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. The new President Asif Ali Zardari of Paksitan must be not getting it since the tragic death of his wife Benazir Bhutto. In a photo-op with Sarah Palin in NY, he told her that: “She is more gorgeous in real life and he wants to hug her”.

    He is probably still dreaming of Sarah in Bikini:

  2. If ever there was a clear demonstration of why we need fixed terms for elections this is it. Can anyone imagine an Australian Prime Minister going to an election with such financial turmoil going on?

    When crises hit, the people should have the right to choose who they think is best suited to sort it out and not be thwarted by a bunch pf self serving politicians scrambling to save their own backsides. Something akin to the American system of 4 year fixed term is definitely the way to go.


  3. Reported in today’s Age that early voting in the US election has already started in some states.

    This is much earlier than early voting in Australian elections (usually two weeks – sometimes three – before polling day)

    The same item also reported that up to a third of American electors will vote before polling day.

  4. Thomas (507)

    In a climate where so many people are now fearful of losing their jobs, their savings and their homes that kind of disgusting tactic can only backfire on them IMHO.

  5. “The trend is still very much with Obama”

    Perhaps more than “serious” Polls record sentiment at a point in time , however I suspect financial meltdown ‘blame’ has been deep seated attached to th “Republican” brand in voters minds (and so by extension tto h “Republican” McCain) & if so its flow on in later polling may return polling status back to July with solid Obama leads

    Whilst McCain had partly been successful in gradaully delinking himself from Bush since July , th meltdown narrative to voters may be being regarded as more than just Bush but Republicans whoever they ar , & if so thats irreversible…except for an ‘event’

    Other unknowns is some polling has small samples and quantifavction levels of ‘likely voters’ seeing Democrat registrations ar significantly up and also perhaps increased Democrat voters vs 2004 when there’s not an incumbant and there’s a chance to win especialy with black voters

  6. The trend is unmistakably towards Obama – all the polls reflect that – but the margin in most of them is still relatively small.

    Nevertheless, it would be a very brave person who would put their money on McCain at this point.

    Does anyone know the latest odds for an Obama win?.

  7. I don’t know a lot about the American demographic, but I think I read recently that there are a lot of retirees in Florida.

    One could imagine that many of them would be very fearful at this point regarding the safety of their investments and nest eggs and might be starting to see Obama as the safer bet..

  8. Darn @ 514,

    Florida has a huge population of retirees. Probably the most proportion wise in the country. Second after that would be Arizona but McCain should carry his home state. Problem with the retirees though is WHERE do they vote? Many of them only “winter” in Florida [affectionately known as Sunbirds] and reside 6 months out of the year in their original residence state. Those folks are probably registered in places like New York and Ohio even though they live in Florida 6 months out of the year but you don’t know, they might be registered in Florida. In that case, they would be putting in postal votes.

  9. Dario @ 515,

    The Jewish vote across the age spectrum will be going overwhelmingly to Obama – unless these people show reluctance to vote for him merely based upon skin colour. In that instance since voting isn’t compulsory, they will stay home rather than vote Republican. The Jewish vote, for Democrats, should be almost as reliable as the black vote.

  10. No, Adam, no poll evidence for that. Just personal example evidence. My ex husband and his family are Jewish as is my oldest son (22) and his GF as well. Purely anectdotal evidence amongst them and their friends/families/contacts (the extended family and friends spill over into the states of Michigan/New York/suburban D.C [Virginia]/Florida/California). My pool of evidence is one extended family (@ 2 to 3 dozen people) over 5 states.

  11. Adam,

    I’ve found this (from a NJ Democratic superdelegate to the Dem. convention) and am trying to google more info about the AIPAC and their positions vis a vis Obama. That might help with some more background to support my anecdotal evidence.

    [ Fischer said she was unconcerned about Obama’s relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

    “Listen, there are rabbis who have said things I wish they wouldn’t have said. I don’t fault Obama for having a pastor who was a despicable person, but after having read his history, this pastor has also done some remarkable things.

    “And I don’t believe Obama wouldn’t be good for Israel,” Fischer added. “Why would AIPAC give him such a high rating if it didn’t believe he was good for Israel?” ]

  12. [ “Some of my earliest and most ardent supporters came from the Jewish community in Chicago,” Obama told JTA in 2004, after his keynote speech galvanized the Democratic convention in Boston.

