Four More Days: The "Sporadic Voter Effect" in Florida

By Al Giordano


TAMPA, FLORIDA; HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY; OCTOBER 31, 2008: First, some potentially bad news for Obama supporters: despite the schlepping of the vote and evident efforts by adult children and grandchildren to get their Jewish-American grandparents here in the Sunshine State to vote for their candidate, it is the anecdotal sense of my reporting that Obama may under-perform among that demographic compared to Kerry '04 (and especially Gore-Lieberman ‘00) along Florida's upscale eastern seaboard.

In Jewish-American retirement beehives like Boca Raton and West Palm Beach - visited by The Field in recent days - there are a surprising number of white voters exiting early vote locations who are more than willing to chat with a mustachioed reporter about how long it took them to vote (an average of 90 minutes), the weather, or anything else trivial. But when the conversation turns to who they supported for president, too many get silent and look down at their shoes. "That's private," many say.

This is strictly anecdotal (so, caveat emptor): younger Jews, locally, tell The Field that "undecided" or "won't tell" is the new credo of a hidden GOP vote. They can't admit to their own children or grandchildren that they're going for the old guy. In fact, they're somewhat embarrassed about it. But that's what some of them are doing nonetheless.

This is not exactly a "Bradley effect" (that possibly mythical story from the 1980s when white voters supposedly told pollsters they would vote for a black candidate but did not; a phenomenon that hasn't been demonstrable in contests since then), but it may be "the Schmendrick Effect," in which instead of outright lying to pollsters some pockets of McCain voters are simply saying they're undecided or refusing to respond.

McCain (and particularly the Republican National Committee) appears to be outspending Obama on the TV and radio airwaves in greater Miami, too, at least on programs and stations that The Field consumes. (And, wow, are they sinking a fortune into trying to save the hides of the two Diaz-Balart brothers in Congress.)

The Boston Globe reports:

In the final week, McCain and the RNC will outspend Obama's campaign in the battlegrounds of Ohio, Florida, and Missouri, the report shows. The RNC made its heaviest last-minute purchases of airtime in Florida ($4.2 million) and Ohio ($3.4 million), two Bush states in which Obama is even or slightly ahead in the polls...

In the first two weeks of October, the RNC also meted out $11 million to Republican state committee efforts in 21 states to be used to support the GOP ticket and get-out-the-vote efforts, according to its filing with the Federal Election Commission. The Republican Party of Florida was the chief beneficiary ($3.2 million), followed by Pennsylvania ($1.5 million) and Ohio ($1.3 million).

That out of the way (because I'm a believer in being the first in the door with any bad news), here's some good news for Obama supporters looking nervously at the Sunshine State:

That McCain has to spend $7.6 million of his final $18 million (42 percent of his entire media budget) in two Republican states - Ohio and Florida - means that he's going to be greatly outspent in the final stretch on the airwaves in Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada and - suddenly, announced today - Obama is now on the airwaves in Georgia, North Dakota and in McCain's home state of Arizona.

In effect, John McCain 2008 has become, tactically, a carbon copy of John Kerry in 2004, dumping widely disproportionate resources into Ohio and Florida - over 5,000 gross TV ratings points here in the Tampa market alone this week - while the Democrats' fifty-state strategy is laying upon him the political death of a thousand cuts elsewhere. He's now spending 42 percent of his ad dollars on saving eight percent of the Electoral College vote in two states won by George Bush. That indicates a huge worry that even Florida and Ohio could slip out of his grasp.

And, speaking of cuts: That College Republicans staffer that utilized her nail file to scrape a backwards B onto her pumpkin face in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania television market ("Yes. She. Carved!") and blamed it on a fictional African-American Obama supporter has, in The Field's analysis, definitively closed the door on any chances McCain thought he had in Pennsylvania.

Among so many of the Appalachian voters there that were tempted to vote against their own economic interests and let the race card get the better of them, she made them cringe in disgust, upstaging even the Jack Murtha comedy hour. It was a huge local TV news story - a police story and a political story rolled into one, complete with a mental health sideshow - for days on end, in the very region where McCain had based his comeback hopes. The Pittsburgh Cutter story is probably second to the "real vs. fake Virginia" meme in terms of a single story's impact on an important swing state. And so now all the money and candidate time and race-card messaging that McCain-Palin have dumped into Pennsylvania is now, in Wasilla-speak, "for naught."

