbers became public, the Dems should shouted SCANDAL, and made perfectly clear, that it doesn't matter any more, what happens next in Iraq with regard of the question, if the war was a good idea at first. Again I think the same problem as with the economy, the Democratic elite itself is warmongering and only unhappy with the mismanagement of the war. It was clear before the war, that no really dangerous WMD (e.g. nuclear) would have been found, only some rather harmless stuff could have been there - but there wasn't and it hasn't let to a major reaction.

I have another European elitist explaination, why Obama isn't leading by a bigger margin:
America has too many too dumb people.

The solution for the Obama campaign:
Picking a vice president who really a lot of voters would like to see more often. So what about Paris Hilton?


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 05:58:10 PM EST
Picking a vice president who really a lot of voters would like to see more often. So what about Paris Hilton?

Because of that quaint document called the Constitution? Article 2, Section 1 says that the president (and so, for practical purposes, the Vice-President as well), must be at least 35 years old. According to Wikipedia, Paris was born in 1981.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 06:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
whatever her age, no one with a name like Paris could possibly be elected.  The Freedom Fries people wouldn't stand for it.  Remember Kerry was defeated because he could Speak French.  Those cheese eating surrender monkeys are all into windmills and stuff that no self-respecting GOP Oil man would tolerate.  Amurkans have a constitutional right to guzzle gas and no hybrid loving sophisticate celeb is gonna interfere with that.  Its like guns and Christianity.  You can't have one without the other.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 06:40:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... don't even fry the cheese, or melt it onto nachos to eat it ... them Yurpns'll eat cheese raw, at least I hear tell.

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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Martin:
America has too many too dumb people.

On that logic, did Ireland reject Lisbon because it has too many dumb people?  Politics is about affiliation, not intelligence.  Not enough people are identifying with Obama because his identity is being cast too narrowly.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 06:31:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was obvious, that this was meant only half serious and not for debate, but however.

Politics is about affiliation only up to a certain degree. There are issues, too.
The Lisbon treaty is by far not important enough, not easily understandable enough and simply not good enough, to count.

I don't blame anybody for voting for Bush in 2000. I don't know for whom I would have voted in 2000. But there comes a point, when you see, the outcome and have to redecide.

If Ireland gets thrown out of the EU, lives 4 years out of the EU and then, when again asked for reentering the EU, and decides to stay out, then I would have an issue with Ireland - a small one.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 07:07:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Martin:
I thought it was obvious, that this was meant only half serious and not for debate, but however.

I think it is a very serious issue for debate.  Most Irish people who voted against Lisbon did so for reasons that had nothing to do with Lisbon.  Does that make them stupid?

Many evangelical conservatives in the US vote on issues like abortion, gays, creationism in schools etc.  GOP candidates have been v. skilled at harvesting this vote whilst doing nothing v. practical to implement such ultra-conservative politics.  They do so by identifying with such beliefs/aspirations, not by delivering anything v. concrete.

Some of them believe Obama is a Muslim, an uppity nigger, a communist stooge.  Does that make them stupid?  Of course it does.  Shock, horror:  50% of Amurkans have below average intelligence.  Any political program which doesn't take account o their sensibilities or lack of is almost bound to fail.

The GOP has almost sown up the stupid vote.  The Dems have been too snobbish to try.  They need to get more down and dirty....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 07:27:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Op-Ed Columnist - Know-Nothing Politics - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

Republicans, once hailed as the "party of ideas," have become the party of stupid.

Now, I don't mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don't mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism -- the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there's something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise -- has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party's de facto slogan has become: "Real men don't think things through."

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: "The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking," said Representative John Shadegg.

What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be "insignificant"? Presumably they're just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, "want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs."

Is this political pitch too dumb to succeed? Don't count on it.

Remember how the Iraq war was sold. The stuff about aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds was just window dressing. The main political argument was, "They attacked us, and we're going to strike back" -- and anyone who tried to point out that Saddam and Osama weren't the same person was an effete snob who hated America, and probably looked French.

Let's also not forget that for years President Bush was the center of a cult of personality that lionized him as a real-world Forrest Gump, a simple man who prevails through his gut instincts and moral superiority. "Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man," declared Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2004. "He's not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world."



"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 08:05:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The truth is that vice presidents are pretty meaningless.  If you can play it up for some good press leading to the announcement, it's fine, but veeps don't usually decide elections.

I'm more interested in the veep as a potential successor, which is why I don't want dumber-than-catshit wackazoid-neocon Evan Bayh.  He has good lucks, but he also has all the charisma of a rock.  He's a total douche bag, too.  I can live with him, if that's what it takes to win, of course.  In the end, we've gotta win.  But I don't believe he locks up Indiana as others do.  (Indiana is just as ass-backwards are any southern state.)  So I'd consider him, obviously, but I'd avoid him at all costs.

(Adding: The talk of Bayh appeasing Clintonistas is moronic, inside-baseball drivel.)

Sebelius would be fantastic if she were from a relevant state.

Edwards would be great, but he wants to be attorney general, not veep, and I'm not confident he could get us North Carolina anyway.  He also really sucks in debates.  Cheney mopped the floor with him four years ago.

Kaine is good, although his approval ratings dipped quite a bit after some bullshit in the legislature this past year.

Those are the "young picks".

Richardson is the experience guy, with massive appeal out West (putting New Mexico, Colorado, perhaps Nevada, and perhaps even Tejas in contention).

Joe Biden is funny as hell.  He knows how to talk plainly to people, and he's incredibly experienced.

Russ Feingold is my darkhorse.  He's more progressive than Obama, which appeases the base (helpful after Obama's center-fying).  He's experienced.  And, to my surprise, he's young.  Ideal successor.

Those are the experience picks.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 06:47:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd have a better handle on the stats, but my impression is that not many veeps get to succeed their President - unless the President is extraordinarily popular like Reagan/Eisenhower, or dead - like Kennedy.

tHE PROBLEM WITH THE JOB DESCRIPTION IS THAT YOU GET NONE OF THE CREDIT AND ALL THE CRAP THAT ATTACHES itself to the main man.

Thus Obama's veep is very unlikely to succeed him unless Obama cops a bullet - which must be a real worry.

A good veep candidate - by my guess - could give you a max of (say) 2% extra in votes - not much, but critical in a tight election - especially if that 2% might otherwise go for the opposition candidate.  Which veep candidate hurts McCain the most?

Which GOP veep candidate hurts Obama most - Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Joe Lieberman?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 07:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's true, although I think Gore likely would've done a bit better -- enough to win despite the fraud -- if he hadn't run away from Bill Clinton.  Gore allowed the crap to be attached to him by not playing offense.

The potential veeps who likely hurt McCain the most, depending on his pick, are Richardson and Edwards.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 08:23:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know, I'm banking on Gavin Newsom...

What about Jack Reed? Would be a non-successor (now 59) experience pick, more boring than Biden or Richardson, but definitely less risky. Also, Daschle (61) keeps being mentioned. He's got the 'loser' problem, but might be still be a solid pick.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 07:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt that Obama's blackness hurts him. Much the contrary. Among the Afro-Americans it is a huge asset, where he will not only get a big share of the vote, but as well a record turn out.

Blacks vote overwhelmingly Dem regardless of who the candidate is. Turnout will go up, but blacks are disproportionately located in states which don't matter - i.e. barring landslides for one side or the other are not swing states. In this election it might help marginally in Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. On the other hand it can hurt him among white voters in those states as well. It's not at all clear to me which of those two factors will matter more.

I have another European elitist explaination, why Obama isn't leading by a bigger margin:
America has too many too dumb people.

Two words: Silvio. Berlusconi.

by MarekNYC on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're not all Italians you know....

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy. "No" to Lisbon. Haider. etc... Need we go on?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:44:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea but our major governing parties don't often directly target the "stupid" vote.  It damages their brand, long term.
Frank Schnittger:
you see - targeting stupidy is the GOP strategy (none / 1) Op-Ed Columnist - Know-Nothing Politics - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com

Republicans, once hailed as the "party of ideas," have become the party of stupid.

