Balkinization  

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Reality is a Left-Wing Attack Ad

JB

One has to feel sorry for John McCain. He had a pre-packaged jingoistic presidential campaign he wanted to run and now he can't run it because the economy is dominating everything and the Republicans are getting most of the blame for the country's current economic condition. He had a series of focus-group tested Rove-style attacks on Obama that in an ordinary year would have scared the daylights out of the median voter, but sadly most voters currently think that a major economic meltdown is more worrisome than who Obama knows in Hyde Park. Over at the Corner Andy McCarthy is fit to be tied:
Memo to McCain Campaign: Someone is either a terrorist sympathizer or he isn't; someone is either disqualified as a terrorist sympathizer or he's qualified for public office. You helped portray Obama as a clearly qualified presidential candidate who would fight terrorists. If that's what the public thinks, good luck trying to win this thing.
How dare the public be more concerned about the current economic crisis than our allegations that Obama is a strange, nefarious, alien Other? How dare they yawn at the Karl Rove/Lee Atwater strategy that has successfully frightened the public over and over again and made Republicans the majority party? How dare they pay attention to actual conditions and real problems instead of the bright shiny objects we attempt to distract them with?

The world is not a fair place. It's just not a fair place.


Comments:

Remember Nixon's secret plan for Vietnam during the 1968 campaign that he would not disclose unless he was elected? Now we've got John McCane's [sick] secret plan for catching, killing Osama Bin Laden. McCane says he knows how to win wars. But he doesn't provide the details or the means. Osama's been on the loose for 7 long years. Now, after 7 years, McCane knows how to catch and kill him. Has he told the Bush Administration how to do this? No, what we got from McCane is yet more Tim Conway moments, but without the laughter Conway provided. Colby King at the WaPo this morning commenting on the debate compared it to a sitcom: Sanford and Son, with McCane in the Redd Foxx role and Obama in the son Demond role. But at least that sitcom provided laughter. McCane is turning into a joke, but we're not laughing.

[Full disclosure: I'm six years older than McCane and I resent the bad rap he is giving us geezers. Please, don't judge us by his reliance on experience that Rolling Stone recently laid out in spades. My geezer friends, when McCane says "my friends," he is at his insincerest.]
 

The fact that the slimy attacks don't seem to be working is to me one of the most genuinely encouraging things about U.S. democracy I've seen in a while.

I have no problem with folks who prefer McCain on the merits of his positions, but the best way to diminish the hateful bile in campaigns is to show that it just doesn't work.
 

For what it's worth, my impression is that Lee Atwater, following his coming down with cancer (and obviously before his death) actually expressed a bit of remorse for his corruption of the American political system. Needless to say, none of his acolytes, including the Rovians who have taken over the McCain campaign, have the slightest compunctions about following the path set down by Atwater, whatever his own second thoughts may have been.
 

McCarthy is obviously a partisan cheerleader pundit, not a political consultant.

The presidential candidate's job is to look positive and presidential.

It is the job of the VP and the campaign surrogates to get down in the trenches and attack the other candidate.

If the 33-50% collapse of Obama's lead over the past two days is any indication, Palin has been doing her job superbly. Go take a gander over at RealClearPolitics.com.

Apparently, palling around with terrorists, whack job black theology preachers and PLO members is not a good character reference.
 

Um, Bart, as you know or should know, after the first couple of days of Palin's shameful sliming, Obama ticked UP in all the major polls. RCP got a slightly lower overall number today because it decided to include an outlier new and unreliable Zogby poll (see www.fivethirtyeight.com for the explanation).

And even using RCP's slightly lower number today, it's still where things were a week ago. Meanwhile, state polling has been ridiculously good for Obama.

But seriously, keep talking about Ayers while the market tanks.
 

Actually, what makes me the most sorry for McCain is that I imagine he did greatly regret going negative early and often, and now regrets even more that it bought him almost nothing.

It's like coming to grips with the reality that all the torture you did not only was cruel and inhuman and made you no better than the vilest scum of the earth, but also it got you little or no reliable information. That's gotta hurt. Even your rationalizations fail. You're left with nothing.
 

The fact that the slimy attacks don't seem to be working

Don't speak too soon. It takes a while for changes to register in 3-day tracking polls, and I think we're starting to see a slight narrowing.

Apparently, palling around with terrorists

If it were not already a familiar fact that Bart is not to be taken seriously, that line would remove all doubt. The stupidest political tactic of 2008, and Bart can't wait to embrace it.
 

If the 33-50% collapse of Obama's lead over the past two days is any indication, Palin has been doing her job superbly. Go take a gander over at RealClearPolitics.com.

Okay, so I went over and looked at realclearpolitics.com.