Now, back to Florida:

Even if Obama under-performs among elderly Jewish voters (and again, my sense is not based on hard data but on gumshoe reporting), there are whole swathes of what the Obama campaign calls "sporadic" Democratic voters - people that are newly registered or have not voted in a recent election - that are turning out in record numbers for early voting.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says that 30 percent of all the voters expected to vote in Florida have already cast their ballots, and Obama's "sporadics" are over-performing. (Florida's massive early vote is exceeded by those in three other swing states: 33 percent have voted in New Mexico, 39 percent in North Carolina, and 40 percent of the eventual turnout has cast ballots in Nevada: It's been a good couple of weeks for Obama in states that begin with the letter N or F.)

The Field witnessed that phenomenon at the Boynton Beach City Hall the other day, a city that according to the 2000 census was 67 percent white. But at the early voting location, two-thirds of the people on the long line were black, mainly Haitian-Americans.

Plouffe led a conference call this morning where he offered some extremely impressive claims. At first I thought some of them might have been over-stated, until I remembered that during the primaries he typically understated Obama's support during those conference calls (and kept some of it hidden from the press and, thus, the rival camp, too): this is not a campaign manager prone to over-promising spin.

Plouffe said that in Florida, according to the campaign's internal data, Obama is surpassing Kerry and Gore percentages among Puerto Ricans, Colombian-Americans and younger Cuban-Americans, and that Latinos are early voting at higher numbers in Florida than they did four years ago, and African-American early voters have already outpaced 2004 by 20 percent.

"In Florida," Plouffe said, "1.6 million Obama voters did not vote in 2004. Florida probably has the biggest pool of sporadic-voting Democrats."

So that's the ball game here: pulling, pushing and dragging those 1.6 million "sporadics" to the polls: to early voting locations through Sunday and then the remainder on Tuesday.

The average of all polls has Florida at 47.8 percent for Obama to 45.2 for McCain. Political consultant Dick Morris - staffing the last firewall of TV pundits still arguing McCain can come from behind and win the presidency - says that Obama could be in trouble anywhere he's not at 48 percent in the polls (as we showed the other day, Obama is at 50 percent or better in states with 286 Electoral Votes; that alone would mean his victory). I'm keeping my own "safe" number at 50 percent, but confess that it's probably closer to 49 since Nader and Barr and McKinney will probably get a combined two percent this year.

So Florida's right here on the edge of that threshold. More than three million voters have already cast ballots. The headline on today's Tampa Tribune is: "More Early Voting Draws Boos." (That is, from Republican operatives who fear that the governor's extension of early voting hours may be inexorably extinguishing their firewall here.)

Dennis Baxley, responsible for the Christian Coalition's GOTV efforts, told the Tribune: ""The format we have seen in the Obama campaign has been to rile up emotions and get everybody to the polls to vote before they change their mind."


And if lines are long at one early voting location, the Obama campaign is trucking voters to another where there is less of a wait. This has led to some racially-charged panic from at least one Republican party leader, who sent out a Chicken Little email to his troops (hat tip to FlaDem at DKos):




Mind you, that's not Plouffe's spin. That's what the rival camp is seeing.

It's so close here in the Sunshine State, that something like a half-hour piece of roadblock advertising might shift the balance and cause, instead of a tightening, a widening, of the polls. (Too bad nobody thought of doing that this week. Oh, wait. Never mind.)

And it's all about field, field, field to locate and turn out the rest.

Meanwhile, some folks might find this the appropriate hour to pick up the telephone and heap some old fashioned guilt on some bubbies and zaddies down here and warn them not to be schmendricks.


Florida head banging

Perversely, some of the reticence of seniors to tell who they voted for may be not wanting to admit they voted for Obama. My father in law, who early on could not understand why we supported " the colored gentleman", has never told us who he voted for, except to say it wasn't McCain. He knows what the right vote is but is reluctant to say it. I expect he, in the end, did the right thing, but he'll never admit it.


