Obama's June Lead Was Inflated And Temporary

by: Chris Bowers

Tue Aug 19, 2008 at 13:07


Yesterday, Matt wrote about how Obama's slow, downward trend began around the same time that he began tack to the right a bit. That is roughly the same thesis I posted last month, in my article "Timeline Of The Moving To The Center Meme." This afternoon, I don't exactly want to challenge that meme, but instead to explore some other, more structural possibilities than the current messaging theories we have used to date.

Specifically, my thesis is that mid-June was sort of a stolen season--or a wake--that provided a temporary, inflated lead for Obama. This was due to a variety of structural factors in media coverage and the end of the nomination campaign. As I explain in the extended entry, we shouldn't be surprised that Obama's lead has dropped over the last two months. As the memory of the nomination campaign faded, the number of Democrats was always going to decline, the amount of attention paid to McCain was always going to increase.

More in the extended entry.  

Chris Bowers :: Obama's June Lead Was Inflated And Temporary
Consider the following:
  • Fewer Democrats than in June: According to Rasmussen's monthly tracking, the number of Democrats in the electorate has dropped by 2.5% since the start of June. That change is eerily similar to Obama 2.0-2.5% national net drop against McCain since mid-June.

  • Fewer people paying attention to the campaign: According to Pew, the number of people paying close attention to the presidential campaign has dropped since the start of July. In four of the five weeks measured since the start of July, the number of people closely following the campaign has averaged about 63%, down from over 70% during the first five months of the year. Lowered attention to the campaign could be disproportionately affecting the supporters of one candidate or the other, thus causing a change in most likely voter screens.

  • Increased Visibility for McCain: While Obama still leads in paid media, free media, and voter contacts, his proportional lead over McCain has dropped considerably since the end of the Democratic primary campaign. According to Pew, about seven times as many people report hearing more about Obama since the end of the primary campaign than hearing about McCain. Before June 13th, Obama's advantage was about 15-1 or greater. Also, while Obama had run TV ads in all 50 states before June 3rd, McCain hadn't run many ads at all since Super Tuesday. In other words, while Obama still leads in all visibility categories, before June 3rd his lead was uncontested.

Combining all three of these structural changes leads to an obvious hypothesis: the Democratic nomination campaign was good for Obama. It increased the number of Democrats, kept all focus away from anything McCain said, while still engaging a higher number of people than the current campaign. The one problem with this thesis is that Obama was either tied with, or losing to, McCain from mid-March through early June. Basically everyone confirms this, from 538 to Pollster to mindgeek. It was only when the nomination campaign ended that Obama shot out to a statistically significant, even substantial, lead over McCain.

The key, I think, is that being in the nomination campaign was not very good for Obama, but winning the nomination campaign was very good for him, albeit temporarily. The two or three weeks after the nomination campaign, which was also the time when he enjoyed his largest lead, were a sort of post-primary bubble that was almost bound to burst. At the start of June, no one had heard from McCain for months, but that was about to change. Also, the number of Democrats was at a generational high, but that was largely due to the intense national focus on Clinton vs. Obama, and thus also prone to disappear. Further, it was inevitable that attention paid to the campaign would drop between Clinton's withdrawal and the conventions, which is probably hurting Democrats in likely voter screens.

Obama wasn't ahead of McCain before June, and the temporary, structural events that led to his June lead have worn off.  So, mid-June was sort of a stolen season--or a wake--that provided a temporarily inflated lead for Obama. the bad campaign messaging hasn't helped, but it also isn't solely responsible. It is true that Democrats should be crushing Republicans this year, but Republicans nominated easily their most electable candidate, while we are banking on a "historic" candidate who has never be in a competitive general election. We should expect a close campaign between McCain and Obama, no matter the Democratic advantages this year. I don't know if Clinton would have been any better, and I don't really care. This is the matchup we ended up with, and it is the only reality we have to work with.  


