New Swing State Numbers (and What We Can See In Them)

By Al Giordano

As usual, Nate offers a must-read on the first round of post-convention surveys from six swing states. Sometimes I just read 538 and say "me, too." Tonight I actually have some things to add to the cogent analysis there.

Here's how Nate breaks it down:

State/Pollster     WAS            NOW               SWING

OH  Rasmussen  McCain +5    McCain +7       McCain +2

MI  PPP            Obama  +3    Obama  +1      McCain +2

PA  Rasmussen  Obama  +3    Obama  +2      McCain +1

VA  Rasmussen  McCain +1    McCain +2      McCain +1

VA  SurveyUSA  McCain +1    McCain +2      McCain +1

FL  Rasmussen   McCain +2    TIE                Obama  +2

CO  Rasmussen  McCain +1    Obama  +3      Obama  +4

====================================================

AVERAGE       McCain +0.6   McCain +0.7    McCain +0.1

 

An advantage of 0.1 percent overall at what will likely be the height of the McCain convention "bounce" is about what we've been expecting all along. Let's repeat some of what we said two days ago:

- That the Obama campaign needs to build a firewall around Michigan through greater voter registration.

- That The Field has seen Ohio as "likely McCain" all along, which this poll reinforces somewhat (although hardly definitively).

Let's look at the others, now:

Pennsylvania - Rasmussen has Obama up by two - that's tight, but it's also one of the states that has led in new voter registration this year, particularly in the growing southeastern part of the population which is the Democratic base.

The Field believes that pollsters are having a hard time picking up new voters in their data. Pollsters will argue that their methodology doesn't work off registered voter lists but random dialing, so no problem. But random dialing misses many of the kinds of voters - transients (young professionals, students), minorities, the poor - that don't have or aren't near a landline, and it's especially hard to reach college students that way. At this hour which may turn out to be McCain's high point, those numbers indicate that Pennsylvania is still a swing state but swinging more "blue" than "red." The ground game, plus native son Joe Biden, plus key demographics should keep Pennsylvania in Obama's column if the grassroots organization doesn't ease up. Also, among moderate Republican and Independent women in places like Bucks and Montgomery counties, the bloom will come off the rose of McCain's vice presidential candidate as her extremist right wing views on social issues filter out into public knowledge. Palin's favorability and celebrity factor is at its zenith right now, but what goes up does come down.

Virginia - Thank goddess for Survey USA (SUSA) and its ethical providing of more detailed data than Rasmussen (even as both show similar results).

SUSA has it McCain 49, Obama 47 in the Old Dominion. But African-Americans constitute only 19 percent of its survey sample, and it has them voting 84 percent for Obama to 14 percent for McCain. In the 2004 presidential election, Virginian African-Americans made for 21 percent of the statewide vote, and voted 87 percent Kerry to 12 percent Bush. Does anybody really believe that Obama won't do better than that and won't exceed the 2004 turnout among AAs? Also, whereas Kerry got only 32 percent of the white vote in Virginia, Obama is already at 37 percent.

If you re-weight the poll to reflect the more likely AA turnout of at least 21 percent, the result of that same poll would be Obama 47.7 to 44.6 for McCain (Obama +3.1, and that's conservatively estimating that Obama gets only 60 percent of the Hispanic vote when I think he'll do better than 65 percent there). Presuming about two percent of the vote goes to third-party candidates like Nader, Barr and McKinney, that leaves only 5.7 percent undecided (some of whom will simply stay home). More than half of those are Independent white voters that were unmoved by the conventions. That's the battleground in Virginia and where virtually all "messaging" and advertising ought to be pitched.

Florida - Obama gains two points to tie up the Sunshine State at the peak of McCain's convention bounce? Like I wrote on Sunday, it's the one swing state where "the choice of Palin could come back to bite McCain in the ass." (Still very much an issue there, though, is "voter caging" and other suppression tactics; expect a battery of lawyers from the Obama campaign spending the first days of November in Florida.)

And finally, comes this very interesting data point...

Colorado - Despite the McCain convention bounce Obama's up three points for a 4+ percentage point lead. Colorado is going blue. Why? It's the ground game, stupid! The way that the Obama campaign parlayed the convention in Denver to be a field organizing tool, particularly in using so many of the 84,000 stadium tickets to bring opinion leaders and organizers more deeply into the fold has created a firewall against the McCain convention bounce. It also may indicate that the Palin pick is bombing with Hispanic voters, which would, if true, bode well for Obama in New Mexico and Nevada, too.