I understand why people are always anxious for more from you, Al. But I hope they realize what they're getting here -- amazing reporting and analysis in long and thoughtful pieces filed several times a week from the road. Other reporters will fill a lot of space but they won't tell you anything you haven't seen and heard a million other places. As one who has an appreciation for the degree of difficulty of the task you have taken on and then accomplished, hats off to you and thanks.




Thanks to Rick Davis

Thanks to Rick Davis crowing about how much money the McCain campaign has for ads right now, I made another contribution to Obama -- not one that I had expected to make.

By the way, the Maine Republican party had announced the other day that McCain was planning on coming to the state and this morning it announced that he would not. Either he knows the state is a lock for Obama or he's realized that he has far bigger issues. It's certainly not going to stop me from working hard on GOTV.

Al, I look at these

Al, I look at these three topics and see how Obama wins:

1.  The preparation for the ground game.  My local phonebank has been focused for the last 3-4 weeks on calling "sporadic" voter files in swing states, hyping early voting to those who support Obama.  We have been planting the seeds for this push all month.

2.  The ground game itself.  Your report, the desperate fear of FL Republicans - "I see Black people - voting!" - and the video of the GOTV vans on campus, are part of the story.  Then there's the sheer number of early Obama voters like me and other Fieldhands who did so precisely so that we can devote our every waking moment between now and when the polls close on swing-state GOTV.  I'm packing right now for my trip to NV, where I'll be assigned to Carson City for the duration.  And then there's this fascinating Washington Post report that McCain is pushing more $$$ into TV ads at the expense of ground-game GOTV efforts.  Stunning.

3.  The enthusiasm gap.  The polls all show higher enthusiasm for Obama among his supporters than vice versa.  They show more hardened commitment to vote Obama.  This is borne out in my phonebanking experience.  We identify ourselves up front as volunteers with the Obama campaign, and when I ask who they are supporting, a significant percentage say, "Not Obama."  With those I press gently, sometimes making a joke of it, like "I don't have "Not Obama" as a candidate on my survey sheet, can you name the candidate you do support?"  Only then will they volunteer McCain, even then some of them say it with resignation.  The Obama supporters, on the other hand, are fired up and ready to go!


Unless there were other

Unless there were other clues you didn't mention, I wouldn't be so quick to assume it's all good news for McCain when those Boca types say  "That's private". I've had plenty of experience with old Jews (and one day I will become one myself -- hopefully a lovably cantankerous and quick witted one).

For older Jews there's a lot of tension and nervousness surrounding a vote for Obama. But that tension does not necessarily mean they're voting for McCain.

My aunt, for instance, is from exactly that demographic of Jewish voters you spoke to. She is not at all enthusiastic about Obama. However, the alternative, and especcially Palin, horrifies her. The reality is she's going to vote for Obama. But she's not going to want to talk about it to anyone. She would give you exactly the reaction you often seemed to receive.

By the way, when you get that reaction, ask about Sarah Palin. That's a good backdoor for discerning the votes of older Jews who don't want to tell you who they voted for. My strong sense is that Palin plays worse amongst old Jews than Obama ever did. Much worse.

While I appreciate

the honesty, Al, my stomach is in knots.  I cannot face four more years under Republican insanity.  The very thought sickens me.

on ground game and old Jews

Keep in mind that the reason that McCain has to pump money into ads rather than the ground game is that his campaign is severely lacking in infrastructure and volunteers. What major ground operation can they mount at this point, having never built the underlying structure needed during the summer (when they also ran lots of ads)?  But the Obama ground game and the enthusiasm gap on which it feeds (as well as the organizational genius of the candidate and campaign staff) have already generated a huge early voter lead, leaving far fewer undecideds around to persuade and motivate by ads. And how much do folks watch tv on weekends anyway?

Onto the old Jews: I know quite a lot myself and Palin is definitely poison for them. Those who flirted with not voting for Obama because they loved Hillary were converted by Palin to the O-man, something their children and grandchildren have been quick to compliment and reinforce.


Isn't Palm Beach County a Kick?