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Regardless of the cause of Obama's summer fizzle, (0.00 / 0)
if Obama does not get a covention bounceas what happened to Kerry in 2004, I'll be very worried.

I'd be interested in reading about how to maximize a Dem. Convention bounce and a strategy to counter a Rep. Convention bounce.  

John McCain won't insure children


I've been thinking about the counter for the RNC... (0.00 / 0)
Maybe a big endorsement like Colin Powell or something?

Outside of that, I'm just not really sure what can be done... Maybe trying to swamp the airwaves with negative ads or something.


[ Parent ]
They'll try a few things (0.00 / 0)
to take the edge off Obama's bounce and give McCain his own:

Negative ads during Dem convention; VP announcement the day after the Dem convention; Republican convention as Obama hatefest.

I think he's also going to get a social conservative as VP to fire up the base.

I'm not saying this stuff will work but I bet that's the strategy.

As for Powell, I'll believe that when I see it. But, yeah, that would be something of a coup.


[ Parent ]
An endorsement from Powell would indicate he has courage. I haven't seen anything (0.00 / 0)
from Powell to indicate he is more than a guy who gives and takes direction.  He operates in his best interest, not in the best interest of the country.  Look at his son for guidance.  When I learned that young Powell was related to his father and mother, my entire view of the family changed.

A Powell endorsement isn't going to happen.


[ Parent ]
Well time is good (0.00 / 0)
our biggest problem is the Democratic Convention is immediately followed by the Republican Convention. The "bounce" would occur DURING the Republican Convention.

How is that going to work?

My guess is we don't get any bounce, McCain does, whatever bounce we get will be so short lived it won't even register.  


[ Parent ]
I'm not so sure (4.00 / 1)
I expect the bounce will be somewhat muted by the run-on factor. But the Republican convention looks awfully anemic as of right now and the Dem looks pretty frakkin' impressive.

The key is to be a point or two better off than now as of 2-3 days after the end of the Rep. convention.


[ Parent ]
538 had a good post on it... (0.00 / 0)
It's sort of unclear, but what you're arguing is that just the fact that the RNC is later that the DNC bounce will be canceled out completely before the RNC bounce.  I'm not so sure.  I think it's sort of going to be zero-sum, meaning that if Obama gets a +6 bounce (apparently the rough average), then whatever bounce the RNC gets will have to be higher than that to be a net-positive for them.

[ Parent ]
The GOP knew what they were doing (0.00 / 0)
when they nominated McCain. Did anyone else notice how McCain gained substantially on Romney in New Hampshire in the final days AFTER Obama won the Iowa Caucus. They thought they were going to face Hillary, whom they figured was easily beatable (probably rather erroneously, but that's neither here nor there). They needed their strongest, most popular candidate, even if it meant sucking it up and tossing aside some of their principles (we can learn from them) and they nominated him.

In the meantime, we moved forward, pretending as if this was going to be a cakewalk because Generic Democrat kicks General Republican's Ass.

The problem is we didn't get a General Democrat nor a Generic Republican.


What happened? (0.00 / 0)
"the number of Democrats in the electorate has dropped by 2.5% since the start of June"
I guess we all know what happened. And I still think Obama should have done much more to dampen the level of vitriol spread by his supporters during the campaign. And to get the party united again. If he loses by 2.5% or less in November, it will be largely his fault.  

I don't know (4.00 / 1)
what he could've done short of shutting DailyKos down.  

[ Parent ]
Oh move on (0.00 / 0)


--

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


[ Parent ]
Yeah, that's exactly what happened (4.00 / 1)
"Oh move on"
That's what they did, 2.5% of former Democrats. Moved on, out of the party. And who knows how many didn't actually leave, but still won't vote for Obama. You may not care cause you're totally optimistic about Obama's appeal to independents and moderate republicans, but the polls don't support your view. Imho there's reason for concern.

Btw, I can't remember that the 2000 or 2004 primaries were as vitriolic as this one, and there wasn't such a numerous resistance against the candidates, either. Maybe the Dems don't really need the media's helping hand to screw up their chances for the presidency this time? Again, I'm concerned.