    Three years later, addressing the National Jewish Democratic Council’s candidate’s forum, he made the same point when he was asked about his ties with Arab Americans and Muslim Americans in Chicago.

    “My support within in the Jewish community has been much more significant than my support within the Muslim community,” Obama said at the April forum, adding: “I welcome and seek the support of the Muslim and Arab communities.”

    His Jewish followers are fervent, distributing “Obama ’08” yarmulkes early in his campaign. ]

  13. Anecdotal evidence based on asking one’s friends won’t quite cut it I’m afraid. Liberal Jews will stick with Obama, but there are a lot of not-so-liberal Jews, particularly in Florida. I’d like to see a poll. Lieberman endorsing McCain must have had some effect.

  14. Wonder what th J.wish community actualy believe is Obama’s policy on Jeruselum itself

    On 5/6/08 told AIPAC conferenece
    “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided

    On 6/6/08 told CNN
    You said yesterday that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided”
    Do Palestinians have no claim to Jerusalem in the future?”

    OBAMA: “Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations, as a practical matter, it would be very difficult to execute” a division of the city”

  15. Obama should sack this idiot and put Hillary back on ticket. he has made so many gaffes, it makes Sarah Palin looks intelligent.

    [The Biden Paradox: Help or Hindrance? – In light of the recent spate of bad national headlines for Biden, some within the party’s professional class are wondering whether the equation involved in picking Biden is starting to not add up.]

    btw: Amigo Ronnie, Mr. J Wish is definitely not happy.

  16. Biden and Palin have become irrelevant to the result of this now. The economy has swallowed them all except Obama and McCain who will now have to duke it out. Though McCain is rapidly losing credibility – in my opinion.

  17. FINNS “btw: Amigo Ronnie, Mr. J Wish is definitely not happy.”

    As you know Amigo my specialty is making people happy , any suggestions how I could contribute

  18. [ South Florida Jews are a loyal Democratic base, and critical to the party in close statewide elections in the state. In Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, the Obama campaign is working aggressively to try to match or exceed the big margins put up by Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. “John McCain has a long, proven track record on his support for the safety and security of Israel and I think that is going to be very important to the Jewish community. “And this is a year when more Jews are going to be voting Republican than ever before. Republicans don’t expect to win the Jewish vote. But they believe if McCain can pull 40 percent or more of the vote in Palm Beach and Broward counties he will be in good shape to carry the state because of Republican strengths elsewhere.” At the Boca diner in Boca Raton, there is evidence of McCain inroads. Jules Weiss says he voted Democratic in 2000 and 2004 but won’t this time because he thinks the Democratic ticket is in the wrong order. “It is just ludicrous to me to have a neophyte for president and the experienced one as his assistant,” Weiss said. “That just doesn’t make sense. You are not going to put an apprentice as chief executive officer of a large corporation. He needs a lot of learning and training.” But Ruth Goldberg says Obama will get her vote despite profound reservations. She does not think he is ready, either, but does agree with the Democratic line that electing McCain would result in what amounts to a third Bush term. “It is a very difficult thing,” Goldberg said. “I really don’t want Obama, but I think that is what we have to do if we don’t want Bush again. It is that simple, right?” Seven weeks to Election Day and Florida is once again in the thick of a fight that is fierce, and anything but simple. ]

    [ J Street has a new poll out, with plenty to digest about the views of American Jews on Middle East issues.

    For now … here’s our brief about the presidential election. In most cases 60 percent isn’t something to sneeze at, but that’s a double-digit drop from John Kerry — in the same poll in which American Jews gave President Bush a 79-percent disapproval rating:

    American Jews are less supportive of Barack Obama than previous Democratic nominees, a new poll found.

    The lack of support comes despite overwhelming unhappiness with the Bush administration.

    The survey, commissioned by the Washington-based advocacy organization J Street, found that only 58 percent of American Jews said they would definitely vote for Obama, an Illinois senator. Another 4 percent said they were leaning toward the presumptive Democratic nominee.

    In contrast, Al Gore and Bill Clinton both drew approximately 80 percent of the Jewish vote in their respective runs for the presidency, while John Kerry garnered about 76 percent in 2004.

    Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they would vote for U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with 3 percent saying they were leaning toward the presumptive GOP nominee. That would represent a higher showing among Jews than the 24 percent President Bush drew in 2004.

    The poll, conducted by Gerstein/Agne Strategic Communications and based on interviews with 800 respondents, has a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

    Even as American Jews appear to be displaying some reservations about Obama, they are highly critical of the current White House.

