Monday, November 3, 2008

Take Five -- Tempered Optimism Edition

1. It's true. He did. And--I truly mean this--Sarcastro has been the most accurate predictor of the twists and turns of this election since the beginning. Better than any of the talking heads. He deserves a commentator's job.

2. Yes, I'm sticking with it. I think I would probably switch a few of the states around, but, yeah, once I post a prediction, I usually stick with it.

3. But...I am hoping against hope for a better outcome. At least, I think a McCain come-from-behind victory would be a better outcome. I could make the counter-argument just as easily.

4. Just to make things interesting:

Your posts on some polls in Pennsylvania that show McCain within reach emphasizes what some readers need to remember, that a lot them aren’t seeing the pointed end of the McCain campaign unless they live in a targeted state and are a targeted voter. If you have the right demographic and you are in a key state, you have gotten getting six or seven mailers that are extremely good negative pieces (covering all those issues that a lot of conservatives think McCain isn’t hitting hard enough on). You have also gotten six or seven taped phone calls from Republican leaders and ordinary citizens and the messages are good. You are also hearing radio ads about “congressional liberals.”

The RNC is claiming 64 percent more contacts like this than in 2004 and I think that’s probably accurate. And the 2004 effort was impressive – RNC was praised for it. This is bigger.

And if you live in a targeted state you are seeing McCain TV ads. Lots of them. For all the talk of the Obama advertising advantage, McCain is outspending Obama by 10 million in the last ten days of the campaign. That isn’t well known. And they are good spots on McCain’s public service, the economic message and in what the McCain camp calls “Joe the Biden”, which quotes Biden about testing a new president.

More generally, McCain seems to have controlled the issue dynamic issue coming out of the last debate. The polls are all showing Joe the Plumber and his question has penetrated voters’ consciousness. And McCain and Palin and the RNC have actually been using the word “liberal.” (One amazing thing about both Bush campaigns is that they never really used the worst brand in politics against the Democrats. They steered away from the “l” word.) And this isn’t like 1992 or 1996 when the Republican message never broke through.

One final point to keep in mind about McCain’s campaign. The public measures a candidate on personal qualities and his stands on the issues. But they also want to see how he runs a campaign – for them it’s a sign of whether he can handle a presidency. McCain was able to recover from losing his lead when the economic crisis hit and come back from a lackluster second debate and then developed a good message for the last debate and rest of the campaign. And his campaign has made smart strategic decisions about spending their money. McCain is finishing strong; he’s showing will. At a subliminal level, voters pick that up.

5. And, then for the other side, here.