Is McCain within reach or is Obama cruising? The Democrat candidate himself says he "feel[s] like we got a righteous wind at our backs here." Analysts agree he's ahead; most see the race as close:
- Associated Press on Wednesday:
The presidential race tightened after the final debate, with John McCain gaining among whites and people earning less than $50,000, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch.Politico pronounced this poll the "most heartening for conservatives."
The poll, which found Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, supports what some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain's "Joe the plumber" analogy struck a chord.
- Investor's Business Daily started well on Wednesday:
Contrary to other polls, some of which show Obama ahead by double digits, the IBD/TIPP Poll shows a sudden tightening of Obama's lead to 3.7 from 6.0. McCain has picked up 3 points in the West and with independents, married women and those with some college. He's also gaining momentum in the suburbs, where he's gone from dead even a week ago to a 20-point lead. Obama padded gains in urban areas and with lower-class households, but he slipped 4 points with parents.However, IBD reported on Friday that after "two days of slippage that had pulled his lead down to 1.1 points, Obama reversed to a 3.5-point advantage headed into the weekend":
- Gallup: On Monday, I endorsed the reliability of Gallup's survey of traditional "likely" voters. Friday's edition of that poll plots a narrowing trend--but predicts a 5 point gap, 2 points more than last week. Further, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com disputes the disparity between results of the various sample sets.
- Intrade electronic market, Friday: The price of Obama bets reached an all-time high this week, nearly 87 cents. Currently, "Obama futures" are at 86 cents.
- Other polls: Assistant Village Idiot trusts mainly polls by "Rasmussen, Battleground [and] Pew." As of this weekend:
Rasmussen still reads a Dem victory, and adds, "Obama has now enjoyed a modest lead every day for nearly a month."
Battleground sees Obama up by 3.
Pew insanely records a 14 point spread (with 8 percent "no response").
In addition, the projection trendline on FiveThirtyEight.com is reverting to the mean, but too slowly--Obama's still way ahead:
For what it's worth, the poll from that conservative-biased FOX network says the liberal's up by nine.
- Wallet: What about Obama's leftist economics? They scare me--might they spook a blue-ish electorate? Unlikely: Obama's popularity arose largely because, not despite, his redistributive proposals--he's "offered the most rhetorically eloquent defense of collectivism since Franklin D. Roosevelt," according to National Review's Jonah Goldberg. As they say in software, that's a liberal feature, not a bug. Further, I reject the confidential wisdom that the richest Americans vote and donate Republican.
- Race: Ok, could the so-called "Bradley effect" push McCain past Obama on the final lap? Objection--assuming facts not in evidence. In brief, I think the assumption that Tom Bradley lost the 1982 California governor's contest because of racial prejudice hidden from pollsters is factually wrong, (as a few at the New Republic and CBS concede). Another term with the same meaning is "social desirability bias", which underscores that the condition requires both racism and a reluctance to admit racism.
I think the theory half fable, half post hoc ergo propter hoc excuse used by disappointed Dems and libs. But, even were there an effect on Tom Bradley's candidacy, I agree with ZombieTime that the "Bradley Effect seems to have gradually evaporated over the intervening decades since 1982." Indeed--at least in America--I doubt its appearance among younger (say under 50) or educated voters.
Despite the media frenzy, Obama's ahead independit of the merits, in part because he's "smooth"--and that impression won't vaporize in the voting booth. Indeed, Obama may be more popular than current polls. Alternatively, insulting the electorate as "racist" could backfire--unless directed at Republicans regardless of age.
In any event, Virginia elected a black governor in 1989, making a racially-based flip there highly improbable. That matters--because to be significant, the Bradley effect must turn a purple state red.
- States at issue: Which states are the color purple? Indiana now appears safely red. As predicted, Florida may be returning to its red-state roots, in the wake of all-out efforts by both Republicans and Dems. North Carolina also is trending Republican. Obama's still ahead in Ohio, contrary to race-based assumptions. In any case, November might be too late for a McCain surge.
Missouri still favors Obama, though my sources think it's a toss-up. Colorado and New Hampshire remain tough putts, and Nevada isn't yet running Red (as I predicted). Virginia looks hopeless.