Now, I don't mean that G.O.P. politicians are, on average, any dumber than their Democratic counterparts. And I certainly don't mean to question the often frightening smarts of Republican political operatives.

What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism -- the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there's something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise -- has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party's de facto slogan has become: "Real men don't think things through."

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: "The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking," said Representative John Shadegg.

What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be "insignificant"? Presumably they're just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, "want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs."

Is this political pitch too dumb to succeed? Don't count on it.

Remember how the Iraq war was sold. The stuff about aluminum tubes and mushroom clouds was just window dressing. The main political argument was, "They attacked us, and we're going to strike back" -- and anyone who tried to point out that Saddam and Osama weren't the same person was an effete snob who hated America, and probably looked French.

Let's also not forget that for years President Bush was the center of a cult of personality that lionized him as a real-world Forrest Gump, a simple man who prevails through his gut instincts and moral superiority. "Mr. Bush is the triumph of the seemingly average American man," declared Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2004. "He's not an intellectual. Intellectuals start all the trouble in the world."



"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:59:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You forgot Poland ;) On second thought, please don't think of the twins, it's embarrassing.
by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 01:51:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... advantage, as in the 2004 election the black vote was deliberately suppressed by under-allocation of voting machines to heavily black districts.


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 Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you know what, if anything is being done to stop this happening again? It wasn't a surprise in 2004; I remember reading warnings that this was going to happen well before the elections.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 12:13:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See my comment right below yours.  A key difference between 2008 and 2004 is that the Ohio governor is Ted Strickland, a Dem.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 12:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... in Ohio (as in most states) the Secretary of State is in charge of elections, and its a statewide elected position.

So the main thing "done" to prevent it happening again was the election of the Democrat as the Secretary of State. Ms. Brunner won't intentionally mis-allocated voting machines in order to disenfranchise black voters ... or, in the other big block disenfranchisement, college voters. And she has already sacked some of the worst of the County Board of Electors.

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 Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 12:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good point.  Shedding a bit more light on that, it's also important to remember that we control the governors' mansions in many of these states.  Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina come to mind immediately.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 12:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just thinking about writing a diary on the US election so this is good timing.

The polling firms have been mucking with their 'screens' to keep McCain in the race.  Gallup in particular. Another firm, can't remember the name, in a state poll decided African Americans are only going to vote at 50% of their turn-out in '04.  One has to dig into the internals of the polls.

Then there is the enthusiasm gap.  Democrats are 82% enthusiastic about Obama while only 37% of Gopers are enthusiastic about McCain.

Obama is carrying Latios in the 60s, AAs in the 98+, in fact he is doing better than Kerry in every demographic except Democrats and that should tighten as November comes nearer.

McCain has already lost two Bush '04 states: Iowa (7 EV) and New Mexico (5 EV.)  And it looks like New Hampshire (4), Colorado (9), Ohio (20), and Virginia (13) are in play.  (There may be others but these everyone agrees on.)

Bush got 286 (270 to win) EVs to Kerry's 251.  Obama is holding all of the Kerry states and has added 13 for a total of 264 while McCain, at best, is carrying 227 with 46 up for grabs.  

At this time, Colorado looks likely to flip and that's the win for the O-man.

Depending on the relative turn-out there is a very real chance Obama will take all 46 EVs.  What I'm thinking is a decrease in Goper turn-out from '04 due to the (lack of) enthusiasm factor and a more-or-less continuation of the '04 turn-out for the Dems.  In 2000 50.4 million GOP votes were cast.  In 2004 62 million voters went to the polls for George versus 59 million for Kerry.  McCain is not going to get that many votes.  If he is lucky he's going to get around the 50 million from 2000.  Obama should get between 55 and 59 million and if the youngsters, Latinos, and Independents break as expected he could go over, well over, 60 million.

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

by ATinNM on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 08:07:50 PM EST
I actually think turnout is going to be higher this year than in 2004.  We had about 60% four years ago.  70% isn't unthinkable to me, digging through some data on how motivated people say they are vs other years.  Those numbers -- motivation and actual turnout -- actually move pretty close together, and Pew's last poll on it had motivation jumping from ~60% in 2004 to ~75% this year.  I don't think it'll get that high, but I don't think it'll be far from it.

Remember, too, that Obama and the DNC have registered ridiculous numbers of new voters.

I think the youngsters will show up.  Obama could very well get up to 75% of the Latino vote, close to 80% if everything went perfectly.  At 75% of Latinos, Obama's got New Mexico and probably Colorado and Nevada with relative ease.  Being likely to have Iowa, that's more than enough.

Massive turnout from blacks and urban whites could finish the job in Virginia.  Ditto North Carolina, which is still incredibly tight.  Charlie Cook and a lot of GOP strategists have already moved NC to Tossup status.  (I'm not sure I'll believe there's a real shot in NC unless I see a poll with Obama ahead.)

If blacks and urban whites go sky-high, with a good-sized bump among Latinos, Georgia, which has far more blacks -- 30% vs 20% of the population, with a massive political machine in Atlanta to churn out votes -- and young people than NC and VA, could turn.

I say Ohio's a coin-flip on election day.  Whomever has some momentum will get it.

And don't forget Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, all of which are essentially tied for now.

I don't think McCain has much chance of winning a landslide.  The result on election day, if I had to guess right now, will be somewhere between a very, very narrow McCain win and an Obama blowout.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 08:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I honestly don't see a path for a McCain victory as of 8/7/08.  By all accounts he's lost Iowa and New Mexico and losing Colorado to boot.  That's the election right there.  

Granted things could change in 80 something days but the GOP is running out of time.  They took their best shot last week and flubbed the drub, apparently.  

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

by ATinNM on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 09:31:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see a definite way for Obama to lose.

Let's take the make from electoral-vote.com:

Right now the polling has it at Obama 289 to McCain 236.

First thing.

I don't think that Obama is going to win Indiana.  That's 11 electoral votes from Obama to McCain

So its O 277-M 247.

Second.

I don't think that Obama's going to take Nevada.  

So its O 272-M 253.

Finally.

I think that Obama is going to lose Michigan.

So that's O 255-M 270.

Even if Obama takes Virginia (which is tied he still loses.)

Ohio and Michigan are going to decide the election.  And Pennsylvania and Indiana are going to be important as well.

This election is going to be won and lost in the Great Lakes States.

And I think that its very likely that Obama is going to lose these states, and that he's not going to pick up the difference in Virginia and Colorado.

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 Aug 7th, 2008 at 10:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you think Obama is going to lose Michigan?  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 10:18:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Couple of things that are going to work to Obama's disadvantage.

  1. The polling for the state has been tight, and it's going to be close no matter what.

  2. I don't think that Obama is "left" enough on the economy, and I think that his flip flopping on trade is going to really come to bite him in the ass here.  GM is spinning the drain, and I don't see Obama taking that seriously.  A quick check of Austin Goolsbee, and Jason Furman shows why he's got a piss poor economic message. He's being driven by free marketers.  

  3. Kwame Kilpatrick. There's a major political scandal going on right now involving the Democratic (and African-American) mayor of Detroit. Kilpatrick was thrown in jail today (and is likely be removed from office, and his mother narrowly survived a primary challenge last night.

As for Obama, the Republicans are going to nail Obama with this video of Obama endorsing Kilpatrick.  A Democratic candidate needs a large turnout from Detroit to win the state.  All this can have a serious impact on turnout in the city.  And might affect voters in rural parts of the state.

4) Ralph Nader.  Most polls of Michigan don't include Ralph Nader.  Nader is of Syrian descent, and something like 5% of the people in Michigan are of Middle Eastern  descent.  A poll in May showed Nader at 10% in the state.  The incident with the two young supporters who were wearing headcovering being asked to move to not appear in a picture with Obama didn't play well.

Any one of these, little alone all of them have the potential to make Michigan a hard state for Obama to win.

