Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I obsessively click on the RealClearPolitics.com electoral map every day looking for states shifting one way or another. The movement is glacial but there has been movement. The 'solid' states, states where there is a ten-point or more margin are either bright red (for McCain) or brilliant blue (for Obama). I always resented that red-blue thing. The Dems would naturally be red in my mind, to match their political philosophy. The whole red-blue nomenclature came out of the 2000 election and I always thought that the media consciously labeled the Republicans red just to deflect any connotations of socialism from their beloved Democrats.
RCP labels any state that has a less than ten-point margin, but still outside the margin-of-error as 'leaning' and uses a paler shade of blue or red to denote these states. Any states that are polling inside the margin-of-error are depicted in gray. You can click on any state to get the list of polls which are averaged to arrive at the number that determines the state's color.
There's a major weakness in RCP's mapping, though. Some of the polls that are averaged into the count were taken in the middle of August, especially in states like California or New York where the smart guys are so convinced of the outcome that there are no real polls being conducted.
But of the states where the polls are recent and done within the last few days the map shows a clear trend; the blue is washing out and becoming lighter and the red is expanding and becoming brighter. Texas, usually a slam-dunk Republican state was light red in August and has now regained its dark red hue. North Carolina has gone from gray to bright red in the last few weeks. Montana had been in the toss-up column during the pre-Palin doldrums and is now light red. Indiana has moved from light blue to light red. Ohio has moved from light blue to gray. Florida has moved from gray to light red. Missouri from gray to light red.
But the most startling shifts are in the reliably blue states. Oregon and Washington have paled to light blue. Minnesota, cursed with a Democratic senate candidate who makes Al Sharpton look like a reasonable moderate, has moved from bright blue to gray. Michigan, the Democratic disaster area undergoing an economic meltdown engineered by its Democratic governor, legislature, congressional delegation, and Senators and further propelled by the suicidal UAW has lost its blue tinge and is now gray. Virginia, a hopeful pickup in the eyes of the Obamanoids has gone from pale blue to gray, Florida from gray to pale pink. Pennsylvania has lost its blue tint and is now lingering in gray land. The most startling of all, Blue Jersey has gone pale blue.
Since the Republican convention NO state has gone from red to gray or red to blue. The trend has been all one way. Its becoming increasingly difficult to look at the map and put together a winning scenario for Obama. But think back six or seven weeks. The map looked a whole lot different. Then it was difficult to put together a reasonable scenario that elected McCain.
Maps can mislead you. Part of whats wrong with politics today is the obsession with local details and key voter groups in swing states and the inability to think that big ideas don't matter in elections. But both Obama's rise and the Palin phenomenon are exactly a result of their ideas and they both moved numbers in areas that previously were considered untouchable. This is no longer an election taking place in the swing states, this is the first national election since 1994, when Newt took congress away from the Democrats. The entire country wants to drill for oil. The entire country doesn't want their taxes to go up. The entire country heard the questions that Giuliani and Palin raised about who exactly Barak Obama was and how unqualified he was for the job of president and is now reacting to his pathetic response. The reply was to equate 'community organizer' with Jesus or Abraham Lincoln, a tack that was so offensive and phony that it highlighted the fact that they aren't able to talk about what he did as a 'community organizer'. So by default people have inserted the image of Al Sharpton and drawn their own conclusions. There is no legislative record. As they've plowed through Governor Palin's life we've gotten twenty times more information on what she did than we ever got about Obama.
I dont believe RCP's map. I think that the campaigns know better. We're starting to see McCain commercials on cable in California. I would love to see an unbiased recent poll in California. Adding in 'The Bradley Factor', the rule that black candidates poll higher than they run, which is stronger in California than anywhere else, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Obama is even shaky in California. If he can be polling within the margin of error in Oregon and Washington than there is something that people everywhere are rejecting about Obama and the rot is spreading. There is a gravity that is pulling the entire Democratic ticket down with it.
This is a shock. All this year as we looked at the ghastly McCain hijack the Republican nomination and go out of his way to insult conservatives and we saw this charismatic young guy whip the previously undefeated Clinton Crime Family my feelings were of despair. I was so disgusted with the Republican Party that I was ready to vote for a loony like Bob Barr just to send a message to the weasels who it had seemed had destroyed the party that they couldn't count on my vote automatically. It wouldn't have mattered anyhow because Obama has 25 points ahead of McCain in California. At that point the LA Times was publishing a poll every couple of days, proudly showing their beloved Obama trouncing McCain. Those polls have disappeared. The LA Times is notorious for oversampling Democrats and is spectacularly wrong ALWAYS but their lack of polls is more telling than anything else. This will not be a close election. The only way Obama can get out of this hole is not by moving a few key groups in some strategic swing states but by a KO in the fifteenth round. He's not going to win on points.