Obama's RCP poll advantage at 10/6:+6.2 points

Obama's RCP poll advantage at 10/8:+4.7 points

Even if we were to take a two day stretch as indicative of Sarah Palin's amazing effect on the campaign, it would still be slightly less than 25% of the lead that had been eroded, not 33-50%.

Given that Obama's lead has slipped before, but McCain has led in this poll average for only 30 days out of this year (and only ten since April), I wonder how excited we should be about projections made from a n=2 sample size...
 

jslater:

The RCP average Obama lead has fallen by two points in two days.

I noted yesterday that there might be a Sarah Six Pack effect where Governor Palin's debate performance and subsequent barnstorming of the swing states to enormous raucus crowds were being reflected in the Dem leaning polls showing that the Obama lead had collapsed into a statistical tie.

The Obama lead in Rasmussen and Battleground fell by two points this morning after sharp rises over the weekend. Mathematically, that means that both of these tracking polls have recorded a sharp shift to McCain on Monday and/or Tuesday probably in line with the Dem leaning polling.

Hotline has dropped this morning to a one point Obama lead.

Gallup registered voter tracking poll is the outlier with a 9 point Obama lead, but will not report its latest findings until this afternoon. I would also observe that Gallup is the only tracking poll which has not shifted to its likely voter formula yet.
 

pms:

Your observation that Obama has seen his lead disappear before is apt. Obama once again has failed to make the sale.

Folks justifiably are worried about the financial markets mess, but Obama has not convinced them that he is either competent to address the problem or offering a genuine solution. There is no other explanation for his inability to make the sale in the worse environment for the GOP since 1976.

Even if we were to take a two day stretch as indicative of Sarah Palin's amazing effect on the campaign, it would still be slightly less than 25% of the lead that had been eroded, not 33-50%.

I am referring to the new Dem leaning polling to which I linked in my last post.
 

Bart:

OH NOES! A slight, 2-point swing in one day! After that same poll had been creeping up for Obama steadily. And only after RCP decides to include an outlier Zogby tracker.

Interesting that you weren't here yesterday, after a couple of days of sliming, when polls (Gallup, Ras) were making slight upticks for Obama.

I understand your desire to take even one day's fluctuations as A Big Sign -- after all, your side has had pretty much no good news out of any polls lately. But again, pending Gallup, Obama is, today, pretty much exactly where he was last Wednesday. And last Wednesday he was significantly ahead.

Also, since all the polls last night indicate Obama won the debate, and that wasn't included in today's polling, you might wonder in which direction the polls might tick next.

But if it makes you happy, I'll agree with Anderson. Is it *possible* that this slimy, hateful, negative campaigning might work with some? You bet. But I would also bet it won't be nearly enough.

Stay classy, though!
 

Apparently, palling around with terrorists, whack job black theology preachers and PLO members is not a good character reference.

Oh, I don't know, Bart, having a whackjob like you posting on this site hasn't hurt Jack Balkin's reputation any.

As for RCP, what a shock that a conservative-leaning site like that would be finding Palin to be successful. And what a shock that's the only site Bart would choose to rely on. Cherries, anyone?
 

Shorter Bart reports, from the crows' nest on the Titanic:
Look! We are in a patch of clear water! Reports of icebergs are exaggerated! Yes, that's an iceberg, but smaller than you say! There's fog ahead, but there's no evidence of icebergs in it! The White Star Line is always safe! Uh uh...
 

P.S. Bart, since you care about polling, a couple of other things to ponder:

(1) New Ipsos/McClatchy poll Obama Opens 7-Point Lead in Presidential Race – Obama 47%, McCain 40%e
http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=4113

(2) Of course we know that elections aren't won in national polls, but rather in states. In that regard, see below, from yesterday's ARH national poll:

"Obama is far more efficient in the Electoral College than McCain. Approximately 68% of Obama's national ballot share of 49% comes from states where Obama leads. Approximately 44% of McCain's national ballot share of 45% comes from states where McCain leads. Less than one-third of Obama's votes are wasted in the Electoral College while over one-half of McCain's votes are wasted. McCain would be better off focusing on Florida and Minnesota instead of Iowa and New Mexico because increasing his ballot share in states he is likely to lose does not help him at all in the Electoral College.

Because of McCain's electoral inefficiency, even if McCain were to proportionately increase his national ballot share to 49% for a tie, Obama would still lead with 316 electoral votes. Obama is running a race in the Electoral College while McCain is running a national race."
 

jslater:

Zogby is not an outlier. It shows the second lowest Obama lead of the tracking polls and is within 2 points of four other polls - Hotline, Democracy Corps, CBS and Battleground.

In the tracking polls using likely voter formulas, the average Obama lead is now a fraction over 3 points. Zogby is reading it at 2 points.
 

JB writes:
"Reality is a Left-Wing Attack Ad"

One has to feel sorry for John McCain.