Recognizing that, McCain's trying a Hail-Mary in Pennsylvania, leading some Dems to pronounce Pa. in play. I don't see it--the Bush campaign contested the state until almost the end in 2004, yet lost big. McCain won't best that result. It's sobering that McCain's also campaigning in New Hampshire, a former red state now deep blue.
Importantly, McCain has to carry virtually all the battleground states to win. That is unlikely, says electoral savant Michael Barone:
In state polls, Mr. Obama is currently getting 50% or more in the realclearpolitics.com averages in states with 286 electoral votes, including four carried by George W. Bush -- Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and Virginia. He leads, with less than 50%, in five more Bush '04 states with 78 electoral votes -- Florida, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio. It's certainly plausible, given the current state of opinion, that he would carry several if not all of them.Meaning no margin for error. And, given Obama's huge war chest--some obtained illegally--and ad spending, socialism fears and submerged racism would have to be impossibly powerful to reverse the opinion in all those states.
- Register first, exist later: Such a turnaround is especially difficult for Republicans given the widespread suspicion of vote registration fraud. I've already reported the evidence of phony registrations, many submitted by ACORN--one ex-ACORN worker received a three month prison term after registering 2000 made-up Seattle voters. Another former ACORN employee in Pennsylvania was arrested this week.
Deborah Hastings updates the tale:
The stories are almost comical: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, registered to vote on Nov. 4. The entire starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team, signed up to go the polls in Nevada.Abandoning their Republican-targeted ethics crusade, the media insist this year is no worse than previous contests. Even if true--and I doubt it--how does that support complacency? (Acorn defends itself.) My question: why are lefties bothering with bogus registrations in states like Washington and Connecticut--where Dems can't lose?
But no one in either presidential campaign is laughing. Not publicly, anyway.
Republicans, led by John McCain, are alleging widespread voter fraud. The Democrats and Barack Obama say the controversy is preposterous and is just political mudslinging.
In the middle is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, a grass-roots community group that has led liberal causes since it formed in 1970. This year, ACORN hired more than 13,000 part-time workers and sent them out in 21 states to sign up voters in minority and poor neighborhoods.
They submitted 1.3 million registration cards to local election officials.
The silver lining: the brother of the group's founder allegedly misappropriated nearly $1 million of ACORN's money a few years back. Don't chortle, given the black cloud: The Supreme Court reversed a Federal District Court order for pre-election voter roll review, because the law does not authorize injunctive relief against state officials for complaints brought by private entities--like the Ohio Republican party plaintiffs. Black trumps silver; the Court decision makes it "extremely unlikely that anything significant will come of [fraud investigations] before Election Day." As a final insult, taxpayers partially fund ACORN: at least $31 million over the past decade.
A less partisan press wouldn't let Barack distance himself from ACORN:
He served as general counsel for ACORN in Illinois, channeled millions to the organization from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (whose funds he distributed), and has lately spent $800,000 of his campaign money to subsidize the group's activities.But that's treated as an aside, below the fold at best. More important to lefties is the fact that a perception of fraud could hurt the campaign. So it's news when the Obama campaign joins the chorus urging FBI oversight: they want agents to investigate conservatives talking-up registration fraud atrocities.
That's a 36 electoral vote Obama win--20 votes more than the final margin in Bush's 2004 victory. If Obama were to carry Nevada, Missouri, Ohio and Florida, it would be a landslide. As Weekly Standard editor William Kristol says, "with 10 days to go before the election, it's getting pretty dark out there."
I don't doubt "things can change in a hurry." It did-- decisively--in 2004. It did--too little, too late--in 2000. And I still think Ohio could experience "Red shift" (physics pun). But that only transfers 20 votes, still producing a 16 electoral vote Obama triumph, meaning McCain as unpopular as Kerry.
The Democrats' consistent lead could be imagined. But with Obama's advantage in fundraising and spending compared with McCain's, losing would require a number of improbable events. Especially given the dangerously down economy, and a widespread dislike of (if not hatred toward) President Bush. Still, it's easier to envision an Obama loss than a McCain victory. If you know what I mean.
Steven Warshawsky at American Thinker posts "signs pointing to a McCain victory."
(via The Corner, Instapundit, Campaign Spot)