Obama Not Favored In The General Election

by: Chris Bowers

Thu May 22, 2008 at 13:00

Looking over the Presidential election numbers this morning, I have reached the inescapable conclusion that the general election should be considered a toss-up at this point, rather than Obama being the favorite. Consider the following:

McCain Slightly Ahead On Money
Despite record-breaking fundraising for Democrats this cycle, the hard money cash on hand figures actually slightly favor McCain and Republicans at this point:

McCain Cash on Hand (COH) + RNC COH: $55.06M
Obama COH + DNC COH: $51.86M

At this point, the RNC and DNC are effectively part of the McCain and Obama campaigns respectively, and should not seriously be considered separate entities. The picture isn't any better in terms of April fundraising, either:

McCain + RNC April fundraising: $38.3M
Obama + DNC April fundraising: $35.5M

McCain and the RNC, which can directly coordinate with each other, have more money on hand, and are raising money at a faster rate, than Obama and the DNC.

Obama Only Slightly Ahead In State Polls
My entirely poll-based electoral vote map shows a virtual dead heat in the electoral college:

Obama 242, McCain 207, Toss-up 89

(Dark Blue means "Solid Obama," or Obama +10% or more
Light Blue means "Lean Obama," or Obama +4.1%-+9.9%
White means "Toss-up," from between Obama +4.0% to McCain +4.0%
Light Red means "Lean McCain" or McCain +4.1%-+9.9%
Dark Red means "Solid McCain," or McCain +10.0% or more

In this map, Obama's narrow lead is built on the unlikely swing states of Indiana, Nebraska-01, Nebraska-02, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Without those states, the campaign is a dead heat.

Obama Only Slightly Ahead In National Polls
The best site to monitor the status of national polls is Pollster.com, with its regression line and "house effects" methodology. Pollster.com currently shows Obama narrowly ahead of McCain, 45.4%-44.3%, backing up the numbers derived from state polls.

What About The National, Pro-Democratic Mood?
Viewing the Presidential campaign as a toss-up might seem incompatible with the overwhelmingly pro-Democratic mood in the country.  After all, Democrats have built massive advantages in partisan self-identification, are turning out in record numbers in primary after primary, are well on course for smashing victories in both the Senate and House, and have left all fundraising numbers for campaigns in the dust.  In this environment, how on earth could the Presidential campaign be a toss-up?

The answer is simple, and two-fold.  First, John McCain has long outperformed generic Republicans, and is not tightly associated with their brand.  Second, no one can unite all of the different Democratic voters on a national level. Our coalition remains highly localized, with progressives dominating the cities, New Dems dominating the suburbs, and Blue Dogs dominating the rural areas. While this diversity has allowed us to dominate elections at the state and local level recently, we just don't have a nominee who can bring all of the different local and state Democratic voting groups together at the national level. Obama and Clinton bring very different voters to the table in a general election. Had someone else other than John McCain been the Republican nominee, it is probably likely that virtually any Democratic nominee could have united all of the groups.

Off-hand I can think of three solutions to this problem. First, lower-ticket Dems are actually going to have to help out the top of the ticket this time around, with Democrats in more Clinton-friendly areas campaigning with Obama (an with both of them campaigning as Democrats). Second, McCain needs to be defined as the conservative Republican that he is. Third, Obama needs to pick a good VP, someone who can bring more of the various Democratic groups together without emphasizing Obama's weakness among some groups. I might be asking for too much on that one, a pick that is both reinforcing and balancing, but one can always hope.

It is frustrating that Democrats are not favored in the Presidential election despite our overwhelming advantages everywhere else. However, it is also an indication that we are still have a long way to go in order to pull off a realignment. If no one and nothing and unite the broad Democratic coalition, then there is no way to argue that we have realigned the country, no matter how large our majorities in Congress will be next year. We need to score a blowout Presidential victory in order for a realignment to occur, and right now we are nowhere near that.

At the very least, hopefully this will encourage people to "work as though it is tied." I've always thought that was better than working as though you are ten points ahead, or ten points down. Besides, it is also the truth.  

Chris Bowers :: Obama Not Favored In The General Election

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Excellent diary Chris (4.00 / 4)
One of the things I fear most is that all of the posturing back-and-forth about electability, combined with our great performance in recent congressional races, has created a sense among some, especially Obama supporters, that this race is a given or that he is an overwhelmingly favorite.  It just isn't so.  And the more quickly we realize that, the more quickly we can develop the appropriate sense of urgency and the appropriate strategies for dealing with what looks like a real dog fight.

You continue to do some of the best and most objective analysis of this race of anybody out there - in the blogosphere or otherwise - and you should be commended for that.

John McCain: Health insurance for low income children represents an "unfunded liability."

"this race is a given" (4.00 / 1)
I would not take the race for granted, simply because this country elected a shallow ignoramus like Bush twice. As Ann Coulter admitted, "We have the media now." That is not a factor to underestimate.

But I think the polls are next to meaningless at this point. Obama's been fending off attacks from Clinton, McCain, and the media. After Hillary gets out, he can train his guns on McCain, who has been getting mostly a free ride up until now. I think it's premature to start handwringing based on current polls.


[ Parent ]
Not to mention .. (4.00 / 1)
Dukakis was once up by 18 points over Poppy Bush ... besides .. has anyone seriously given McCain much hard coverage? .. has McCain endured any "Wright type" monents?  No!!

[ Parent ]
when John Kerry became the presumptive nominee in March 2004 (4.00 / 1)
was when his poll numbers were the highest...that is not the case for Obama ...that's is a piss poor omen ...just as I had earlier remarked that the map Chris has up is a piss poor map...

