US election minus 48 days

A new thread for discussion of matters American, as the polls return to level pegging following the Republicans’ convention bounce.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

574 comments on “US election minus 48 days”

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  1. [This smells of a blatant attempt from Bush to help McCain, I suspect the two of them cooked this up! Is this the start of the Republicans stealing the election?]

    I’m not quite sure how that can work though… the Democrats control Congress and anything that is passed has to get their approval at least

  2. Let me remind you William of my initial post on this.
    “To say it’s looking bad for McCain in the polls is an understatement.” No predictive element in that.
    However, if you see a “predictive element” in Possum’s comment you may want to discuss it with him.

  3. I suspect that is what they (Bush and McCain) are trying Evan. It might not be just Bush. There must be dozens of republican apparachiks in the Bush administration terrified of a change of government. Some of them are not just facing unemployment. After the illegal prisoner torture, outing of a federal agent (Plame) and sacking of federal prosecutors, there must be several with a genuine fear of jail. They will do anything to cling to power.

    The democrats in congress need to grow a spine, stare them down, and not agree to any deal that doesn’t include full disclosure of the extent of the problem and where the money is going, taxpayers gaining equity in the firms, limits on executive salary, and completion of criminal investigations for possible fraud. Here is an excellent article on how Sweden solved a problem like this in the early 90s in a far more sensible fashion:

  4. Fair point Gary, but you do also seem to be talking about the “trend” of Intrade. It strikes me that this is double counting. If Intrade is indeed more accurate than the polls, surely it’s because it incorporates the collective wisdom of how things are likely to play out in future – in other words, by factoring in the trend.

  5. The big problem McCain faces at the moment is that there is a lot of fear and a lot of anger among the American people at the moment over the financial meltdown and about two thirds of them seem to be blaming the republicans.

    Also it is likely IMHO that these two highly charged emotions will result in a much higher than normal turnout and this is more likely to favour the democrats. As we say in Australia, there are a lot of electors who will be waiting for the republicans with baseball bats.

    Add to that the debates, which it is hard to see Mccain and Palin winning in the present climate, and McCain looks really up against it. It will be a BIG surprise if the current trend does not continue – but stranger things have happened.

  6. I dare say a lot of the disaffected Hilary supporters who announced they would rather vote for McCain than
    Obama will be having second thoughts too.

  7. You would think McCain ought to be stuffed at this point.

    I wouldn’t rule out another twist though – and the thing is that the race is still quite close (notwithstanding the trend).

    Assuming the debate happens this weekend (which it probably will, looks like there’s a pretty good chance they’ll agree the bailout in principle Thursday US time), what’s the betting McCain’s going to come out fighting in a big way? Which is his natural mode anyway.

    Not sure how that will go, but it ought to be worth watching!

  8. [I dare say a lot of the disaffected Hilary supporters who announced they would rather vote for McCain than Obama will be having second thoughts too.]

    To be brutally honest I reckon by polling day there won’t be many Democrat Hillary voters that vote Republican. More likely they just won’t vote at all, and I think the whole anti-Obama thing has just been more of a vent than anything else.

  9. There may be even a more simplistic voter reponse , how come Banks who ar disliked & allegedly hav already got all of peoples savings getting taxpayer monies in first place It is anti peoples NORMAL perceptions of th direction Government money should be going …and Bush is seen to be giving this tax payer money away although actualy 550 Congressmen ar

    Unfortunate reality is bailout is needed for confidence & create liquiidity so business can continue

  10. Dario,

    Tend to agree there.

    One of the things that I have trouble understanding about this election, specifically the opinion polling, is how to reconcile it to the kind of turnouts the two parties had in the primaries. Admittedly a good proportion of the Republican primaries occurred after the real contest was over, but even so, their turnouts were so low versus the Dems, you wonder how McCain can still be in it.

  11. Ron,

    Some kind of bailout is needed, that’s a complete no-brainer, unless the US Treasury and Govt want to go down in history like their predecessors in 1930, men who fiddled while Rome burned.

    It’s not all that easy to see how appropriate accountability will be enforced, and also what happens if the Govt spends $700b on what are in effect junk bonds, and then there’s a whole lot more junk bonds still to come?

    The AIG solution (Govt taking something like equity) is probably better, as it ensures that the institution (in its current form) dies, but the counterparties still get paid. Shareholders get punished and senior execs (presumably) get kicked out. Problem is there might not be enough money to do that to all the institutions that would need it.

  12. Dario (565)

    I have felt all along that when it came to the crunch the American people would balk at electing a black man. But this crisis is probably just the bit of luck Obama needs to overcome that and just get over the line.

  13. “(Govt taking something like equity)”

    problem would be Fed Govt would own a share of alot of Wall Steet monies and tax payers then face continuing risks …without reely knowing what they ar doing or what greater exposire is incurred

    Think better to swap doubtful debts for liquidity , with companys taking a hit in some losses so business can actualy re commence as both liquidity & confidence is becoming critical (but with continuing oversights & criteria of whats taken over)

  14. Dyno
    “One of the things that I have trouble understanding about this election, specifically the opinion polling, is how to reconcile it to the kind of turnouts the two parties had in the primaries.”

    I actualy hav wondered not just that but an even more deep seated problem with th polling since March for 4 months Hillary was easily more electable than Obama on all polls vs mcCain…yet over those 4 months Democrat regiisrations rose dramaticaly over Republican ones BUT whilst Hillary continued consisteently to be shown on polls to far more electable than Obama vs McCain neither of Hillary or Obama seemed to increase there actual margin over McCain

    Hav always suspected therefore Polls (even those measuring likely voters) ar still understating likely voters…and specificaly Democrat voters more , if that is case then Obama’s actual lead is greater

  15. Obama just gave his own speech to the CGI and mentioned 4 of the 5 proposals McCain did in his speech to the CGI (which are already agreed on by Congress I think). Can’t see how McCain profits out of this now…

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