I don't think its as much reality's left bias as it is McCain's own style (or lack of it). At least he didn't visibly perspire.
 

I'm glad that Shag from Brookline (in the first comment to this post) mentioned that when McCain says "my friends," he is at his insincerest. No one in the media or blogs seems to have noticed his repeated use of the phrase; I counted his using it at least six in last night's debate, but I think that he used it more than that. I suppose that that's why reporters think that he's so good at "town hall" meetings.
 

It's quite funny to hear Bart claim that McCain's alleged gain in the polls (which could well be statistical noise) is due to Palin. Whatever the cause of any such "gain", the one thing we KNOW is that it isn't Palin. The polls show that voters think Palin is unqualified to be President by a quite significant margin. For Bart's thesis to be true, voters who think Palin is unqualified must nonetheless be switching from Obama to McCain to vote for her.

Sorry, Bart, if there is a McCain gain, it's probably because either (1) the Ayers attacks are working or (2) he's starting to address voters' economic anxieties.

(By the way, on that latter point, his mortgage plan in last night's debate is a good idea, both politically and on the merits.)
 

dilan said...

It's quite funny to hear Bart claim that McCain's alleged gain in the polls (which could well be statistical noise) is due to Palin. Whatever the cause of any such "gain", the one thing we KNOW is that it isn't Palin. The polls show that voters think Palin is unqualified to be President by a quite significant margin. For Bart's thesis to be true, voters who think Palin is unqualified must nonetheless be switching from Obama to McCain to vote for her.

Sorry, Bart, if there is a McCain gain, it's probably because either (1) the Ayers attacks are working or (2) he's starting to address voters' economic anxieties. (By the way, on that latter point, his mortgage plan in last night's debate is a good idea, both politically and on the merits.)


1) Who do you think is leading the McCain campaign's effort on Ayers & Co. if not Palin? Who else is the press quoting concerning Ayers & Co. if not Palin?

2) It is possible that some of McCain's gains are due to the voters thinking hard about who they want in the Oval Office during an economic crisis and just happens to coincide with Palin's debate and campaigning. However, the only new thing McCain has offered on this issue was the mortgage buydown last night - after the polling to which I cited.
 

I'm surprised at the comments on polling numbers, as if there were some doubt, or change, or it were up in the air somehow. My friends, that's just wishful thinking, or spin from those on the unhappy side. There is no question, and there has been no question for some time now, about the numbers. There has been no change outside the MoE in days. There's little to discuss here. Unless something changes radically soon, there will be nothing to discuss.

Perhaps a little perspective will help: it's not the numbers, it's what they're measuring. The consistency of the numbers and the trend aren't numbers that resemble other numbers, they're not just pretty graphs, they're not fodder for numerologists -- they're measuring voter preferences. A month away from the election, following months and years of campaigning, preferences have emerged; what the numbers are measuring is those preferences are becoming stable and clear. Voters have come to decisions about how they'll vote. "The numbers" merely reflect that -- or they're worthless.

Voters prefer one ticket over the other. The numbers just tell you that the preference has become clear and stable. Pretending otherwise is silly. When you catch yourself arguing passionately over differences that are within the margin of error, take a deep breath, sit back, relax, and understand that what the wave height numbers are measuring isn't the froth on top of the wave, it's the wave.

The McCain campaign is well aware of this. There's no reason for anyone else to be confused.

Looking behind the numbers, yes, reality has been a difficult problem for the McCain campaign. The economic meltdown has gotten voters' attention. Something about losing their jobs, health care, savings, retirement, house, and future is very attention-grabbing. Shiny objects that used to sway preferences don't even get attention right now.

The value of shiny objects has gone down, and the McCain campaign has been left holding a bag full of them.
 

1) Who do you think is leading the McCain campaign's effort on Ayers & Co. if not Palin? Who else is the press quoting concerning Ayers & Co. if not Palin?

Faux News has done everything but set up an Ayers Division.
 

1) Who do you think is leading the McCain campaign's effort on Ayers & Co. if not Palin? Who else is the press quoting concerning Ayers & Co. if not Palin?

Palin is one of a thousand surrogates saying it, Bart. It was all they were talking about on Fox News after the debate yesterday, even though it was never mentioned therein. If the attack is working, it's because the attack is working, not because Palin has any special skill in delivering it.

2) It is possible that some of McCain's gains are due to the voters thinking hard about who they want in the Oval Office during an economic crisis and just happens to coincide with Palin's debate and campaigning. However, the only new thing McCain has offered on this issue was the mortgage buydown last night - after the polling to which I cited.

What campaign have you been watching. McCain has been trying a million things to get out in front on the economy. Remember his suspension of his campaign to go back to Washington and work on the bailout?