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 Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:25:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, somethings to think on.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:13:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polling:  again I say, pollsters base their polling screens on historic data.  If there is historic turn-out patterns in this election then the race is tight.  If this is a 'change' election then the polls are going to be seriously wrong.  I don't know which of those two IF statements are correct; nobody else does either.  We will find-out in November.  

One thing to note: Bush won in 04 by the Fundie turn-out.  They turned-out in record number for vote for Idiot.  If they had turned-out in 2000 numbers Kerry would have won by 9 million votes.  

Economy:  I agree.  Obama is nowhere near Left enough for my tastes.  But he is to the Left of McCain.  You know more about the internal politics of the UAW than I so you tell me if they would rather see McCain than Obama.  

Kilpatrick:  Do you honestly expect AA turn-out in Detroit to be down for the first AA to have a shot at the presidency?  That's just crazy.

Nader:  He should be included in the polls exactly because of his (latent?) potential impact on the Arab-American voting block.  


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

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:40:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see a path, although I think MfM's talk about Michigan is more wishful thinking than serious analysis.  (He could lose it, but to put it in perspective, I think it's only slightly more likely than Obama losing Wisconsin, which is highly unlikely.)  I think the election is going to move a bit in our way as the fall arrives.

McCain's path to victory is Bush's '04 path to victory.  I think the talk of McCain in Michigan and Pennsylvania is more a product of the McCain Mancrush of Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, and others from the Rust Belt who grew up with a little too much industrial waste in their water supplies.

Obama has a few paths.  Obviously a win in Florida or Ohio clinches.  If he wins one of those, there's nothing to talk about.  If we assume he gets Iowa and New Mexico, then he only needs one more state with 5 or more EVs.  Nevada would get him to a tie (thus a win since we control Congress).

A combination of two from Montana, the Dakotas and Alaska does it.  Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Colorado, and perhaps a few others would fit the one-shot win, along with Ohio and Florida.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:10:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see a path, although I think MfM's talk about Michigan is more wishful thinking than serious analysis.  (He could lose it, but to put it in perspective, I think it's only slightly more likely than Obama losing Wisconsin, which is highly unlikely.)  I think the election is going to move a bit in our way as the fall arrives.

Wishful thinking?

Whatever.  Frankly, I think that this is more than a bit of projection here. I don't see a single hyperlink in what you've posted here, and that lack is typical of your writing on this topic.

The information that we do have suggest that Michigan is closer than this year than in 2004.  

First, the polling this year shows a very close race. There are a large number of undecideds this year and it's going to matter who they split for.  Obama has broke 50% in the state but once, and even then narrowly.

Second, look back to 2004.  Kerry did much better in
in the state than Obama has this far, and even then the race narrowed considerably as November approached.  Obama also has to deal with he fallout from Kwame Kilpatrick's trip to prison (and likely removal from office, see above) and the unfavorability of Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic Governor of the state.

And then there's Ralph Nader and the Arab vote.  Obama's FISA vote arguably has a greater relevance to the lives of these voters than most others because they are likely to be the victims of it.



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 Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:40:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh.

Here's a hyperlink.  Happy?

Now let me explain what I think you miss: Stop looking at raw numbers, first of all, and start looking at ranges.  What happens with Obama in the state?  He bounces around from the mid- to high-40s (low-50s once), probably dependent upon how hard leaners are pushed combined with the natural back-and-forth of summer campaigning, while McCain has been essentially flat in the high-30s to low-40s the entire time.  Same as the national polls.

Then take into account the fact that McCain is the nominee of the incumbent party, and, while the effect won't be as noticeable as if he were an actual incumbent, consider that the incumbent party typically has a difficult time attracting undecided voters.

I quite agree that Michigan looks to be a little closer than in 2004.  Michigan is one of the states that's becoming more conservative over time (which is why I and others have focused our attention on the more relevant West for the long term).  I just don't agree that it's going to continue down that path as we approach November, at least not in the short term.  (Long-term, Michigan will probably wind up Republican, along with Pennsylvania, just as states like Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Georgia will wind up Democratic.  That's what realignments are all about.)

I'm not sure why Kwame Kilpatrick's idiocy has anything to do with Obama, beyond the fact that both are black.  And, as it is, McCain doesn't seem terribly interested in fighting too hard there.  (Nor does Obama.  What's that tell you?)  In fact, he seems to be more interested in, for example, Sturgis, SD.  McCain's certainly spending a handsome sum here in Virginia.

Now onto Nader and the Arab vote.  (Do Arabs vote for Arabs the way blacks vote for blacks?  Didn't work out so well for Nikki Tinker in Memphis tonight.)  I'm not sure what you're on.  Arabs vote overwhelmingly Democratic, because the Republicans have an apparent desire to, you know, kill them.  In fact, if you'll have a look at the behavior of polls when Nader and Barr are added, you'll note that they actually tend to hurt McCain, not Obama.

Again, not saying McCain can't win it.  Just saying it's not likely.  And what I mean by "wishful thinking" is that you seem to have a very Rust-Belt-centric view of politics and a certain anger over the fact that the center of gravity in American politics is steadily moving away from it to places like Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.  You also clearly have issues with Obama, to such an extent that you'll happily excuse the behavior of people like Clinton.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:23:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now let me explain what I think you miss: Stop looking at raw numbers, first of all, and start looking at ranges.  What happens with Obama in the state?  He bounces around from the mid- to high-40s (low-50s once), probably dependent upon how hard leaners are pushed combined with the natural back-and-forth of summer campaigning, while McCain has been essentially flat in the high-30s to low-40s the entire time.  Same as the national polls.

Then take into account the fact that McCain is the nominee of the incumbent party, and, while the effect won't be as noticeable as if he were an actual incumbent, consider that the incumbent party typically has a difficult time attracting undecided voters.

Yes, I'm familiar with this argument from my time working on campaigns.  It's a symptom of a horrible affliction called TB (True Believer's) most often manifested by the rationalization of any information indicating that your guy is headed into the shitter with a reason why it just ain't so.

I quite agree that Michigan looks to be a little closer than in 2004.  Michigan is one of the states that's becoming more conservative over time (which is why I and others have focused our attention on the more relevant West for the long term).  I just don't agree that it's going to continue down that path as we approach November, at least not in the short term.  (Long-term, Michigan will probably wind up Republican, along with Pennsylvania, just as states like Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Georgia will wind up Democratic.  That's what realignments are all about.)

I'm not sure why Kwame Kilpatrick's idiocy has anything to do with Obama, beyond the fact that both are black.  And, as it is, McCain doesn't seem terribly interested in fighting too hard there.  (Nor does Obama.  What's that tell you?)  In fact, he seems to be more interested in, for example, Sturgis, SD.  McCain's certainly spending a handsome sum here in Virginia.

First, just check out all the things the Kilpatrick is accused of.

Benefiting personally from his office, nepotism, assaulting a police officer.  And then of course the whole mystery with the dead stripper.  A real jewel.

And as for what Obama has in common with Kilpatrick?

Obama is going to have to explain his speech at the Economic Club of Detroit at which he spoke glowingly of Kilpatrick in May, after he had been charged by the DA (and made a death threat against her.)  Here's the tape of Obama praising Kilpatrick.

And, yes Drew.  Michigan matters.

The Wisconsin Advertising Project tracks how much presidential contenders spend in various states.

First, these are the states where both candidates are on the air.  Notice the amount of money that Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania compared to other states. These states are the ones that matter.  The campaigns know this.  

And it's the same story when you look at all campaign spending including independent expenditures.

Let's look at it in terms of dollars per electoral vote.

Dollars per electoral Vote

"Rust Belt"

Pennsylvania (21) $491,381
Ohio (20)         $319,950
Michigan (17)     $353,471  

"New Battlegrounds"

Virginia (13)     $386,769
Colorado (9)      $212,667
New Mexico (5)    $159,800

Virginia's the only state that can claim a place with spending in the "Rust Belt" states.  And that's most likely an artifact of how much tv time costs in DC as anything else.  And again, if we look at the number of ads aired in each market, it's the "rust belt" states that top the list.