Finally, how might these trends impact our previous question over where The Field should report from later this month and in early October?

Michigan's stock is going up. So are Virginia's and Florida's. And some readers here have been very convincing that Indiana may be a place to be.

(In addition, Field Hands that are active, organized and strategically located in Michigan, Indiana and Florida have offered very impressive logistical support, both in the comments and via email.)

So, crunch those numbers and keep your advice coming. Soon we'll come up with a game plan, a budget of how much reporting from each chosen state will cost, and turn to you to make it happen (and I have zero doubt that you will).

In the meantime, these state by state numbers are much more relevant than the national numbers, and we anxiously wait for more data - not merely polling, but even more so new voter registration numbers - from more swing states.

Update: And for ye numbers junkies, DemConWatch has the final Democratic Convention delegate vote tallies!

 

Comments

OH is interesting. It seems

OH is interesting. It seems only Rasmussen is showing McCain leading there while all other pollsters are showing either a tied race or Obama leading.

However, if Rasmussen is right then it seems no matter what Obama says in OH it won't make any difference. Seems like they're more concerned about the "black man issue". May be someone with more better understanding of OH could answer this: how many votes are there in the conservative part of OH? And how much margin Obama need to build up in areas like Cleveland/Cinci/Columbus?

 

rasmussen and the swing states

I am wondering, myself, whether there is any real momentum behind McCain's bounce, though.  Sure, some uncommitted Republicans decided to get on the anti-abortion bus, but getting republicans is what he might have done in the next few weeks anyway as the decision closes in.  What I am wondering is with Florida tied up now, what might more news of Palin's connection to Jews for Jesus do to cool off the Jewish vote down there?

and P.S. thanks for your earlier blog, I tried to draw some attention to your Netroots blog but didn't get any notice for it... your scolding today has already improved things immensely over at DKOS!

Yes and No

I am getting poll-whipped. Yesterday I found a great Gallup which conviced me in a macro way that Barack looks good to win. Today I ran a page on on Obama ground activities drawn from just over the weekend -- pretty much the same sort of organization thoughts I read here.

I can only reiterate what I keep coming back to. This will be won on fundamental issues that will become clear as we complete the process. I have one very good authority for this. Barack. His interview with KO may strike ofhers as the height of complacency, but I am a believer. This election is about moving beyond hissy fit politics. It is about reason. It is about politics as the art of the possible, with a Barack touch -- more grass roots, more participation, a wider donor base, plus his increasingly one sentence positions on the major issues. And Biden's capacity for underlining with feeling.

I do not concede Ohio or any other battlefield state. I do not write anything off. If Barack is right this will be won because he was right and because he is a throwback to politicians who had more grit than our recent losing crop.

Being of a certain age, I love it.

 

 

 

 

You may be onto something

You may be onto something about Palin and Hispanic voters that the Obama campaign also sees. Somewhere today, and I'm sorry I can't remember where, I saw that Obama is increasing advertising in the Southwest.

OH and IN

I still don't quite get how Obama can do well enough to win IN without winning OH and MI.  Obama would have to do at least 5% but probably closer to 10% better in the parts of Northern and Eastern IN adjacent to OH and MI in order to win IN.  Southern IN is not going to swing strongly to Obama this year and there just aren't enough votes in Indianopolis and Lake County to make up the 20% gap from the 2004 election.  But if Obama is doing that well in Northern and Eastern IN, it is hard not to see him improving significantly in Western OH and Southern MI.  Both of these are areas that lean Republican - Obama doesn't have to win them but if he keeps McCain's margins down, he will win those states.  So I guess that I don't see the logic for Indiana as a decisive state - unless McCain fails to run any campaign there whatsoever (and since there is a Governor's race, he might be able to win without putting a lot of resources into the state).

Thanks Al

This all makes a lot of sense and I hadn't thought about the Colorado "after the party" favors still paying off.  Would that be true for Minnesota for Republicans?  I have heard that McCain was doing non-stop ads there all weekend slamming Obama and Obama didn't have any ads up.  I would guess the campaign knows that their lead is solid there -even after the convention --and that Obama's ground game in Colorado is that much better than McSame's in Minnesota.

Like the SUSA Virginia poll, I am also curious about what AA polling percentage is in Ohio since that could be considered underpolled in the same way.  With such a significant AA population in most of the larger cities in Ohio, I would love for that to be a factor where perhaps it wasn't with Kerry.  I have to admit that Ohio has disappointed so often that perhaps the mental energy is not there for HOPE.

