Monday, October 27, 2008

7 Days to Change: The Longest Week

The national tracking polls showed slight movement, but in both directions. Nate Silvers sez sensibly: "If the state polls aren't showing movement toward McCain, then it is probably the case that any perceived movement in the national polls is sampling noise. If anything, in fact, the state polls are showing movement toward Obama on balance, not just in battleground states like Virginia, but also in non-battlegrounds as diverse as New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Arizona."

And in the state polls, Al G. notes: "Among states where a candidate has, in the aggregate, fifty percent or more of the vote, Obama counts with 282 Electoral College votes to just 128 for McCain."

If anyone in the Obama campaign is taking the election for granted, they needed to look no further than the candidate. After speaking to a capacity crowd at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, he headed over to Carson Street on the South Side to campaign hq and made some phone calls himself, which he's been doing the past few days before or after other events. (And yeah, I'm enthralled again with imagining all this in places I spent a lot of time when I lived in western PA, like Carson Street. Not the Arena, though. That's new.)

After Pittsburgh, Obama goes to Chester in eastern PA tomorrow--a nice bit of counter-programming as McCain and Palin make a last concerted try for the Commonwealth. So far, no traction is apparent.

The news Monday was pretty grim for McCain and Republicans. Lots of talk about the warfare within the campaign--RNC vs. McCain vs. Palin--and then the Senator Stevens of Alaska verdict: guilty of seven counts, so the senior GOPer in the Senate is now officially a felon. And the Dems look to be closer to the grail of governance goal of 60 seats.

There are concerns about vote suppression in places like Georgia, a stupid ballot in North Carolina, and some nervousness about sparse early voting in Ohio. And of course, concern about too much early voting--if it doesn't represent new voters then it doesn't mean anything, except, of coure, votes. Democrats naturally must find things to worry about--but it is probably true that if Obama wins North Carolina and Florida, and does well in Georgia, it will be despite losing thousands of ballots to screwups and voter suppression.

McCain and Palin continue to play small ball with sloganish attacks, while Obama gradually returns to his inclusive rationale. As Paul Krugman suggests, "As the economic scene has darkened, I’d argue, Americans have rediscovered the virtue of seriousness. And this has worked to Mr. Obama’s advantage, because his opponent has run a deeply unserious campaign."

At this point it seems that everything that can be said has been said, so I suppose it's all about saying it to the right people, and making sure voters don't assume it's so over they don't have to bother to vote. This is a danger, with an electorate that voted twice for GW, anything is possible. But there's also a sense that people really want to make a statement with their vote--a personal one, an historic one... If we can just get through the next week.

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