You've bought into the media spiel about how the electoral map has changed, and how Obama can win without the "rust belt." But if we look at polls, spending data, and ad volume we see that is not the case.

Obama is outspending McCain almost 2 to 1 in Virginia and the best that he can muster up is a tie in the polls?  $5 million in Florida, and he's down still down  5%+ in the polls?

And the real attack from Republicans haven't even come yet.

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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:11:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I'm familiar with this argument from my time working on campaigns.  It's a symptom of a horrible affliction called TB (True Believer's) most often manifested by the rationalization of any information indicating that your guy is headed into the shitter with a reason why it just ain't so

Is that the TB that had you predicting a meteoric rise for Edwards in Nevada, while I predicted a crash?  Right.  My predictions are hardly perfect, especially contest-to-contest, but as I predicted in February of 2007 that Obama and McCain would win their respective nominations, saw Obama's win in Iowa coming, etc, I think most would tell you I can read polls just fine.

"TB" -- very cute, though.

Obama is going to have to explain his speech at the Economic Club of Detroit at which he spoke glowingly of Kilpatrick in May, after he had been charged by the DA (and made a death threat against her.)  Here's the tape of Obama praising Kilpatrick.

Meh.  You could be right, but I doubt it.  If Pastorgate didn't kill him off, I have trouble seeing Kwame Kilpatrick doing it.

Fair point about media buys, but these spending figures don't tell us a helluva a lot, first of all.  Note that McCain, sensing the primaries were about to end, went on the air in Pennsylvania and Michigan, presumably hoping to capitalize on supposed divisions with the Democratic Party.

Problem: It, of course, didn't work.  And you'll note that we've gone, in the averages, from a bare McCain lead to a decent Obama lead.  Deduct -- for the record, I'm looking at RCP -- that silly Detroit News poll, since newspaper polls are notoriously bad, and you've got Obama somewhere around 47-48% and McCain somewhere around 42-43%.  McCain hasn't had a lead there since, I believe, late-May.

The figures really tell you that it's incredibly expensive to advertise in the North.  No kidding.

I agree that Michigan matters.  You're right to point out that McCain winning Michigan or PA likely means a McCain win.  We'll see what happens.


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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:58:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
but as I predicted in February of 2007 that Obama and McCain would win their respective nominations, saw Obama's win in Iowa coming, etc, I think most would tell you I can read polls just fine.

Wow - there were polls back then predicting Obama and McCain?  The ones I recall had Clinton and Giulliani well in the lead.  Where are they now? :-)

In fairness, I think you read polls pretty well too!

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:07:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.

No, the polls weren't predicting Obama-McCain.  They were predicting, as you said, Giuliani-Clinton.  But no sane person believed Giuliani would be the Rep nominee.

I bet on a few things back then: I thought McCain would somehow find his way to the nomination, since it was his "turn".  Betting on the old candidate whose turn has arrived is usually a decent bet with the GOPers.

On the Dem side, I thought Clinton would run a top-down, ad-fueled campaign that would leave her penniless by Super Tuesday.  I figured the grassroots would go with Obama, since grassroots Dems tend to be less than overwhelmingly excited about the Clintons.  (I knew Edwards would appeal to them, or at least the ones who weren't around for John Edwards 1.0.  But Edwards never had much of a shot.  It was "Win Iowa and Hope You Somehow Catch Fire," and little more for him.)  As it turned out, she was penniless right after Iowa.  She held on longer than I thought she would back then.

Part of it was just being a contrarian in the betting with my father, who chose Clinton-Rudy.  But I thought it made sense that Obama and McCain would wind up the last two standing.

In fairness, I went back and forth as the caucuses approached.  I'm a little surprised the Huckster didn't catch on after Iowa, but he lost so badly with fiscal conservatives that he was never able to get over the top..

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:27:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drew J Jones:
I think the election is going to move a bit in our way as the fall arrives.

You are also open to the charge of wishful thinking in saying this - what evidence do we have to support this - beyond a general sense that the economy is still going south and this generally damages incumbants?

Obviously, if this trend does materialize, then its a no brainer - Obama by a landslide.  However the point of this diary is to note that it doesn't take much of a contrary trend to put McCain into real contention.  The real clear average lead in recent weeks has been 2-4% not 6 %.

Obama may have a lot of paths to victory, but if McCain focuses a lot on Michigan/Ohio and hangs in elsewhere he could still win.  Sometimes the more focuses approach is the more effective.  The key for McCain is not to be distracted by Obama plays in Alaska, Dakotas etc. and focus on his absolute must have states.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:26:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a real difference between McCain and Obama in terms of both money available and on the ground organisation. Obama is a lot more flexible in terms of which states he can move into and put McCain on the defence.

Let's not have this exaggerated anxiety, please. The Republican attacks on Obama have so far been ineffective. It's still Obama's election to lose.

I'd predict the same as Atrios has: Obama will stay in the high forties, while McCain will stay in the low forties, up until the debates. Unless Obama gets trounced in the debates, he wins.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 07:43:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
Let's not have this exaggerated anxiety, please. The Republican attacks on Obama have so far been ineffective

Moi?  I'm as cool as a cucumber about it all!

The point of this diary is that the risible McCain campaign to date is still in contention - how much worse can he be in the fall?  What does Obama have to do to create clear blue water between himself and the Republicans so that they lose confidence (and donors)?

How do we create not just an Obama win, but an Obama win backed by a large majority in congress and a clear mandate for radical change?

What we seem to be getting now is Clintonian triangulation with a bit more charm and rhetorical finesse.

Are we not allowed to hope for (and target) a little more than this?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:21:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is running below the generic 'Democratic' ticket (by my guess, mostly because McCain is much more popular than the generic Republican). So I see no reason to worry particularly much about those Congressional majorities either.

McCain has so far failed to find an effective line of attack on Obama. The next two weeks are likely to be quiet, though there could still be a 'swiftboat' like initiative.

Obama will not bring radical change on all topics because that is not what he believes in (or what most Democrats believe in, for that matter). There will most likely be big moves on Iraq and energy/climate change. On the rest, Obama will act in a slow, incremental manner.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 10:45:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So how is Obama going to be different from the Clintons?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 11:12:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Got the answer to the million dollar question:

By not losing the Congressional majority after 2 years.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 11:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shhhhh!  It's such a lovely dream we're all having.  Please don't wake us up.  ;)

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 11:47:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the big question.

Obama is Center-Right, from an EU perspective.  The political power in the US is Center-Right shading off to hard-right.  I'd expect him to govern Center-Right: Bush with a Kindlier Face.  

But I don't know.  Nobody knows.  

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

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My gut feel is he'll be as left as the situation allows - which may not be v. left from a European perspective but a radically new trajectory for the USA.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:28:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more dependent on Congress.  (As always, we overstate the role of presidents on domestic policy.  Congress writes the bills, not the president.)  If he has an ideological majority with 60+ seats (whether 60+ Dems or 50-something+ Dems with some scared Republicans), then I think he'll be fairly progressive.  If not, then probably not.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An even more important thing is holding the majority. Bill Clinton had not too shabby majorities when he began, but quickly lost them and then had to work with Republican majorities the rest of his Presidency.

There were more factors than Bill and Hillary's agenda playing into that, like long-term ideological shifts and (perceived) widespread corruption among the Congressional Democratic leadership. But you can't accomplish many large changes in 2 years.

I think it will play out better for Obama, if he wins.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton never really had an ideological majority, because conservatism was rising and many of the Dems were still Dixiecrats.  You're right.  I think Obama is a little more likely to get an ideological majority -- or, like I said, a solid minority mixed with some scared Republicans who'll cave on the big stuff.