And it's worth noting that these numbers really look great from another perspective; based on the demographics in these states, I would think that Lipstick Bush will have little impact going forward and that real specific daily economic messages from Obama and his crew will resonate and those voters will vote their best interests. 

Michigan

Just for giggles today, I decided to compare the two campaigns in Michigan, based on what I could learn from their websites.  I took Kalamazoo as my centre and looked for events 100 miles around it on each site.  I found 187 things I could do on Obama's page, most of them really practical things like canvassing and voter registration drives.  On McCain's site?  5 events, each one of which sounded from their descriptions like nothing more than a kaffeeklatsch.

Now, maybe the McCain camp do all of their real organizing on some super sekret site, but I'm skeptical.

McCain did have a bunch of Michigan offices open, though not as many as Obama from what I can remember.  His site also promised! new offices! opening soon! in Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, and a few more places.  But John, baby, time's a wasting and at this pace, by the time you get those offices open, registration will be almost over.

Re: Virginia Numbers

Al,

I'm having one hell of a time finding it, and it's possible I'm wrong, but from what I've read about, the Virginia numbers overrepresent the African American turnout. I know for fact that in North and South Carolina the exit polls overstated African American turnout, and according to the Census Bureau, African Americans only make up about 19.6% of Virginia's population. I'm not saying that the African American vote in 2004 wasn't at 21% in 2004, but I'd caution that it's difficult for me to see African Americans being overrepresented at the voting booth.

I agree with pretty much everything else in your analysis Al, but I did want to put out a dissenting opinion on Virginia and SUSA.

Florida, Florida, Florida

Wouldn't it be poetic justice if Obama triumphed in Florida because Palin is such a crappy pick for the senior and Jewish vote (and Joe Biden is brilliant there).  Ha! I'd love to see it turn on Florida....

Virginia

I was reading yesterday that Obama's people will have registered 300,000 new Dem voters in Virginia since Jan. by Oct. deadline. I seriously doubt that was reflected in the voter ID screen in SUSA's poll sample. SUSA has been notorious in this election year in under-representing the AA vote, both in turnout and in percentage voting for Obama. Only 84% for Obama, don't tell me that 16% of Virginia AAs are going to vote for McCain/Palin. That's ludicrous!

yes, florida

It makes me wonder whether that was McCain's thought all along -pick Lieberman, get the moderates and nail down Florida.  I really think that Obama would be in more trouble if McCain had picked Lieberman.

Virgina

Bill R, Virginia doesn't register by party.

For Those Unable to Travel Elsewhere to Canvass...

(Kind of OT) I have a lot of family and friends in very blue states, and I have been trying to think about how they can best work these next eight weeks, even if they can't travel.  Phone calls from out of state are OK for GOTV, but right now, it seems a more local touch is needed.

Then something struck me this weekend: OpEd/Letters to the Editor have a huge impact especially in small towns like Terre Haute.  On Saturday, I met a guy (old, white, destitute) who said he was against Obama because he had read an editorial claiming Obama was opposed to the Second Amendment. Ironically, I actually wrote a response that was published a week later calling out that NRA-promoted lie; he hadn't read my reply. When I corrected this guy and gave him evidence that Obama was indeed in support of the Second Amendment, he promptly said, "Thanks, I wanted to vote for Obama anyway. Now, I can." The lesson: the lies are pervasive AND they can be rebutted easily. Many, many folks WANT to vote for Obama, but some lie has their natural support constipated.

Thus, the plan I am promoting with friends and family all over: PRE-EMPTIVE letters to the editor. It might be possible for folks who cannot travel to canvass out of state, to "Adopt-A-Local-Paper-In-A-Swing-State"!  Obviously, it helps to have knowledge of the town, but writing the old "hometown" paper as a prodigal son or daughter certainly adds a sentimental angle that some will dig.  I know this gets mentioned every election... but this is the first time I've committed to becoming a nuisance in the local editorial boardroom.  Not only is it fun, it takes about as long as writing a couple of blog comments! It's all about releasing blockages and letting flow.

 

I refuse to believe OH is lost

It is a funny state, given it's relatively small amount of land compared to it's Electoral votes. Think of it like a heart divided into 4 distinct quadrants.

The Northwestern section is anchored at the top by Toledo. That city has had a fairly big hit of recession over the years and it's surrounded by lots of rural farmland. Findlay, a Marathon Oil HQ, is the only city in the area currently growing.  Bowling Green State University is between Findlay and Toledo.