Look, I don't know for sure whether there is a bump, and I don't know whether if there is a bump it is due to Ayers or the economic stuff, but you are selling your own candidate short in claiming that he isn't trying to address the economic anxieties of the voters. Whether or not what he is doing is working, he is certainly doing something on that issue.
 

Bart:
However, the only new thing McCain has offered on this issue was the mortgage buydown last night - after the polling to which I cited.


Which itself is a pretty strange plan for a conservative to advocate.
 

@pms_chicago: Please recall most of us go into law because we're math phobic, so please, cease and desist with all this +/- and n=2 sample size stuff. We just don't get it.
B^)
 

By the way, on that latter point, his mortgage plan in last night's debate is a good idea, both politically and on the merits.

It turns out the Devil is in the details. See here.
 

dilan said...

BD: 2) It is possible that some of McCain's gains are due to the voters thinking hard about who they want in the Oval Office during an economic crisis and just happens to coincide with Palin's debate and campaigning. However, the only new thing McCain has offered on this issue was the mortgage buydown last night - after the polling to which I cited.

What campaign have you been watching. McCain has been trying a million things to get out in front on the economy. Remember his suspension of his campaign to go back to Washington and work on the bailout?


That "campaign suspension" hail mary was intercepted and returned for an Obama TD. Obama took his two week lead when McCain tried and succeeded in tying himself to the widely hated rescue plan.

Thus I am uncertain what new McCain plan over the last two weeks on the economy would explain the movement of the polls after Palin's debate and campaigning.
 

Bart, Palin's debate was decisively won by Biden, according to the polls.

You can't claim on the one hand that a 2 point "gain" in some polls is due to Palin while ignoring all the polls that show that Americans (1) think she lost the debate, and (2) think she's unready to be President.

If there's a gain, there's something else going on. It ain't Palin.
 

eric said...

Bart: However, the only new thing McCain has offered on this issue was the mortgage buydown last night - after the polling to which I cited.

Which itself is a pretty strange plan for a conservative to advocate.


No kidding. I went ballistic over at my blog last night after the debate. However, it appears that McCain was referring to how the government should negotiate with the homeowners after buying their mortgages from the banks and not about yet another hit on the tax payers .
 

Bart:

Today's Gallup: Obama 52, McCain 41. Obama's biggest lead ever.

Like you, I don't know whether it's McCain's incompetency on economics, the negative ads, or Palin's behavior that pushed Obama up to this lead, but I'll take it.
 

dilan said...

Bart, Palin's debate was decisively won by Biden, according to the polls.

Not according to the polling that counts - McCain v. Obama among likely voters. It does not matter who "won" a debate on points. Rather, the only thing that matters is whether the debate performance moved the voters who will cast ballots in November to support one candidate or another.

I understand that you do not like Palin. However, GOP and GOP leaners love the governor and she drives the Dems crazy. As I posted yesterday on an earlier thread, talk radio and television on both sides of the divide were filled with discussions concerning Palin and her campaign questioning Obama's character. As a result, the Obama team is constantly responding to Palin's charges, which tells you that they are seeing what I am seeing.
 

jslater:

You wanted a good example of an outlier. I give you the Gallup polling of registered voters. It is now double the nearest likely voter tracking poll and quadruple the average of likely voter polls.

I wonder when Gallup's next likely voter polling is due?
 

I understand that you do not like Palin. However, GOP and GOP leaners love the governor and she drives the Dems crazy.

No doubt that stalwart conservatives love Palin. The problem is you can't win an election based on stalwart conservatives. You have to move to the center.

As for "leaners", however, that group probably includes a lot of the people who are worried about Palin's readiness to be President.

Look, Bart, driving the Democrats crazy is not a sound electoral strategy. Nobody drove the Democrats crazy better than Newt Gingrich, and yet his major initiatives against Bill Clinton (the government shutdown, impeachment) were failures and the Dems picked up seats each time.

Sarah Palin was a big mistake. First, because she is totally unprepared for the job. But second, because the conservatives were going to hold their noses and vote for McCain anyway. Joe Lieberman-- who, by the way, also drives Democrats crazy-- would have been a smarter choice.
 

Bart: "...It does not matter who "won" a debate on points. Rather, the only thing that matters is whether the debate performance moved the voters."

Doesn't it strike you as profoundly pathological that there should be a disconnect between the two? The existence of that disconnect is precisely why we now have these pseudo-debates. (We've both decried the absence of substance in the prevailing formats.)
 

Rather, the only thing that matters is whether the debate performance moved the voters who will cast ballots in November to support one candidate or another.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 1:55 PM


Do you plan on explaining how Palin moved voters to the GOP by losing the debate?
 

Bart:

We all know that Palin fires up certain parts of the Republican base -- those parts of the conservative movement that aren't publically calling her an embarrassment. Problem for your side is that she fires up the Dem base and repels moderates and independents, especially women.