If they can get over 60 seats, they'll hold Congress at least until 2012, I'd guess.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i think obama is simply less politically deranged than hillbill inc.

hill would have had to be extra macho to try and get some of the god'n'guns vote, her obliteration comment was the last straw for me.

hillbill are humiliated for all the world to see, confirmation bias for those men-haters that are appalled that even a black-ish man seems preferable to....egads! a woman as C in C....in wartime....

to them feminism is more burning an issue than racism.

obama may be repeating the centrist triangle game, but he's younger, fitter, and a whole lot smarter than the clintons put together, as well as having a huge singularity-appeal. he's millennial in that sense, especially symbolically, especially to the young, and those who want quicker, more radical change, than southern carny clinton machine politics.

shorter answer....barack is less obviously psychotic about power!

dos centesimos

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 04:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The RCP average is a little skewed by that USAToday/Gallup poll.  They used the LV outcome -- the one in which almost all of the "unlikely voters" were Obama supporters -- rather than the RV outcome.

Nanne pointed out Atrios's thinking, which is similar to mine.  This smells like the 1980 election to me.  The election "popped" after the second debate, with Reagan having successfully painted Carter as laughable ("There you go again").  And we've seen evidence of a "pop" here and there throughout the campaign for Obama, with nothing comparable for McCain -- after he clinched the nomination, after Berlin, etc, when the race expanded to double digits and then fell back to the typical 2- to 6-point Obama lead (depending on polling methodology).

What those little bubbles tell us, I think, is that the race can easily turn into a big lead for Obama, but that we're simply not far enough along yet for that to happen.  Attitudes haven't been cemented among that group that jumps to him during those rises, and the increase wears off over a few days as press scrutiny ramps up, returning us to a pretty stable 2- to 6-point lead with some statistical noise thrown in.

In other words, I think the evidence suggests the race will "pop" for Obama, not McCain.  The remaining undecideds beyond that "pop" group will likely split about 50/50, maybe even slightly more towards McCain when you account for the Incumbent Effect, Bradley Effect, etc.

(Note to ATinNM: This is what I meant about the Bradley Effect's lack of impact.  I don't believe it's as substantial as it was during Bradley's and Wilder's times, for one thing.  But, anyway, the Effect takes place among undecided voters, not people who've told the pollsters they've made up their minds.)

Certainly Obama has more paths to victory.  The best one, almost without question to me, is the "Kerry States, Plus Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado".  The I'd say "Kerry States, Plus Iowa, New Mexico and Virginia".

MfM might be right about Michigan.  It'd be silly to place it out of the realm of possibility.  I just don't see it happening in the end.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 12:32:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't argue with these numbers, and if the election were held today, Obama would win by a clear margin.  However it doesn't take much of a swing to put nearly all the swing states back into the GOP camp.  Polls are very bad at assessing differential turnout especially so far in advance of the actual election, but this could be the key for Obama - provided he can maintain the enthusiasm edge.

Perhaps you are right about the polls being manipulated to keep the race interesting, but you don't hear anyone complaining that they are different from the private polls being taken.  I still find it extraordinary that Obama isn't 10 point ahead given the performance of the two campaigns.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 08:56:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As someone said, last night on the TV, a 6% lead in national polling translates to a landslide win in November.  

Obama is opening offices in states that Democrats haven't tried to win in 20 years.  There is no reason Obama can't win South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Nevada.  Kerry damn near grabbed a couple of these states by doing Sweet Fanny Adams.  A serious GOTV operation in Los Vegas, for example, could win the state for Obama.  The same is true for the rest of the list.  The key is the big(ish) cities and towns where, in theory, Obama could do well.  Take those & he takes the state.

The GOP has depended on paid staff and lots & lots of fundie and Evangelical volunteers.  They don't have the money advantage they've had and McCain isn't going to get the Christian Right volunteers.  They haven't faced a all-out onslaught Obama is preparing to give them ever.  I mean never, ever.  So they are working with minimal resources against a candidate preparing maximum effort.  Not a good place for them.  (hee-hee-hee)

Polling isn't going to pick any of this up.  They are working, as they must, from historical voting patterns.  Obama may very well be 10% ahead at this point.  We just don't know.

 

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

by ATinNM on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 09:53:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what if McCain gives Huckabee the VP slot?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huckabee brings the possibility of increasing the Christian Right vote.  If I was McCain I'd be doing some heavy polling to see how it plays.

On the other hand, Huck doesn't help outside the states McCain is pretty likely to win anyway: the old Confederacy, Indiana, Kentucky, Arizona (Huck might hurt here,) Idaho, & etc.  Huck might not help or even damage McCain in Colorado, Florida, and Ohio; that's the sort of thing polling is good for.  In the hard-core Kerry States I don't see Huck hurting as McCain has zero chance of taking these.

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

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:06:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huck would at the very least not hurt McCain as badly as Romney in Ohio ... the line of Huckabee about looking like the guy you worked next to rather than the guy who laid you off has a bit of bite to it in the once-proud Buckeye economy.


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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:26:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that's an overstated factor in Ohio.  They voted for Bush and Reagan, despite the fact that the Reps were pretty open about wanting to fuck workers there.  McCain's tied to the loss of those 8,000 DHL jobs, and they're still thinking of voting for him.  They're not terribly bright up there.

Not that people are terribly bright down here in Jesusland, but at least the economy's been alright in the South.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:31:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... voter understands about the Replicants screwing the Ohio economy, and what the typical voter gets through the local media bubble.

But in the middle of a recession, its got the opportunity to resonate even in the exurbs of Columbus.

OTOH, my comment included a qualifier, and its a critical one. The Plain Dealer and Canadian-Bacon Journal might cover the story on their own, but few other papers will ... and coverage in Northeast Ohio is not going to swing many votes that were not already going Democratic. The main difference in votes in Northeast Ohio is in not having the Office of the Sec'y of State run as Republican Campaign Headquarters.

Its in the ORV and the exurbs of Columbus where there are votes that went for Bush that can be shifted in the middle of a recession, especially coming on the back of a recovery with no recovery in it.


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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 06:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Romney would probably do the most damage to him in Appalachia, where they really hate Mormons (even more than blacks).  Same thing in the South.  With Romney, sure, you might hold onto Montana.  Maybe you even get a slightly better shot at Michigan.  But you might also see your base collapse in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia, either moving to Bob Barr or simply not showing up, making Montana and Michigan irrelevant.

I dunno.  Tough call.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 06:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Appalachia spills over into Ohio ... the ORV, to be precise.

Heck, Mitt plus a recession unfolding in the last month of the campaign might help put Kentucky into play ... which was supposed to be impossible this cycle.


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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 06:56:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting Mitt would be madness, wouldn't it?

I mean, he's exactly the kind of guy who caused this recession.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't have the money advantage they've had and McCain isn't going to get the Christian Right volunteers.

i sure hope you're right on this, but i think they might hold their noses for the sake of the supreme court, which is a whisker away from theirs for a decade or more...

 

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 04:13:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... rather than a categorical on/off of support. Anytime a group has to "hold its nose" to support a candidate for political stratagery, that will depress turn-out ... and if the coalition was relying on them for volunteer support, depress the numbers of volunteers turning out.

As with Bush in 2000, where Hispanic voters supported Gore more than Bush ... but by smaller margins than recent Republican candidates.

Combine weaker support for McCain from the purportedly "Christian" right, and stronger support for Obama from Hispanics as the Know-Nothing strands in the Republican party become increasingly vocal, and that is a decided shift in Obama's favor.

So far the campaign on both sides has been mostly noise and fury signifying little ... the 24 hour news cycles amplifying the volume of the political ephemera of the day, but in reality most people during summer do not have a lot of time to give over to politics. That's why when you look at the 10 day moving average of the tracking polls, there has been almost no movement at all.

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 Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:17:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BruceMcF:
So far the campaign on both sides has been mostly noise and fury signifying little ... the 24 hour news cycles amplifying the volume of the political ephemera of the day, but in reality most people during summer do not have a lot of time to give over to politics. That's why when you look at the 10 day moving average of the tracking polls, there has been almost no movement at all.

There has been some movement, with Rasmussen's tracking poll giving McCain a 1 point lead today.  His polls have been consistently slightly more pro-McCain, but its nothing for the Dems to get cocky about.

