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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Aug 8th, 2008 at 01:55:28 PM EST
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 9th, 2008 at 04:02:57 AM EST
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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
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