The Northeast is anchored by Cleveland, which despite it's industrial history is still thriving. Clevelanders are very diverse, blue collar, urban, suburban and wealthy. Youngstown is to the east and almost part of Pittsburgh. A very big Italian population is in Youngstown, which means lots of Catholics.

The Southwest is anchored by Cincinnati which is pretty cosmpolitan and the HQ of Proctor & Gamble. The city has traditionally been extremely conservative (you might remember the uproar over the Maplethorpe exhibit in this city many years ago.) Our former Governor, Bob Taft, was from here and he left office pretty disgraced. Cincinnati also includes Covington, KY and the northernmost tip of KY in it's "suburbs". To the northwest of Cincy is Dayton which is extremely conservative. Home of the Wright Brothers and NCR. Very catholic. Ironically Yellow Springs College (one of the MOST liberal educational institutions in the country) is located nearby.

The Southeast quadrant is mostly Appalachia and has the characteristics of West Virginia. Pretty rural and very poor -- except for Athens which is the home of Ohio University (and one of the best Journalism schools in the country) Our current Governor is from the area and could be a huge help here, as he was to Hillary Clinton.

Right in the middle is Columbus, which has a strong corporate base (HQ of Limited Brands, Wendy's International, Nationwide Insurance, and others) as well as home to The Ohio State University. VERY diverse population.

Columbus and Cleveland should be a slam dunk for Obama/Biden. Cincinnati, maybe. But Strickland could help a lot more than he is, especially in the southwest and the northeast. If for no other reason than he's a first term Gov. who isn't going to be very successful in getting jobs back to this state if McPalin is in the White House. 

There is an excellent ground game here, but I'm sure they'd love more help.

re: Joy on Ohio

As shocking as it might seem, Cincinnati is actually an uphill climb for Obama.  The Democratic nominee for President has carried Hamilton County only four times in the past century, all in Democratic landslide years.  For Obama to have any hope here, he is really going to have to run up the score in all of the urban counties, and pull off an upset in Hamilton County.  Normally, for a Democrat to win in Ohio, (s)he must win by a substantial margin in northeast Ohio, and not get creamed in southeast Ohio.  With Obama, this presents a problem because southeast Ohio bears many similarities to Appalachia, his worst region in the country.  So instead of running close in southeast Ohio, he has to instead run close in heavily Republican southwest Ohio.  Ted Strickland has actually been surprisingly helpful for Obama (his base is southeast Ohio), but I don't know that it's going to be enough to carry the state.

Many wonder why Ohio leans Republican, with all of its cities.  The reason is that despite all the cities in northeast Ohio, that region of the state isn't really that much more populated than the rural regions (it is only twice as populated as southeast Ohio).  We have the second largest metropolitan area in the state (Cincinnati) actually on balance leaning heavily Republican.  And there are many relatively "large" small towns (Mansfield, Lima, Marietta, Sandusky, etc.) that actually go quite heavily Republican.

Wiscosin info.

My Field Organizer told me at our meeting tonight that while McCain drew a huge crowd (12,000)at his event in Wisconsin (near Milwaukee) they did not have any volunteers or campaign staff working the crowd.  Now compare that to Obama's event - he had 14,000 people and the campaign walked away with 7,000 names.  McCain does not have our ground game and that is what will make the difference on 11/4 just as it did in the primary.

Ohio

I have lived in Ohio for the majority of my life, I grew up in rural northwest Ohio and have lived in Dayton and Columbus.  From my conversations with people in each of these areas I really think there is a good chance of Obama winning Ohio.  My parents still live in rural NW Ohio and they would have voted Republican in the past, but they are solidly behind Obama, I know that is not the case for their entire community but the economy there is feeling the heat, I believe that with the right argument many of them could be convinced to vote for Obama.

As for Dayton and Columbus I think those areas should be solidy behind Obama.

The areas I would be concerned with are the S/SE parts of the state as they tend to be more conservative.  Cincinnati could be a tossup, it is normally a conservative strong hold but it does have a sizeable AA population, I would think if the voter registration drives are going well there it might be a wash.

I think we may lose some votes to racism, but with how close Ohio was to being blue in 2004 and with a Democratic Sectretary of State, I really think that new voter registration will balance out the possible racism factor.

Speaking of new voter registration, I would like to see (I've not seen any recent numbers) the new voter registration numbers for Ohio, that may tell us the story we need to know.