The states where Hillary is strong and Obama is weak are absolutely necessary to win...Why...becasue Obama is not the map expander everyone who supported him assumed....In addition McCain is exactly the and only Republican who can get those indies and moderte repubs Obama has been counting on... He can't count on them any longer.

He needs her...or in my mind she actually has a better map than his....hers gets over 270 votes.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]
Umm (4.00 / 3)
I don't think Obama is really the nominee yet.  I don't think we know yet how high his poll numbers can go.  We will know much more by convention time, say nothing of October.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
If he .. (0.00 / 0)
doesn't have the indies now .. because of John McBush(and I believe he's at his ceiling now ... because pretty much everyone knows him name recognition wise) .. how is Hillary going to help him get those indies? .. She won't

[ Parent ]
Clinton would be to help with non-obama dems (4.00 / 1)
Obama's coalition was the youth, progressives, independents and african americans. The rest of the Dem base was strongly for clinton, and perhaps having her on the ticket could help with them, perhaps.

But yeah, not indies.

[ Parent ]
There are other possible VP picks (0.00 / 0)
who would be much more attractive to those voters than Hillary. Edwards, obviously, but others too. Sebelius would be better than Clinton. I don't know why people would assume that, because Hillary was the preference of certain voters over Obama, that she would be their top choice.


[ Parent ]
apples and oranges (0.00 / 0)
The Republicans were clearly trying to knock out Dean, whom they viewed as the strongest candidate. They preferred to face Kerry and laid off of him completely until he had the nomination wrapped up. He had a free ride until then.

This time, Obama has already faced an onslaught from Clinton and the Republican noise machine that clearly would rather face her in the general. (It's hard to tell the difference between Pat Buchanon and Terry McAuliffe these days, and Fox News has been blatantly pro-Hillary.)

We're talking apples and oranges. Your polling analogy to Kerry is near meaningless.


[ Parent ]
Reality based community (4.00 / 3)
Kudos for calling a spade when you see one.

I will caveat that Obama's fundraising for April should be balanced against the amount of money Clinton took up.  It won't be as simple as combining their totals of course, but Obama alone can pull more money.

Also, considering the usual is that Dems get blown out of the water on presidential fundraising and now they're at parity, that represents a tremendous gain.

I'm still calling it "lean Dem" but the polling does worry me and as tempting as it is to write off the polling for some reason or another, that's wishful thinking.

fundraising (4.00 / 3)
That was going to be my comment.  Hillary's still raising major money, and a lot of those donors could be DNC donors.

Let's also remember that the Republican party has consolidated institutionally, while the Democratic party is still "waiting for the result."

Another thought: how much of our amazing Congressional & Senate money advantage will be going to GOTV?  That could have a serious impact.

[ Parent ]
impact (0.00 / 0)
I think the RNC is going to abandon all hopes for retaking Congress and focus all its effort on the Presidency.  It's their only hope for holding a lever of power.

So a couple possibilities:

- the DSCC and DCCC might transfer cash to the DNC (never heard of this, but they're flush and facing huge gains)

- Obama could ride the coattails of successful house and senate races.  Franken in MN, Warner in VA, Shaheen in NH and a few others could help him carry some toss up states.

[ Parent ]
Don't know about the other races (4.00 / 4)
but don't depend on Franken's reverse coat-tails in MN.  He's lagging behind Coleman at this point, while Obama is well ahead of McCain.  (according to the graphs posted on this site over the last few days).  There's even a chance that Franken will have a primary challenger for the nomination because he has pretty much failed to gain traction against Coleman.  Mike Ciresi hasn't confirmed (or denied) the rumors that he may re-enter the race, but Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer has been building up steam - and would be a fine alternative.  Not to mention the Indepence Party seems likely to put up a candidate, too.  I think Ventura is just blowing smoke, but former Sen. Dean Barkley would run a competent and substantive campaign.

I support Franken, but I'm sorely disappointed in his performance thus far; he really has to get on the ball.  He has allowed the media and the Coleman campaign to define him as an near-incompetent carpet-bagger and he has yet to confront those issues head-on.

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Hillary donors give to the DNC? a lot less than you think (0.00 / 0)

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

[ Parent ]
Just last week there was a story (0.00 / 0)
in the WaPost on Clinton and Obama big money donors coming together for DNC fundraisers. I can see the argument that the  smaller donors won't fund the DNC, but I don't see the big money donors, who I would guess were big supporters of Kerry and Gore as well, just stopping their giving.

[ Parent ]
A small note (4.00 / 1)
Obama's fundraising take this last month was actually kind of undersized. This is because he has been fundraising for a primary election, a primary election which both is now filled with malaise and is widely interpreted as being over anyway. Given Obama's reliance on small donors acting independently, this is not a situation likely to inspire donations.

I think once the primary is "properly" over (june 3?) and general election fundraising is happening his fundraising will surge like crazy.

[ Parent ]
He will raise $150 million in a month (0.00 / 0)
He will ask each of his supporters to send what they can, to a maximum of $200.  He should get $150 million from 1.5 million people.  if he need more, he can ask those who can to gove more than $200.  He can do it in a month (certainly by the convention) and not have to spend any more time on it, except maybe that second on-line ask.  Nothing like it has been seen before.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
I'd like to believe this, (0.00 / 0)
but I've been giving for a while, and I'm beginning to feel the pinch.  I want to give more; I want to continue to help, but there is a limit.  No..., I WILL continue to help, but I may not be able to give on the level you mentioned.