I grew up there; was Validictorian of Jupiter High (back when it was a little village on the north county line and there were miles and miles of empty shoreline) and captain of the Jupiter High Cheerleaders. We had the Century City people, the very poor, crime ridden and run down parts of West Palm, and the actual Palm Beachers - on their island! Home of the hanging chads, Foley and now Mahoney. My father was active (not any more!) in the county Republican party. He and my sister knew Mark Foley well. A really wacky place all in one special county and second only to Idaho - the state - for ridiculous politicians.

I had had no sense of where the older population of the county has been for this election. Thanks for the update. I cannot help but think that retirees should have been a natural constituency for McCain. Does anyone talk about his ideas for medicare and social security? Is that a big deal for retired voters?


Agree with Barry

Al, I agree with Barry - your work is ALWAYS worth the wait. Thanks sooo much for getting me through this election!

Refused = McCain

I always count Refused as McCain when I canvass.  Obama supporters in my 13.63:1 Starbucks to Walmart ratio State are very, very proud to be voting for Obama.  It's usually the first thing out of their mouths.  Alas, it's the Governor's race that gives them pause.


for "Schmendrick effect" alone.   You can digg it, too...

Amazing, eye-to-detail stuff---we expect no less from Al, and he nearly always gives us even more.

Loved the vid, too.

Si somos americanos, seremos buenos vecinos;
compartiremos el trigo,seremos buenos hermanos --
canción de Rolando Alarcón

Todos somos americanos.-- Barack Obama

"Oy, McCainia"

Per Al's request in the last line of his report:


Great reporting Al. Loved the video.  What Barry Crimmins said.

early voting compared to 2004

These numbers are quite impressive - and growing by the day. 

In July, Pew published interest level in July, and the correlation to the November turnout -    This would put turnout at 70-75% level.  Given the fact that the GOP turnout, as well as the oldest age group was extremely high in 2004, it would seem that increase turnout would definitely disproportionately benefit the democrats. 

Also from Pew,  Obama is ahead by 19% among the votes that have already been cast.  There seems to be evidence, at least in Nevada and CO, that the Obama campaign is turning out "low propensity" voters (new and sporadic); Ambinder at has several posts up on this today.

Finally, Nate Silver's analysys of youth, Latino and African American turnout is worth re-reading, as it seems likely that this is already happening:


Great Reporting, As Always

I think the other thing about the older generation is that there was once a code of ethics that dictated privacy about your vote.  I remember my mother refusing to tell me who she voted for when I was a kid because the right to a secret ballot was something sacred to her and she took it seriously.  Same deal if I ever asked how much money my dad made!

Barry, I second your emotion and would also like to add that you have been on fire recently too.  Great stuff over at your place, leading up to the big day.

OT - How's this for VERY COOL in Alaska?

I think Alaska wins for best homemade signs this year.

RIP, Studs Terkel

Just saw that Studs Terkel, age 96 died this morning. Chicago Tribune Story. In a recent interview published at HuffPo, he talked about Alinsky.

I started to ask Studs about the pioneering Chicago organizer Saul Alinksy, whose name has been disparaged recently by the Republicans and as soon as he heard that name, he belted out,

The idiots! They label Saul Alinksy - the great neighborhood organizer - as a subversive! He's been dead for 35 years and he was honored by the Catholic Church! He's no subversive. Neither is Bill Ayers! That Sarah Palin - you know, she's Joe McCarthy in drag!

This from a man who was investigated by Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1953. Studs refused to give evidence against other left-wing activists and he was blacklisted and his television contract was canceled.

Since I've got a site devoted to digital tools for recording and archiving family stories, I've read some of Terkel's works. It's from one of those volumes that I made my first acquaintance with community organizing.

Still Outta the Country . . . Wolcott weighs in on Al

Wolcott weighs in on Al's latest post here:



If you haven't seen it yet, over at 538 they have a final post on the comparison between the two campaign's groundgames.  For a real boost scroll down to the pictures.  Read the post and then get back to what he describes, this incredible effort by millions of volunteers.

3 Days left!  GOTV!

You forgot a state there

Around 30% of registered voters have voted early in Georgia. With likely more than half going to Obama.

Re: The Bubbie Vote

Just received this.  A must watch - all is revealed.

