Bounce?

Gallup notwithstanding, the GOP Convention appears to have had a lukewarm effect at best. My completely uneducated guess is that most of it can be attributed to increased enthusiasm among the Republican social conservative base over Sarah Palin, though there is scant evidence that they will turn out in numbers anywhere near what George W. Bush got in 2004. To the contrary, there is much to suggest a heavy turnout for Democrats in the fall, particularly in some key states.

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Published in: on September 8, 2008 at 11:09 pm  Comments (8)  

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  1. What surprises me most is that Obama isn’t way ahead in the polls, when he has every reason TO be. After eight years of Bush, you would think the Democratic candidate–especially an unusually “exciting” candidate like Obama–would be consistently polling ahead of a far less “exciting” and older rival, a rival, no less, who stubbornly supports an unpopular war. At this point in 1992, in a comparable political climate, Bill Clinton was 16 points ahead of Bush. If nothing else this suggests to me that the Democratic strategy of painting McCain as another four years of Bush and Palin as unfit for office is not gaining any traction with voters.

  2. It surprises me, too, but I think there are two factors at work here: one, is the Bradley Effect and two is the fact that McCain has successfully painted himself as such a “maverick” in the public eye that he is not associated with Bush OR the tarnished Republican brand. I do agree that Obama needs to do more to make that link; I personally would have billboards all over the country of that famous shot of McCain hugging Bush, with no commentary.

  3. What is the Bradley Effect? I’m drawing a blank.

    In spite of his campaign flipflops, McCain might be too indelibly viewed as a maverick for the Democrats to do much about it at this point. Obama would be better off with a more positive approach evoking memories of the Clinton years as a time of prosperity and relative peace, and promising to get back to that. “It’s STILL the economy, stupid,” is probably the best talking point the Democrats can stick to at this point.

  4. The Bradley Effect is the tendency of white voters to claim they support a black candidate they really have no intention of voting for, thus skewing polling data. Named after LA Mayor Tom Bradley who was widely expected to win Governor of California based on the polls. In this case, I am using it to suggest that, unfortunately, Obama’s numbers would likely be higher if he were white. I also agree with you about the economy as an issue.

  5. Ah, that’s interesting. I do have a mild fear that if Obama loses, it might reawaken some of the annoying and wearisome racial anomosity of the kind we saw after Katrina; probably not so severe, but with the pundits of both sides exchanging harsh words and recriminations that get everyone riled up. Truthfully, I think there is a lot of evidence from Obama’s campaign to date that most Americans really aren’t thinking much about race in this election. For most voters, the attitude I detect is that this is just another presidential election, albeit a mildly more interesting one than most. Of course when I say “most voters,” I mean most WHITE voters. I don’t really claim to know how “black America,” if there is such a thing, would take an Obama loss. Probably in stride, as long as we don’t end up with a nightmare Florida recount scenario again.

  6. I think 2008 is the first election in which a non-white male would have any realistic chance of being elected. I don’t think racial animosity is “wearisome” so much as deeply ingrained and woven into the fabric of white society, and thus easily exploited by politicians who will do or say anything to win.

  7. << I don't think racial animosity is "wearisome" so much as deeply ingrained and woven into the fabric of white society, and thus easily exploited by politicians who will do or say anything to win. >>

    Well, though we wicked whites are admittedly the root of all evil in the world going back, one surmises, to the dawn of time itself–indeed, before whites or humans even existed–non-whites HAVE been known, on occasion, to indulge in racist opinions and behavior as well, undoubtedly–I hasten to add–just mimicking the racist behavior they learned from their evil white overlords.

    Of course, when I said "wearisome" you probably assumed (me being white and thus blinded by my deeply ingrained racism) that I was thinking only of black animosity, when in fact I was thinking primarily of all the WHITE ultraconservative animosity that Katrina triggered.

    Incidentally, though it goes against my inherently white and therefore racist instincts, I'm reading a great book about Katrina called "The Great Deluge" by Douglas Brinkley that is absolutely rivoting and enlightening on many fronts. That's why I have Katrina on the brain.

  8. my comments will hopefully get better


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