Mississippi video

The Obama campaign just put out a video that makes the case for wanting to be on the ground in Mississippi that's a lot more powerful than anything I said in the previous post.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBH_7xcmFyY


You can get some of this sense of history and AA community in parts of Florida too.

Advertising

I think it makes perfect sense to target the Hispanic voters with ads about Palin. They should probably do the same in Florida and do it now before inevitably Palin fatigue sets in - which I suspect is gonna happen within a week or so and the media need to find new drama to keep page views and ratings up.

I can't do much being a foreigner and down here in Panama, but I convinced two American friends here to invest their VOIP minutes and do volunteer calls. Hope it works out.

Al, Florida starts looking better and better to me. Battleground state, lots of different demographics, armies of lawyers, historical backdrop, difficult to predict anything, the usual undercurrent of fear and loathing and you might just stumble upon the stolen voter rolls amidst some hurricane rubble.

come to virginia, al

If you decide that you want to come to virginia, you should come to charlottesville, and stay with us a few days.  the people are organizing tremendously here, as we have several talented community organizers that put an office together here on their own well before the primary, before the first staffers showed up after south carolina.  we have three offices in town (and our town has less than 50,000 people). Charlottesville is a perfect amalgamation of the obama electorate; we have a large african american population, a huge elite public university and a quickly growing young progressive creative class. we voted 78% obama in the primary against hillary.  that's the plus side; you should base yourself here (and not northern virginia, richmond or tidewater) to see the challenge side, the electorate that we are battling for. we are right in the middle of those regions where obama has tremendous upside potential, but really needs to focus his messaging to reach these people. (i.e. traditionally conservative rural/small town voters who are fed up with Bush policies, but need a non-intellectual gut level appeal from the obama camp).These places include southside, the shenandoah valley, and the I-81 corridor. richmond and NoVa are also sufficiently nearby to analyze voter turnout machinery and the interesting shift in NoVa politics. It's not just a demographic shift that is allowing NoVa to trend blue. the big surprise is the disaffected career military (mid to upper level officers that work at the pentagon) who may give Obama a fair shake. all i can say is that we are really excited that we matter this time, and at least I, feel alternately confident or hesitant, that we can pull this thing out. also, charlottesville has great music. I'll take you around. 

Re: why O has a chance in IN compared to OH & MI...

ikl, the first thing that popped into my head was that IN is in better economic shape than MI or OH.  Please, anyone, correct me if I'm wrong.  Living in the country's second-poorest city, Buffalo, I was very interested in those infamous words Obama spoke at that fundraiser in San Francisco.  That, basically, when things are at their absolute crappiest is when voters are most suceptible to the culture wars' line of b.s.  Their real problems re: unemployment/foreclosure/cost of living/debt are all so HUGE and seem so insurmountable they "cling" to the small "issues" that the GOP deliberately lays out to trap them into voting against their own best interests.  Total pop voter psychiatry but maybe that's part of it.

 

And, Brendan, good idea re: the Letters to the Editor.  I did a TON of them during the primaries and the perspective I took was like that above.  I wrote as a resident of a Rust Belt city to fellow Rust Belt residents in PA, OH, IN.  Find a commonality with those in your intended audience.  The tool on barackobama.com is a little cumbersome but has every little paper there is.  FYI, my husband's in the paper business and highly recommends not doing bulk mailings to multiple papers.  Take the time to individually address each letter to the specific paper, just copy and paste body of letter in.

I just wanted to thank you, AL, for these posts

they have been very calming indeed.

Ohio

Lucas (Toledo), Cuyahoga and Lorain (Cleveland and Lorain), and Columbus (Franklin) counties proper will go Obama without a problem.

Dayton (Montgomery) is more of a toss up. Cincinnati is more of a struggle, as mentioned upthread.

Where Governor Bobblehead needs to get off his butt and help out his party in his base of Southeastern Ohio (South and east of Canton). The same people that voted for him can be persueded to vote for Obama in at least a respectable margin through him and Joe Biden.

Southeastern Ohio, by the way, is where Obama was on days one and two of the RNC.

Cary Tennis

Hey Al, looks like you're not the only Chicken Little buster out there!

A Chicken Little sent a letter to Salon's Cary Tennis yesterday and was promptly inoculated by him.

Florida

 One of Obama's high dollar fundraisers called me yesterday, (about a fundraiser in LA on the 16th with Barbara Striesand singing, I can't go, if anyone is interested it is $2500) he is going to Florida for the entire month of October to talk to jewish people up & down the state, he believes FL will turn out for Obama because of the Palin pick.

some thoughts on OH, MI, IN

I think Jessica has it right; although there's some good McCain support here, it tends to be low information voters who aren't volunteering, etc. Major blocks are energized for Obama.