As for what Obama is doing, it's not so much "responding to her charges" as it is "campaigning in Indiana" which is now very much in reach for the Obama campaign. Which isn't a good sign for McCain. Especially since recent polls have Obama leading in all the Kerry states, Colorado, NH, NM, OH, FLA, NV and tied in NC.
(see www.electoral-vote.com).
 

Today's Gallup: Obama 52, McCain 41. Obama's biggest lead ever.

Again: don't get too excited about that either. Those numbers are well within the trend. It would be equally unexciting if it had been the other way, say 50 42.

This is all within the trend. Most of it is even within the margin of error. A point or two over two over a day or two means nothing. What matters is the trend: is there one, is it clear, which way does it point.

In this case the trend is clear, stable and consistent across pollsters for days. All legitimate pollsters track it, no one at either campaign is the slightest bit unclear on it, and there's no reason anyone else should be. Voter preference has moved decisively in one particular direction, the gap that has opened is well outside the margin of error, and over time the gap is not closing. Blips up and down don't change this and are not interesting or even meaningful.

What that tells us: this is no longer a horse race. It is no longer competitive. It is no longer the case that either candidate could win. Unless something dramatic happens, one of the candidates is clearly unlikely to win.
 

Bart:
However, it appears that McCain was referring to how the government should negotiate with the homeowners after buying their mortgages from the banks and not about yet another hit on the tax payers .


So what we have here is a case of "what McCain really means." Funny that you mocked Obama supporters for doing the same thing six months ago.
 

Dilan:

I agree that driving the opposition crazy is not a campaign strategy. My point here is that the Dems and the GOP are talking about Palin and what she is saying rather than Obama and what he is saying. Pain is sucking a lot of the oxygen out of the media coverage room.

McCain is a known quantity and Obama's punches at him as a Bush clone are not landing. Thus, the election is a referendum on whether Obama is a safe alternative to assume the presidency.

The fact that Obama cannot hold a lead unless there is bad news outside of his control suggests that he has not made the competence and character sale to the voters. Obama needs the media reporting on what he is saying and not the Palin attacks on his competence and character. The more the Dems are talking about Palin, they less they are selling Obama.
 

Bart:

Cherrypick away, but let's look at the last week of polling, and changes therein.

Today 10/8 vs (lasts Weds 10/1)

Rassmussen:
O-51 (51)
M-45 (45)
No Change

Battleground:
O-49 (48)
M-45 (46)
Obama +1, McCain -1

Diageo:
O-45 (47)
M-44 (42)
Obama -2, McCain +2

R2000:
O-51 (51)
M-41 (41)
No Change

Gallup:
O 52 (48)
M 41 (44)
O+4, M -3

Average Change:
Obama +0.6
McCain -0.4

Net change Obama +1

And McCain only looks that good because of the Diaego, which has the smallest sample size.

So, on the whole, Obama is in at least as good a position as he was in a week ago at this time. Which was a much better position than McCain.
 

JPK:

I agree with all that you say. I don't think Obama will win by 11 points. But I'm increasingly confident he will win, and Bart's desperate clinging to a point or two move here or there in one day's polling doesn't alter that confidence.
 

robert link said...

Bart: "...It does not matter who "won" a debate on points. Rather, the only thing that matters is whether the debate performance moved the voters."

Doesn't it strike you as profoundly pathological that there should be a disconnect between the two?


Not at all. My decision is based upon what the candidate will do rather than how well he or she communicates that fact. So long as the candidate gets that information to the voters during a debate, he or she can "lose" the debate on style points (as McCain did last night to a much stylistically improved Obama) and still manage to sway voters with his or her positions.
 

["Bart"]: 1) Who do you think is leading the McCain campaign's effort on Ayers & Co. if not Palin? Who else is the press quoting concerning Ayers & Co. if not Palin?

[bartbuster]: Faux News has done everything but set up an Ayers Division.


See this.

Cheers,
 

Not at all. My decision is based upon what the candidate will do rather than how well he or she communicates that fact. So long as the candidate gets that information to the voters during a debate, he or she can "lose" the debate on style points (as McCain did last night to a much stylistically improved Obama) and still manage to sway voters with his or her positions.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 2:33 PM


Where did you get the idea that the people who thought Obama won were judging on style points instead of substance?
 

jslater:

Two points:

1) You are cherry picking polls. I am basing my analysis on likely voter tracking polls.

2) The comparison between last Wednesday and this Wednesday is misleading. Obama's lead continued to grow significantly and then Palin's debate and campaigning occurred after last Wednesday. The proper starting point to measure my Sarah Six Pack Effect was starting over the weekend. The effect was first picked up by the Dem leaning polls over the weekend and then by the other likely voter tracking polls over the past couple weekdays.
 

"Bart" DeArmament:

No kidding. I went ballistic over at my blog last night after the debate....