Those events that have dominated the news cycle and achieved traction with a disinterested electorate should have been big positives for Obama - Berlin, McCain going negative, Paris Hilton's riposte etc.

I'm still not convinced Obama isn't following the Dukakis, Kerry script - when you consider all the other positives in his favour - Iraq, Economy, GOP corruption, big oil backing McCain - something isn't clicking into gear here.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:41:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A 1% change in a daily tracking poll smoothed across four days is perhaps a 0.4% change in a daily tracking poll smoothed across ten days ... and often is less change than that.

The trip overseas was not to move numbers immediately ... on current biases in the population, any time the focus is on foreign policy, it should rebound to the benefit of McCain.

And the numbers of people who watch something like the Paris video on the internet and are not already inclined to support Obama must be extremely small.

The test of whether Obama is following the Dukakis/Kerry script will be the convention. If there is a well-rehearsed, hard-hitting assault on the McCain that has appeared in the last month of negative campaigning, we'll know that Obama is operating on a different script.


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 Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 10:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anytime a group has to "hold its nose" to support a candidate for political stratagery, that will depress turn-out

any other group, maybe...

not fundies, sadly, they don't take their eyes off the prize.

the only hope is for the extreme left to get as 'devoted' to a progressive prize, with a similarly monomaniacal zeal, and with a similar focus on the supremes.

which is exactly what's happening, amongst the high-info voters, far out to the left of obama, fueled by the internet.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they're being deliberately manipulated, with the exception of that one Gallup poll of "likely voters".  ("Yes, Gallup, and if 90% of the electorate were young Democrats, McCain wouldn't win one county.  And if my aunt had testicles, she'd be my uncle.")

I think they might, in the case of the tracking polls, have missed the shift in party ID, or at least not picked up on how dramatic the shift has been.  So a 2-point lead in the tracker could be a six point lead overall.  Six points feels about right at the moment to me.

And, yes, as Chuck Todd said, a six-point margin would result in a pretty big win in the electoral college.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:15:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you catch the Cohen-Tinker primary result in Tennessee, by the way?

Cohen crushed her.  79% vs 19%.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 at 11:24:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah -- that was pretty funny.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
great to see that latent racism, sexism, anti-semitism and religious hypocrisies can still be treated with the contempt they deserves.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 09:19:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and very nice to see the "Blacks only vote for blacks when they're on the ballot!" meme killed there.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why isn't Obama pulling away?  It's still summer and "America" isn't paying attention yet.

Will Obama win?  Only IF the Repubs want him to.  If the Repubs want to pull this one out, they'll let ANOTHER 9/11 happen (like they did the first one), the American public will go hiding under their beds, and we'll have a McCain/Jeb Bush White House.

Can't get enough of those Bushes.  America NEEDS royalty.

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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 07:34:37 AM EST
nah they'll just do a Kennedy, and everyone will remember what a great guy Obama was and didn't he do a lot for America.  

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 07:39:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"... they'll just do a Kennedy ..."

Is that anything like the Twist or the Fruge?  How do your feet go?  Do you wave your arms?

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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 07:44:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no.  you kick the feet from under the other guy

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 08:07:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like you have some free time.  Try this one.

About 15 years ago a friend of mine was running his own used book store.  One day he gives be a book, hard cover, says that a guy came into his store, said he was the author of the book, had a garage full of them, wanted to know what Kelly (bookstore owner) thought.

The book was full of documented events like:

  1. RFK assassination.  Old Sirhan was flailing around with a 22 in front of RFK but the fatal shot was with a 45 behind the ear.  How was that missed in the investigation?

  2.  LBJ and the Viet Nam War.  LBJ went to Congress from Texas with about 20 grand in his pocket.  When he left office in the late 60's he was worth more than 40 million, a stunning increase for those times.  Many books document these facts but nobody knows how LBJ made his money.  Ready for this one?  According to this guy's book, LBJ's wife Lady Bird (Byrd?) had a ton of stock in Bell Helicopter that made the Viet Nam Hueys (those double propeller jobs).  So of course we needed a war in Viet Nam to make LBJ rich.  I wonder if any of the ET financial brains can track down the info on WHO ACTUALLY owned the stock in Bell Helicopter during the '60s.  Might prove interesting.


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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 08:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The truth is often stranger than fiction.  It doesn't have to obey any narrative rules.  The question is Cui Bono.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 08:54:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My Prediction.
Hillary is the VP pick.
Hillary will bring home Ohio and Florida.

Game Over My Friends:-)

By the way, don't take this to the bank.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 11:18:52 AM EST
It's possible, actually.  The addition of Bill Clinton speaking right before the veep at the convention might lead one to think that way.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or it could be Obama and Dean are stroking the DLC/Clinton faction of the party.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:49:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or that, yes.  I'm kind of expecting the unexpected on the veep pick.  Not someone from way out in left field, necessarily, but not one of the five or six names routinely talked about over the last few weeks (Sebelius, Kaine, Bayh, Biden, Reed, and maybe one more).  Which is why I keep leaning a bit towards Richardson, who's been awfully quiet lately.  I think the names that keep popping up are head-fakes.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, for the record, I think Hillary would fall under "Expect the Unexpected" without being way out in left field.

As you know, I'm not a fan of Hillary.  I'll suck it up, if that's what it takes to win.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 03:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton doesn't bring anything to the table and has huge - in the 50% range - hard negatives.

I would like to see Richardson as the Veep to help drive the Latino vote.  Two minorities on the ticket might not be a good idea, though.


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

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:48:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they could always go out and say, "Hey, between us we've got enough DNA for one white woman." ;)

Richardson's appeal to Latinos is incredibly tempting.  Making Latinos a solid Democratic constituency, not unlike Jews and blacks, would go a long way to cementing a Democratic majority for the future.

I don't see what Clinton brings, aside from appeasing the fifteen or sixteen "PUMAs" out there.  She get us maybe another two points in the polls, and we might well get those anyway.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:14:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was as a Presidential choice - however many of those who dislike her may still feel that she has "earned" the VP slot.  You'd have to do new polling on her now as a VP choice to see whether that would change he negatives.  I suspect it would quite significantly.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:22:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clinton is very popular with the old retired Jewish voters in South Florida, mostly from the north. Their numbers are large enough to bring home the state for Obama.

Remember, you heard it here first!

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:32:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And talk about CELEBRITY. With Barry, Bill and Hill, that's like having Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig with a young Joe Dimaggio to bat cleanup. McCain will be lucky to get a newspaper line here and there.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:41:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they're not.  We win those anyway.  They're all ultraliberals who always show up.  We could nominate a rock, and they'd still show up.

The key to Florida is the center of the state -- the I-4 Corridor from Tampon Bay to Mickey Mouse Land.  Mostly socially moderate, business-minded Republicans, but with pretty big, and growing, Latino and student populations.

Win that, and you win the state.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 02:42:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The word that I see is that Obama is a somewhat weak with older Floridians (that includes south Florida). If that's true, the polls are close enough that Hillary could turn it since she's very strong with seniors.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 03:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really.  He's doing fine there, and whatever he's missing can be picked up by some campaigning by Obama, Robert Wexler and others.  If he's somewhere between two points up and four points down from McCain, then trust me, he's doing just fine with the base.  Hillary might get him a bit, but not much, and she might actually turn off the swing voters he really needs.

Gotta win the I-4 Corridor to win Florida.

As an aside, Robert "Fire-Breathing Liberal" Wexler would actually be an interesting choice for veep.  He's got an annoying voice, but muchos passion.  I like the guy.  And he's been a real star for Obama whenever he's been needed.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 04:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To see what I'm speaking of see the latest PPP Fl. poll. McCain leads 47-44 but among over 65 he leads 56-33.
Link

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 06:57:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but that's not abnormal for Florida, and to some extent it simply reflects how Obama shifts demographics.  That 33% is going to be South Florida.  Now that the elderly group is primarily made up of people from the Silent Generation rather than the GIs, the elderly will be more conservative.  Note that we haven't won the elderly since 2000, back when the GIs were still the dominant group in that demographic.

