Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Decision '08, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:46 am

Every time I do a “Dead Parrot” post, loyal Republicans take me to task for believing the polls in the first place. They claim that the evil MSM is conspiring to dispirit GOP voters and force them to either put a gun to their heads or stay home on election day watching reruns of CSI: Miami.. I am told “McCain’s not dead, he’s closing.”

Of course, the evidence cited in defense of that notion is … the polls. So much for the the logic of the desperate.

Indeed, if you read what McCain’s pollster Bill McInturff says in this Hill piece, we see the perfect rationale for hope; everyone else is wrong but me:

Despite widespread polling to the contrary, McInturff wrote that “the campaign is functionally tied across the battleground states … with our numbers improving sharply over the last four tracks.”

The pollster said that the number the campaign is watching is “Sen. Obama’s level of support and the margin difference between the two candidates.”

“As other public polls begin to show Sen. Obama dropping below 50 percent and the margin over McCain beginning to approach margin of error with a week left, all signs say we are headed to an election that may easily be too close to call by next Tuesday,” he said.

McInturff noted that he is seeing “significant shifts in battleground states,” with “gains” that are sustainable with “non-college men,” rural voters of both genders, anti-abortion voters and “most encouragingly…we are beginning to once again get over a 20 percent chunk of the vote among soft Democrats.”

The pollster said a subgroup the campaign has long targeted, known to them as “Walmart women” and identified as not having a college degree and residing in households that make less than $60,000 a year, “are also swinging back solidly in our direction.”

He added that the campaign is “witnessing an impressive ‘pop’ with Independent voters.”

That “pop” you hear from the Indies is the bubble of hope that McCain can grab enough of them to overcome Obama’s lead among party registrants. The Democrat holds a 8 point advantage with self-identified Democrats over Republicans which would mean McCain would need at least 54% of independent voters (who make up about 27% of the electorate) to win the popular vote.

Throwing out the strange numbers offered up by Pew Research which show McCain trailing Obama 52-36 among all groups, their projection of the independent vote is in line with other pollsters. Pew has Obama ahead by 17 with this group, Zogby 15, Gallup 13. That’s an awful lot of ground to make up in a week in what all pollsters are saying is a pretty static race that hasn’t changed much in 3 weeks..

As for the rest of McInturff’s fantasy, did anyone else note that those voters are supposed to be the base of the Republican party? If John McCain is doing nothing more than solidifying his base with a week to go in the election, stick a fork in him.

Some of the state polls are just terrible for McCain. Obama is virtually tied in Montana. Montana? Good God! I remember when Republicans used to rack up 65% of the vote or more in Big Sky Country. On my radio show last night, American Thinker’s excellent political correspondent Rich Baehr pointed out that a lot of disgruntled Californians have been moving to Montana in recent years. These Democrats are taking advantage of the low tax, limited government, and low population density found in Montana the same way they filled up some of the open spaces in Colorado and are now making that state competitive.

And speaking of Colorado, the McCain campaign has basically conceded that state to Obama with even the RNC pulling out. Obama has a 7-10 point lead in the most recent polls and along with his overwhelming lead in neighboring New Mexico and a slight but significant lead in Nevada, it appears that a significant part of the Mountain West - as solid a GOP bastion since Goldwater as anywhere in the country - is about to topple to the Dems.

Elsewhere, Obama is tied in North Dakota, virtually tied in Georgia and Indiana, and ahead in North Carolina. These states are historically Republican - even in Democratic years. The fact that McCain doesn’t have the time or money to spend shoring up his support in these states is worrisome but not hopeless. If McCain can pull his national numbers up a couple of points, those states should be his by narrow margins (possible exception; North Carolina where African Americans are voting early in huge numbers). The same holds true in Arizona where some polls have it within 4 points but which should be safely red by election day.

But none of these states mean as much to McCain as the Big Three; Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Nate Silver’s 538 blog has no scenario where McCain can win if he loses Ohio and Florida and only a very slight chance if he loses Florida or Ohio.

McCain trails narrowly in OH and FL and there are some indications that PA is tightening up thanks to some good work by Palin who seems to be connecting with the rural/small town Pennsylvanians in the southeast and northwest corners of the state. These are conservative Democrats by nature and gave Hillary Clinton a huge boost in her primary win over Obama. They are older, Catholic, and socially conservative. If McCain can get some Hillary-like majorities in those counties (60-65%), it will offset Obama strength in Philadelphia and some of the industrial towns where unions are strong.

But Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania’s best politician, has proved in the past he can get his voters to the polls as well as anyone in the country. The PUMA’s are saying that Rendell, who supported Clinton in the primary, is going to mail it in on election day rather than go all out for Obama. Don’t believe it. Rendell is a party pro, one of the canniest. All Democratic governors want to deliver their states for Obama if for no other reason than it helps turn on the federal spigot for state funds. Rendell would be a fool to tank it just to slight Obama and give Hillary a chance in 2012. The risk is just too great.

But even if McCain can eke out a win in PA, there remains the problems of OH and FL to overcome. When all is said and done, Obama will have spent an incredible $40 million in FL alone. McCain has $86 million to spend on his entire campaign. That kind of money advantage simply cannot be dismissed. As for Ohio, Joe the Plumber has apparently helped there but the economy is going south very quickly in the Buckeye state with hundreds of employers shuttering their doors just since the financial meltdown began. Joe might be good for a couple of points but at this point, it doesn’t appear to be enough.

So it would appear that McCain still has an uphill climb in the Keystone state. Not impossible but with a week to go and constrained as he is financially (having to spend in Ohio and Florida as well), it will be a very difficult proposition to overcome Obama’s advantages.

During my show last night, I asked Rich the question you probably have about the polls; is it possible all of them are wrong? Have pollsters got it so wrong this time out that McCain is actually in better shape than he’s showing? Their numbers are, after all, based on turnout models that give the Democrats a decided advantage in party affiliation. What would happen if those 17 million evangelicals who came out and voted for Bush in 2004 did the same for McCain? What if the pollsters are overstating the total African American vote or the total vote of young people?

I know how tempting it is to believe that the polls are all deliberately biased against McCain and that he is really ahead. Or to believe that the numbers are so far off because of the uncertainty regarding turnout that they are totally useless.

But as a clincher as to how bad things are for McCain and how little chance he really has, his own campaign has seen the writing on the wall and has begun the process of absolving themselves from blame for the coming defeat. Campaigns who believe they can win or still have a chance don’t fire off salvos explaining their defeat one week before the election. While the numbers tell one story, the underlying trends regarding how people feel about the candidates, how people see their own future and what the future of the country looks like are most likely moving away from McCain. And judging by the amount of backbiting, it appears the campaign has determined that those trend lines may be very hard to reverse.

Obama gives his monarchical address tonight to the masses. We will probably have a much better handle on how big his margin of victory will be by Friday when the first results are factored into the daily tracking polls.

I am not optimistic that this address will hurt him in any way and could end up giving him a final boost toward a landslide win next Tuesday.


  1. Polls, statistics, whatever. In seven days we will know our fate. At that point I can start planning on what to do next.

    Comment by jjmurphy — 10/29/2008 @ 10:05 am

  2. You seem to be one of the few blogs on the right saying this; taking a look around the righty blog sphere this morning the headlines run the gamut from ‘The race is tightening!’ to ‘Ignore all poles because they favor Democrats’…and as the first poster says, in seven days it will be done and we will have a winner (and loser). If Obama does win next Tuesday what will these folks denying the polls say?

    I moved to PA a few years ago and could not be happier living in a swing state; my vote could actually make a difference.

    Comment by aric — 10/29/2008 @ 10:34 am

  3. The tracking polls have tightened mightily. Will a late break toward McCain be enough to win? Probably not, but it certainly will put a dent in the Democrats’ congressional gains.

    If the election had been held last week, the Dems would have realized their filibuster majority. In recent days, though, the seats in Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi have moved back solidy to the GOP. There also has been tightening in Minnesota and North Carolina.

    The best case scenario for the Dems in the House is 25; the likely pick ups will be 9 to 15.

    This isn’t a case of disbelieving the polls. It is a case of believing them. The direction in recent days doesn’t bear out the bloodbath scenario.

    Obama’s “address” is a wild card. It could boost the Democrats. Then again, it might have the same effect as his ill-fated European trip, or no effect at all.