[ Parent ]
I am not concerned - I am elated (4.00 / 1)
Obama is going to win. How we respond to the situation now and after that determines if it will be progressive, meaning moving forward on the issues that matter to the coalition of forces Obama and the Democrats in general have formed, and the restoration of America the democracy, America the land of hope and rights.

I am not concerned, I am not a concern troll. The only criticism worth mentioning at this moment in the history of the world, is the stuff about Republicans and McCain that is still not getting on the airwaves and into homes.

Thats a job, and its worth doing. Blah blah blah ing about some splitter issue, old scabs and old fights that wont end the long nightmare of Rethuglican rule are pointless.

This blog has a job to do. End the nightmare, and make the "waking up" as productive as possible.

You wanna recap your 'I was right first" posts, why not wait till December?

--

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


[ Parent ]
Like I said, totally optimistic (4.00 / 1)
However, I can see nothing especially elating in the downward trend in the polls, in a candidate publicly stating important issues with legislative consequences are "above his paygrade" (don't Senators earn enough for simply doing their job?), and the almost total lack of elating progressive issues in the news recently....

[ Parent ]
He was asked when is a fetus human> (0.00 / 0)
He answered he was not God.

Sure sounds like a troll to me, Im sure Im wrong but please pick and issue and work for it. And not against my candidate please. The one we endorsed, the one who won, the one who is winning. The one HRC asked you to work for, if Clinton ever was speaking to you.

Do you "know" when a fetus becomes a human? Is the egg human? Is each sperm human?

Are we moving forward now?


--

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


[ Parent ]
It's a bullshit question (4.00 / 3)
and I have to believe SOMEDAY we will have a presidential candidate with the spine to say so.

The answer is, "I don't know when a fetus becomes human, but what I do know is that women are definitely human, and they have the right to decide for themselves when and under what conditions they will become mothers. It is not up to the government to decide."

This coy hemming and hawing does not inspire confidence.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Thank you Sadie I suspect if you forward that to soem close to the (4.00 / 1)
Obama campaign it will be included in further explications.
I rec'ed it up because it was perfectly concise.

--

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


[ Parent ]
What really was said: (0.00 / 0)
WARREN: Forty million abortions, at what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.
http://www.clipsandcomment.com...

Now, where's that part where Obama said he isn't god? Looks like you should have checked the quote before answering.

As for the question who is more trollish here, I have a clear conscience. And imho short, provocational posts, without any original content, are typically of trolls. Well, I guess the readers of this thread will make their mind up on their own.  


[ Parent ]
"looking at it from a theological perspective" (0.00 / 0)
theo is more than a name for Crosby's kid.

So he is not the one who decides, (God) and not a priest I guess, though I do not trust priests to say what reality is - "for me."

--

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


[ Parent ]
I hope Obama learned that he has to be more concise, that the average American is not (0.00 / 0)
us and will not stay with him through the long answers.  Saturday night was a great dry run, and he'll be much better for the debates.

[ Parent ]
And if a fetus has rights from the moment of birth (4.00 / 1)
Can the government jail the mother for taking drugs?  Prescribe diets?  Jail fathers for non-support?

This is a position that is fraught with complications and would be a real mess if ever incorporated into law.

Obmam was right.  

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


[ Parent ]
It's no coincidence the foe (4.00 / 1)
always talks about abortion in terms of "babies." It's their only shot at the moral high ground, as disingenious as that may be.

And it's a trap our team should never fall into. When they say "babies," say "women." Bring the conversation back to the real world, and force them to talk about their true agenda because when that happens, we win every time.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
2000 and 2004 were very short seasons (0.00 / 0)
The longer the war, the tougher it gets.

[ Parent ]
So many speeches... (4.00 / 1)
..and not a single sentence about the atrocities. Stating one or two examples, and saying explicitly that he doesn't endorse such smearing, and that he is ashamed of such supporters. Imho this would have had an impact. I can't help but suspect he accepted the polarization as a mere sideeffect of his most enthusiastic supporters taking over the blogosphere.