I love watching conservative heads explode. :-)

... However, it appears that McCain was referring to how the government should negotiate with the homeowners after buying their mortgages from the banks and not about yet another hit on the tax payers.

That assumes they do buy up the mortgages. Which would be a hit on the tax payers.

And if they do, how are they going to negotiate? Raise the mortgage? That's work, yessirree....

No wonder your head's exploding, "Bart"....

Cheers,
 

Bart: "Not at all."

That would seem at odds with your complaints at Citizen Pamphleteer about the quality (or lack thereof) in "these canned debates". Chalk it up to basic incommensurability and we can go back to ignoring each other.

Nice try, by the way, switching "winning on points" to "winning on style points". We all agree we'd rather look at Sarah in a two-piece than look Joe, doggone it.

Peace,

rl
 

One week of trend good,
four weeks better
.

What we see: the gap opened, it did not close or even substantially diminish at any point over that period, it has instead grown wider, it has been well outside the margin of error for weeks.

I agree...I don't think Obama will win by 11 points. But I'm increasingly confident he will win

Actually the 11 point margin in the popular vote will likely be swamped by a much larger margin in the electoral. That's another trend, well understood by insiders.

An illustrative example:
the largest popular vote spread in modern times
was still only 20 points, but the corresponding electoral vote spread was 486 to 52. The widespread public perception: landslide, which as the cited item notes, "defeated many conservative Republican congressmen".

This is a lesson not lost on the Republic campaign. They're not only struggling with the increasingly unlikely goal of getting their Presidenetial candidate elected, they're also hoping to avoid the perception of landslide victory of his opponent. My guess is the wiser heads in the campaign are at present devoting more time to the latter issue than the former. Part of the game plan, of course, is to pretend publicly that you think you could still win the Presidency. Privately they're already looking to 2010. They know the mid-terms are their first realistic opportunity to win anything.
 

Bart:

We've reached the point of diminishing returns. I wasn't cherry-picking, I listed a group of polls. I guess we both agree that beginning a week ago, Obama moved up a point or two then maybe (because it's just today's polls) lost a point or two.

As JPK notes, that's statistical noise. And as he and I have noted, Obama is still well ahead. Especially in the electoral college.

But if it makes you feel better to attribute a move of a point or two in a couple of polls in one day to your hero Palin, go for it. Your side really does need all the comfort it can get.
 

I truly have little patience for the discussion between Bart and his critics. But let me suggest that Bart would be far more credible in his prognostications if he were to offer proof of investing on the Iowa Prediction Market, where at this moment (3PM EDT) McCain shares are being bid at 20 cents, with an asking price of $.22. If he believes his own arguments, then these should be easy pickings. I am delighted to say that I own 845 shares of Obama, purchased for considerably less than the current asking price, but perhaps I'm deluded. In any event, this is the perfect opportunity to say "put up or shut up."
 

Bart writes:
Apparently, palling around with terrorists, whack job black theology preachers and PLO members is not a good character reference.


Apparently neither is picking a VP whose associates hate America.
 

McCain shares are being bid at 20 cents

The trend is clear.
 

Sandy:

I did not know academia ran a political casino.

I have not predicted a McCain win, just that Palin is moving the polls in his direction. Thus, placing a bet that he will do so is not backing up my words.

However, the price is very tempting indeed given the poll movement. Thus, the odds of a ROI are far better than what I get wagering on NFL games or fantasy football.

Let me take a look and I will get back to you.
 

At the risk of trying Sandy Levinson's patience, here is some more hard evidence that Palin and they Ayers stuff isn't helping McCain.

The folks at www.fivethirtyeight.com (the best overall poll numbers crunchers and analyzers I've seen) have a new post up on the most today's polls, including state polling. Here is their conclusion:

There simply isn't any good news in here for John McCain (all right, he's kicking butt in Oklahoma). The only swing state poll that he leads is the SurveyUSA result in North Carolina, but even there, Obama has bounced back from a 20-point deficit in a SuvreyUSA poll taken shortly after the Republican Convention.

Moreover, Obama's position in the electoral vote remains even stronger than his position in the popular vote. We project him to win all of John Kerry's states by at least 6.9 points (New Hampshire remains the weakest link). We also project him to win Iowa by 12.5 points, New Mexico by 7.7, Virginia by 7.3 and Colorado by 6.9. Getting this race back to a tie might not be sufficient for John McCain; he might need to pull ahead by 1 or even 2 points nationally to mitigate Obama's edge in the battleground states.
 

Bart: "...the price is very tempting indeed..."

I believe the words were "put up or shut up", with nothing less than your credibility in the eyes of one of our hosts at stake. And I think there was mention of evidence other than your bare report. "...Bart would be far more credible in his prognostications if he were to offer proof..."

Well?
 