Indiana is *not* doing as well economically as Ohio (that's my home state; went to college in Ohio), unless something has changed. What Indiana has going for it is: (IMHO) some hitherto ignored and unregistered large AA populations in Gary, Lake County, South Bend, etc. LOTS of Latinos as well. And a smaller Appalacian area. If you remember that line that people drew above I70, I think that Obama does well with Northern Indiana people, which share more with Michigan and Wisconsin and Illinois. Obama also has the Chicago media market. The biggest thing, though, is the fact that McCain has ignored it.

I agree with all of the Ohio analysis, and just want to add that that state never ceases to amaze me. He's going to need to run up big scores on his base demographics. I think an interesting question will be how all of the exburbs like Indian Hills vote. Although they may be polling McCain, there have to be some softs and undecideds. I think that his message could reach them and / or McCain could be painted as far less of a "maverick" than he is.

From the folks I've canvassed, this "maverick" thing has stuck in well among the low information folks.

 

messaging

I completely agree with Brendan on writing letters to the editor. In many towns, there aren't that many that come to the local paper and they are happy to print anything that is halfway well-written. Many take op-eds from local folks, too.

Personally, I think it's important to take the bloom off the rose when it comes to Palin and McCain's reformer claims. It turns out that in 19 months of being in office, Palin has charged the state of Alaska for per-diem costs 312 times for staying in her own house. One of the nights she charged for was Thanksgiving. If that's not corrupt, I don't know what is. And while this is not the big picture policy issue, it is the kind of thing a lot of people understand. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/08/AR200809...

Note to the DNC

In 2012, have the Dem Convention in Cincinnati.

Plouffe briefs McCain Press corps while in Chi-town

I thought this was an interesting bit about the state of the race from Plouffe....the Obama camp invited the McCain press corps over to HQ while they were in town yesterday while McCain was at a fundraiser. This particular quote was what I like to hear from the man with all the numbers:

“When you look at the battleground states that will determine the presidency, we feel very good about where we are,” said Plouffe. “From a state by state perspective we’d much rather be us than John McCain.” 

Obama camp briefs McCain press corps - Politico.com 

Where is Andrew Sullivan?

Rumors are flying that he has been fired....becasue of his anti-McPalin posts.  Anybody know anything?

Good news for Florida

Ben Smith at Politico.com says that Ed Koch just endorsed Obama, after he had endorsed Bush 4 years ago.  Ben explains that this is good for the elder Jewish vote in Florida, with their New York connections.  Koch says Palin scares him.

WI

Been indoors getting kids back in school and haven't made it out to the Field lately, but I see that the Wisconsin Hands are pretty optimistic about our state.  I'm worried.

It can't be that good, Al and Field Hands.  Internal polling must show it neck and neck.  I don't even need to ask the folks who are running the state for Obama.  

The state is getting visits from both campaigns.  We see new television ads for both campaigns every few days (and I'm in the Madison media market, home territory of our state government, the UW-Madison, Sen. Russ Feingold and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, out lesbian member of Congress).  Our family is getting our first local phone calls to volunteer for Obama since the primary (remember, we live in Madison).

Early summer polling in WI had Obama far enough out in front that I figured we'd never see him here or much ad spending.  I'm sorry that was wrong.  Time to get on the phones and out to the doors and to open the wallet again (see NYT story today).  If Obama-Biden can't carry Wisconsin, we are going to lose the election.

Koch Endorsement

I was thinking about endorsements.  Someone on DK the other day I believe while in the midst of a CL moment, was longing for some big endorsements - similar to the way we saw them during the primaries.  What could even be left?  (This person was longing for C. Powell, which I find unlikely.)  It just doesn't seem like a standard for the GE.

 

Also, I had a question about these campaign events held on both sides.  I gathered from one of Brendan's posts the other day that Obama was seeking out undecideds to attend their events...is that right?  I've thought about it as I've watched...who are the people there?  Are they just preaching to the choir because that seems like a waste.  Do we know anything about who those folks are on both sides?  If you could convince local undecideds, they could go out and spread the word.

 

Aside from voter suppression, I'm liking our chances more and more in FL.  What are the biggest differences between PA and OH that makes McCain do better in OH?  I heard Rendell on a few different venures yesterday.  He seems to be hitting it hard.  Who knows about Strickland's activities??