[ Parent ]
I think this is a little optimistic (0.00 / 0)
Or maybe a lot.  Obama will certainly have no money problems, and I bet he ends up with an advantage.  But a big part of the effectiveness of his online fundraising in the primary campaign has been the perpetual sense of urgency.  The next primary is always just around the corner, and so a lot of people make decisions in the heat of the moment to give.  I don't think that same dynamic will hold in June or July.  I would imagine that we will see a slower process of steadily building a nice warchest, with a series of very good months but without an enormous explosion of fundraising in any single month.

John McCain: Health insurance for low income children represents an "unfunded liability."

[ Parent ]
I agree that we need to treat the race as a tie at this point (0.00 / 0)
but I disagree with the overall picture of uncertainty that Chris paints here.

Obama's position is much stronger than this.

First, the pollster.com figures based on nation-wide polling are different now from those that Chris used.  Chris' figure of a 45% to 44% lead for Obama over McCain at pollster.com is now the lead for Clinton rather than Obama.  Obama's lead is 3+% points (46.7% to 43.4%).  Obama's lead is probably still within the margin of error, but it is considerably better than 1%.  Within individual states, Poblano's randomized trials show that a 3.3% lead translates into winning that state about 65% to 69% of the time.  Of course, we only have one time in the real election in the real world, and we cannot afford for the result to be the odd 1 in 3 result where the candidate who appears to be that much behind comes out with the win.

Second, what is this about?:

In this map, Obama's narrow lead is built on the unlikely swing states of Indiana, Nebraska-01, Nebraska-02, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Without those states, the campaign is a dead heat.

This paragraph is simply wrong.  The map in Chris' post - which I think reflects a very reasonable assessment of the polls in each state - shows the following distribution of EVs:

Strong Dem:   181 (CA,OR,WA,HI,IL,MN,NY, ME,VT,CT,RI,DE,MD)
Weak Dem:      61 (CO,IA,MA,NM,PA)
Easy to Add:    32 (MI,WI,NV)

Total:          274

On this count, Obama has to hold only two of Chris' "toss-up" states (MI & WI) to get to 269 and a highly probable win in the House of Representatives.  Add NV and he has a majority of the EV.

Also, before we get to the 24 EV that Chris refers to so dismissively in the blockquote above (all of which are fairly considered from uphill to long-shot, I agree), Obama can pick up another 33 EV from OH and VA, in both of which he is trailing McCain by less than the margin of error now.  With Ohio and VA, Obama could win 307 EV, more than JFK's winning total of 303 EV in 1960.  Therefore, the 24 EV that Chris includes in his unhappy paragraph are votes that would not likely play any part in whether Obama wins or not, but that could increase his EV total to somewhere between 310 and 327.

I personally think that in the current state of voter preferences Obama should easily win the states with 274 EV total, in part because a Gallup poll study earlier this year reported that adding "cell phone only" households to the pool of voters polled increased Obama's share by 2% and decreased McCain's share by 2%.  Adjusting for the probable omission of these "cell phone only" households from most of the reported polls on which the map is based would also, as of today's voter preferences, potentially bring in both OH and VA for Obama.


But see also report on CBS polling "cell phone #" databases, which did not show results similar to Gallups for Obams's poll numbers.


We need a major down-ticket sweep to achieve change

But the national victory I describe in the EV is pretty tight in today's preferences, and voter preferences today could change substantially in the 5+ months from today to election day.  In addition, in the "weak Dem" and "toss up" states that are polling large numbers of undecided, I suspect that many of the undecideds are wrestling with their consciences about actually voting for the best man - a black man - for President, and that on election day the majority of those voters will find that their consciences have lost.  That factor alone suggests that "undecideds" may consistently break for McCain against Obama, just as the "election day deciders" have favored Clinton by 20% or more over Obama in many of the later primaries.

A third reason for working as hard as we can to increase, identify, and bring out the Obama vote, particularly in every potential swing state, is that we need to bring in a boatload of new Democratic Congressmen and Senators to set the stage for a Health Care Reform and Restructuring Act that will both improve quality of care and avoid bankrupting the country to pay for that care.  

The Democrats need ten new Senators to reach a 60-vote majority without Lie-berman.  And the Democrats need up to 50 new members of Congress (reaching 285, or almost as many as LBJ had in the 1965-66 Congress) to make the Bush Dog caucus irrelevant on Middle Eastern/South Asian policy, on Health Care, and on taxes on the obscenely rich - restoring more progressive income tax rates and extending the FICA payroll tax to earned incomes from $200,000 a year up. (Probably such an extension of the payroll tax would produce all the revenue that is needed to shore up Social Security for another 50 to 75 years.)

The Democrats can gain ten seats in the Senate

The ten Democratic take-over seats in the Senate are within reach.  With the conclusion of primary elections in NC and OR, there are now three open Senate seats that the Dems should take (AZ, CO, & VA) and five states where incumbents are extremely vulnerable (NH, AK, NC, OR, & TX).  Shaheen has a sizeable lead over Sununu in NH, and in the other states the Dem candidates are polling within 4 points or less, which should be within the margin of error on the current polls.

There are two more open seats that at this point are long shots (Craig's seat in ID and Hagel's seat in NE).  If either of these races tightens up over the next five months, Obama at the top of the ticket and hard work on the ground might bring one of these seats into the Dem column.

MN (Coleman) and ME (Collins) were initially thought to be prime targets for Democratic victories over incumbents, but none of the challengers has much traction yet in either of these states.  Tom Allen's numbers in ME are improving against Susan Collins, but he is still 10 points behind and she is polling over 50%.