Summary definition of Palin's candidacy -- from, Flirting Her Way to Victory: "preposterous."

Latest from the incredible, shrinking John McCain: "my fellow prisoners."
 

I really don't know what all the brou-ha-ha is about since there's no way McCain can win. If he shows up with an extra percentage point or two in the next two weeks, just overlay a Keating video with sounds of him wheezing from last night. Ta da. I mean, we might as well be discussing the existence of UFOs at this point, since that's pretty much the only strategy McCain has left.
 

jslater:

1) State polling lags national polling trends and this trend just started.

2) State polling as been inaccurate as hell so far this cycle. Go to RCP and check out the state polling before the Obama v. Clinton primary votes (not caucuses). The polls were all over the place and the average almost never matched the actual vote outcome. Sometimes the differences were almost in double digits.
 

Sandy:

Taking a look at the price trend lines, you should sell your Obama contracts now while the price is high and buy in again with your principle when the race tightens up in the final week while keeping your profit off to the side.

Obama contracts are way overpriced based on the historical market. Hell, they were 52 cents just two weeks ago.

I will probably drop $50 on McCain at these bargain basement prices. However, I am unsure how I want to divide it between the markets.
 

Bart:

First, state polling only lags national polling if the state polls were taken on earlier days. If a national poller and a state poller call some folks in Ohio on the same day, the state poller isn't going to get a "lagged" answer. Feel free to show what state polls referenced were taken before the national trackers.

Second, yes, state polls are somewhat more volatile than national trackers (although low-sample national polls like the Diaego you need to try to make your point are also volatile).

The problem (for you) is that, as the fivethirtyeight piece noted, Obama has a consistent, outside-the-margin-of-error lead in a variety of polls in more than enough states to get over 270. That was, I'm sure you noticed, the point of the fivethirtyeight piece.

The Obama campaign has played the electoral map masterfully. I hate to use cliches, but it really is like they are playing chess while the McCain campaign is playing checkers. It's not checkmate quite yet, but it's heading that way.
 

Baghdad, given your 2006 predictions, it would be really stupid for someone to take election predicting advice from you.
 

Bart: "...I will probably drop $50 on McCain..."

Well phrased, "drop", as in "throw away".

Just be sure to post a pic of the receipt somewhere your public can see it.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

I have not predicted a McCain win, just that Palin is moving the polls in his direction. Thus, placing a bet that he will do so is not backing up my words.

You can buy and sell shares. If there's a trend in McSame's favour, there's easy money to be made. Go for it!

Cheers,
 

Bart:
when the race tightens up in the final week

This is the same line Jim Belushi's agent uses when trying to keep the network from canceling his show.
 

Sandy:

I mailed in my $50 check this afternoon. Hopefully, the prices do not change too much before the account gets set up.

Thanks for the tip.
 

This does seem like an appropriate way to lose the remainder of your 401k.
 

Actually, Bartbuster, I will give Bart this. If you are talking purely short term, I would say that a bet on McCain at 4-1 odds (which is what Bart placed) is probably a better investment than the stock market.
 

Balkinization: the only place where the finest legal minds of our time can be found making dares to blog trolls.
 

Also, pace the attacks on Ifill, I say that Levinson should recuse himself from any future commentary on the election. He has a huge financial conflict of interest.
 

If you are talking purely short term


If you are betting your savings on McSame, your retirement will definitely be short term.
 

Bartwurst = repetition (burp!)

::chuckle::chuckle:: (Colons come in handy too, don't they.)
 

Last night's debate was shown live on the BBC News Channel at 2 am our time.

What struck me above all was how feeble and decrepit poor Senator McCain is looking these days.

It seemed almost as if his heart wasn't in the race any more and he was just going though the motions. The self-professed 'love of country' came across as particularly cheesy.

An awful thought struck me: suppose that this 2nd McCain attempt at the Presidency has less to do with a John McCain ambition to be POTUS and more with a Cindy McCain ambition to queen it at 1600 Pennsylvania Aveue as FLOTUS?

Mrs McCain does seem to have a streak of Cruella de Ville about her. That might also explain the choice of Governor Palin - she's probably the only woman in Republican politics who could make Cindy seem chic in comparison. As for the McCain petulance and bad manners, this is, after all, a very common syndrome in husbands who marry heiresses.

It's really very hard to understand Bart's professed enthusiasm for this distinctly odd ticket.
 

buy in again with your principle

It's possible, and would be my guess, that Sandy's principles are not for sale.

Perhaps the word intended was "principal".
 

Mourad: "It's really very hard to understand...enthusiasm for this distinctly odd ticket."

Not at all. Eric Hoffer clarified such enthusiasms mid-20th century in the book, "The True Believer".

