Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Geraghty -- Obi-wan speaks up

Geraghty the Indispensable has been speaking with his longtime mentor -- self-dubbed Obi-wan -- on the state of the presidential race. Here is what Obi-wan has to offer today: [Emphasis mine]

Last week told us what we need to know about the election.

First our celebrated and opulently-compensated experts showed they not only don’t get it, but they had missed probably the most important single event of the campaign.

The shocker polls last Wednesday came out indicating McCain had had a seven point rise over six days and essentially tied the race. (And had gone back into a slight lead in Florida and Ohio ) The
AP’s article about their poll putting Obama ahead by 1 percent was crediting what no one else saw, that McCain’s performance in the debate had actually been a game changer

The Uncommitteds saw McCain not only as better leader, but he moved up on key issues. So in the mano-a-mano comparison he was not only way ahead but he had set up his issues for the rest of the campaign — he had control of the foreign policy issue and then he took away his opponents main issue with “spread the wealth.” And he had a great visual — Joe the Plumber.

In the week following the debate, McCain had gotten the magical turn that campaigns sometimes get – great positioning on the issues, the candidate finding his voice, effective visuals with the “Joe the Plumber” ads and four polls showing his Florida tour pulled him out in front there. [Insert from Jim: Survey USA, Rasmussen, Mason-Dixon, Strategic Vision.]

This all seemed like a repeat of September when McCain had risen 9 points in six days and had started winning every key state and showed strength all over the country, even in the northeast (remember those
4 point polls in Jersey and six points in New York?) And the Republicans were leading among likely voters in the generic poll and going to pick up house seats.

The experts didn’t see any of that coming.

Just as they missed the debate’s impact.

Anyway, trajectories like the one McCain was on are almost impossible to stop. Obama had to do something or McCain was going to go into the weekend with a lead.

Having sat on his lead in the debate, he now seemed frozen. In normal times that should have sealed the deal.

But… this is the most unusual political environment since the Depression.

Because by Thursday, McCain had stalled and Obama got points back going into the weekend.
Obama didn’t do anything. The stock market did a lot.

Last week told us what this election is going to come down to.

First, Obama has not made the sale about himself, McCain has. McCain also has the edge on several key issues. The uncommitted vote is large and they want to vote for McCain.

But the fear and anger factor over economic disruption is powerful. It could rise to a 1974 level where voters just want to express their anger and take it out on the incumbent and his party. That’s the nightmare scenario, where you lose all sorts of good Republicans in the Senate and House.

But probably the least emotional pollster around told somebody I know about Obama’s lead returning late last week. This pollster said, “They aren’t voting for Obama. They are angry about what has happened to their 401(k) and are voting against Bush. They actually favor McCain.”

That’s the question what will happen on Election Day—which uncommitted voter will show up?

The frustrated one the polls have measured so far?

Or will they pivot? Come out of the fear and anger? Realize they are voting for their children’s future in a dangerous world and take the Election-Day decision as soberly and patriotically as they almost always have?

So this is the election of the Janus-faced uncommitted voter. Are the uncommitted going to vote their mood or their judgment?

SO ENOUGH ANALYSIS IS THE GREAT SEER OPTIMISTIC OR PESSIMISTIC? Normally you would be nothing but optimistic. But we have never seen a situation like this before. No one really understands it. It is just irresponsible for pollsters and networks to do their electoral maps without mentioning how McCain has already surprised them twice and that they are polling in an unprecedented atmosphere.

That’s why optimistic or pessimistic are the wrong words. They only apply to situations when you have some handle on most of the big variables. The biggest variable here we haven’t seen before.
That’s why key Obama people are nervous. People like Ed Rendell ought to feel good about Pennsylvania. He doesn’t. He knows it can slip away. And don’t forget Obama lost primaries where he had an eight point lead. [Insert from Jim:
New Hampshire.]

What is justified is hope. A stable week economically and a little bit of a finish by McCain and it is doable. Remember this isn’t 1974 or even 1976 in one important way. There’s a GOP candidate who probably had [a] blow-out debate. And that may be the single most important thing voters most remember on election day.

And once again there’s that thing Reagan used to say about the American people coming through when it counts.

He makes a lot of good points about this race, but the one that sticks out is his disdain for the pollsters. He's right. They're not paying close enough attention to how McCain can turn this race. He's done it before. Remember that last year as November and December were rolling around, the GOP had basically written off McCain. But over the holidays he surged back. (This, I believe, was due in no small part to so many of the New Media pundits taking the holidays off. We had been the ones hammering him the hardest, and when you let up in a fight, your opponent will get back up.)

There's another thing about the pollsters that many have recognized, but they don't mention. There is a significant difference in who these people poll. It's obvious that they're polling more Democrats than Republicans, and it wasn't until just recently that they started injecting independents into their polls. But there is another factor that has been overlooked, and it's one I noticed this weekend.

This race isn't just about McCain and Obama. Bob Barr and Ralph Nader are in this race too, and while they won't win, there is a nagging question in the back of my head. How many will Barr peel off from McCain, and how many will Nader take from Obama? (It should also be noted that pollsters aren't putting either candidate in any of their questions, and that has been done by pollsters for some time. The '96 election was the last time I can recall that they put ALL of the candidates int he polls. WE contend that they're doing this to downplay the so-called "Perot factor." Had it not been for Ross Perot, we wouldn't have had a President Clinton most likely.) If Barr and Nader can take enough votes away from both McCain and Obama then this election is up for grabs.

But he's right as to what will help McCain. As of this writing, the market is up, barely. If it continues to make modest gains this week, and McCain hammers home specific points of contention then he will pull this out. He needs to remind the people that if they're skittish about the economy the last person they want in the White House is Obama; the last people we want to see fiddling with the economy are Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

We only have two gripes about McCain in this election. First, he hasn't been as hard-hitting as he should have been, and he lacks the feistiness we're used to seeing from him. Second, he hasn't done a good job, except during the last debate, contrasting himself with Obama. There are significant differences between these two men, and John McCain needs to hammer that point home this week.

Publius II


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home