Letters to the Editor, Feature Articles, Local papers

Just want to add my thanks to Brendan Corcoran @9/8 11:03pm for his plan to write Letters to the Editor. This is such an important part of the local newspaper. One of the most read sections, and especially valuable for someone living out of state to write back to their hometowns. Don't expect the Obama Fellows have a second of their time to spare, but it's the STORY of why you are supporting Obama, as an OF can tell you, that's so important.

Most local papers are online now, so it's easy to get the masthead with names of Editors, email addresses.

For someone feeling even more ambitious, a "First Person Story", a Feature article about "Why I'm so involved in this Election" would probably get published - especially if you reference you're a 'hometown' person. You could include pictures of your GOTV activities, and a shout out to a local teacher who influenced you too. Anyone could write to a swing state local paper, even if you haven't got a hometown connection.

Thanks again Brendan for this comment. These individual stories really make a difference, and those of us used to reading major nationals, forget how closely local newspapers are read in their communities.

Rumors

Heather - That Andrew Sullivan rumor is a classic example of how too many in the blogosphere jump on pieces of unsourced, unsubstantiated, unproven and undocumented "information," panic about them, only to have the turn out to be false.

Sully is taking a couple days off. That's all.

Really, don't folks get tired of jumping all over every little gossipy item that gets floated out there?

A review of the polls

MI: The previous PPP poll in Michigan was taken at an Obama high, so I don't really get why their numbers were so low back then. But if they were right then, it means that at least Obama didn't drop all that much in Michigan due to the RNC/Palin bounce. Obama will have to work quite a lot to secure it but it's still an uphill battle for McCain.

OH: This one is kind of worrying. The previous Rasmussen, taken at an Obama low point, also had him pretty low. Does this mean Ohio is very vulnerable to the national dynamic and Obama will need to perform well nationwide to win this one? We'll need more polls to confirm.

VA: No serious drop in Virginia, the national dynamic doesn't seem to move it at all. Remains a true toss-up and incredibly dangerous to McCain.

PA: Still pretty low in Pennsylvania, seems like it's a bit vulnerable to the national dynamic. It's still gonna go blue, though.

CO: Movement towards Obama after the conventions, in perhaps the most crucial swing state of them all? If this poll is right, then Obama can slowly start thinking about those drapes.

FL: A state that had been trending towards Obama bumps up after the RNC/Palin. The biggest prize in the election is starting to look more and more like a true toss-up.

WA: Small drop, nothing strange after the RNC. A little too close for comfort maybe but McCain isn't contesting the state anyway.

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=7264ba9c-caa0-40cc-a46...

Via TPMEC

Obama spokesperson Tommy Vietor responds:

"On the same day that dozens of news organizations have exposed Governor Palin's phony Bridge to Nowhere claim as a 'naked lie,' she and John McCain continue to repeat the claim in their stump speeches. Maybe tomorrow she'll tell us she sold it on eBay."

amk

Delegates who abstained

Thanks for the link to the article about how delegates voted.  I didn't know delegates could abstain from voting.  Are we to make anything of these people abstaining?  Do they do that because they don't like either candidate? 

This is my first election where I personally went through the delegate process, so I'm still having difficulty wrapping my head around the concept of people who went to all the effort and expense to get elected to the National Convention (not to mention the expense of attending) only to refrain from voting.  Does this mean these people, who were sent to represent people from their districts might actually vote for McCain?!

defining maverick

How do John McCain and Sarah Palin define "maverick"?

Someone who lies repeatedly in public.

Cowardice in Politics

Tien Le - There's a simple explanation for why some delegates (94 out of 4,400?) abstained from voting at the convention: cowardice. Typical party apparatchiks didn't want to disappoint either side. That's a fairly low number, by the way, probably mostly superdelegates or elected Clinton delegates that didn't know what to do. I wouldn't read much into it. Comes with the bric-a-brac that has to be swept from the Democratic Party.

Gov. Strickland

Glad to hear Rendell is hitting it hard. He can get away with criticisms many other politicians can't -- and I thought his comments on Palin yesterday were wonderful. No one can accuse him of being "sexist" given his support of HRC.

As for Gov. Strickland, although Obama is in Ohio today, I haven't heard anything about the Governor appearing with him today. McPalin is also in the state today. I feel strongly those Northeast and Southwestern Ohioans NEED to see Strickland on the stump with Obama, bobbleheading as necessary. Vouching for someone goes a looooonnnnnggg way in Southern Ohio.

