Thursday, September 18, 2008

Handicapping

David Seaton's News Links
If the economic crisis doesn't open up a significant lead for Barack Obama, then I think nothing will.

Perhaps if McCain became confused or wet himself during the debates... but short of that...

At this moment the polls are hardly moving and we still see masses of undecided voters. What are they so undecided about? McCain has been around for donkey's years, the Republicans have failed at everything they have turned their hands to since Bush stole the election in 2000.

Obviously they are undecided about Obama.

Is this racism?

In some cases, yes, of course, but for that to be a fair question,
to cry "racism" for sure, you would have to have an African-American candidate with the credentials of a Colin Powell sputtering in the polls, despite his party's huge generic advantage.

I always liked the Hillaryite appraisal that a woman with a CV as thin as Obama's would never be taken seriously, and I would venture to say that a white man with so little on his stick wouldn't be either.

In the specific case of Obama, I think race has been an essential part of his appeal, his package... what they call now his "story" and it has protected him from a lot of aggressive questioning.

Still, a decisive percentage of potential voters don't seem to feel they "know" him yet and suddenly all of this is getting deadly serious. There is a whiff of panic, a whiff of the Great Depression

So now, with the economy seemingly melting down, are the undecided going to choose the unknown?

They might, if Obama showed the quality that he claimed as his own at the beginning, that of bringing the people together, "uniting" them, above partisanship, to enthusiastically contribute, selflessly, to a common project. However, it is reasonable to say that if he were showing much of that quality these days, he would have broken 50% long ago, be leading by over ten points and he would be drawing the crowds and enthusiasm he drew in the early primary season. That obviously isn't happening.

If Obama doesn't go over 50%, with at least a seven point lead over McCain this weekend, I would say, no, the undecided won't choose the unknown. Most of the undecideds, in my opinion, are people who are not going to vote for Obama, but don't want the poll taker to think they are racists.
On Monday we'll know a lot more. DS

PS. For me, the joker in the deck is that pollsters don't call people with cellphones. That is the variable that could blindside all us wiseguys. There is an entire generation of potential voters that don't use landlines very much, and although they don't usually vote, they are said to be wild about Obama. But, if these people never get phoned, how do the pollsters know they like Obama so much?

2 comments:

Stephanie said...

The Obama campaign has been pushing the cell phone theory for awhile, but it's not clear whether or not they actually believe it. I don't know, myself. It's one of those things that we'll find out in November, I guess. (I don't recall offhand, however, any Obama primary wins with a lot of surprise votes that were attributed to cell phone voters.)

Historically, the electorate's response to bad economic news before an election is to dump the party in power. Maybe worries about Obama will trump that, but that's the pattern.

Anonymous said...

Fivethirtyeight.com list polls now using cell phones. Their numbers tend to be some 2.3-2.8 more favorable to Obama.