So some of it's Obama, and some of it's a natural shift.

It's a similar pattern all over the country: Obama's winning blowouts -- better than 2-to-1 -- with 18-30 voters, and losing badly, but by a smaller margin, with the elderly.  The problem for McCain is that the Obama campaign seems to have figured out how to get the kids to show up.  And there are a lot more Millennials and late-Xers than there are Silent-Gen'ers.

The problem for Obama is that, while these are great trends in (say) Virginia or Nevada, they're not where you want to be in Florida, because Florida's, of course, the oldest state in the union.

Maybe Hillary improves on that.  Probably at least a bit.  But does she improve on it enough to overcome what I think she'd lose him on I-4?  That's an interesting question.

Undoubtedly they've been polling on it, so they'll know better than I will.

My interest in a Hillary veep slot relates to three states: Florida and Ohio, obviously, and then Arkansas (with potential bleeding into Missouri).  Can a Hillary veep pick flip Arkansas?

Also, can you go with Hillary without damaging Obama's brand in the West?  That's an important question, because the Clintons are not well-liked out there.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 11:48:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that Obama also wants to change US policy on Cuba it might be best to just write off Florida and focus resources elsewhere.  You have to make some hard choices in a tight campaign - otherwise you risk losing by narrow margins in a lot of states.  The VP choice is also about making a choice as to what states you really have to get and which ones you can afford to lose, if need be.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 01:51:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't completely write it off, but I wouldn't bet the house on it either.  As I've said many times, Florida is not the moderate state that people think it is.  It's quite conservative, once you get beyond the stereotypical images of beaches and nasty fruit-flavored mixed drinks.  Outside of the liberal cities, Florida is basically Mississippi without black people.

Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties will go for Obama by comfortable margins.  Leon, Jefferson and Gadsden counties will do the same.  Some areas around Jacksonville and Tampon Bay, too.  Alachua County (University of Florida) will go big for Obama.

But all that is more than balanced out by other areas of the state.  He could win it in a tight, one-point-ish race, but it's just as likely he loses it by four or five points.

Cubans are of less concern to me there, because there's nothing to really lose with them.  The exiles -- and, yes, I'm stereotyping here, but this is my experience -- are a pretty nasty group of people.  Very racist, very bigoted, very economically right-wing.  In other words, they're perfect Republicans on everything except their skin color.

No surprise: The Communists won in Cuba, so the fascists established Havana-North (The City Formerly Known As Miami).

Fortunately, there are many young Cubans now who aren't the nut jobs their parents are, and they seem more receptive to Obama.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
old retired Jewish voters in South Florida

America is a fantastically compartmented country, More like several countries really.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:57:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you are right!

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 03:02:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... now, the Obama campaign press to have it sometime in late October / early November.

By that time the second shoe will have dropped on the downturn in housing construction employment, and that'll almost certainly push the economy into a recession.

Pushing the price of gasoline down, which will refocus attention from the right here and now to the future on energy policy, where Obama has the edge, and raising to the top of the agenda employment and, given the dominant employer-based health coverage in the US, health care coverage.


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 Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:48:48 PM EST
So what's the consensus here?

That Obama is further ahead than the polls suggest, that he has a number of different routes to an electoral majority, that McCain's campaign is getting a little desperate, that clear blue water will appear in September/October when the economy tanks further and Obama's better organisation/funding makes it's presence felt?

Maybe.

However I won't want this one to be a toss-up come the TV debates.  People don't necessarily like the smart new kid on the block taking shots at lovable old grandpaw.  Expectations will be so high for a resounding Obama win in the debates he won't be able to fulfill them.

I'm not convinced the centre ground has yet shifted sufficiently for Obama.  They need to like him more.  A bit more self-depreciating humour, a bit more modesty and humility might go a long way.  People need to be able to identify with you.  It's not about winning the intellectual argument, its about winning hearts.

Obama has to show that he is a regular guy - one you would want to go out and have a drink with.  If he can make this transition, grandpa will be left to swing gently on the porch.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 08:08:26 PM EST
I think McCain may be the Republican's Al Gore - a watered down version of someone who isn't exactly at the peak of their popularity.

One of the stranger things of looking at the US from the outside is the extent to which the system seems to be demand White Machismo from candidates. It's not real assertiveness or executive ability - more the ability to offer up a comforting Hollywood colouring book version of tough take-no-crap patriotism. Hence all of the C-in-C crap - all it really seems to mean is someone who looks the part.

So. Carter gets trounced by Reagan - the cartoon cowboy - for not being macho enough.
Dukakis - not macho enough.
Nixon - macho enough to win, but not macho enough to survive.
Bush - more macho than Gore and Kerry.
Mondale - not only not macho, but practically a DFH.

With Obama vs McCain, the macho issue isn't so clear. McCain gets many, many macho points for surviving torture and Being A Hero. But that was then. Today he's a puffy old guy. He can strut and he can pimp his wife (macho!) but even the knuckle draggers have to see that he's past his prime.

Obama is smooth and ejumacated, which would normally make him the effete liberal. But when the Right tries to pin that on him, it doesn't quite stick. He's not macho in the usual sense. But he's not a limp wristed loser in the Kerry mould. If he tries to go hunting he's going to look ridiculous. But he won't, and the Iraq press photos suggested a certain militaristic mien which won't have gone unnoticed.

Also - Kennedy - not macho, but something else, which is hard to understand (if you're one of the knuckle draggers) but also hard to write off. Obama has been playing for the same slot, and he's been partially successful.

McCain could probably win if he lost some weight and spent more time in uniform at military bases. But he's going to continue to be that-guy-in-a-suit, so I don't think his chances are good.

Looking at it, you have to wonder if US elections aren't a continent-sized celebration of repressed homosexuality among the wingers.

One difference between the Dems and the Rs is that Dem men seem to do plain vanilla affairs with adult women. Rs do - all kinds of other things. And some of that seems to leak through (if that's the right metaphor) into their voting habits.    

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is smooth and ejumacated, which would normally make him the effete liberal. But when the Right tries to pin that on him, it doesn't quite stick. He's not macho in the usual sense. But he's not a limp wristed loser in the Kerry mould. If he tries to go hunting he's going to look ridiculous. But he won't, and the Iraq press photos suggested a certain militaristic mien which won't have gone unnoticed.

To put it as simply as I can, it's because he's black.  Black men are seen as tougher than white men in America -- an obnoxious, but convenient, byproduct of black men being portrayed as thugs by the media for so long.  And, as Obama is ejumacated and smooth, you get a kind of weird 50-Cent-Meets-James-Bond thing.  He gets the benefits of being black without suffering from the decades of bullshit.

Sure, McCain's got the POW thing, but stand Obama and McCain next to each other.  Who looks tougher?  Obama, of course.  He's young, athletic, etc.

Height matters, too, typically.  McCain is only 5'7" -- well below average for the population as a whole, and very short as presidents go.  Obama is 6'2" -- not unheard of as presidents go; roughly in line with Washington, Lincoln,  and a few others; and very tall as Americans go.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:27:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
_ weird 50-Cent-Meets-James-Bond thing._

   :) lol (:

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:54:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is 6'2" -- not unheard of as presidents go; roughly in line with Washington, Lincoln,  and a few others; and very tall as Americans go. <

That counts as very tall in America? Sure, it is very tall - for a woman.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 01:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Typical height for a male in America is between 5'9" and 5'10".

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just as an informal personal data gathering experience by a 6'2 person - I wouldn't call it very tall, but it is rare enough for me to encounter people clearly taller than me to find it mildly disconcerting. That's true in Europe as well.
by MarekNYC on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on where you are.  I think the Dutch are quite tall nowadays, if I remember an article from a while back correctly, and the Yurpians are generally becoming taller than us.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Obama's height the reason McCain accuses him of talking down to people?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 02:58:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama's also a much better speaker than Kerry, Mondale, Carter, etc.  And both he and Kennedy have/had a wittiness and an ability to deliver tight statements/speeches without getting too lost in nuance, although Kennedy was better at it than Obama (who occasionally pulls a Kerry-does-nuance and mumbles).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 01:30:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think it's too early to establish a realistic consensus.