But a couple of other races have come into potential play, too:  Trent Lott's old MS seat and Pat Roberts' seat in Kansas.  The last polls had the Democratic challengers within 8-10 points in each race.  In KS, Slattery, the Democrat, polled 42 to 52 against the incumbent in a poll taken fairly soon after Slattery won the nomination in the primary election.

Bottom line - there are more than ten (10) potential Democratic take-overs in the Senate, and hard work at the GOTV level may give the Democrats a working majority in the Senate for the first time since the moderate Southern Senators who represented Southern States in the 1960s were gradually replaced by Republicans - a process that culminated in 2002 when the Republicans had a clean sweep of five open Democratic Senate seats in southern states.  (GA, NC, SC, FL, & TN, I think).


1)  The current voter preference picture is more solid than Chris' discussion implies, but we need to push hard because favorable views among low-information voters can be upset very quickly and catastrophically.

 (A)  Obama has a strong lead for many more EV than McCain does, plus exclusion of "cell phone only" households reduces Obama's reported support; but
 (B)  In states where there are lots of undecided voters, we can expect the late-deciders to favor McCain 3-2 or 2-1 because many of the "undecided" voters seem to be "undecided" primarily about whether they can vote to make a black man President of these United States.

2)  We need a major down-ticket sweep to break up the parliamentary log-jams that the Republicans have created in both the House and the Senate.  And in the Senate the contours of a victory can already be seen as the primary elections fill in the match-ups.

PS  I apologize that this comment kind of got out of hand in length.  I'm posting it here, but also in a diary post of my own here at Open Left.

[ Parent ]
realignment (4.00 / 2)
We need to score a blowout Presidential victory in order for a realignment to occur, and right now we are nowhere near that.

Point well taken, but it should be noted that some realigning elections were actually close. In 1896, McKinley beat Bryan 51%-47%. Nixon won in 1968 by less than 1% (if you consider that a realigning election). And in 1860, Lincoln won with less than 40% of the vote. I'm sure Paul has some thoughts on this...

That said, a blowout would certainly help to clarify matters.

You've Hit The Highlights, My Friend! (4.00 / 1)
I think what Chris is talking about is more true in terms of media perceptions.  But whatever happens, the press will be the last to know.  Still it does have a powerful hallucinogenic effect.  (The Surge is working, don'tcha know!)

The reality is that realigning elections follow the Hourse of Representatives.  1896 was the most instructive in this regards.  The Democrats actually won a respectable wave election that year, picking up 31 seats, while their allies, the Populists, picked up 13.  The problem was, they'd lost two consecutive wave elections before that, a modest 20-seat loss in 1892 (while the GOP picked up 38) and a whopping 125-seat loss in 1894 (while the GOP picked up 130).

The 1894 blowout--in the middle of a "panic"--was so overblown, that 1896 was a bit of correction against the GOP, even as they won a decisive presidential victory, decisive not in terms of overwhelming popular vote--as you note--but a nearly 100-vote margin in the Electoral College, 271-176, despite an almost perfect split in number of states, 23-22.

The Dems would not control the House again until 1910.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
I agree (0.00 / 0)
In fact, many realignments begin with a narrow win for the presidency. LBJ won in a blowout in '64 but it didn't prevent a GOP/conservative realignment. Nixon barely won in '68, but it was the real start of that realignment at the presidential level. Reagan won narrowly in '80, which led to the conservative revolution. These things don't always begin spectacularly. Plus, they often begin at the local and congressional level, where there's been a realignment for several years now, having begun in '05. Obama doesn't need to win huge to further and solidify this realignment. He just needs to win, with larger congressional majorities, which should enable him to pass the sort of legislation that will allow Dems to make the realignment long-term.

Plus, we're still nearly 6 months away from the election, with no official nominee on our side, the conventions still months away, the general election season nowhere near having gotten underway, and so much that could and will happen between now and then. So any polls taken now should be taken with huge grains of salt--in either direction. And it'll all come down to GOTV, which heavily favors our side this cycle, and swing voters in swing states, who are nowhere near having made up their minds between the elderly faux maverick war hawk from a party that they currently don't like, and the young black smooth-talking liberal upstart whom they feel that they still don't know, from the party that they're currently favoring.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
True, for now (4.00 / 3)
It's hard to compare fundraising numbers when half of the Democratic donors are still giving to Clinton. And the polls don't mean much when there is still a divided Democratic party. I'm convinced that lots of Clinton supporters are telling pollsters that they are gonna vote McCain, driving down Obama's numbers.

But when SUSA has a poll showing Obama up 7 points in Virginia, even with all this primary nonsense, you know Obama will be in good shape. But we won't really know until after Hillary concedes. That's why her current behavior is, as Josh Marshall pointed out, so "toxic".

Yep (3.33 / 6)
With all the speculation about her motives for staying so aggressively in the election when she has next to no chance of securing the nomination, let alone doing it in such a way that it isn't a Pyrrhic victory, I'm starting to think that a lot of motivation is much more simple: she wants to punish Obama for beating her.  It's not about winning, it's not about the future of Democratic party, or even the future of the country.  She just wants to punish him for getting in her way.

Not something I ever thought I'd say, but it's about the only thing left to explain her behavior with some of kind of consistency.  She understands the consequences, she just doesn't care.

[ Parent ]
Doh! (0.00 / 0)
Replied to the wrong comment, should have been to magster's two comments below.