[ Parent ]
Are you kidding? (4.00 / 2)
How was Obama supposed to run a primary campaign without campaigning? Do the Hillary dead-enders really have such short memories? Mark Penn was ready to go scorched earth against Obama and actually started to before being canned. What should the Obama campaign have done?

Also, anyone who supported Clinton in the primary and now supports McCain is an irrational idiot, and it's hard to come up with reasonable ways to reach out to that demographic.


[ Parent ]
Campaigning is one thing (4.00 / 1)
writing diaries and comments insulting Hillary and calling her names is quite another.

[ Parent ]
Please (0.00 / 0)


--

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


[ Parent ]
Thesis is probably right (0.00 / 0)
It is the greater exposure McCain has gotten vs the Obama campaign's shift from a primary to a general campaign.  This required integrating the Clinton people and taking on other new staff, recalibrating the message, thinking about a VP etc.  McCain himself has been much more aggressive and nasty than many people expected, and his campaign's penchant for throwing trash onto the wall to see what sticks seems to have had an effect.,  OTOH, the Obama are by all outward accounts much more coordinated than past campaigns, the oprganizing has been going on largely under the radar and will pay off in November, and the candidate seems to have returned from vacation rested and ready to take McCain head on over the issue of judgment and his pump-up-the-rich economics.  Saddleback gave him two killer ads ("$5 million is the definition of rich" and "I'm 100% pro-life and will have a 100% pro-life administration with more pro-life judges").  

Obama should get a bounce out of his convention and speech.  McCain's VP pick announced on a Friday, the anniversary of Katrina and his 72nd birthday, should result in a mixed and diluted message.  If he freally does announce in Phio, maybe it is Jon Portman, Budget Director and former trade rep, before that rep from OH-02, signaling an emphasis on cutting spending.  That's a campaign I think Obama could win.

I'm reserving judgment about Obama's lead until after Labor Day.  


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


It's Rob Portman .. (0.00 / 0)
but I have a hard time believing he's the one .. he's unknown

[ Parent ]
McCain is threatening Lieberman because the Republicans will be so much more (0.00 / 0)
grateful when he announces Portman.  Selecting Lieberman would be great for Obama, but it won't happen.  Even McCain is not that stupid and that's saying a lot.

[ Parent ]
Makes sense, but (0.00 / 0)
Your thesis is more plausible than anything else I've heard.

But explain this part: "Fewer Democrats than in June: According to Rasmussen's monthly tracking, the number of Democrats in the electorate has dropped by 2.5% since the start of June."

In other words, fewer people now self-identify as Democrats?

What would cause this phenomenon? And should we assume then that those who formally identified themselves as Democrats now consider fall in the independent category, and support McCain?


PUMA (0.00 / 0)
Hillary supporters who left the party. They exist and they can make up some of that.  

[ Parent ]
We get it, really we do, Thanks. (0.00 / 0)
Move on.

--

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


[ Parent ]
You have how many comments in this thread? (0.00 / 0)
You have said essentially the same thing in many other threads. You have said nothing new here, again, many times. It is not that you are not allowed to say what you think is important, really please go ahead. But since it contributes nothing, and it has been absorbed and digeted by all here and on other sites as well, why continue?

Do you have an outcome from this communication? An action? Is there a change that can be made? Is there someone you want arrested? Should someone announce something? Can anyone apologize, or is there a specific person you want to kneel and bow?

If you don't have a desired outcome from this and just want the regular folks and readers to know you aren't happy, it didn't turn out the way you wanted, and you were the first to predict the demise of all that is good and ripe, then we get it.

Thanks

--

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


[ Parent ]
Again (0.00 / 0)
Touchy

I supported Obama, got beaten up about it all over the damn place back at home. It's not that I supported Obama. I got beaten up about it because Hillary supporters didn't think they were being treated fairly.

