But about a month ago Nate tried to account for this by using historical polling data that showed how little polling so far ahead of the election predicted. (i.e., a twenty point lead three months out would at best mean a six point lead on election day, since races ALWAYS tighten). Obama's "chances" fell from something like 70% to around 55%, which seems about right. In interviews and on the site, he is very clear that at this point, polls are not very meaningful. I think he understands #2...
Also, he worked as a financial analyst for KPMG and has an MBA from the U of Chicago before getting into baseball...
I agree that discussions of polling here (and at Kos) were incredibly counterproductive during the primaries. Whoever had a good poll, Obama or Clinton, partisans would dismiss it out-of-hand.
I'm curious how you see Nate massaging his model to fit "narrative traps." What traps are you talking about? I've found Nate quite useful in dampening the presumed inevitability of Obama's election...
And yes, I suppose that anyone who only followed polls would miss much of what was important about the primaries--but fivethirtyeight is about statistically modeling polls/primaries/elections; I don't think anyone uses it for actual news about the campaign.
It is heartening that you haven't experienced significant racism nor have the black people you know. However, it is indisputable that your characterization of racism is very much in the minority among blacks in this country.
"Nearly 60 percent of black respondents said race relations were generally bad, compared with 34 percent of whites. Four in 10 blacks say that there has been no progress in recent years in eliminating racial discrimination; fewer than 2 in 10 whites say the same thing. And about one-quarter of white respondents said they thought that too much had been made of racial barriers facing black people, while one-half of black respondents said not enough had been made of racial impediments faced by blacks...
Nearly 70 percent of blacks said they had encountered a specific instance of discrimination based on their race, compared with 62 percent in 2000; 26 percent of whites said they had been the victim of racial discrimination. (Over 50 percent of Hispanics said they had been the victim of racial discrimination.)
And when asked whether blacks or whites had a better chance of getting ahead in today's society, 64 percent of black respondents said that whites did. That figure was slightly higher even than the 57 percent of blacks who said so in a 2000 poll by The Times. And the number of blacks who described racial conditions as generally bad in this survey was almost identical to poll responses in 2000 and 1990."
It's really funny to me that Obama is being accused of being part of the Daley machine. I volunteered early on for Obama's Senate run--I was from his district and had read his book (remaindered at Powell's!), and was thrilled to try and get my wonkish professorial state senator to Washington. Little did I know...
Of course, everyone told me that he had absolutely no chance, because the Daley machine hated him, and was backing Comptroller Dan Hynes. For that matter, Bobby Rush (still offended by Obama trying to unseat him in the House earlier) backed an African-American woman (Diane Washington) purely as a spoiler to try and split the South Side vote. In that earlier House campaign, Daley reportedly swung his support behind Rush--who is a constant thorn in his side and generally loathed by the Mayor--simply because he saw Obama as the only long-term threat to his continued mayordom, and wanted to cut Obama off before he got started.
By the way, on election day I was living in Dan Hynes' home ward--and Obama won there. That felt good...
To recap: Obama is a politician from Chicago. He is not a Chicago-style politician.
I agree with some of what you say; Clinton obviously has a lot to offer Obama, and he'd be a fool not to take it.
However, I would be quite wary of Clinton's staff, as they have a lot of baggage. Obama had a "no-drama" campaign staff that worked together, while I believe it was the bitter and often public infighting and hatred inside the Clinton campaign that undermined what should have been her year.
"Obama beat Hillary by sizable margins among all ages of white voters except those 60 and older. And he beat Hillary among voters with no college degree, too -- and since the state is overwhelmingly white, these voters are the ones he's supposed to have trouble with.
The exits also show that Obama also beat Hillary by seven points among voters making less than $50,000 (though she won among voters making between $15,000 and $30,000).
What's more, Obama also won among voters from a household with a union member."
I would call that winning back blue collar voters. She does better with that demographic in general, but it's not like he isn't getting any blue collar support, particularly in Oregon.
In terms of polling, the Reuters poll released today gave Obama a 48-40 lead over McCain, while Clinton is tied 43-43. In the direct Obama-Clinton polling... well, let me quote:
"The poll also found Obama expanded his lead over Clinton in the Democratic race to 26 percentage points, doubling his advantage from mid-April as Democrats begin to coalesce around Obama and prepare for the general election battle with McCain."
Of course, in the Electoral college map, Clinton runs better than her overall polling numbers indicate, and perhaps better than Obama. (I tend to rely on fivethirtyeight.com, which has had both hovering between 45% and 55% for months, and ususally within a few points of each other.) But it's simply untrue to say that he's losing momentum or losing ground to McCain.
Your quotes and mine are not in opposition to each other. I am not contesting that Hillary has a great record on choice; I am contesting that, as you claim, we don't know what kind of judges Obama would appoint on the issue of choice. He's made it very clear in a number of forums.
Look, both candidates get 100% marks on the issue, while McCain gets 0%.
The IL chapter of NOW did not "reject Obama's hot ari." They chose Hillary, for good reasons. They did not claim that Obama was weak on the issue of choice. (Also, NOW is not soley a reproductive rights organization, and it should take into account Hillary's historic candidacy in making their endorsement.)
The "present" votes have been explained too many times for me to repeat.
And I wasn't discussing rhetoric: I mentioned specific legislation Obama coauthored that he promised to pass immediately.
Saying that someone who pledges not to vote for the Democratic candidate is more of a democrat than those who would is... well, it doesn't make much sense.
Try substituing "Lieberman" for "Geraldine" and see how much sense it makes. Different motivating issues, of course, but the you're-intolerant-by-not-accepting-those
-who-are-screwing-the-party logic is equivalent.