[ Parent ]
Uprating bcz of inappropriate trollrating n/t (4.00 / 2)

Republicans can't fix our country; they're too busy saddlebacking.

[ Parent ]
All excellent reasons for the Clintons to gracefully quit now (4.00 / 7)
They are dragging him down and preventing the start of a head to head Obama/McCain fight. The guy is getting triangulated on three fronts: Hillary. Bill. McCain.

What's amazing is that he is doing as well as he is.

Time for the democratic party to get its act together and throw her out on her tail.  

Clinton could really help if she wanted to (4.00 / 5)
I'd support Clinton as VP if she took the team player approach rather than the "I'll sabotage you while you placate me" approach that she's doing now.

John McCain won't insure children

Edwards and Gore (4.00 / 1)
People are still asking; Who is he? Is this the dream ticket? Is McCain a moderate?

Yes this newcomer still has to pass more tests, but his ceiling is higher, his pockets deeper.

I urge the best possible ticket. No matter how much it hurts. I think HRC has gone too far, campaigning in florida creating resentment against Obama for Democratic party rules she agreed to, until it was not to her advantage is too much for me, comparing Florida convention rules to freedom riders is appalling. It literally makes me sick to my stomach.

But there are terrific VP's waiting (one in particular is very helpful)

I have said in many other posts, victory is possible, only possible. We will need cross state volunteers in the millions to pull this off. And beyond that we want a big win.

I hope this hits home Chris, this is no time to rest on our laurels, historically we are still assembling the ships in England, getting the troops on board and ready for the crossing to Normandy.

I wrote a diary hitting similar notes.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

Too many things to get into here (4.00 / 4)
I really don't see how you can reasonably reach conclusions under the current circumstances. This analysis requires throwing out consideration of things like, Obama has been taking hits from tv ads attacking him from within the party, Obama and DNC fund raising are both fluctuating based on the primary battle, you have bitter Clinton supporters vowing to vote for McCain (which wont happen), etc. To me its just way to messy right now to do any reasonable head to head match up.

But cue the Hillary supporters who think the whole primary should be overturned because of "news" like this.

Michael Bloomberg, prince of corporate welfare

I hear you Will, but I have stopped caring about HRC's (0.00 / 0)

Obama is our candidate, and HRC is making wild statements randomly now. Best to just be direct and honest.

"Florida state convention delegates are the same as freedom riders," is just the last straw. HRC agreed to these rules, Bill Clinton ran under these rules,twice, and won, its not convenient or advantageous to her now, so she can imply that Obama is anti-democratic. She does not just have a tin ear now, she doesnt care what damage she does to the Democratic party.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
California--Obama Up By 17! (4.00 / 2)
PPIC has Obama up by 17 here, 54-37.  (Clinton up 12, 51-39).

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

Now who was it yesterday who was saying . . . . (0.00 / 0)
I distinctly remember telling one of the perennial concern trolls that McCain was not going to take CA, not a chance.  And saying that Latinos were going for Obama.  

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
But polls now are worth little (4.00 / 1)
Look, I agree that the race is a toss-up as measured by current polls; and it's always a good idea not to get over-confident.

But if we're pursuing true objectivity here, then this analysis doesn't make it.  Financially, the Democrats, at worst, will be on a relatively even playing field; when is the last time that happened?  Further, why assume now - when the primaries are still ongoing - that Obama can't unite the party?  Also, being as objective as possible, do we really believe that we will have no success in redefining (or exposing) McCain?

Much work needs to be done, of course.  But I think the gambling markets are right to consider Obama an actual "favorite."

Bounce after Obama "official" (0.00 / 0)
I don't know how much it will be, but I'm guessing it will be anywhere in the 5-10 point range... The question is, will Obama be able to maintain that bounce all the way through November?  I guess we'll see.

DNC = Obama National Committee? Hardly. (4.00 / 1)
Umm, this:

At this point, the RNC and DNC are effectively part of the McCain and Obama campaigns respectively, and should not seriously be considered separate entities.

is just not true.  It is true for McCain and the RNC, but it's not for Obama and the DNC.  

1. The DNC's headline fundraiser is an event with Al Gore that is supposed to be a unity event, at least in the subtext of it - not a DNC-to-elect-Obama event.  

2. Obama has not begun in earnest any fundraising for the DNC.  Until he does, the DNC is not his baby - going both ways.  

3. The Obama-DNC (and to a lesser extent, Clinton-DNC) joint fundraising venture was just announced last week.  It has not yet ramped up.

4. Obama staff have not taken over the DNC yet.  

Until these four things change, the DNC is not the Obama National Committee yet.  When they do happen, the DNC's coffers will explode.  By the way, Obama will be the best thing to happen to the DNC in a long time (with the exception of Howard Dean - but he was never able to hump in the kind of cash, and from differing donors, like Obama will for 2008 and beyond).

This is all coming from someone who is conspicuously not pro-Obama and retains hope that John Edwards will jump back into the race any day now.

Legally speaking (0.00 / 0)
I think Chris was referring to the legalities of campaigning rather than intra-party ties. Under the law, the national committees can spend unlimited funds to support any candidate they endorse, and they may coordinate efforts. So it's easy to look at Obama's money vs. McCain's money and say that we're way ahead, but you also have to look at the national committees that can jump in once the nomination is secure.

The issue of how close that coordination is, that's a different issue. I think Chris is just trying to say "don't forget the RNC" and pointing out that the money race is close.

