More than 1-in-5 TV Households Watched Obama Last Night

Nielsen has the details:

The combined overall household rating for Senator Barack Obama's Wednesday night infomercial, in the top 56 local television markets where Nielsen maintains electronic TV meters, was 21.7.

Obama's simulcast is the first to be aired by a presidential candidate since Ross Perot ran a political telecast on Election Day in 1996.  That program was watched by 16.8% of all households nationwide.

Ross Perot also ran a series of 15 political telecasts during the 1992 presidential election.

In comparison, the final debate between the two presidential candidates received a 38.3 household rating in the top 56 local TV markets.  The candidates' first debate on September 26 received a 34.7 household rating in the top 55 markets; their second debate, on October 7, received a 42.0 household rating in those markets.

Nearly a third of television households in the Philadelphia market tuned into the Obama event immediately preceding the World Series, making the market Obama's second best for the evening. Other swing areas in the top-10 included West Palm Beach (second), Greensboro, NC (fifth), St. Louis (sixth), Washington, DC (seventh), and Boston (ninth), with the latter two bleeding into swing states.

The pundits on the cable nets may try to discount the power of the broadcast. However,
 Obama was not trying to convince the Beltway cognoscenti with his event -- he was trying to reach voters who might otherwise not have been reached. So the fact that what appears to have been tens of millions of people tuned in last night to a program with Oscar-like production values laying out a cogent case for why Barack Obama should be elected the next President of the United States cannot be a bad thing for the Obama campaign.

There's more...

Barack Obama/Bill Clinton Florida Rally Thread

As I said when the event was first announced, the Barack Obama/Bill Clinton rally in Orlando is a major coup for the Obama campaign, an opportunity to dominate the news coverage for an extra day. Indeed, it looks like both CNN and MSNBC will run the event live (that's a lot of Obama for the evening!), as may some of the local stations in Florida, and coverage of the joint appearance should continue well into tomorrow.

Obama and Clinton are chatting backstage as Florida's senior Senator Bill Nelson warms up the crowd. The main event should start soon.

Update [2008-10-29 23:21:5 by Jonathan Singer]: Oh, it's on. Don't have cable? Check out the rally on

Update [2008-10-29 23:24:11 by Todd Beeton]:Here ya go:

[UStream embed removed]

Update [2008-10-29 23:30:28 by Todd Beeton]:Barack Obama: "In case you all forgot, this is what it's like to have a great president." Wow. "Bill Clinton, give it up! Nobody makes the case for change that helps the middle class like Bill Clinton. Nobody."

Update [2008-10-29 23:32:51 by Todd Beeton]:I see a McCain ad in our future: Bill Clinton telling the crowd "He talked to his advisors and said 'Tell me what the right thing to do is.'"

Update [2008-10-29 23:37:54 by Todd Beeton]:It was interesting to talk about Barack in the same terms that he used to speak about Hillary, when he said Barack will be the sort of president who "makes positive change in people's lives."

Update [2008-10-30 1:28:11 by Todd Beeton]:Look at this absolutely glowing coverage of the Obama/Clinton event tonight:

Portraying harmony like never before, Bill Clinton hailed Barack Obama on Wednesday, a power pairing designed to inspire Democrats already smelling victory.

"Barack Obama represents America's future, and you've got to be there for him next Tuesday," Clinton, with Obama at his side, said to the cheers of a partisan crowd.

Heaping praise on President Bush's predecessor, Obama said of Clinton: "In case all of you forgot, this is what it's like to have a great president."

There's more...

McCain Relegated to Spending Money in Arizona

Greg Sargent has the scoop:

John McCain and the Republican National Committee are now running robocalls attacking Obama as weak on terrorism -- in McCain's home state of Arizona, according to multiple readers from the state.

The call signals genuine worry about McCain's home state at a time when several polls show the race to be much closer than expected there.

McCain's robocall, which was played to us over the phone by Mary Joe Bartel, a retiree who lives south of Tuscon, attacks Obama as unprepared to defend the country from terrorism, singling out Joe Biden's recent remarks about the likelihood of Obama being tested by an international crisis early in his first term.

This is the fourth straight day with news indicating that Arizona is on the map this last week of the campaign despite the fact that it is John McCain's home state and Barack Obama has not seriously targeted the state, with first Democratic polling shows the race to be within a single digit margin, then nonpartisan polling -- and then even apparently Republican polling, too. This development also comes on the heels of two more nonpartisan polls both showing the race to be narrow and McCain to be under 50 percent.


John McCain: 46 percent
Barack Obama: 44 percent

Northern Arizona University

John McCain: 49 percent
Barack Obama: 41 percent

I'll repeat what I said yesterday: With the race in Arizona clearly tight, and the McCain campaign sufficiently worried to divert funds from other swing states to their candidate's home state, the Obama campaign should, if it can find a few hundred thousand dollars, make a modest investment in the state, which would have the potential upside of 10 more electoral votes for Obama's column, in addition to a bolstered argument for a mandate in the event of an Obama victory.

There's more...

Chris Shays: McCain Lost Maverick Brand

It's never a good thing when one of the few remaining even slightly moderate members of your party calls out your shady practices.

"He has lost his brand as a maverick," Rep. Chris Shays, a Connecticut Republican and co-chairman of the McCain campaign in that state, told the Yale Daily News in the latest criticism. "He did not live up to his pledge to fight a clean campaign."

Ouch. I wouldn't be surprised to see that quote in a campaign ad or two in the next few days. Yes, this represents an effort by Chris Shays to engage in the type of mau-mauing for which he has become famous -- namely attempting to distance himself from his party during election years even as he is fairly loyal to his party during non-election years. Nevertheless, it is a slap in the face to John McCain from one of his loyalists, and yet another example of the brewing civil war inside the Republican Party in which McCain is dumping on his party while his fellow Republicans are selling out their presidential nominee.

There's more...

Tracking Poll Update: McCain Inching (or Centimetering) Up

Gallup (Trad)4946
Gallup (Exp)5144
Rasmussen Reports5047
Research 2000/dKos5044

One interesting thing to note out of the Gallup tracker is that although there has more or less been no movement in either likely voter model (the expanded model is exactly the same as it was yesterday, and the tightened model has John McCain down a point), Gallup's registered voter numbers actually show Barack Obama's lead growing by a couple of points from yesterday to today.

In other tracking poll news, the Washington Post/ABC News survey gives Obama the same 52 percent to 45 percent lead over McCain it gave him the day before, and for the fourth day in a row the Battleground tracker (.pdf) shows Obama edging McCain 49 percent to 46 percent.

Lumping all the numbers, what do we see? Obama remaining at or around 50 percent, and McCain inching (or perhaps more precisely centimetering) up from the low-40s, where he stood for some time, to the mid-40s. Does this indicate some tightening? Perhaps. But it's not the type of tightening McCain needs -- dragging Obama noticeably below 50 percent, and pushing himself above 45 percent.

And on the lighter side, a friend sent me this, which is also up on MyDD right now:, which gives a bit of a run down on the types of things the GOP veep nominee has been spending money on of late.

We are 6 days out from election day. What are you doing to help enact progressive change in this country?


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