    It is unlikely McCain will win, but it certainly isn’t beyond reason to believe he could, either.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 10/29/2008 @ 11:10 am

  4. I don’t see how PA is tightening. 4 state polls released today with Obama holding a double digit lead in all of them.


    Comment by flyerhawk — 10/29/2008 @ 11:27 am

  5. Rick
    Pennsylvannia is done. Ohio and Florida, who knows. One thing to note, however, is that the voters The Messiah is counting on heavily to turn out in record numbers, are so far not happening. Youth vote and Hispanic vote in early voting is not occurring at the rate predicted, in spite of Obama pleas to vote early and often.
    And one other thing: How in the heck is McCain even within 10 or 20 points? The economy, Bush’s ratings, obama’s incredible spending and money raising, by all rights, he ought to be 15 points ahead, at least. Very surprising, at least to me, that he isn’t killing McCain in the polls at this point. Of course, as Kerry and Algore will tell you, the electoral vote is what counts.

    Same thing happened with Reagan in 80. He and Carter were close until the debate (less than a week before the election) and then that last weekend Reagan zoomed ahead and crushed him. People still don’t know Obama and are leery of him. With Reagan, he went on that debate and simply presented himself as a rational alternative to disaster. It worked.

    I still think that could happen - especially after the Messiah’s speech tonight. Still a few fence sitters but mostly, people want an excuse to vote for Obama. He will give it to them tonight.


    Comment by Mikeyslaw — 10/29/2008 @ 1:42 pm

  6. but seriously, you are going to sit it out, aren’t ya? don’t know if you can complain if you sit it out… pretty sure that is how it goes in almost every social circle, and please be serious with me/us, there is nothing mccain or palin could do to make you like them, you don’t like him, and your disgust with palin, because she has some issues she believes in and holds to is evident, so to you they are not even the lesser of two evils. so be it, but at least go vote, if not just for your own well being and ours, we like to read your stuff rick, at least i do.
    as for palin, i will see her tomorrow, twice, once on our campus and once at the convention center. interesting thing, erie, pa is dem country, and yet the line to get tickets to her tomorrow was around the block and down the street. swing me baby, swing me…

    Comment by jambrowski — 10/29/2008 @ 1:46 pm

  7. The “we can’t win mentality” truly amazes me. I have seen sports teams make miraculous come-back wins. History is replete with instances of serious underdogs winning battles and even wars. And yet, the “we’ve lost” crowd seems perfectly to allow someone else to determine the outcome of this election, before the election has even taken place. We can debate the accuracy of the polls all day long. But the only polls that mean anything are the ones that will be open for voting on Nov. 4.

    This is not a normal Presidential election, for a variety of reasons. In my own opinion, vote fraud is going to be the critical issue in this election. If the Democrat vote fraud can be stifled, then McCain/Palin win. Stay tuned.

    Comment by Thomas — 10/29/2008 @ 1:54 pm

  8. It’s tempting to stay optimistic about the race, but I don’t kid myself anymore. Besides, what’s the point in winning if Democrats will spoil it by calling the country (and especially Republicans) racist? If McCain wins, the pundits will have a hay day pointing out all the ways they feel McCain ran a racist campaign, or how his speeches ignited inner racist thoughts in white Americans without them realizing it and other hocus pocus like that. So I’m almost at the point now where I would rather Obama win, because accusations of racism are serious and will harm the Republican party longer than we may realize.

    Comment by Shelby — 10/29/2008 @ 2:27 pm

  9. Whenever I have “Obama’s gonna lose!” vapors I look to the McCain camp. We may not be sure we’re going to win, but man they sure are sure they’re going to lose.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/29/2008 @ 3:04 pm

  10. I still have a hunch the Clintons have some kind of nasty, nasty surprise up their sleeves. Do you HONESTLY think SHE wants Obama to be elected? Of course, Hill is kind of between the rock and a hard place - Obama wins and maybe (and only maybe) she gets some nifty SCOTUS nomination (and confirmation would be by no means certain), but 8 years from now, she is way too old to run again. McCain wins and there’s Sarah Palin - far younger, immensely good looking, fun, smart and competent - this election has truly turned into Hillary’s worst nightmare. BUT, it’s also possible that McCain WOULD provide a SCOTUS seat to her because I suspect they actually ARE friends.

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 10/29/2008 @ 3:39 pm

  11. #10
    Personal opinion of course but Hillary would walk all over Palin. Even if McCain pulled off the miracle win and decided to go only one term the odds of a fourth GOP administration would be very low. Hillary could play the centrist like a champ and most of the people who may sit out or vote for mccain this time would switch to Hillary.

