Saturday, September 20, 2008

Will the Surge Work?

Obama is surging in the polls. The folks at 538 figures it's a plus four swing in the past week, with good numbers coming out of state polls, many with data before the Monday financial crisis. They conclude that Obama is in a stronger position now that he was before the conventions. They say he has a structural advantage in the electoral college, but also point to this: as the election gets closer, movement in poll numbers become more important.

They were analyzing numbers announced by 9/19. Chuck Todd said a week or so ago that whoever is leading on Oct. 15 is very likely to win the election. Part of that has to do with early voting--in Virginia (which begins now!) and Ohio, for instance. And that assumes that the polls--or an average of the polls-- are accurate. And we've seen several times this year, and in recent presidential elections, that when the race is so close, it can swing on what voters decide the day before or the day of voting.

So the real point here is that time is running out, and if you're going to establish momentum, this is a real good time to start. McCain's last chance to significantly swing momentum may be the debate on Friday.

Apart from another weird personal attack that sticks, the wild card is the government bailout plan to avoid Great Depression II. Will Barack's bi-partisan leadership Friday appeal to independents, or will McCain's blustery new-found populism strike a chord with voters who are angry at government bailing out the big boys? It may depend on how much of a megaphone the media provides McCain, because Obama is on top of the argument--he's saying that the middle class should not be paying for this. It also depends on whether McCain as well as Palin are scaring more people than they are riling up.

As for the polls this week, the Marist has Obama up 9 in Michigan--we'll see if other polls mirror that. Another poll has Obama up in Iowa by double digits, so it probably joins Oregon as pretty safe. Indiana has tightened in most polls, good for Obama. The polls continue to show a closer race in PA than I'd like to see, but even a small lead may turn into a big one with the enormous number of new Democratic registrations.

Numbers continue to show that VP candidate Palin is not helping generally and is hurting McCain with particular groups and in particular places, like Florida. Further, the chief investigator in the abuse of power investigation in Alaska says that despite the McCain campaign attempt to derail it, he is confident that he will issue a report with a conclusion in early October. Information like this, showing that Palin lied about the reason she fired the public safety chief, indicates that there is enough on the public record and in previously obtained testimony (some in a separate investigation) to reach a conclusion.

Now I'm going to post a minute or so from Obama's campaign speech in Coral Gables, in which he suggests that McCain is showing panic. Panic is a very important word in an economic crisis. In fact, that's what an economic/financial crisis like this one used to be called: "panics." Herbert Hoover tried to get away from the sound of that, so he began calling that little downturn that began in 1929 just a "depression."

I'll also post excerpts from Obama's earlier statement on the economy after his meeting with econ experts (in which he also says that this is not the time for panic), over at Dreaming Up Daily.

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