What do I want my outcome to be? Understand that many of you forced some people out of the party by being obnoxious. Some people just can't win gracefully. I don't care that Mark Penn wanted to scorch the earth or Hillary said this or that. Stooping to their level doesn't win you points and hasn't.

I want my guy to win and quite frankly some of you just haven't been helpful.  


[ Parent ]
"many of you" -- "some of you" -- "some people" (0.00 / 0)
and "stooping to their level"

Thank you for that. You have explained so well, and moved the conversation forward, and now we can be friends working for progress and stop picking scabs.

Or shall we revisit, just exactly as HRC has asked us not to do, some old slight from "some supporter."   "Grace and grit" are the well described strengths of our champion in the presidential battle, as coined by Hillary Rodham Clinton. I agree with her, and I am still taking her advise, of doing everything I can, everything, to get him elected with the highest possible popular vote and electoral college vote. Not just winning but redrawing the map of politics in America for ever.

Being a drag anchor won't help this sailboat.  

In case you wonder, when A-Rod come off the field after striking out, as he does more often than not, his manager says 'thanks, good effort.' "Fair weather fans" in the stands on the other hand cup their fingers beside their mouths and shout 'loser' until they are hoarse. One helps the other does not.

Good managers will, in the locker room or on off days, strike up a conversation about the philosophy of hitting, the psychology of the swing and the habits of opponent pitchers, keeping the eye on the ball of improving the team.

Please feel free to be a manager of the Democratic Party.

--

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


[ Parent ]
So (0.00 / 0)
don't pick a fight with me, I'm not the anchor, I'm the guy telling you there is an anchor down. You're the one who think there isn't.

I gave you my opinion as to what's wrong. I know the solution, but it's not practical, so where we go from here, I don't know.  


[ Parent ]
I am not picking a fight. (0.00 / 0)
I am saying, as you have,
the solution, but it's not practical,
pick an outcome, pick something to work toward, push in the direction you want to go.

Repetition of a disappointment does you, and I, and our champion no good at all. None. So.

So.

Get a goal. Pick it well so it helps move the project of ending the long Republican Destruction of American Democracy Project, and hope beyond hope, makes a permanent realignment of American politics so we argue not about how to keep it from getting worse, but how best, together, we can make it better.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Alright (0.00 / 0)
put Hillary on the ticket or step down and let her have the nomination and get humiliated by McCain. That's pretty much all that will appease them.

Not practical, therefore we need to hope to win without them. Whether or not we do is not certain. They're undermining us every chance they get.  


[ Parent ]
There is no they. HRC and her supporters are with us. (0.00 / 0)
The Democratic party will end the Nightmare of Republican Corruption, Self Serving and Hypocrisy. The strides are about to be taken, the battle is about to start.

Obama is going to win, and Hillary will be campaigning hard for all Democrats up and down the ticket.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Yes I am working to win doing my jobs. (0.00 / 0)
I do not spend my efforts shrieking from the stands like a drunken lout (just an image) but tryinbg to be a managers helper, keeping the ball players of the season focused on the real job (home runs) and not the bad pitches or bean balls thrown.

Ignore the bad pitches, hit the good ones hard.

Come team! Rally! This is the world series and our team is at bat.

If you forget that I will try and gently remind you. Thousands of dead mark our mistakes.

--

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


[ Parent ]
Simply suppressing the problem.. (4.00 / 1)
won't help solving it.

[ Parent ]
I am the giant suppressor (4.00 / 1)
"Look upon my works ye mighty and despair."

--

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


[ Parent ]
How You Save Western Civilization By Ignoring Shelley's Greatest Sonnet (4.00 / 1)
was something I never quite could figure out about the neocon response to 9/11.