"The True Believer [is concerned with] with the origination of all mass movements...more importantly, it is concerned with the main ingredient of such movements, the frustrated individual. The book probes into the psychology of the frustrated and dissatisfied, those who would eagerly sacrifice themselves for any cause that might give their meaningless lives some sense of significance. The alienated seek to lose themselves in these movements by adopting those fanatical attitudes that are, according to Hoffer, fundamentally "a flight from the self.""
 

An awful thought struck me: suppose that this 2nd McCain attempt at the Presidency has less to do with a John McCain ambition to be POTUS and more with a Cindy McCain ambition to queen it at 1600 Pennsylvania Aveue as FLOTUS?

If that ticket gets elected, the White House will smell like FLATUS.
 

finest legal minds of our time

Speak for yourself, buddy.

I'm willing to declare under oath that I'm utterly and entirely thusly untainted.
 

Tray:

Also, pace the attacks on Ifill, I say that Levinson should recuse himself from any future commentary on the election. He has a huge financial conflict of interest.

I must also admit to a financial conflict of interest. Should McSame's tax breaks for the rich go through, I'm sure we would personally benefit immensely (much more that "Bart"'s $50 wager). All the same, we're staunch Obama supporters.

But why that should disqualify commenters on a blog is beyond me.

Cheers,
 

Arne: I was obviously kidding. (Hence the reference to Ifill's bogus conflict of interest.)

jpk: You don't think Levinson, occasional (okay, maybe not so occasional) rants aside is a pretty bright fellow? I was referring to his dare to Bart, of course.
 

dilan said...
I would say that a bet on McCain at 4-1 odds (which is what Bart placed) is probably a better investment than the stock market.


How unfair. That's obviously shooting fish in a barrel.
 

Re: Palin's "firing up the [Republican/conservative] base":

Would that include people like Kathryn Jean Lopez, Kathleen Parker, and George Will, whose opinions might be summarized as "Fire Palin!"?
 

You don't think Levinson, occasional (okay, maybe not so occasional) rants aside is a pretty bright fellow?

I think most, nay, nearly all, participants here are pretty bright. I wouldn't be here otherwise. I was merely disclaiming specific expertise, and having a little fun, in my comment.
 

Bart said:

My point here is that the Dems and the GOP are talking about Palin and what she is saying rather than Obama and what he is saying.

Yes, but when what they are saying is, “My God, how can anyone be that ignorant?”, or “She’s inciting some whacko to take a shot at Obama”, that’s hardly a plus for the McCain campaign.
 

What Obama is saying is hardly "news" these days, since campaign is solidly on target, on message. McCain, by comparison, by appointing an unknown, unqualified, inarticulate running mate has made news. Given time the novelty of her absence from the national arena, her lack of qualifications for the job, and even her lack of articulation would become "old news" and perhaps even be driven out of the spotlight by nuances in the campaign statements of the actual candidates. But the McCain/Palin ticket doesn't have that time.

Anyway, McCain/Palin don't really want the spot light on what Obama is saying, because his focus is strategically on the economy, and that's all loss for the GOP right now. It is well established that the GOP strategists would like to keep the conversation away from the economy. Pity they've provided us with such a grand distraction in the form of the Barracuda in Lipstick.
 

Bart:

If you're still reading, did you check out the Zogby number (+2 today vs. yesterday for Obama) or the Diaego-Hotline number (WAAY up for Obama today)? Or the RCP electoral college count, which today -- for the first time -- has Obama over 270?

Again, here's the bottom line: the negative hate stuff isn't working. And that's a good thing.
 

Palin is hurting the GOP ticket. The polls are clear about this:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/10/palins-effect-o.html#more

Bart is actually playing to narrative beyond this election. If McCain loses, there is going to be a big push by conservatives to (1) absolve Palin and (2) say that she helped things and it would have been worse.

This is because the counternarrative is going to be that McCain lost because his base wouldn't allow him to continue being a maverick and moving to the center, i.e., "the John McCain of 2000 could have won this" or at least done better.

Whoever wins this contest of narratives determines the future of the Republican Party-- whether it stays where it is (which is where conservatives want it) or moves to the center.

Of course, over in the reality-based community, the Palin pick was a disaster.
 

As I recall, Governor Palin stated that she was a reader of the Economist. Then she may be interested in a little on-line fun the Economist is having: Global Electoral College.

Those Economist readers who have bothered to respond seem to be rather overwhelmingly in support of the Obama ticket.

Perhaps that says something about their perception of the McCain ticket's grasp of economic policy.
 

at this moment (3PM EDT) McCain shares are being bid at 20 cents, with an asking price of $.22

10/13 update: $.16 and $.17. For those buying these shares, this will enable buying more of them.
 

11/02 update: $.11 as of 6:14 p.m. PDT.

Gosh, if only I had bought them when they were a bargain at $.22. If I had just invested $50 then, I would now have $25.
 

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