Contrasting Polling In 2008 to 2004 and 2006

Here is an interesting graph showing the RCP tracking poll average from 2004. ntial_04/chart3way.html

For those like me, who are stressing out big time with the election only a week away, it's reassuring to see that Bush's lead against Kerry was consistently smaller than the lead Obama is sustaining over McCain. I haven't seen McCain ahead in a single poll since September. Here is a list of the actual poll numbers leading up to the election in 2004: _kerry.html

With so much divergence from pollsters trying to assess the make up of electorate this year it's also fascinating to take a look at the projections for the 2006 senate races, compared to the final results. Here are the numbers: writeup/2006_senate_realclearpolitics_po ll_averages-63.html

In the 2006 election in Arizona the Republican performed 0.4% better than the RCP average. In Maryland the Democrat performed 5.3% better. In Michigan 1.5% to the Democrat, Minnesotta 3.4% to the Democrat, Missouri 0.5% to the Democrat, in Montana 2.4% to the Republican, New Jersey 1.6% to the Dem, Ohio 2% to the Dem, Pennsylvania 5.5% to the Dem, Rhode Island 5% to the Dem, Tennessee 3% to the Dem, Virginia 1.2% to the Republican, and Washington State 5.7% to the Dem.

It seems as though in the traditionally Democratic states, Democratic turnout considerably exceeded expectations. I think we're going to see something very similar this election. I live in California, and even though this state isn't competitive everyone I've been in contact with is extremely enthusiastic about casting their vote as if it was potentially decisive. One wonders whether the same can be said in traditional red states like Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, etc, where Obama doesn't have a shot. For that reason, based on the numbers above you could safely argue that Obama will poll at least 1-2% better in the nationwide popular vote. Of course undecideds are probably going to break narrowly for McCain so this might end up being a wash.

Additionally, it's good to see that in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Democrats also out performed their polling in 2006. I think this bodes well for Obama in both of those states, but especially Pennsylvania where he currently has a double digit lead in the polls.

The bad news is that in the competitive red states, Montana, Virginia, and Arizona, the swing went in the opposite direction. As Republican's rallied towards the end of that election it was noticeable just how close both Democrat, Jon Tester in Montana (who had been widely favored to beat Conrad Burns) and Jim Webb (who had opened up a decent lead in some polls against George Allen) came to losing their races. From this you could argue that Republican turnout in Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona might be much higher than is expected. Florida is anyone's guess.

The geographic diversity of these trends is what I think has to be taken into account with the current polling. For example Pew has Obama up by 15, Gallup by 7 in their expanded model, Hotline by 8, and Research 2000 by 7, nationally. By comparison Gallup's traditional polling model has Obama up by only 2, and TIPP, Zogby, and Battleground have him up by 3-4 points. Their turnout models are probably all correct, but geographically relative. This is a big country, some parts of which have been harder hit by the economy. I think it's fair to assume we're going to see different things happen in different parts the nation come November 4th.

Obama had a magnificent week by any estimation last week. From Colin Powell's endorsement, to the $150,000 spent on clothes for Palin, the infighting between McCain and Palin, it helped Obama reverse a trend that was heading in McCain's favor. State polling is a lagging indicator of the national mood and I think the extent of the leads you're currently seeing for Obama in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, etc, are as a result of his successes last week.

By contrast, Obama had a poor weekend, and a terrible Monday this week, in my opinion. His campaign have a habit of losing their focus and reverting back to the very general bi-partisan optimism that doesn't translate well into soundbites on the evening news, and it doesn't come close to controlling the national conversation. Obama needs to be on the offense in making focused attacks on McCain. Right now the McCain campaign has free reign to throw their ridiculous bombs at Obama because he doesn't have to compensate for any of Obama's attacks. As far as I'm concerned every sentence that comes out of Obama's mouth from now until election day should include the words Bush and McCain. Obama has earned 50% + support, but now he has to ensure that the right wing attack machine doesn't have the leverage to re-brand Obama as a Marxist, terrorist, muslim, manchurian candidate that is only going to make the economy worse (as if that were possible).

However, today the right were unable to sustain that momentum. A McCain campaign source calling Palin a "whackjob" certainly didn't help. That is a good sign for Obama. Zogby's latest tracking poll will be out very shortly and while this should generally reflect Monday's narrative, if there is no trend for McCain that will be a good sign for Obama. Likewise, watch Gallup tomorrow, the most consistent indicator of the direction of the national mood, in my opinion, this campaign season. McCain's only hope is day in, day out, incessant negativity against Obama. Hopefully Bill Clinton campaigning with Obama in Florida tomorrow and the 30 minute prime time advertisement that airs tomorrow evening will assist Obama in preventing that from occuring.