"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 ]
More Republicans right after the election of 2004 (0.00 / 0)
Some significant percentage (over 2.5%) identifies with the winner.  That's all.  In November, 2004 there were many more GOPers than in the fall of 2005.  That's how it is.  They are weak idsentifiers who identify with the winner. IN June Obama was the winner and throughoutn the spring the Dems in general were the winners.  That's all it is.  The long-term demographics that favor the Dems haven't changed.

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

[ Parent ]
McCain's Increased Visibility I Buy (4.00 / 3)
But the other two could just as easily be a result of Obama's move to the center as a cause.  Particularly given that:

(a) The Democratic brand generally declined as a result of the ineffective opposition to Bush in 2007, then revived and gained new heights during the primary campaign, and

(b) Obama's shift in both tone and content made his candidacy less exciting, which would result in less attention being paid.

It's good to consider this sort of alternate explanation, but ultimately, I don't find it very convicing.

"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


Are we underestimateing (0.00 / 0)
the number of people who are just sick of this election. That's another factor I think. I've talked to a few people at home who are focused on the Olympics because they're sick of Obama and McCain  

[ Parent ]
And Why Is That? (0.00 / 0)
Partly because Obama's become less interesting, less innovative, less compelling.

More coverage that isn't really about anything is bound to turn some people off, or at least leave them looking for something they haven't heard 10 times over before.

"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 ]
How can he change that? (0.00 / 0)
It's the storyline. The top story has been the campaign for over a year. Obama can dance on water and there will be people who will shrug and say "ugh, not this guy again"

Yes, Obama has become less interesting and less compelling, so has McCain, because we've been hearing about this same damn campaign for over a year.

I started hearing "November can't come soon enough" in like April.

You and I both know Obama can't control the coverage of him.  


[ Parent ]
An Actual Reality-Based Discussion of How To Solve Our Problems? (4.00 / 1)
Oh, I don't mean boring old lecture style (which I, personally don't find boring at all, I'm talking about reaching the masses here), I mean something like finding dozens and dozens of ordinary Americans whose stories paint a vivid, but quite specific picture of the problems we face, and use them as a launching pad to move into specifics.

It doesn't have to be 8-point type specific.  In fact, it shouldn't be. But it does have to be specific enough that it's not goop and it sets us apart, both from the GOP and from things people think haven't worked in the past.

And the specifics should always feed back into a compelling narrative conclusion.

"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 ]
The crowds were a problem (4.00 / 1)
I think the Obama campaign knew this. When he claimed victory in Minnesota the crowd was manic, almost out of control, like a mob (at least as it appeared on my TV screen). I did not anticipate that Obama would so decisively move to squelch the enthusiam of the Democratic base that loved him so much at that moment, but the campaign surely anticipated the "celebrity" attacks that were coming. We're going to vote for him anyway. Better if we're not there, at his rallies, day after day in such huge numbers, screaming in adoration.

Obama's fundraising numbers, and huge rallies I believe, were starting to feel like a trap. The 'rock star falls from grace' storyline has always been compelling and the the cautionary moral could still defeat Obama. Except for Berlin (not sure why he even did that appearance--perhaps they didn't expect it to be so big?), Obama has laid pretty low since mid-June. What's he going to do now?

If he's been trying to lose hard-core progressive support, he's been successful. When he broke faith with us with his FISA vote, he as much as said right out: "if this is a deal breaker, then so be it." Well, of course it was a deal-breaker, but we're all going to vote for him anyway in the end, so he knew it wouldn't matter. But I don't believe it's our votes he's losing in the polls since June.

The story at the convention is going to be the crowd in the stands. I hope that crowd keeps to its seats while Obama speaks and keeps their enthusiasm in check. If Obama can't control that crowd, the celebrity attack will morph very quickly and credibly into the demagogue attack. A stadium full of fanatics screaming their heads off for a politician will be exactly the video the Republicans will need to take the attack to the next level.  


[ Parent ]
Yes, Because That REALLY Worried Ronald Reagan In 1984 (0.00 / 0)
I remember it well.

He very nearly lost because of all the enthusiastic support he had.

