Dirty politics pays off for McCain

Today’s Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that the gap has closed. “The race for the White House is tied with Barack Obama and John McCain each attracting 44% of the vote. However, when ‘leaners’ are included, it’s McCain 47% and Obama 46%.”

There’s still 3 months to go to the election, and Obama’s still well ahead in Electoral College votes, so don’t panic. The Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator shows Obama leading in states with 210 ECVs and McCain  with 165. Leaners take Obama to 273, McCain to 227. The smart money still favours Obama, if a little less than a few weeks ago. Rasmussen Markets data gives Obama a 59.8% chance of winning the White House.

But the gap hasn’t been very wide at any point. Even the triumphant world tour had little effect. Obama’s failure to open up a wider margin over McCain in a year when the Democrats have been doing so well and when everything has been running in his favour, has been a source of growing disquiet.

What’s the problem? It seems that an awful lot of Americans are not yet ready to commit. Rasmussen finds that “… 33% of the uncommitted voters are Democrats while only 19% are Republicans.”

Why the uncertainty? Well, Obama wasn’t a national figure until this year, so many people need to know more about him. Then there’s racism. Anybody who thinks that racism isn’t alive and well in the USA simply hasn’t been there. McCain’s been capitalising on this too, running an ad that showed Obama’s image replacing Franklin’s on a $100 note. Doesn’t look right does it? Why not?

And the alligators that infest this swamp of uncertainty have been having a field day. They’re McCain’s campaign strategists. Now led by one of the evil genius Karl Rove’s star pupils. Their aim is simple. Character assassination. Obama’s character. And if he doesn’t do something about this, he’ll go the same way as Kerry, Dukakis and all the others.

(Note that the architect of Bush Snr’s 1988 victory, built on the racist Willie Horton attack ad and other slimy stuff, repented on his deathbed.)

Paul Abrams argues at HuffPo that, “the Obama Camp seems not to grasp fully what is going on.”

“Responding in logical, measured terms that rationally pushes back on McCain’s ads, they are missing the emotional side of the attacks that is the determining factor in 98% of decisionmaking, and, thus, voting.”

Other bloggers have called for Obama to hit back hard. They’re right. Negative campaigning works, and it’s working for McCain. The soft response doesn’t set the agenda, and it doesn’t provide an answer to McCain’s question about Obama readiness to lead.

Oh, and the next smear? It could be that Obama supports infanticide. No, true.

Oh, and the Republicans have been busy disenfranchising millions of African-American voters in critical states. Still, nothing unusual in that.

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4 Responses to “Dirty politics pays off for McCain”

  1. macdoctor01 Says:

    Negative campaigning works?! Oh, no! Don’t tell Helen… :-)

  2. Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] Last week, Democratic strategists were worried that Obama didn’t have a big enough lead over McCain. Now, they are worried that the election is a dead heat. (Jafapete has more details.) […]

  3. susan Says:

    The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do in the closely divided battleground states, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. Two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  4. Voices without Votes » Barack Obama: not “one of us” Says:

    […] have a big enough lead over McCain. Now, they are worried that the election is a dead heat. (Jafapete has more details)Obama urgently needs to take back control of his narrative. Part of the answer lies in […]

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