    Comment by Brad — 10/29/2008 @ 4:45 pm

  12. I’m kinda with Thomas. It ain’t over ’til it’s over. I know it looks like Obama is going to win, but I’m showing up to vote, and I’m voting for McNugget. It’s not a matter of disbelieving the polls, I just don’t worship them. I think they could be off, or things could change. Exit polls, which should have been the most accurate because they were after the fact, were off significantly in 2004. Polling is an imperfect science, and possibly more so in contentious races. The reason everyone thought Dewey was going to beat Truman was that it looked like a lock, and pollsters pretty much stopped polling two weeks before the election. Things change.

    I am not hopeful that McCain will win. I think it’s a longshot. But longshots come to fruition, and I certainly don’t see Obama as the guaranteed winner (indeed, his very inevitability may not serve his needs regarding turnout on election day).

    But, it looks like Obama is going to take it. Historically, the incumbent party has never won in these sorts of circumstances. Which bodes ill for McCain. But I’d bet good money he’s going to win my state (Tennessee). And I’m still gonna show up and vote for him.

    BTW, in regards to what is the point to winning if we’re going to be called racist–fear of smears is not a good basis to vote on. You’re going to get called a racist, anyway, whether Obama wins or loses. You gotta face that. Even if you vote for him, if you don’t go along with every issue or have problems with the Obama presidency, you will be a racist. Disagreeing with his policies will be defacto racism. If “socialist” has become a racist code word for “black”, expect accusations of racism to become more common, not less, with an Obama victory.

    It is not my intention to supress people’s desire to vote. But we’re all adults here and you should want to vote at the very least because it is your civic duty to do so. It is our most precious right and to not exercise it because you think you guy is going to lose is childish. Same thing if you intend to stay home and “punish” Republicans.

    Can’t help but thinking of all the men who have died to guarantee I have the right to vote. That gets me everytime - even when I am lukewarm at best about the candidate.


    Comment by Mr. Medical — 10/29/2008 @ 5:23 pm

  13. I dunno, we’ll see on Tuesday (or early morning Wednesday, not beyond I hope), but I recall the same conversations going on in ‘04 right up to the point where one of Kerry’s advisors called him (based on the exit polls) to say Congratulations President-Elect Kerry.

    We’ll, America, muddle through it one way or another, but in the short-term an “O” win makes me more than considerably nervous for our security in the interim.

    Comment by Mark H. — 10/29/2008 @ 5:48 pm

  14. I don’t run my own polls, but I do run my own statistical models based on data I get from various polling agencies. I also include economic data on a state by state basis. My conclusion: who the hell knows. My hunch: Obama by 2%.

    This election is certainly transformative in one way. The previous polling models might be washed up.

    Comment by Allen — 10/29/2008 @ 9:51 pm

  15. I am looking forward to how the Republicans will refashion themselves after this looming loss. Will they congeal around a Palin-esque fringe? Will they reveal another Contract with America? Will they offer a consistent vision of conservatism which has been trashed lately?

    Since the Democrats may inherit deep, stinking piles of manure, there is a great rebuilding opportunity, but around what?

    Comment by bobwire — 10/29/2008 @ 11:16 pm

  16. Over here in Jordan, it’s a John McBush win that makes everyone nervous about security.

    The idea that Obama will be in some way lax on security issues is just nonsense. I feel far more secure about the US voting in an intelligent man rather than a frail one whose possible demise puts another idiot within a heartbeat of the Oval office.

    Comment by Andrew Kenning — 10/30/2008 @ 4:42 am

  17. Rick,

    I hope you are wrong, but here is the reality as I see it. National Poll wise, I do believe the media will do anything to get this man elected. I think they would elect Satan if he was the right race. They want to make history because that would be le chique to them. You know conversation at the Upper East Side celebratory cocktail party and they could say they helped make it happen.

    Anyways, my personal feelings aside. McCain is making gains in the national polls I do believe that, but how are those gains spread out regionally. Are they in key battle ground states that are a must win for McCain? Also will the state to state polling reflect this small surge from the national level in time for Mac to pull out a win, doubtful but possible.

    I think the scenario will be this, McCain much closer in the popular vote than people expected but buried in the electoral college. The increase in popular vote is a must though. There is a small sliver that the two other prongs of the triumvirate of stupidity, Pelosi and Reid might start looking at how many people turned out against the “One” and realize that maybe there wasn’t a mandate. Probably not, in their minds the vote will just represent that 45-47% of America is just racist. After all that is the catch all these days.