[ Parent ]
A little bit silly (4.00 / 3)
What is the point of hand-wringing like this right now?  We are at a moment when there are MANY things inhibiting our ability to reasonably predict the election - most of them tied to the fact that the primary is not technically over.

Most of these have already been mentioned: Clinton supporters declaring they won't support him who can probably be won back, fundraising being split between two Democratic candidates, a media narrative that has subjected Obama to constant questions and attacks as the presumed frontrunner who can't "seal the deal."

Now, this is not to say that all (or even any) of these things will radically change the picture.  But they provide such huge possible variables that I'm not sure how you can draw any real conclusion about the state of the race from the snapshot of this moment.  That Obama is ahead in the national polls, is faring well in the Electoral Map, has demonstrated a fundraising prowess that absolutely demolishes McCain, etc. are all encouraging signs.  

Given that, why post this doom and gloom now?  Why not just wait three weeks, take a peak in the box then and find out how the cat is doing?  

I think the political climate (4.00 / 1)
do make Obama a slight favorite for November. But if the election where held today? You are probably right.

This will be a tough fight but Obama has a good team around him that have closed a lot of gaps and I think once Clinton isn't raising tens of millions of month the Democrats will gain a big advantage.

Also people still view McCain as his 2000 self. The media has not given any attention to how he has changed. Hopefully we can pressure them to do that.

Also I do think we will get a unity bump in the polls once Clinton drops out and (hopefully) campaigns hard for Obama. And hopefully another bump once the tickets are set and people can hear the full messages of the campaigns at the conventions.

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

What are the sources for RNC money? (0.00 / 0)
Year after year, the RNS outraises everyone else.

What is the secret? And is it legal?

Hard working poor white people? (4.00 / 3)

[ Parent ]
I think this is too optimistic (0.00 / 0)
I don't think Obama is even  money.  For the record, I don't think Hillary would be either.

Obama has little chance in Florida, which means that he is effectively trying to draw to an inside straight.  I have been playing with simulations - and I put Obama's odds at about 40%.  

The Republicans have nominated the only candidate who has a shot at winning.  Thus far it appears that McCain has nailed the vote to his right(look at Chris's map in the South)  and is free to move to the center, in effect triangulating off of the religious right.

The election will depend greatly on the economy: if it recovers in the third quarter McCain will be VERY tought to beat.

Let Me Guess, You're Favorite Band Is Suicidal Tendencies? (4.00 / 3)
I know it's only natural for eveyone to think their state is the center of the universe, but this is ridiculous.

And the spiel about the rest of the country makes you Florida talk seem almost sane.

For example, the just-released PPIC poll from California showed McCain losing favorability over the last two months, with Obama opening a huge lead.  Winning California is no news.  But the favorability shifts are telling, since California has been ad-free all this time, out of the primary limelight, and thus these numbers are a good general barometer.

I'm not promoting this as any sort of total answer, merely a close-to-hand example of the sort of information you are totally disregarding.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Your comment (0.00 / 0)
makes me think of the suicide squad at the end of the movie Life of Brian....

My reasons have little to do with the race in Florida (which is trending GOP anyway) and little with the fact that I live in Florida (I have lived in CT for the past 4 months).  They have more to do with some theories I am developing about how the economy will play out this cycle.  

[ Parent ]
Florida (4.00 / 3)
I know your from Florida, but recent polling trends dispute what you are saying.  THe latest Florida Polling has Obama down by 4.

My honest to god opinion is that Obama doesn't have a problem with Blue Collar whites or even Latinos.  He has a problem with OLDER Blue Collar Whites and Latinos.  The more over 65 the less likely to vote Obama.  I can't really say WHY, but my feeling is 1) McCain (and Hillary) are closer to their age or in McCain's case one of them.  2) The older Generation was pre-civil rights movement... and while I don't think most of them are racist in a KKK extreme or even a throw the N word around extreme, they also don't feel a black man would be a good President.  The younger you get, the more these things are ridiculous.  Homosexuality is progressing the same way, its just a generation behind.  The Gen Xers associate Gay Rights the way the Boomers Associate Civil Rights... The Millenials associate Gay rights like the Gen Xers associate Civil Rights and the next generation will probably be pretty much beyond that divide, much like the behavior Millenials show with Civil Rights issue... very post-racial.

So Obama needs to figure out a way to win enough seniors over.  We shall see what happens.

[ Parent ]
An interesting tidbit ... (0.00 / 0)
My inlaws are close to 80 (one is 79, the other is 80).  My wife and I have struggled with the way they talk about non white citizens, especially in front of our kids (this was years ago, my kids are in college now).  My point is that they used to say things that made me and my kids think they were racist.  My wife, of course, knows better and has calmly pointed out that they are just talking in terms that they were raised with.

The fact is, my inlaws, who were big Clinton supporters are now Obama supporters.  They still talk the way they did, but they now support Obama.  They are precisely that demographic that supposedly is lock-step with Clinton!  White, elderly and of the blue-collar segment of society.

[ Parent ]
I think rumors of Obamas trouble in Fla (0.00 / 0)
are being greatly overblown. As pointed out, he is only ~4 points down in recent polling and that is without campaigning  or advertising there. In the general election, he can hit McCain on social security and help close the age gap. I don't know if he can win florida, but I don't think it's clear that he can't either.

[ Parent ]
Florida (0.00 / 0)
I know your from Florida, but recent polling trends dispute what you are saying.  THe latest Florida Polling has Obama down by 4.