Subject: The bubbys vote

Subject: My wife's video contribution to the Obama campaign

Fifty years ago my wife performed the yiddish song Rumania at Temple Beth-El

in Great Neck.  As part of her contribution to the Obama campaign, she

rewrote the song and made this video:

Studs Turkel

Damn. I'm damn sorry to read this. He was such a good listener to people.

thanks for the honest words, Al

that's why we come here. to read honesty from you. I'm off again, to gently nudge even more people about voting..LOL

Al, I hope you are right

Al, I hope you are right about PA.  Outside of Pittsburgh, I think the rest of western PA is looking grim.   Lots of anecdotal evidence around here that makes me think he's going to have a tough time even holding Kerry's numbers in this area.

New video from makers of Baracky

makes me wonder whatever happened to the phil gramm nation of whiners clip.  I thought for sure that the Obama team were saving it to use in a commercial late in the game, but I don't think I've seen it in one yet.


Here in Arizona we're so excited

to be only 2 points down.

Even if McCain manages to win his home state, which I still expect, we're really rocking him back on his heels. In fact, he's putting in an appearance in Prescott on Sunday night. No doubt he would rather be elsewhere. He's also dropping some of his very limited funds on robocalls.

I'm heading over to Grijalva HQ right now to make calls for Obama. Will canvas this weekend and am taking the day off from work on Tuesday too. We'll get as many as we can to the polls. Heck, you never know. Imagine what a huge exclamation point it would make if Obama landed AZ!

Campaign called me

Like a lot of people I received a call fromt he Obama campauign to go to Indianapolis this weekend for canvassing.  I had to tell them that unfortunately due to some family matters I couldn't.  As busy as the guy was he didn't push but took enough time to say he hoped things worked out and he understood.  I was able to inform him I will be doing calling though.


The point is that he could have just said, alright and went on to the next call.  This is the nature of Obama and the staff and the volunteers.  Take time to care.  That is the ultimate message of this campaign, even though it has never been specifically put into those words.  Caring always trumps hate and fear.  And if Obama can get 51% of the country not just to vote or him but to take time to care over the next 4 years, we will see a renaissance in this country that will be unbelievable.


Al, on a side point, are you planning on doing a state by state prediction thread on Monday night?

Prediction Thread

John in Illinois - Would it be an Election Eve without my district-by-district (in this case, state by state) predictions?

I've been toying with that map all week now. It's going to be very hard to match my 46-4 result of 2004, particularly in a couple of the states that burned me back then.

But yes, Monday evening, I'll lay it on the line. Again.

Florida early voters at record 3.4 million

Early voting continues at a brisk pace: 3.4 million Floridians have already cast ballots by mail or in person -- 30 percent of the state's 11.2-million voter electorate.

Up to today, Democrats have a 242,000-voter lead over Republicans in overall balloting, the state Democratic Party said.

Democrats account for 45 percent (1.5 million) of early and absentee votes, while Republicans are at 38 percent (1.3 million). The rest are unaffiliated.

Al, Clue me in here...

Hi Al, I have been faithfully reading your blog and want to thank you for all the great reporting.

As you know I am a good Canuck. I have voted in every single election that I have been able to in my lifetime  (I am 58).  Here in the True Blue North... that is Canada.. not Alaska... we do not have queue to vote. Once I get to the poll station, I am voting within 2 minutes and I live in an major urban area. We also have by law 4 hours of paid leave to take from our job to go vote. Why do people have to queue for 10-12 hours in America as reported on the web and news?  Hearing about this seems bizarre to me... it makes it sound like America is a third world country and that monitors from the UN need to be sent immediately. How does America even try to make the claim they are the Leader of the Free World when their basic voting process seems to be so backward: i.e. Machines that do not work, no back up to voting machines, not enough machines, people thrown off the voter rolls... an inadequate number of polling stations.... lack of trained staff... and bias political officials.  I am stunned that the secretary of states can abuse voter rights in states....

Please explain how a country like America can so so out of it when it comes to the basic democratic process.

We have an independent agency that records the voters and manges our elections.   It is called Elections Canada and there is none of this crazy crap about not being eligible or being thrown off...