    According to the poll, 90 percent of American Jews believe the country is on the wrong track.

    Seventy percent said they strongly disapprove of how the president is handling his job, with another 14 percent saying they somewhat disapprove. Bush scored a disapproval rating of 79 percent of his handling of the Iraq war and 71 percent for his handling of the Arab-Israeli conflict. ]

    [ Jewish poll: Dems are close, McCain doing well for GOPer ]

    [ Obama holds the upper hand among Jewish voters (62% to 29%) – ]

    All polls seem to point to the fact that Obama will still take the Jewish vote although the margins may not be as great as the Dems had in ’00 and ’04

    Adam, you could find heaps more (I googled for these) if you want 😉 ……

  19. Amigo Ronnie, what about putting up $700B? That should make our “Merchants of Venice” happy.

    You know when i was taught how to make a public presentation back in my younger days, our teacher used to say to us: “You tell them what you want to tell them, and then you tell them and then you tell them what you told them”. Yes, we were happy.

    So this just reminds me of our MOV friends here where “they tell you that they going to rob you, then they rob you and then they tell you they are going to rob you again”. And we suppose to be happy as well.

  20. and Amigo , ah yes those MOV friends hav now inspired me to be robbed happy , and even robbed again as encore happy , and even further now so robbed so blindedly robbed to now create $700B in just one note , but awaiting th call of whose name shall adorn thee so that dems Merchants of Venices shall be truely robber happy

  21. Thanks for that. It’s exactly what I expected. American Jews have been trending Republican for some time (just as Australian Jews are trending Liberal). This is partly generational change (the old Jewish socialist tradition doesn’t mean much to younger generations), partly a reaction against the left’s hostility to Israel, and partly because most Jews are now in upper income levels and would be natural conservatives if they weren’t Jewish. I can tell you from personal experience in Melbourne Ports that there was a big Jewish swing to the Libs in 2004 (didn’t like L*tham), and only some of it came back in 2007 (liked Rudd, buit liked Howard better). For many US Jews, Obama will be their L*tham.

  22. The RCP average is 47.9 to 44.4. That’s hardly a landslide. If you look at the state-by-state situation, which is what counts, nothing much has changed. Obama leads in three Bush states – NM, CO and IA, but has a solid lead only in IA. He has very narrow leads in PA and MI. VA and NH are tied. McCain still leads in OH and FL. There’s plenty of juice in this race yet.

  23. Adam let me quote Possum at 357.
    “Did you folks know that on 23 September 2004, the Intrade markets were only two States out from the actual election results: Wisconsin and New Mexico.
    The polls on the other hand….”

  24. The “trend” has been for the race to be very close, and for the lead to change back and forth. The Wall St crash *may* be the game-changer, but it may not be depending on how the candidates play their cards.

  25. Gary Bruce @ 537,

    [ Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 9:17 pm | Permalink
    To say it’s looking bad for McCain in the polls is an understatement. Look at the Intrade score ]

    OH man, that loooooks so good 😉 …….. Can someone remind me again what sort of predictive reliability that Intrade has? That will help me feel much better about these numbers 🙂

  26. Adam @ 538 &Gary @ 539,

    Adam, why are you always looking at the glass being half-emtpy? Can’t you look at the glass being half-full? Get with the trend 🙂 ………..

  27. Not so Adam. Since this meltdown the trend has been one way and continues. Before Palin came on the scene the trend was Obama in front and it’s back to that now.

  28. If we’re going to impart mystical predictive powers to Intrade, surely we need to take what it says at face value, rather than imagine what it might say a week from now. Try rolling a die some time – there’s a very real chance you’ll get a 1 or a 2.

  29. I hope the $700B bailout package is voted down. Bush has said the economic system may collapse, but I don’t believe him. If that is true, it shouldn’t be much trouble to come up with more evidence than contained in a three page note. It consists more of sweeping powers and exemption from prosecution than any explanations or principles for appliaction. An open check to be given to a proven liar – who would do that?

    Congress needs to call Bush’s bluff: fool me once shame on Bush, fool me twice shame on America.

    Indeed I hope Obama doesn’t even go to the Bush – candidates meeting. It is totally inappropriate – the candidates are just candidates, not the government. They should be holding their debate saying what they would do when in office, nothing more.

  30. 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?
    Perhaps what happens next is that Iran is bombed?

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