My honest to god opinion is that Obama doesn't have a problem with Blue Collar whites or even Latinos.  He has a problem with OLDER Blue Collar Whites and Latinos.  The more over 65 the less likely to vote Obama.  I can't really say WHY, but my feeling is 1) McCain (and Hillary) are closer to their age or in McCain's case one of them.  2) The older Generation was pre-civil rights movement... and while I don't think most of them are racist in a KKK extreme or even a throw the N word around extreme, they also don't feel a black man would be a good President.  The younger you get, the more these things are ridiculous.  Homosexuality is progressing the same way, its just a generation behind.  The Gen Xers associate Gay Rights the way the Boomers Associate Civil Rights... The Millenials associate Gay rights like the Gen Xers associate Civil Rights and the next generation will probably be pretty much beyond that divide, much like the behavior Millenials show with Civil Rights issue... very post-racial.

So Obama needs to figure out a way to win enough seniors over.  We shall see what happens.

[ Parent ]
no recovery is possible (0.00 / 0)
there will be no recovery in any way, except perhaps statistically (i.e. maybe a small GDP uptick)

The fundamentals of the economy will not change.  Things are not good, people are insecure.  Very, very bad for incumbent White House party.  

[ Parent ]
Give it some time (4.00 / 2)
The media has ONLY declared Obama the nominee in the last few weeks.  He has been fighting a two front battle for three months.  Now that Clinton has stopped the negative attacks, he can turn is attention to McCain.  Given that many of the recent swing state polls have been trending Obama, I think its only a matter of time.

Yes, the DNC needs to step up fundraising... the pathetic fundraising they have done so far is an embarassment.  But Obama has 1.7 million donors.  an average of $200 per donor during the GE is $340 million.  The RNC isn't raising that much and McCain on Pub financing isn't doing it either... which is why Obama is considering voluntary donor caps.  He doesn't NEED $2300 donors with the list he has.  

I do feel he needs a good VP choice.  At this point, I think Schweitzer maybe the only one to fill your shoring and reinforcing requirements.  But I think Obama needs to consider Clinton big time.  

The GE campaign hasn't really started.  HRC is still a side show distraction at this point.  Once June 4th rolls around, then hopefully that distraction goes away.  Remember Obama does better usually the more people see him.  He BEAT Hillary, which makes me feel good about beating McCain.  At this point, numbers are misleading.

baloney (4.00 / 1)
Has a candidate from the incumbent party ever won during a year there is a recession? In the TV era (since 1960), has a charismatic candidate ever lost to a candidate as wooden as John McCain? It's simply too early to be looking at state by state polls. That's why you are seeing gloom and doom. Just today on your own front page there is a new VA poll that should move that state from toss up to lean Obama. Things are only going to get better. Obama is going to win all the Kerry states and then pick up quite a few more. Obama is going to raise enough money from online donors like me to totally erase any current money disadvantage you are seeing. This is going to be a blowout.  

Presidential elections are decided on fundamentals... (4.00 / 1)
...not polling almost six months out from the election.  These polls are essentially meaningless this far out, except as a baseline to determine where to focus GOTV, etc.

Presidential elections are a referendum on the party in power.  The fundamentals underlying this election were decided long ago, and have pointed to a Democratic victory since well before Iowa and New Hampshire.

[ Parent ]
I would normally agree, (0.00 / 0)
however, this is not the usuall two white guys dog and pony show.  I hope I am dead ass wrong on this, but race will keep this closer than you would usually see.  I would love to eat these words come November.

[ Parent ]
Let me get this straight (0.00 / 0)
A Democrat just won the House seat in MS-1, but the Demcorats should not be considered as favored to win back the White House?! Even though our candidate is bringing new voters into the process (on our side) in droves (voters not in the polling organizations' models) while the Republican candidate is having trouble just holding on to his base?


Time to revive Use it Or Lose It (4.00 / 3)
Let's start combing the finances of the safe Democrats again and get them to give to the DNC.

No excuse for sitting on a war chest when the tri-fecta is at play.  No class of 2006 Dem senator should be keeping much back, and we can be pretty sure who's safe for 2010.

The financial edge is an important psychological barrier and being behind in total money does hurt the GOP in terms of media and mentality.  They're just not used to it.

Counterpoints (0.00 / 0)
1.) Your statement about McCain being ahead on money doesn't take into account that the RNC is also going to have to lay out a lot of cash and resources to help bail out the Republican House and Senate candidates trying to survive the November onslaught. The DNC won't have to do nearly as much (if anything at all) to help their respective Congressional committees because they've raised enough money to be essentially self-sufficient.

2.) As someone else pointed out, with Clinton still in the race and peeling off over $20M dollars last month, it's safe to assume that Obama still hasn't scratched the surface of what he can pull in once he's the free-and-clear nominee and all that Clinton money floods to him. Once Clinton drops out, Obama's going to have a ridiculous amount of money flowing in, and at that point he's going to have the resources to put media in well behind McCain's front lines and really put pressure on McCain and the RNC.

3.) Clinton hasn't dropped out yet, so Obama hasn't yet gotten his full post-nomination bounce, so any polling at this stage doesn't reflect the reality of a head-to-head Obama vs. McCain matchup. We're seeing the numbers trickle in Obama's favor as more and more people come to the conclusion it's over. Once Clinton get behind a podium and says "no mas" it's going to become a deluge.

4.) The national mood hasn't come into play yet because the head-to-head matchup hasn't really begun yet. Obama vs. Clinton has been fought on more stylistic grounds, in my opinion, and the policy differences they have clashed over aren't the ones that will be driving the vote in November (ie, McCain's not running in health care, obviously).