What gives O`Great One how did America`s election system become close to dipping your thumb in a bottle of ink... I need answers!!!!

ps. I like your new look! Did you donate your ponytail to cancer victims...?

The Last Hail Mary

McCain is behind, it's down to the end of the game, so he's abandoning his ground game for a last-gasp air blitz.  Don't you have to take away from this development - that the McCain campaign knows they are outclassed in executing the famed Republican 72-hour GOTV strategy?  All they can do is put their message(?) out there and wait to see if their voters come out on Election Day??

My friends, this means that in the end, after nearly two years of campaigning, John McCain is reduced to... hope.

Senator, I was drawn to this campaign by hope. I've known hope since the Iowa caucuses. Hope is an ally of mine. Senator, you have no hope!


Seriously folks, we have the votes - all we have to do is get them to the polls.


(And RIP Studs Terkel, author, historian, connoisseur of the human condition, man-about-town and raconteur - let's all have a tall one at Studs' Place before closing time.)

Very Handy CNN Tool

CNN has a new interactive early voting map showing current counts of early voting - broken out by absentee and in person and also party if applicable.  Very handy.  The only thing I'd like to see included is the total turnout from 2004 so that you can easily see what % of the total it represents.  I heard CO and NM were up over half of 2004 turnout already.

I love the video on the vans.  I can't recall where I read that it's impossible to rent a van anywhere near FL right now because the Obama camp has rented them all.  Good reporting, Al.  While one might suspect that a refusal may mean McCain, I'm with some of the folks here who have indicated it could be what might be deemed a reverse Bradley effect.  I read an antecdote of a southern belle type explaining that her mom whispered to her that she had voted for Obama..but don't tell anyone.  And while I agree with Tien that refusals are often times McCain supporters who don't want to tell you that, I have also encountered people who I genuinely felt it was private.

Crist did such an honorable thing by extending voting hours.  It's disgusting that the SOS in Georgia has refused.  It's hard to fathom people waiting 10 hours to vote.  I sure hope that nationwide, election officials are ready for the high turnout on election's not like they couldn't see it coming.

Look forward to the next update.

Al, other than the published polls, do the campaigns ever

release their internals just before the election day, as a sort of last minute push ?

 I very well remember Plouffe's "leaked" delegates count slate during the primaries as a counter to Hillary can come back meme.


Ron Fournier and the AP try to turn the election AGAIN...

The AP has been relentless over the past two years in trying to bring down Sen. Obama.  Well tonight in their latest attempt to do this, they just "broke" a story about Obama's aunt living in the U.S. "illegally."  AMAZING!  The story is full of unsubstantiated RUMOR and INNUENDO.  It is AWFUL...  I just want to thank the Field and you in particular for CALLING FOURNIER out and most importantly for TAKING ACTION against him and his "reporting."

Studs will be missed

A Chicago icon and a national treasure. Folks interested in Studs can find a small list of interesting links at my diary here. Did you know he appeared at a rally with Obama in 2002 to protest the impending Iraq invasion?


Great Report!

 As always, Al, your the best and worth the wait.

Here is something from AP without Ron (the racial arsonist's) name on it.

AP poll shows Obama backers gleeful, McCain's glum

Yes We Can!


Third world?

@PA from Canada

There are a lot of reasons for the disgrace of how our voting system has become.  I’m no expert, but I can address the differences between how Canada does it and how we do it. 

For one thing, Canada’s current population sits at 33,399,600 and the population of California sits at 36,457,549 (from searches on dogpile).  Finding a truly non-partisan agency to conduct elections for close to half a billion people without that agency being corrupted by one party and then the other…don’t see it happening.

Secondly, we are the United STATES of America.  When it comes to voting, in addition to federal laws, there are also sovereignty issues.  Each State gets to choose how it is going to go about voting within the framework of those federal guidelines. 

The Secretaries of State getting their mitts on voter roles is a function (I think) of the Help America Vote Act which was utterly corrupted by people like Jack Abramoff the criminal.  Election reform is a serious issue and needs to be addressed, there’s no doubt.

