The Enigma of Georgia

October 23, 2008

Ambers on the Peach State:

A Republican who is tracking the data predicts that black voters will make up 35-36% of the electorate —  C + 5.

A claim backed up the early voting statistics so far, which break down the electorate as 60.7% white and 35.6% black.

Pollster currently shows Obama down 5.4% in the state, but all the polls that release demographic breakdowns place black turnout at around 26-27%.  Rejigger the results for 35% black turnout and Obama surges into a lead of anywhere from one to five points.


McCain / Roosevelt

October 22, 2008

McCain frequently cites Theodore Roosevelt as his hero, the trust-busting maverick with a distinguished military record and progressive tack.  Given the comparison, it’s worth drawing a rough analogy.

Roosevelt’s Oval Office successor William Taft swung back to conservative principles, creating a schism in the Republican party.  The two presidents’ competing philosophies each attracted a separate wing, not unlike the split between the hard-right and center-right brewing today.

Due to Taft and Roosevelt’s bitter political feud, the Republicans eventually split into two, as Roosevelt left to form the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party.  The election of 1912 featured a three-way race between incumbent Taft, Roosevelt, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson.  Wilson won resoundingly, capturing 435 electoral votes; even in a two-man race, historians argue he would have won because the Republican factions would not support each other.

The current Republican party splintering into two may be an extreme situation, but as First Read writes:

Win or lose in November, the GOP is going to go through an identity crisis. And especially if McCain loses, it’s going to be one ugly period in the history of the Republican Party.

Grasping for Straws

October 21, 2008

Ambers on McCain’s crumbling operation:

What this pretense of a strategy means, in essence, is that the campaign has no real electoral strategy — they are simply trying to cover as much ground as possible in the hope that one of these states breaks for McCain.

Blind hope, especially when matched against the Obama campaign, does not portend well.

Looking Back

October 21, 2008

Sam Stein delves inside the veep process:

And the decision may have been even more impulsive than initially thought. Gov. Sarah Palin, who had never been on the VP shortlist, was advanced at the last minute by Schmidt and Rick Davis, and was picked after a less-than-hour-long chat in with McCain at his ranch in Arizona.

Time to trot out the November 5th analysis two weeks early.

McCain aides have listed the intended benefits from a Palin pick: a young, energetic reformer who would excite the base and lend a historic nature to the ticket.  But, as the nation has discovered, all those potential selling points have been rendered worthless by the former mayor’s vacuity on policy matters.

If McCain wanted to push a maverick message while rallying the base, why not pick Bobby Jindal?  The 36-year-old governor has tried to stake out a reputation as a reformer in Louisiana with some success, holds extremely conservative views that would endear him to the base, and most importantly, has a presentable grasp of policy.  He has everything Palin has, only more.

We’re not saying Jindal would have made much of a difference to the final results; rather, to fulfill what McCain was looking for with the Palin pick, he would have been the better option.

Odd Demographics in NC Poll

October 21, 2008

SurveyUSA (supposedly one of the most reliable pollsters) released a North Carolina poll today showing the race in a dead heat, 47-47.  However, the demographic breakdown appears off by a significant margin, consequently skewing the results.

In 2004, blacks composed 26% of NC turnout.  That figure will only increase in this election, but SurveyUSA’s poll pegs black turnout at a comparatively paltry 20% of the electorate.  Adjust the demographic tilt to 2004 levels, a conservative estimate by all accounts, and Obama gains nearly five points.

We usually don’t highlight individual polls, but this one was particularly egregious.  For now, consider North Carolina likely Obama.

In Need of a Civics Lesson

October 21, 2008

Evidently, Palin didn’t learn from her panned debate answer:

Q: Brandon Garcia wants to know, “What does the Vice President do?”

PALIN: That’s something that Piper would ask me! … [T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.

In charge?

Historic Territory

October 21, 2008

The latest NYT/CBS polls uncovers this gem:

Mr. Obama’s favorability is the highest for a presidential candidate running for a first term in the last 28 years of Times/CBS polls. Mrs. Palin’s negative rating is the highest for a vice-presidential candidate as measured by The Times and CBS News. Even Dan Quayle, with whom Mrs. Palin is often compared because of her age and inexperience on the national scene, was not viewed as negatively in the 1988 campaign.

The main reason: Obama’s calm demeanor.