Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Good News

Despite the ugliness fomented by the McCain-Palin campaign--and partly because of it--there is more good news. Tuesday's talk was about the CBS/New York Times poll which has Obama with a whopping 14 point lead among likely voters, 53% to 39%.

Is it too good to be true? While it may be an outlyer, Nate Silver believes it's only a modest one. And Tuesday's round of state polls showed similar numbers in the battlegrounds of Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Looking at averages, Kos notes that Obama is polling over 50% in states that add up to 308 electoral votes.

But what the New York Times chose to emphasize about its own poll is this: "The McCain campaign’s recent angry tone and sharply personal attacks on Senator Barack Obama appear to have backfired and tarnished Senator John McCain more than their intended target, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll has found....The top reasons cited by those who said they thought less of Mr. McCain were his recent attacks and his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate."

Still, there are other indications that Obama is getting more positive support rather than simply benefitting from negative views of McCain. TMP highlighted a number within the LA Times poll which shows a plurality of voters for the first time say Obama is experienced enough to be President. In the NY Times poll, 7 of 10 said Obama has the right temperament and personality to be President, with McCain breaking even. More than 60% said Obama understood their needs and problems, less than half said that about McCain.

Though there is some danger of complacency, being up in the polls also increases enthusiasm, and that activist attitude--the movement as Obama calls it--plus the unique methods of organization and all the attention paid to it on the ground level are really paying off. For another example, some 17% of Ohio voters have been contacted by Obama advocates--an historic percentage.

And the interest is there, even for the seemingly crazy ideas, like Sarah Silverman's "Great Schlep"--there's this account of an Obama kid going to talk to his grandparents about Obama, and winding up talking to 100 retirees who wanted to hear him. Perhaps even more powerfully, there are events like this one leading to marches to the polls to vote in early voting states.

Meanwhile, McCain has announced that tonight's debate won't be a "game-changer," a cliche that will forever be associated with this campaign. If he doesn't come away with an inconceivably major victory, it could be a game ender.

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