The long lines? Well, that’s not really a common occurrence.  This is the first time in 50 years that we’ve had an election for president where there wasn’t an incumbent or vice-president on the ballot.  That generates tremendous interest in itself.  Plus Obama is hugely popular and has done to work to get people ready to vote.  You see a third world, I see hope because so many people are taking time out of their busy days to vote.  Administration could be better to make it easier for people.  But as long as we have a major political party that can only perform well when large numbers of people don’t vote, then we’re going to have these problems.  For better or worse, we are currently stuck with a two party system that creates these kinds of problems.

Tien, Yes, it looks third world to us outsiders

All the problems you state, well, you had over four hundred years to fix them.

This is the first time I am observing US elections at close quarters and am not impressed at all.

And the temerity of US to preach democracy to the rest of world is galling to say the least.


Alaska primary

From what little research I did, it would appear that Alaska has a conventional primary system.  Wouldn't it be fun to 'primary' Palin? 

Third world-ish

Tien: The EU has roughly 500 million citizens, the sovereignety issues being much bigger than in the USA, and each member state gets to organize the national voting for EU-wide elections (e.g., European Parliament). To just give an example of disparity, voting is mandatory in some countries (Belgium), while it's not in most.

When it comes to voting, I have NEVER heard about waiting lines of many hours (I'd consider one hour of wait already exceptionally "long"), or people rejected at the polls, etc (and voting rates in EU coutries are usually high, btw). In Spain, the usual "news" is "no incidents beyond some polling places opening half an hour late". My point is that getting voters to vote election day in a few minutes and without incidents is not such a difficult thing (hey, even Europeans can do it right ;-)). It's a matter of having enough polling places, reasonable ballot designs, and I guess doing elections on a Sunday instead of a working day also helps.

And yes, this "election day mess" spectacle gives a very poor image of the US administration, and I hope something will be done to sort it out in the future. Kudos to the voters who are willing to endure the queues, lose a day of work, and defeat all kinds of obstacles to cast their vote.


Hat tip to Studs--he

Hat tip to Studs--he epitomizies the best of our country, and he will be missed.  He died on the cusp of a nascent progressive era in the United States--and I am sure he was heartened by the Obama campaign's success.

I am involved in the home stretch get out the vote efforts here in Orlando.

Let me tell you, it is ugly.  The deep-set racism is bubbling to the surface and the willful stupidity and cognitive dissonance is glaring.

Yes, I am hopeful, but a little stunned at the level of intellectual laziness and fear that I see.

I visit two barbar shops in East Orlando--one that caters to mostly working class whites, and the other whose clientel are mostly Latino.

Let's put it this way, after today being told by the barbars and the patons of the mostly white shop that Obama hangs with terrorists, that he is a 'socialist', that he will drive corporations to other nations with his tax policies, that he wants to 'cut and run' and allow Al Queda to regroup and attack the US mainland again...ect.   Well, I guess from now on I will have to attend the mostly Lation barbar shop.  That place shaves my red neck at least.




Preaching Democracy


The "preaching democracy" or "our way or the highway" mentality is the Bush/neocon dogma to support and justify invading or messing around in other countries for whatever purpose.  It isn't what 99% of Americans "preach".   So I take offense to your wording of "the US preaching democracy" (and btw,your occassional use of the slang insulting "americun"). 

 It's a big country with 50 different independent state elections giving each state the right to determine the election details.  It isn't meant to be perfect, by it's nature democracy always has been and will be messy. 

Catherine. That Bush/neocon dogma of preaching democracy

was voted in twice by at least half the voting americans, who are part of the 99% americans you talk about.

BTW, the elections being robbed/democracy being murdered memes come from US blogs themselves.

And, yes we also feel insulted when US butts in our "democracy".


Preaching Democracy


I hope you are kidding.  Voting for Bush didn't imply  that an average American would say yes to the question, "Do you support the invasion of countries without cause?"  Anymore than they would answer "yes" to "Should we torture enemy prisoners?"  The fact that Bush was elected in 2004 doesn't mean Americans supported what he did on those two matters and Americans woke up to the abuse of power. If that was the case, he would have higher than a 25% or whatever approval rating.  He got elected because of his party's strong campaigning in an election based on fear of terrorism against a weak Dem candidate. 