From Pollster

If you follow the link you'll see the two outfits keeping the race this close are Gallup and Rasmussen, both GOP outfits.  See here for an analysis of how Gallup established their survey screen.

There are reports the McCain campaign has gotten their ground game going, finally, and are making persuasion calls.

Obama is taking a vacation.  Smart.  He's been on the go for over a year now and he needs to get recharged for the final push.  

We're in the summer doldrums.  The political obsessives are obsessing and the rest, i.e., most, of the population is more concerned with the Olympics and fitting their summer vacation in.

Obama has the lead, has flipped two Bush '04 states, and is establishing the biggest GOTV machine the Democrats have had in decades.  

McCain isn't out of it yet but he needs to start making a move before he gets trampled.  


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

by ATinNM on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 02:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Update some polls (courtesy of MyDD & Pollster) & note the trendlines:

Michigan:

Pennsylvania:

Nationally:

Note McCain has never been over 44% and Obama has never been under 44%.  Obama is hitting a 4.2% average lead over the summer.  

Now this one is the killer:

As it stands right now for McCain to take Ohio he has to get 66.67% of the Undecided (11.4%) to win.  And he can't win without Ohio.  

And it gets worse:

I'd love to see a recent poll (last one was in July) of Virginia.  If, a big if, this trend holds then McCain has lost this Bush state along with Iowa and New Mexico.

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

by ATinNM on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 09:12:31 PM EST
Well, to be fair, I don't think those trends really tell us much.  There just hasn't been a hell of a lot of polling done on those states yet, and because of the fact that numbers bounce around during summer, it's almost impossible to establish a trend.

I love the trends, of course, but just sayin'.

I think Obama clearly has a better shot in Virginia than past Dems.  He's gotten dangerously close (for McCain) to that 50% mark a few times, and it probably looks even a bit better when you only look at the reputable pollsters.

Some of that is a result of Obama -- especially in NoVa (where most Dems are), he's very popular -- and some is a result of Virginia simply becoming more liberal over time (even though Hillary never polled very well here and got blown out in the primary).

He's already hit 50% in Ohio and Michigan a few times.  He's consistently getting up to about 50% in Penn -- and, an aside, at a 9-point lead, his win would be pretty crushing on election day.  So the votes are there.  He just needs to solidify it, and that might simply require a little patience, as more voters start paying closer attention.

But this illustrates my point a tad that I see this as a western election if it's a close contest.  I think Colorado is more likely to decide it than Ohio.

If he wins all of these, it's a landslide, of course, and probably implies that he gets Colorado and Nevada (plus Iowa and New Mexico obviously) out West, probably Indiana in the Midwest, and perhaps North Carolina in the South.

Tight wins in Ohio and Virginia probably imply that he doesn't win Missouri and Florida, but, hey, ya can't have everything.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 11:42:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think these polls and trends tell us Obama is winning but hasn't yet won.  Or, more correct, McCain is losing but hasn't yet lost.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:20:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 12:29:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no doubt that on CURRENT trends Obama would win the popular vote, flip at least a couple of Bush States, and win the Presidency.  There is also no obvious reason why current trends should be reversed - baring a war with Iran or another 9/11 scale atrocity.

It also looks as if the GOP campaign is going to focus on Obama's alleged arrogance, elitism, and celebrity status together with thin veiled racist and bigoted attempts to paint him as a white hating, Muslim influenced, leftist extremist lacking in patriotism and xenophobic American chauvinism.  

That's a pretty thin charge sheet considering the flimsy nature of the evidence.  Some - those that would never vote for a Dem anyway - will buy into it.  The real question is will independents be swayed by it, or indeed will the negative nature of his campaign backfire of McCain.  It does look as if he is getting pretty desperate to find something which works at the moment.  4% may be a slim margin, but it has held up pretty consistently in the face of the worst that the Gopers can do.

If anything, McCain is more open to charges of arrogance and elitism and he fails to excite even large parts of his own natural WASP constituency - the Fundies, the business, the neo-cons and the anti-immigrationists.

Having so little positive to offer, maybe negative is the only place he can go.  It's hard to believe that this will not be beset by the law of diminishing returns, and those returns may even turn negative.

The key now is that Obama doesn't make a major mistake - at the conference, in his VP nomination, in the debates etc.  Otherwise the Election is his to win.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 03:17:37 PM EST
The only issue with that is that it runs the risk of putting Obama on defense consistently.  It's a problem Dems always get themselves into: They play to not lose, rather than play to win.  You've got to play to win.  Democrats generally want to fight on the issues, but that's not how elections are fought and won because of the fact that the other side wants to fight on distractions.

Like I said, I think Obama's got the right idea so far.  Make it about issues by tying it to the personal stuff.  The Yucca Mountain ad is a good example.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 03:36:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can make a mistake playing defense as easily as you can playing offense.  All I'm saying is that Obama has the fundamentals to win at the moment (my a smallish margin) whereas McCain hasn't, and its hard to see why that should change, and its seems as likely that the gap will widen further as that it might narrow.  By all means go on the offense - see what works for you in the polls.  Just don't take the big risks that McCain must now do to try and change the fundamentals.

Am I right in thinking that the Celeb ad has backfired spectacularly because of Hilton's response?  McCain can't afford too many more own goals or he will start slipping out of sight.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 04:09:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really, in re: Hilton.  McCain's still doing the celebrity ads.  But they may backfire, because he ran them during the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which is pretty tasteless (since the Olympics are supposed to be a time when people come together).  It's very tone deaf.

Honestly, I don't think the celeb ads damaged Obama anyway.  They had a brief shock value, but that was it, and the fact that McCain's running those while Obama runs local-issue ads on a state-by-state basis (Yucca Mountain in Nevada, DHL in Ohio, etc) might allow Obama to build on his lead below the radar.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 04:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Must have cost a lot of money to run them prime time.  Its hard to see how that sort of ad can build a campaign in the medium term.  Also its too early in the campaign to run them because Obama has loads of time to refute and refine by working hard on the ground and puting out substantive proposals on substantive issues - and then contrasting with the vacuous McCain capaign.

If that's the worst charge McCain can come up with - that Obama is a celebrity - then he must be close to the end of his ammunition.

It would be quite easy to paint McCain as a cranky old curmudgeon now.  Maybe steal a few scenes from grumpy old men...

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 04:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's painting himself as a grumpy old man.  Obama hasn't had to lift a finger.

Although, note that the tradmed wiped out all Paris Hilton's references to McCain being old when they ran her response on television.  The covering-up for McCain is just shameful at this point.  And the fact that John Edwards is getting blasted for his affair, while no one talks about what a piece of shit McCain was to his first wife before divorcing her and marrying the Crypt Keeper, says quite a lot on the IOKIYAR front.

Anyway, yeah, McCain's spending about $6m on his Olympics ads.  But they're nationwide ads, being seen in places like Chicago (where he's guaranteed to lose) and Utah (where he's guaranteed to win).

McCain has no real charges to level against Obama.  If he did, Hillary would've found them and used them during the primaries, since I assure you her oppo team was much better than his.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 04:51:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
seems there is quite a lot of swift boat material on McCain.  How many planes did he crash without any help from the Viet Cong?  Why did he not make Admiral - he came from the Naval ELITE after all?

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 04:58:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's plenty, but it'd be almost impossible to use all that Vietnam-related stuff, because his sluts in the press would immediately rush to protect him.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 05:07:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - but the right time to use it - by some Obama independent body - is a week before the election - or when there is a need to distract attention away from some difficulty Obama is having.

The fact that the GOP are firing these shots now is a sign of how desperate they are to try and stay in contention.  The attempted slur on Obama will be forgotten by November, and in the meantime McCain looses the respect of independents who don't like negative campaigning.

"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 10th, 2008 at 05:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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