In just over a month the country will elect a new president, but still there's plenty of time for the voters to move or make a decision. I know the chart (on the blog's right column) shows McCain having the advantage in the Electoral College today, but even though I think it's an snapshot, it does not give the complete picture. There have been some nail-biting moments of doubt and conversations among the progressives who are almost convinced that Obama will lose. I think Obama will win this, probably by a more comfortable margin that most people expect today. Let me tell you why.
Sarah Palin. She will be a net negative to the ticket. This will become very clear in the next few weeks as her record and her statements during the campaign (and before) come to light. The debate with Biden hopefully will also show that she's very inexperienced to be presidential material. McCain needed to pick a VP who could take over on day two, if not day one! Obama must exploit this, and connect it to Mac's poor judgment. Whatever motivation the conservatives got from the Obama-Biden ticket cannot match the motivation the progressive had against McBush already. With Sarah added on, then more money and volunteers will go Obama's way. Most voters (60%) think that BO chose Biden because of his qualifications, but Palin was chosen to help Mac win (75%), not for her qualifications (17%). On balance, Palin's negatives will grow at the expense of her positives. I know most people vote for president and not his VP, but the bounce the GOP ticket got post-convention was because of Palin, therefore, this phenomenon will change to Mac trailing BO as before the conventions. Further, I believe that Sarah is a liability and will further damage the ticket.
The Economy. Yes, how can you not think that the Democrats don't have the advantage on this issue? Our government--properly accountable to the people--has a vital role to play in the marketplace. Regulate big business from indulging in excesses that hurt the "average American" the most. This way, and there will be less need to nationalize private businesses, and/or the taxpayer has to bail them out. [The Republican economic plan: socialism for the rich--private profit, social risk--and capitalism for the poor. But, the Dems and especially Obama must draw this connection soon.] "It's the economy, stupid!" Traditionally, the Dems have an advantage when the excesses of the marketplace threatens everyone--and nowadays almost any working person with savings or a pension has a stake in the performance of the marketplace.
New Voters. What's been missing from the polls is the enormous advantage the Obama/Dems have this season. Millions of new Dems have been registered, many are under 35 years old. Quite a few only have a cell phone and can't be polled by traditional landline methods. In addition, there's lots more excitement on the Dem/progressive side. The Repubs/cons got excited with Palin, but they're sensing it now: their ticket isn't going to win. As the gap (national polls) grows between Obama & Mac, many GOPers are more likely to stay home on election day.
Electoral College Map. If Obama is to win, he must carry all the Kerry (2004) states plus some. McCain has not added one Blue state to his column yet. There are a few states that are very competitive for both. However, Mac has not added any; he has lost Iowa already, and he'll probably lose New Mexico and Colorado, possibly Nevada too. In this scenario, if PA returns to the Blue column, Obama wins. Again, in the following weeks, I expect the national polls to show an increasing spread between BO - JM; this will add a few percentage points for BO in the battleground states. It may even turn into a landslide in the Electoral College.
Change. Most Americans by huge margins accept that Obama is the agent of change. This poll confirms that McCain may talk about change but he does not represent true change. Mac has the advantage on "experience" and being the commander-in-chief (especially the latter), but, the way I read it, most of the country wants change in the direction, priorities, and role of government--not merely a change of faces in the White House. Advantage BO. Even though the war is still a big issue, Mac's advantage on military leadership will be trampled by Americans' wish for the war to end. It's been too costly and people know it. I hope the Dems keep making a connection between a bad economy and the war.
"Results from the New York Times/CBS News Poll released Thursday indicate voters view McCain as a "typical Republican" who would continue or expand President Bush's policies. The latest poll found 46 percent of voters thought McCain would continue Bush's policies, while 22 percent indicated they thought he'd be more conservative." UPI/NY Times
Nobody knows the future, especially when there are many fluid factors as they are in an election cycle, but some movements and trends can be identified. We examine the numbers as we have them (subject to mistakes), see the prevailing voters' views, and then make educated guesses. When we want something, really long for it, our judgment may be clouded--I'm aware of this. However, I'm following a reasonable path to forming a conclusion, which is: this election is for Obama to win or lose, and I think he will. Call me on November 5th.
When I wrote this a couple days earlier, the electoral map (on the right column) showed a McCain advantage, as most others (like CNN's) have the Republican ahead. There's a seesaw race up to this point, but I think this will change to Obama's favor in the next few weeks.