His campaign did everything they could to dampen folks enthusiasm.  Like, when they used Lawrence Welk's version of "Born In The USA" instead of Bruce Springsteen's.

"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 think we keep forgetting (0.00 / 0)
there are different rules for Democrats. Republicans can be negative and popular, that makes them tough, Democrats can't be, that makes them elitist  

[ Parent ]
hatred/disinterest in politics - yes (0.00 / 0)
this can never be underestimated as a factor.  Most people don't want to learn to parse policy differences.  Most people are not intellectuals with time on their hands to spend on politics.  

[ Parent ]
That could be it too (0.00 / 0)
I get the feeling that some people are just desperate to change the topic from this election and that desperation is leading to dislike for the candidates.  

[ Parent ]
When you don't fight for what you supposedly believe in, you lose, period (4.00 / 5)
even if you technically "win". On issue after issue, congressional Dems, which included Obama as a senator, and now as a presidential candidate, have refused to meaningfully fight for the policies and goals that they supposedly believe in, and have instead caved on issue after issue, in order to "compromise" (i.e. capitulate) and appear to be "reasonable" (i.e. the GOP's bitches), and the results speak for themselves.

Not only have they failed to achieve these policies and goals (ending the war, taking down Bush, Cheney & Co., getting the country on a path towards sustainable alternative energy and universal health care, etc.), but they've failed to exploit this unique historical opportunity to become the decisively dominant party during this era. A mere numerical advantage in congress does not make for a dominant party. Running the other side into the ground is what does that. They have not does that.

And Obama has followed this "lead", by refusing to fight for the policies and goals that he supposedly believes in, either because he dreads a real fight (which I suspect has some truth to it) and is by nature a sidestepping punter and finesser, or because he just doesn't care about them, beyond their ability to be exploited to bring along the base and fool a bunch of 20-something cultists who can't put together three words to describe what he's actually accomplished and stands for. And the results speak for themselves.

He still has the left (although much of it supports him because he's the candidate, and not because he's who he specifically is), but he's failing to capture the center, because the center likes a fighter, and someone who stands up for their beliefs, and he's not showing himself to be one. It's simply stunning (not to mention infuriating) that after decades of seeing Dems run hypercautious campaigns in which they went to great lengths to show that they weren't one of "those" crazy DFH's--and then LOST--so many of them continue to campaign (and legislate) in precisely the same manner. And Obama is doing the exact same thing.

I don't know if Obama's doing this because he truly believes that it will work THIS TIME (he is, after all, "different"), or because he simply isn't a fighter who will stand up for his beliefs (to the extent that he has any deep ones). Either way, though, it's an idiotic political strategy that could actually hand the election to McCain. The country despises politicians who will not fight and stand up for their beliefs. And Obama is showing himself to be one.

THAT, more than anything (in an immediate, political sense at least), was why his flip-flop on FISA was so incredibly stupid. Obama has shown himself to be someone who will duck fights and refuse to stand up for his alleged principles. And the swing voter center senses that, and is, I believe, reacting accordingly. Say what you will about McCain, and that it's all a lie (which it mostly is), but at least he's very good at creating the IMPRESSION of fighting and standing up for what he believes in. Obama is not, and that, if anything, might doom him.

And no, lurking cultists, it's not my and others pointing this out that could doom him, but his actually doing this. So please suppress the urge to shoot the messenger or tell me that the proper way to deal with this weakness is to never ever bring it up. Um, no.

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


[ Parent ]
The center (0.00 / 0)
also like FISA, oil drilling and restrictions on abortion.

Yeah, they'll like Obama the fighter, they won't vote for him because he doesn't share their beliefs, but they'll like him.  


[ Parent ]
Um, no (0.00 / 0)
I have no idea where you got this notion about the center, but it wasn't from a legitimate poll or survey. Virtually every major and credible poll taken over the past 5-10 years shows the majority of Americans against warrantless wiretaps and for abortion rights, and siding much more with the left than the right on issue after issue.