    Comment by CriticalThinker — 10/30/2008 @ 5:57 am

  18. Rick,

    I had drafted an in-depth and thoughful reply to your negativity, but then I came to my senses and realized, you’re not open for discussion. You would simply ascribe my response to either being uninformed or politically biased. In other words: You have made up your mind, therefore case closed.

    What a shame!

    Comment by Pclay3 — 10/30/2008 @ 7:54 am

  19. Mike Reynolds said at #9:

    “Whenever I have ‘Obama’s gonna lose!’ vapors I look to the McCain camp. We may not be sure we’re going to win, but man they sure are sure they’re going to lose.”

    Not only the most succinct comment I’ve seen about this “No, really, its a tie” whilrwind that sprang up in the last 24 hours, but also the most demonstrably valid.

    There’s still dozens of potential fact patterns that lead to a McCain victory, ranging from “difficult-but-possible” to “divine intervention”. If the McCain campagn is sending out resumes and starting the “we lost because of XXX, which is not my fault” background backside covering . . . well, I have to assume they decided that keeping up a strong team image took a backseat to saving yourself.
    Bailing on a campaign under these circumstances has to tar them professionally — if they’re willing to burn themselves just to make sure they have a way out they have to think the ship is going down, and just based on who they are and what they do I can’t see them spooking at rumors of weakness or a tough final stretch. ALL campaigns are brutal . . . that’s what these people consider their 9-to-5 environment. You don’t bail before the campaign’s over if you want to work in another campaign in the future. Man, there’s something they see that’s got to be even worse than the “liberal MSM propaganda” polling. I mean, Obama’s up, and up substantially, but not “Mount Everest unscalable heights” up.
    They’d rather be known as fair-weather caimpaign staff than as bulldog-determinied soldiers. Not a good sign.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/30/2008 @ 8:42 am

  20. Rick,

    What surprises me, actually, is how well McCain is doing considering all the disadvantages arrayed against him - a perfect storm, if you will. There’s the economy, which will deliver the coup de grace, the damaged GoP brand thanks to Bush, blatant ageism, and the huge advantages Obama has in terms of money and organizing, not to mention a clear charisma advantage. Limbaugh and others are already complaining the impending loss is all because McCain is a moderate and failed to deliver the indy vote, but I think with a more traditional GoP candidate the party would be in a much worse position with clear Obama blowout instead of what we have now.

    I therefore think the “base” is going to learn the wrong lesson from this election which risks the GoP going away like the whigs or remaining in the political desert for many years.

    Comment by Andy — 10/30/2008 @ 12:30 pm

  21. I have not seen any sign of “committed” failure on the part of McCain. I have seen it in people who describe themselves as “conservative”. Jumping overboard before the ship has sunk is the sign of true cowardice (although some would try to couch it as “prudent wisdom”).

    Chickens of the US…unite! Soon you will all be fodder for the Obmama Machine!

    Comment by Pclay3 — 10/30/2008 @ 1:33 pm

  22. Scientific polling was very accurate in the last two presidential contests. Rick’s surmise is spot on. It’s over.

    Comment by kreiz — 10/30/2008 @ 1:55 pm

  23. You might want to tuck away this small ray of hope - the polls were awful for GWB in 2004 - and his win was substantial and convincing (and no, he did NOT steal Ohio). I think part of this is the responsibility of scamps like me who got really tired of being called by pollsters and proceeded to have a lot of fun with them. I also lied through my teeth to an exit poll person in 2004. I’m doing the same thing this year. Anybody who calls me at 10 p.m. at night and awakens me from a dream of Tom Selleck deserves whatever b.s. I choose to shovel their way! I’m 66 years old and I need my rest.

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 10/30/2008 @ 2:54 pm

  24. Gayle

    Actually bush was ahead of kerry (just) in the polls at this point in 2004.

    Comment by jo — 10/30/2008 @ 11:20 pm

  25. Ordinarily I would agree that the campaign telling us to ignore the polls is the campaign that’s going to lose. But this time it may be different. As I recall, during the primaries Obama consistently did better in the polls than he did in the actual voting - at least in the primary (as opposed to caucus) states. Bradley effect? Media bias? I don’t know, but if I were Obama, I’d be nervous until the votes are actually counted.

    Comment by sauropod — 10/31/2008 @ 10:18 am

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