Oct 08 2008

Listen To Obi-wan Kenobi, There Is Good News Out There

Published by at 8:15 pm under All General Discussions

McCain wants to change DC, Obama wants to change America!

Obi-wan Kenobi is a mentor of Jim Geraghty who has years of political experience on the GOP side. In 2004 Obi-wan and I were of the exact same mind (which means more about my ability to act like a stopped watch every for years and luck into being right). Obi-wan surfaced recently to bring some experience to bear on a nervous GOP base:

“Any pessimism now is dumbness,” he said as he appeared to me recently. “A few weeks ago every swing state was coming McCain’s way and he had a national lead. And some polls showed him  four points and six points behind in New Jersey and New York. And now all that has gone away? Politics doesn’t work like that. The American people, even in the midst of an unprecented economic crisis, don’t react like that for any sustained period. Those patterns can reassert themselves.”

“First, Obama did not have a good debate. He didn’t do what he needed to do. Be reassuring. His gestalt was shaky.”

Obama has a much higher hurdle than Kennedy, Al Gore, John Kerry, or almost any other recent Democrat. All of those candidates were known quantities. The fundamental question of this election is going to be, ‘as we head into really challenging times, which man reassures you?'”

Second, Obi says the Palin phenomenon is for real. “Not only because she is so effective or appealing but because it spotllights McCain’s decision-making. He can throw a tenstrike at the critical moment.  McCain’s campaign has missed a few but basically it has shown resilence.”

Fourth — for me this was the the kind of insight that makes him as a Jedi Master — “Media bias may be McCain’s biggest asset in this race.

“I guarantee you, right now there is some realist in the Obama camp who is petrified of any falloff in the polls. Because if Obama slips, he could fall fast. McCain’s already gotten up off the mat once this cycle, when he was supposed to be dead in the primary. He faced a meltdown and it didn’t happen; you almost never see candidates and campaigns who can pull out of a crash dive . . .

There’s much more at the link, definitely go read the whole thing – and listen to Obi-wan Kenobi.

There are a few more of us not wringing our hands over the debate. This contrary view of the situation at RCP also mirrors my own views quite nicely:

But sometimes those of us covering this campaign every hour of the day can lose perspective on what actual voters are thinking. The chatterers are talking to the chatterers, who are talking to other chatterers. And what they all decided was that McCain needed to do what they thought right. He didn’t, ergo he lost.

Well, perhaps. But in the echo chamber that is the national media certain things are sometimes lost. For instance, the media has all but declared Sarah Palin a drag on the ticket, and yet she continues to draw huge crowds. Someone out there likes her.

When events don’t go the way the chatterers want them to go (or think they should go) they call it a defeat, a missed opportunity, etc. But what they’re really saying more often than not is that they want politicians to do what they think is right. McCain didn’t last night. He and his campaign felt it was better to talk to the American people, not to the chatterers.

Armchair candidates are every where. And just like buttocks, everyone’s got an opinion on what they would do. I think McCain made the right choices by and large. 

And about Palin and her draw. Her debate with Joe What’s-his-name drew an all time record crowd of 72.5 million (if you count in the PBS audiences – no word on C-SPAN viewers, which is where we watch the debates to avoid the chatterer). The 2nd Presidential debate was only able to approach the Palin draw, coming in at 63 million. Palin draws overflow crowds that equal or exceed The Messiah’s crowds.

There are even some folks on the left who know better than to fall for the current swath of polls.

Peaks are called that for a reason: Within the last three days, Obama had surpassed or equaled his all-time high in every single tracking poll: Research 2000 (+12% two days ago), Gallup (+9% yesterday), Rasmussen (+8% yesterday), Battleground (+7% yesterday), Hotline (+7% three days ago), and Zogby (+3% yesterday). With Obama hitting his all-time high in four tracking polls yesterday, one two days ago and one three days ago, for both of the reasons mentioned above, the idea that his standing in these polls was gong anywhere but down is wishful thinking. When dealing with polls that have a track record of several weeks and, in some cases, seven months, it is highly unlikely that a record will be immediately followed with another record.