Sure, you can finesse either issue to show that most Americans are for some restrictions on abortion and more surveillance, but a majority of them are not anti-choice or pro-big brother.

As for offshore drilling, well they do appear to be in favor of it right now, but that's an impulsive pocketbook position that isn't grounded in years of exposure to the specifics of drilling, and which is contradicted by the preference of a majority of Americans for alternative energy development. A bunch of big oil shills are yelling "Drill now!" and, in their mid-summer high gas prices funk, Americans are saying "Hell yeah!", even though they don't realize that it'll be 5-10 years at least before they MAYBE save $0.05 a gallon.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Obama voted for FISA, is for some restrictions on abortion, and now appears willing to compromise on drilling. And yet, he doesn't seem to have impressed the center. So this basically nullifies your argument that position trumps character.

The "center" that you're referring to is actually the far right dittohead wingnutosphere who were never going to vote for him anyway. Today's actual center is moving to the left, as poll after poll shows. They're just not yet ready to commit to Obama, and are falling for the McCain Maverick song and dance. But the reality that you're describing might have been true 30-40 years ago, even as recent as the mid-90's on some issues, but no more. That "Silent Majority" that Nixon went after are in rocking chairs and six feet under--thank god.

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


[ Parent ]
You keep saying that Obama is going to win (0.00 / 0)
but it sure isn't looking like it lately.  You keep saying that Obama will win several states that Bush won last time, and that McCain won't win any Kerry states, but that isn't looking so certain anymore either.  I kept hearing that once the country got to know what a right-wing, anti-abortion, pro-war, Bush wanna be nut job McCain is, he would get clobbered.  Well, it hasn't happened yet, and we're less than 3 months away from the election now.

What really concerns me the most is another stolen election.  Say Obama is ahead in the polls by 2-3% in New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Iowa, and Montana, and by bigger margins in all the states that Kerry won.  It will look impossible for McCain to win unless he sweeps them all.  But all those states can be stolen if the leads are small enough.  The public won't question a state going to McCain if Obama's lead in the final poll was 47-45%.  Obama needs to be leading in these states 51-46%, otherwise attempts to steal will be much less likely to be believed and accepted.

Just a final note.  Look at the polls from yesterday, and what they were yesterday 4 years ago.  Obama is so far behind where Kerry was at this point 4 years ago, it makes me wonder how he is going to hang on.

http://www.electoral-vote.com/...

http://www.electoral-vote.com/...


Someone else was always ahead of McCain before June (0.00 / 0)
Obama wasn't ahead of McCain before June, and the temporary, structural events that led to his June lead have worn off.  So, mid-June was sort of a stolen season--or a wake--that provided a temporarily inflated lead for Obama. the bad campaign messaging hasn't helped, but it also isn't solely responsible. It is true that Democrats should be crushing Republicans this year, but Republicans nominated easily their most electable candidate, while we are banking on a "historic" candidate who has never be in a competitive general election. We should expect a close campaign between McCain and Obama, no matter the Democratic advantages this year. I don't know if Clinton would have been any better, and I don't really care. This is the matchup we ended up with, and it is the only reality we have to work with.  

That person was the other candidate....Hillary Clinton.  While Obama kept losing in general election matchups before June 8th, Hillary kept winning over John McCain, even though by the delegate numbers she wasn't going to win the nomination.  That is evidence that could have been projected into the future.

And she was a seasoned campaigner, who had the ability and the ideological framework to go after the other party before they go after you.  

Sure this is our reality...but it's not like all the things you noted that work against him weren't easily apparent before .... and said before those who didnt support him in the primary.

Yes, McCain is not the generic Republican, and he appeals to the very same moderate Repubicans and independents that Obama is going after ...even though Obama seems to be ignoring the part of the Democratic base that supported Hillary.  Cutting off you nose to spite your face.

So I am dearly hoping and praying that at the convention the Obama campaign will roll out the nuclear weapons....because they have disarmed the rest of their allies.

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


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