I'm a little confused about the forecast in one respect: you list Tennessee and Missouri as "toss-ups," and yet in your analysis you project the Dems to take Tennessee and your "best guess" is that the Republicans will take Missouri, and you've assigned them that way in your final count of 50R - 48D - 2I.
But, to me, a toss-up state is one that cannot be assigned to either party on the basis of the current information available and whatever methods of projection are being used. So, shouldn't you either move MO and TN into "lean" or create new categories ("edge", perhaps?) for them, or list your current projection as 49R - 47D - 2I + 2 toss-up?
My specific question has to do with how to list you in the survey of election projections I've been assembling, similar to the one I did for the electoral college back in 2004. With the listing of states you've provided (and assuming the two independents would caucus with the Dems -- and I know what a perilous assumption that might be), I'd put you down as 49Dem - 49Rep - 2Toss-up(MO, TN), but with your specific projection, it would be 50/50.
I would agree that, for the most part, the Republicans mistakes have not been tactical or strategic in regard to electoral politics, but in how they chose to approach governance, policymaking and our relationship with the rest of the world. In that sphere, their corruption, incompetence, hackdom, and ideological outrageousness combined to create their current problems.
Last, it struck me as insincere, because his eyes were always looking off camera.
I assume this was to mimic what news readers did at the time, in pre-telepromopter days, which was to read a piece of paper with copy on it, so that makes it authentic -- but, unfortunately, in this day and age, it does read as shifty, and it's also distracting to boot. (I wanted to know what he was looking at, since he spent so much time doing it.)
As I said in the other thread about the ad, I think it stinks. The visual style is nice, but the concept strikes me as esoteric, and the writing very poor. It has very emotional punch, no factual content to speak of, and appeals only to those who already know pretty much everything that's in it -- i.e. it preaches to the choir.
If that was their intention, fine, if they wanted to get some buzz going so they can tap that old liberal blogosphere cash register, well fine, maybe it'll work, but if their intention was to actually get some people to vote for the candidate, then they've done a terrible job.
The look is OK, but the copy is crap. The reference to McCarthy is vague and esoteric, and therefore meaningless to most of the people who will watch ads.
TV ads aren't supposed to speak to political junkies, they're supposed to sway the opinions of voters, and you can either do that by manipulating emotions or by providing facts to appeal to those who like to go about their choice on a rational basis. These ads do neither. They don't evoke any emotional response whatsoever and are as boring as hell to watch, nor do they provide any real factual basis for the voter to use to help make a choice.
Except for the nice retro look (which appeals to me, personally, esthetically, but which will actually have negative value to most viewers), these ads really stink.
There's a distinct difference between "bashing" a candidate (you Ms. Candidate, are an idiot) and making a suggestion as to what would be a good political strategy to adopt. Part of that is about tone, but a lot is about the intent, and I see no other purpose here except to urge Democrats to adopt a particular strategy.
Perhaps Republican candidates are hesitant to identify themselves as Republicans for two reasons. The first is the obvious: the negative perception of Republicans indicated by the disapproval numbers for Bush & Cheney and the Democratic advantage in generic ballots rather disinclines them to ID as one of those despised Republicans.
But the other is a little subtler, if true. With the national leadership, spearheaded by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Mehlman demonizing Democrats as the ultimate partisans (tantamount to traitors), the Republicans, by not identifying themselves one way or the other, show themselves NOT to be partisans. If Democrats are partisans, and partisans are bad, and everyone recognized that "Republicans" are the partisans that oppose the Democrats, by not wrapping themselves in the Republican ID, they say, in effect, "You can trust me, I am not partisan."
If true (and I admit, it could well be ascribing too much subtlty to political campaign strategy), then it also helps explains why Democrats may eb shying away from being upfront about their party affiliation. They may figure that with Cheney & company blackening the reputation of Democrats as ultra-partisan near-traitors, sticking that ID on themselves may do more harm than good. They may think that flying under the public's radar for partisanship will get them through the election better than attacking it head on, because it's so difficult to undo spin once it's out there (cf. Gore and the Internet and other anti-Gore slurs).
There are clearly some problems with this way of thinking. If you can't undo the spin, you can neutralize it, but that requires a loud hard-hitting no-holds barred counter-attack, the kind we didn't see when Kerry was swift-boated.
In addition, you can hide, but you can't hide completely, because the Republicans will be happy to loudly and publicly brand you a Democrat even if you shy away from trumpeting it yourself.
The real problem is, as you say, that you can't nationalize the election without setting up a clear bad-guy (the incompetent, corrupt, unloved Republicans, both local and, especially, national) and an clear good-guy alternative, your local Democratic. One of the advantages to this is that the nationalization can be one-sided: your beloved local Democrat is, in effect, competing against those disliked National Republicans away in alien Washington D.C.
So there may be a happy medium, when local Dems don't identify themselves so much with the national party (and risk being sullied by Cheney & Company's lies) as with other local Democrats, preferably the most trusted of them in the area.
Until you find a sponsor, do you think that at least the address of the latest forecast could stay the same, instead of changing with each update, so that those of us who have linked to it (as I have on my sidebar) don't have to keep changing the URL?
The investment was made by the city, but the service itself was run by competing private companies for the first 30 years of the subway.
I don't think this is the case at all. The IRT and BMT were built and operated by private companies. The IND was build by the city, which later acquired the other two lines after they went bankrupt, and merged all three lines together into one system.
Try getting around the outer boroughs on a weekend with the subway and see what crappy government bureaucracies can do.
Actually, the weekend disruptions are because the MTA is finally doing necessary track work after years of deferred maintenance, which began in the 50's, when the subways were run by the City, before they were transferred to the NYCTA (a state agency later merged into the MTA).