I want to illustrate another example of shoddy polls sitting in the RCP poll average polls, mucking up the numbers (being an engineer with a broad science background poor math models bug the daylights out of me).  Here is today’s Morning Call daily tracking poll for PA – now at +12 Obama. Some internals and caveats inside the numbers worth pointing out. First the bottom line numbers:

NOT SURE……………………. 9%

Seems ominous, except for the big “(INCLUDING LEANERS)” warning sign just above the numbers. Wonder what it looked like without the “leaners”? But there is more. Check out the sample break down:

DEMOCRAT…………….. 54% 
REPUBLICAN…………… 39% 

Wow, with a 15% tilt to the Dems and almost no Independents Obama better be ahead by 12%. And finally, this little disclaimer at the end:

The data gathered through our interviewing process is statistically weighted to insure that the sample reflects the overall population of voters in terms of age, race, gender and region of the state. The weighting process is required because different segments of the population respond to interview requests in different ways. For example, women answer the phone more than men and older individuals are more likely to be reached than their younger counterparts. The Muhlenberg College/Morning Call poll does not weight by party affiliation.

What you get in the sample is what you get in the sample is all you get in terms of aligning registration with reality. Many, many Dems vote conservative in PA, which is why the large voter registration advantage for Dems in PA usually result in a nail biter between the GOP and Dems in the Presidential race – like it did in the 2.5% squeaker for Kerry over Bush in 2004.

There is no realistic way Obama is +12% in PA. He might be +3-5%. If the national polls tighten some more, the state polls will follow suit a few days later. I think Obama is worried, he acts worried. His campaign acts worried. And watching Sarah Palin and Cindy McCain represent women strongly on the stump is not hurting McCain either.

Here’s my October surprise guess. I am thinking Alice Palmer, the state senator from Illinois Obama shuffled out of her seat by suing her name off the ballot in court, will come out again as she did just recently for CNN, and put the lie to Obama’s cover story regarding Bill Ayers and that event hosted at his house that launched his political career. The Obama camp claimed they knew nothing of the host since Palmer – so they claim – coordinated the event. Not so said Ms Palmer:

Anderson, this meeting at Bill Ayers’ home has been classified in many different ways. What I can tell you from two people who were actually there is: number one, former State Senator Alice Palmer says she in no way organized this meeting. She was invited, and attended it briefly. And, Dr. QuintonYoung, a retired doctor, told us this indeed was Barack Obama’s political coming-out party and it was hosted by Bill Ayers.

Alice Palmer was a strong Hillary supporter. She doesn’t owe allegiance to Obama in anyway, and in a lot of ways owes him a good swift kick to the political curb – as he did to her when he ended her political career.

I’m with Obi-wan Kenobi, the Force is not with Obama right now, despite the polls.

McCain wants to change DC, Obama wants to change America!

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Listen To Obi-wan Kenobi, There Is Good News Out There”

  1. Mark says:


    I’m not AJ, but I can mention that Intrade is only right at the end of the contract life, not necessarily all along the way. The contract prices for Obama/McCain seem to track the polls more than anything else. Folks like to act like the contract “predicts” things, but it really does not.

  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    I am one of the poll following number crunchers for my own reasons and like AJ posted a couple of days ago , even with the data in front of you sometimes you have to do range and sanity checks.

    Now for example Indiana in the last two elections went for Bush something like +15 and +20 but now polls there are showing it as a toss up state.

    There has to be a reason to reflect that much of a shift and you would expect it to be mirrored in other states in some way.

    Well perhaps it is because of their voter drive they are having

    Seems Marion Country just reported their latest voter registration figures (Indianapolis) and they managed to register 105% of their voter age population.

    All those other slacker counties out there need to get off their butts and play catch up now.

  3. gwood says:

    The reason for the recent poll gyrations is simple.

    The economy was thrust into the fore as the primary consideration for voters by the credit crisis.

    The mainstream media proceeded to blame capitalism in general, and Republican policies in particular. They succeeded. Temporarily.

    Then Fox News, talk radio, and the internet began to get the truth out, with proof that the whole thing began with and was sustained by, known liberal tendencies to manipulate credit with regulation.

    The credit crisis should be the end of liberalism. It won’t, but it may taint Obama just enough to get McCain into the White House.

  4. […] of voters, the young.  I have seen and documented this tilt in poll internals for weeks now, as I did with the Morning Call PA Poll. That poll hillariously has a 15% difference in voter turnout between Dems and Reps, even though […]

  5. […] hysterically looney CBS News/NY Times poll shows why math is not for everyone. As a political veteran said recently the public doesn’t have wild gyrations in mood – especially not in a week.  The tell tale […]

  6. […] I buying into the idea PA is in play? Not yet, but I have said this many times before (see here and here for example), polls that simply use party affiliation have never been right when it comes […]

  7. […] +12%, has Obama up by about the same amount. The latest Pew poll is a great example of this, as are the Morning Call polls in PA. They would indicate this kind of Democrat turnout should be showing an huge two digit lead […]