One bit of good news Strickland and Sherrod Brown did accomplish for Ohio, however, is they got a mandatory sick leave initiative removed from the November ballot. One less thing to get the conservatives and NFIB'ers riled up at the polls.

Andrew Sullivan

Info on Andrew Sullivan's whereabouts: http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/ (hint: taking time off)

I figured that was the case. He's furious about Palin and you could see it getting to him in his writing.

Dear Emma

I went to Salon, following your link, and I dugg this story because I agree with Al that chicken littling is useless. Then I did my morning chores and as I did, something kept flappiing around in my head. One small comment on the Salon article, that tells everyone to just chill out and ends, "It's just politics."

This is not "just politics"; it's about who governs. And it is very scary that the American electorate might put in office a man who chose a VP who made rape victims pay for their own rape kit, at no small expense to the victim. This story is mentioned on the Princeton Election Consortium and appears in The Frontiersman, the Wasilla local paper which I quote:

"While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests."

So much for sitting in a hermit's hut on an isolated hill espousing platitudes that ignore facts about governments that cause rape victims additional real suffering.

Al, if you want to whack my comment, that's OK. Sometimes, however, it's really important to remind ourselves why we need to fight so hard to get Senator Obama elected.

Ed Koch endorses Obama, says Fundie Palin is 'scary'

It's official:  Palin just gave Florida to Obama.

Ed Koch stumped Florida for Bush in 2004.  You can bet your boots he'll be working on Obama's behalf in the Sunshine State.

This is why the RNC and the McCain folks had to wheel out Abe Foxman so fast -- they knew that picking Palin would cause McCain to start losing Jewish voters.

 

Latino vote in VA

I concur with your assessment of the Latino vote in Virginia. While McCain has tried to maintain his former image as a moderate on immigration, Virginia Republicans have been really vicious in going after immigrants the past several years, and I think that will kill any chance for McCain to make inroads there.

Letters to the editor...

...should be unique. Whenever my (large metro) paper thinks of printing my letter, someone calls to check that I wrote it only to them. There was a mini-scandal a few years back when "letter from a soldier in Iraq" turned out to be a cut-and-paste job appearing under different names in dozens of local papers. Referring to an actual story, e.g. "In the Sep 5 paper Mr. Rhubarb states that Mr. Obama would overturn the second amendment; this is not true..." will be best, too.

 

On Sully--as Al pointed out, the over the top rumor trading and Palin hysteria undercut real issues when they arise; the "pay for your own rape investigation" bit certainly seems to be legit. Not fiscal conservatism I can believe in, but it would play more clearly without all the various baby conspiracies muddying up the media space for the past week.

 

Glad Gov Ed is out there; I came to really like him in the primaries. I'm also glad the no 527 thing seems to have quietly been dropped--a negative frame of the opponent is part of getting elected. I just hope there are some people with a talent for appealing to independents, rather than MoveOn's Petraeus follies.

According to Gallup Daily

According to Gallup Daily Tracking Poll: M 49 ; 0 44. This seems a bit disappointing, especially considering this observation from Gallup:

"Gallup polling in recent days has been quite stable, showing McCain ahead of Obama by similar margins in each of the last four individual days of nightly tracking."

Elizabeth

&  It's not just politics, when Roe v Wade will be overturned if McDraft & Animal Killer Palin get into office. Palin charges her state for staying home? Give me a break, thats not a reformer.

The last line also said something about not being a religious war, but the right wing has taken over the R party so it seems as it could become a religious war eventually, imo.

McPalin in VA

McPalin are having an event at Fairfax High School tomorrow morning. Political events are normally prohibited during school hours, but they got a waiver because the superindendent decided it would be "educational." Why it's more "educational" than any other political event, I don't know, but I understand it's hard to stand up to GOP pressure to break the rules for their benefit.

 

My take -- it's cheap (since they don't have as much money) and it's small (so they don't have to worry about being embarassed with a half-empty hall.) Fairfax Democrats plan to give them a warm welcome...

Take Your Shots

Micheline - How many times have I written here that "national tracking polls don't matter"?

If you find any national tracking poll number "disappointing" it's because you haven't been reading/listening well.

Big effing deal. Guess what? Presidents don't get decided by national popular vote (just ask Al Gore). They get decided by the results of 51 different elections all held on the same day in November. There is no way to extrapolate state by state numbers from a national tracking poll. I only let your comment through so as to swat it down. In the future, I may not.

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About Al Giordano

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Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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