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Zogby up to + 12!

Zogby's tracking poll has McCain dropping 2 points. He also defends his sampling against some of the outliers we saw yesterday. Hopefully there are upticks in Gallup and Rasmussen tomorrow, too. D=1605

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Guilt By Association? Sarah Palin and the AIP

Why does Sarah Palin get a free pass?
"I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."
"And I won't be buried under their damn flag. I'll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home."
- Joe Vogler, Founder of The Alaska Independence Party (the former quote is still on their website).

Sarah Palin's association with the AIP:

  1. According to Lynette Clark, the chairman of the AIP, Sarah Palin and her husband Todd were members in the 1990's and attended statewide conventions.
  2. From the AIP website: "Our current governor who I mentioned at the last conference, the one we were hoping would get elected, Sarah Palin, did get elected . . . .and there was a lot of talk about her moving up. She was an AIP member before she got the job as mayor . . . "
  3. Her husband, Todd Palin, was a member until 2002.
  4. And finally, here is Sarah Palin's address to the AIP convention this year: yI

McCain's campaign slogan is "Country First." By contrast, the AIP campaign slogan is "Alaska First -- Alaska Always."

Would you be associated for decades with a political organization that professes hatred towards America? Or does hatred of America only matter if its espoused by your pastor, as opposed to your political party?

Here is an ad expressing the same sentiment: y0&eurl=http://thecognoscenti.blogsp

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John McCain and the Keating Five m3Ev3roOI/AAAAAAAAANU/fpjRn5Z6HII/s1600- h/mccain_keating.jpg

The core allegation of the Keating Five scandal is that Charles Keating, who eventually served five years in jail for his mishandling of a saving and loan association (eerily similar to our current economic crisis), made contributions to senators and then called on them to resist the passage of regulation. As a result there was a slowdown in the finance industry and the real estate market that many consider a contributing cause of the economic recession in the 1990's. From 1982 to 1987 John McCain received $112,000.00 in contributions from Keating. In addition, McCain's wife and father in law, had invested over $350,000.00 in a Keating owned shopping center. McCain, his family and their babysitter had made nine trips at Keating's expense, sometimes aboard his private jet. Three of the trips were to Keating's luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain did not pay anything for the trips until years after they were taken and the insinuation of impropriety first arose. Keating established similar relationships with four other senators.

The facts:
Regulators were concerned in the mid 1980's that risky investment practices were potentially exposing government insurance funds to huge losses. Charles Keating's savings and loan association, Lincoln, had become burdened with bad debt as a result of its past aggressiveness. As a result its investment practices were being investigated. For a time it seemed as though the government might seize Lincoln for being insolvent. Keating wanted five senators to intervene on his behalf.

On April 2nd, 1987, a meeting with the chairman of the FHLBB (Independent Federal Regulatory Body) and four of the Keating Five senators took place, including John McCain. The senators requested that no staff be present. One of the senators started the meeting with mention of "our friend at Lincoln" referring to Charles Keating. The chairman said he was unfamiliar with the details of that case, but offered to set up a meeting with the regulators in San Francisco that had oversight jurisdiction over Lincoln.

On April 9th, 1987, the Keating Five, including McCain met with three members of the San Francisco regulators. The regulators felt that the meeting was very unusual and that they were being pressured by a "united front." At this point the regulators explained Lincoln was under criminal investigation for many serious charges.

Lincoln was seized by the government in 1989. More than 21,000 elderly investors lost their life savings. A criminal investigation of Charles Keating followed that was expanded to include the five Senators, including John McCain.

John McCain was cleared of any criminal impropriety, but the Senate Ethics committee criticized him for poor judgment for when he met with regulators on behalf of Charles Keating. In 2002, John McCain said these two meetings were "the worst mistake of my life." The Senate Ethics committee did not pursue, for lack of jurisdiction, McCain's delayed re-imbursments to Keating for trips at the latter's expense. One of the San Francisco bank regulators felt that McCain had gotten off too lightly, saying that Keating's business involvement with Cindy McCain was an obvious conflict of interest.