This campaign will be run on the economy first and foremost (whether or not to continue tax cuts for rich people, whether or not to continue to embrace current trade policies, etc etc) and Iraq second (whether to withdraw with haste or spend 100 years occupying a country embroiled in a civil war). When Obama vs. McCain starts, Obama is clearly on the right side of those issues relative to McCain and that is when the prevailing mood of the country is going to start showing up in the polls. I see no reason for hand wringing when it's clear McCain is completely and utterly out of touch with the vast majority of Americans on the two biggest issues of the day. When you add in how mistake prone and hot tempered McCain is, it suggests that as long as Obama stays on message, he should win handily.

McCain is a tomato can. There's absolutely no reason to fear him.

RNC (0.00 / 0)
The RNC is much more committed to the presidency. And they know as well as we do that they won't take back the House or the Senate, so I doubt their expenditures there will be particularly large.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
Lets See (0.00 / 0)
Lets see how willing they are to push all in on McCain, a candidate who is not beloved by conservatives or evangelicals, once he starts to fall behind in the polls.

My guess is, the RNC doesn't have the stomach for that kind of gamble.

[ Parent ]
I think you're leaving some strong, Pro-Obama factors out (4.00 / 1)
I do agree that we should "work as though it is tied."  Obama does have advantages that will only become clearer in time though.

1. Obama has a huge leg up on McCain in organizing throughout the country.  His voter registration drive should scare the hell of the GOP.  Democrats have registered 3 million new voters already, and that's before Obama's drive kicked off.  Obama's volunteer organization is up in every state.  McCain's has barely even gotten off the ground.  One thing we learned in 2004 is how crucial GOTV is.  Rove was able to organize the churches to swamp a high Democratic turnout, especially in Ohio.  Obama has learned this lesson and is organizing earlier everywhere.  McCain is hardly the darling of the religious right like Bush was, and will have a hard time catching up with Obama's GOTV.

2. On fundraising.  Expect Obama's fundraising apparatus to kick into high gear once the general election campaign gets going.  With Hillary vanquished, I imagine a lot of the small donations have dried up.  Once the e-mail responses to McCain gear up though, the money will come pouring in.  I have no clue on the RNC-DNC dynamic.  I do know that Obama's campaign will bring in an incredible haul.

3. The Clinton factor.  Hillary's campaign has a lot of supporters who are angry, and are not supporting Obama.  This is beginning to change, as evidenced by the recent Gallup poll.  Obama should consolidate support of Clinton's demographics by the convention.

4. Polls: All the most recent polls of the last week have Obama up by 8 or 9 points, with sharp Obama trends showing themselves in California and Virginia (of all places).

5. McCain's Free Ride: John McCain couldn't even beat Obama in the polls while Obama was being nailed with Wright, bittergate, and Hillary Clinton's kitchen sink.  Sooner or later, the Free Ride McCain has been enjoying will end.  I think Paul's diary a few days ago on "Appeasement Jumps the Shark," may be an accurate barometer of the media's closer scrutiny of John McCain.

6. Fundamentals: Every single one is on our side.  From the economy, to Iraq, to voter motivation.

These diaries are necessary to keep the fuel to the fire.  But Obama has some clear advantages that we need to run with.

Agreed - so? (0.00 / 0)
Obama is not favored to win.
Obama might, in fact, lose to McCain.
Clinton might, however, beat McCain - and handily.

Why is this of no interest?

Markos has a theory on this (4.00 / 2)

There's no doubt that Clinton would've done better in these states, but Obama's lag is due mostly to his poorer numbers among Democrats (and mostly women) -- numbers that should strengthen once Clinton concedes the obvious.

One other thing to note -- Clinton hasn't faced any serious political attacks in how long? Sure, people may be mocking her desperate gambits to stay in the race, but no one has taken aim at her for her political views or myriad scandals in weeks, if not months. In fact, her last heavy incoming came from her Bosnia lies. So there are obvious political benefits to being ignored in the race. Meanwhile, Obama has been taking incoming from the GOP machine, John McCain, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton Democratic machine. That has got to leave a mark.

[ Parent ]
Phooey (0.00 / 0)
Markos is nuts.
Clinton hasn't faced any serious political attacks lately?
Where has he been hiding?

As to that - most of the attacks on Clinton haven't been serious or political.
They have been directed at her appearance - her laugh - her husband - her daughter. Give me a break.

BO on the other hand - has been kissing the ring and lower extremities of right wing idiots without so much as a whimper from the castrated left.

Look. if Markos and Bowers and the rest want to have feverish dreams about Obama in the White House - that's their scene - and they're welcome to it.

But if the goal is to defeat McCain - they're nuts to ignore Clinton.

It is an INCREDIBLE statement to acknowledge that Obama has poorer numbers AMONG DEMOCRATS and then to stupidly and complacently hope that they'll all come around and vote for the conservative and untried Obama against the known quantity of a McCain.  

[ Parent ]
7 reasons off the top of my head you're wrong (0.00 / 0)
1) Polls too early to capture proper Obama bounce.
2) Polls inflate number of HRC supporters who won't vote for Obama for two reasons: 1st, it's currently in their candidate's best interest for them to respond thusly and, 2nd, these numbers will likely drop as Obama solidifies the nomination and placates Dems.
3) McCain is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't: every Independent voter he pleases with 'straight talk' is accompanied by a Conservative who bails, and vice versa. Obama doesn't have this problem.
5)Obama has much better fundraising potential.
6)Obama is about 25 years younger, half a foot taller, and a rock star.

And now I see that BCdem has done a similar list just above n/t (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]

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