And in 2000, yes, the general consensus is that the election was  screwed up in Florida.   That Gore didn't win his own state meant that it came down to the fact that a few thousand Democrats in a county in Florida chose Buchanan when they most certainly wanted to vote for Gore (because of a poor ballot design).  The other reality is that there were 49 states that year and 99% of the counties in Florida which did not have voting problems.   So it isn't about a few hundred years to "fix" a problem.  Your assessment of American elections is the expression of "throwing the baby out with the bathwater".

Anyway, I'm off to the campaign office for the day to hopefully get a few more voters out in Indiana.

Election Reform - After the Election

I'm thinking election reform may be an area I would like to focus my (newly discovered) efforts on after the election.  But let's not get too sidetracked now.  I have nothing but total respect for the foreigners who post here and amk's involvement in our election has been a great addition.  But you guys should bare in mind that, for example, I can criticize my sister all day long but the minute someone else does it, I will defend her.  : )

Did anyone see today that the Gallup traditional and expanded models converged today?  10% lead.  I sure wish Gallup was more forthcoming about its modeling - I'd love to understand how this has evolved.  Presumably they can no longer ignore increased turnout with the early voting.  There is a poster over at TPM, Fly on the Wall, that turns out some excellent analysis about all of this.  Fly was the first person who I saw announce way early on in the primaries that Obama's lead was insurmountable.



We've all been expecting a "surprise". If Obama's half-aunt is the best they can come up with, they've truly got nothing. A worthy final sliming would have to involve the candidate himself, and undermine some strength (and be shocking enough to register on enough people quickly). In Obama's case it would have to be something that says "see, he really is hiding something scary or radical". (Interestingly, McCain's VP choice was his own self-generated "surprise" in that sense.)

I can see the attempt to hook into the whole Obama-is-foreign thing, and of course his black African ancestry,  and maybe blacks-are-shiftless-losers, but anyone who cares about that stuff is already voting against Obama. There's nothing "surprising" enough to move many votes.

Nedra Pickler and Sen. Obama's step-aunt

Do you suppose that the AP's Nedra Pickler breaking a story about Sen. Obama's step-aunt 3 days before the election could all just be a coincidence of the news bureau, author and timing?

It's not going to hurt him of course.  It'll just feed the zanies.

Chill out about PA numbers

That's the word from PPP on the Pennsylvania primary. For all the C-Littlers. PPP will release the Pa. poll later today and it's looking solid for the O-man. Obviously the Ras poll putting it closer was flawed. (80% AAs for Obama?? Come on!)

Al... what Barry said....!!!

Al... what Barry said....!!!

Virginia is Hyper-Organized

I just want to call Virginia for Obama right now.

I spent my whole day canvassing in Alexandria and the organization and turn out was unbelievable.  Instead of having everyone go to the campaign office, they have sub-divided their GOTV by neighborhood.  We went to one house that was completely out of canvassing packets.  They sent us to another house where we went out and knocked on doors and found the streets lined with Obama signs.  Of those who answered the door and had time to talk, every single one was pro-Obama.  Every.  Single.  One.

When we got back after our second round of packets, we found out that this house was now completely out and they were sending people to Arlington because the entire map of Alexandria was covered by volunteers today.  This doesn't mean every house, just the hyper-targeted undecided and sporadic democrat voters.

There was no McCain ground game competing.  There are a lot of reports of empty campaign offices.  Obama has localized neighborhood sub-offices that have to turn people away.  Organization has turned Virginia blue.

Bill R

I wasn't worried about PA because everyone has him over 50%.  Plus Obama is not headed back that way.  Nevertheless, it's still reassuring to know there is another good poll coming out.

Have you all seen this?

This is the prank call to Palin that had her convinced she was talking to French president Sarkosy.  I know we here at The Field are supposed to be above this.  And to some degree I kind of am - well maybe not above it but the whole notion is so cringe-inducing that I actually haven't listened to it.  But how this woman believed that the president of France would just ring her up on her cellphone and have a little chat speaks VOLUMES of this woman's hubris.  As if we didn't have enough evidence already.

Between this and Cheney's endorsement of McCain, any play the step-aunt story had is now gone.  Excellent final weekend.

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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