There is more:
John McCain's first letter on behalf of Keating: er%20to%20Baker.pdf
John McCain's second letter on behalf of Keating: er%20to%20Gray.pdf
John McCain's third letter on behalf of Keating: nd%20Letter%20to%20Gray.pdf
John McCain's fourth letter on behalf of Keating: d%20Letter%20to%20Gray.pdf
John McCain's fifth letter on behalf of Keating: er%20to%20Regan.pdf

In conclusion, can the American people really believe that John McCain, who admitted his judgment was compromised during the Keating Five scandal, is the man to clean up the current financial mess on Wall Street? Can we trust John McCain to implement the regulation we need?

The same John McCain who opposed Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in 2000, because he felt they threatened the government surplus, and in 2008 supports them in spite of defecits and national debt that is spiraling out of control. The same John McCain who promised an honorable and positive campaign and then launched into attack advertisements about Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Moses, not to mention saying Obama called Sarah Palin a pig and wanted to teach sex education to Kindergarten children. The same John McCain who chose a clearly uninformed and unqualified Vice Presidential candidate at the age of 72 for purely political purposes. The same John McCain who, now down in the polls, is preparing to "change the conversation" away from the issues that matter to launch a nasty smear campaign against his opponent.

Can you trust John McCain?

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What President Barack Obama Really Means

1. A departure from the failed Bush economic theory of tax cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts for the wealthiest earners. As the Clinton administration demonstrated in the 1990's, a more balanced approach of fiscal discipline, planning, incentives, and investment, can grow the economy from the bottom up, as opposed to creating a volatile boom and bust economy like we have now, employing trickle down Bush-economics.

2. Lower Healthcare costs. Your premiums will cost less than they would under President McCain. Prescription drugs will cost less than they would under President McCain. The healthcare burden for smaller businesses will be less than it would be under President McCain.

3. Better public schools. More teachers. College will be cheaper and students will have the opportunity to earn credits against their loans performing services in their community.

4. A dramatic effort to research and develop alternative fuels that are the only real path to lower energy prices and freedom from our reliance on foreign oil. Under President Obama there will be greater access to hybrid cars, fuel efficient cars, and cars that run on natural gas. Under President McCain nothing is going to change. You'll still be pumping the same gas into your car in 4 years time, domestic drilling will bear no dividens by then, and there will be nothing to stop the constant summer increases in the cost of gasoline that we're currently subjected to.

5. Unemployment will fall. Under President Obama more will be done to incentivize welfare to work with investment and job training opportunities. McCain will simply rely on the failed theory of trickle down Bush-economics, providing tax cuts for the wealthiest earners. This last quarter the economy grew but unemployment went up sharply. Bush-economics are not designed to benefit you. They are designed to benefit the few. John McCain does not care about you, and the economic policies of President McCain will not help you. President Bush has not cared about you, and his economic policies have not helped you for the last eight years.

6. Less domestic jobs will be shipped overseas. More will be done by President Obama than President McCain to discourage US companies from employing low cost labor from other parts of the world at the expense of the domestic workforce.

7. Our military will be re-focused on Afghanistan and defeating the Islamic extremists who threaten the homeland. Under President McCain our troops will be focused on Iraq for many more years to come and it will be more of the same, emboldening Iran, antagonizing Iraqi's with a seemingly endless occupation, and wasting tax payers money on corrupt Iraqi politicians. Under President Obama there will be a more effective approach to the Arab world, aggressively pursuing terrorists and extremists, as well as restarting the peace process between Israel and Palestine.

8. Under President Obama there will be more investment in our domestic infrastructure. We will be better prepared to handle national disasters like Hurricane Katrina as opposed to the disastrous neglect of the Bush Administration.

9. The Supreme Court will remain a balanced forum for resolving our legal disputes. By contrast, under President McCain it will be 7 Conservatives to 2 more modern interpreters of the constitution. Roe vs. Wade will be overturned and abortion will be criminalized in some states. Women will go to jail for having abortions. Doctors will go to jail for performing abortions. Women will have to risk their lives to have underground abortions. If Vice President or President Sarah Palin gets her way this would also apply to situations in which a woman has been raped. The irrefutable reality of overturning Roe vs. Wade is the criminalization of abortion in many states.

10. Finally, there will be no risk, whatsoever, at any point, of President Sarah Palin, leader of the free world.

We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. We just have to summon the courage to change.

More of the same, more Bush, more McCain, more ugly, nasty partisan politics, more economic instability, more profits for oil companies, health insurance companies, and drug companies, more unemployment, more jobs being shipped overseas, more tax payers money wasted in Iraq, more underfunded government agencies unprepared for national disasters, and even more Conservatives on the supreme court. This is not what America needs.

Let's not make another mistake that we have to wait until 2012 to undo.

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