Posted by: seanmalstrom | November 3, 2008

Toast

I’ve checked my email, and I have over a hundred new messages. And I can’t get to anything resorting to ‘Sean Malstrom’ due to real life situations. Luckily I changed my career gears long ago. But my old profession of political analysis is going to be absolutely destroyed. I still think McCain will win the election and do so by a larger margin than Bush did in 2004. When this happens, a hurricane of outrage will be unleashed at the political analysis business, mostly the pollsters. People will demand to know how they could be so off. In other words, the future of the political analysis business will be destroyed as their reputation will become destroyed in the upcoming days.

People in this business, like any other business, do not attack one another due to the need to uphold the reputation of the whole. For example, you won’t find Dick Morris or Karl Rove attacking the polls since that would be the same as attacking their own industry. Jay Cost, a person I respect and worked with for the 2004 election results (I was assigned on his team to PA) had this to say about the polls:

None of this is consistent with what we would expect from random statistical variation. These considerations reinforce the point I made on Friday. In all likelihood, something else is going on here. The pollsters have different “visions” of what the electorate is, and these visions are inducing such divergent results.

With game reviews, many people believed that game reviews were to be as accurate as possible since the magazine is the product. In reality, the reader is the product and is delivered to the game company by the reviewer. The review was to shape and hype the reader into purchasing the product. Everyone knows this about game reviews now which is why there is healthy cynicism. In my first post about the election, I told you to keep an eye on Pennslyvania because McCain will win it, and it will stun everyone. A week later, pundits began to wonder why McCain Campaign kept coming to Pennslyvania. They did a little research and were surprised to find that Kerry and Gore carried the state on razor thin margins. How could pundits ignore Pennslyvania so much? The reason why is because the pundits are located in New York, and the belief there is that Pennslyvania is a New England state. It isn’t. It is a mid-atlantic state. PA has more in common with Ohio who, politically, Ohio runs about five points to the right of Pennslyvania.

With polling, the collective delusion is the belief that the product of polling is the data. Remember, polls are a product that is sold like any other product. That stupid little chart that appears in the corner of every USA Today was not made for the purpose of ‘research’ and ‘data’. It was made just to show a stupid little graph on the paper because USA Today knows that little graphs and charts ‘sell’ the paper more. Just because information is displayed in a chart or a graph does not make it ‘scientific’ or a real ‘analysis’. But the product was to make the reader FEEL like it was and to sell more papers. The product of polls can and often are the readers. This became much more popular ever since polls became ‘news items’ themselves (before, polls were only supplements to news stories).

Malstrom’s Predictions Coming True

In my second post about the election, I told you to keep an eye on Iowa for if Obama comes back here, a state he should have locked at this time, he is toast. Well, Obama is back in Iowa which means he is toast. If it is competitive in Iowa (it was very competitive in 2004), that means that McCain is running as well as Bush or better and has FL, CO, IN, NC, OH, NH, and VA all comfortable. McCain going to Maine suggests Obama is performing worse than Kerry or, rather, Obama’s support is ‘soft’ among Democrats.

The point of these election posts is to reveal the reality on the ground is very different than the reality in the ‘political analysis’. Imagine McCain winning and consider the ramifications of the business of political analysis and public polling. The ramifications is sheer destruction and humiliation as occurred in the Truman vs. Dewey.

I’ve been reading much about Truman lately. The pollsters were wrong about Truman mostly because of the off year election that occurred beforehand which created a Republican congress (which they suspected spelled doomed for the Democrat nominee, Truman). But the pollsters honestly got it wrong; there was no intentional misleading as there is in this situation (more on that below).  When Truman won, the newsrooms and ‘political analysts’, once getting over their shock, laughed at themselves. They even offered to have  a special dinner with President Truman where he would eat turkey and they would all, literally, eat crow (Truman decline on it because “I want everyone to eat turkey whenever to his delight”). Much of the political analysts lack the maturity to laugh at themselves these days. It won’t be because they are wrong but because of some extenuating circumstance that they just happened to ‘overlook’. It will be fun to see what excuses they come up with.

I am not running for President. You, the gentle reader, are not running for President. The only two people who are running for President, Obama and McCain, are going to states and sending advertising money to other states that don’t even match the public polls. For example, Pennslyvania is colored a ‘dark blue’, yet both Obama and McCain are visiting the state. ‘Dark blue’ or ‘light blue’ is the color of Iowa, yet both Obama and McCain are there. Many polls say that Georgia is a ‘toss-up’, yet neither Obama or McCain are visiting that state. Since the only two people running for President are performing actions entirely differently than the public polling, one can either say that the presidential candidates are just running around states randomly and are dumb, or it is the possibility that the public polling is not accurate.

From my perspective, it has been sheer comedy watching pundits and observers attempt to ‘rationalize’ the candidates’ visits to states the public polls say are not in play. When McCain and Palin hip hop across Pennslyvania, is it because the public polls are wrong? NO! It is because McCain is doing a ‘hail mary’ strategy to launch all efforts on Pennslyvania in order to win it as a last ditch effort to save his campaign. What about Obama visiting Pennslyvania, is it a suggestion the public polls are wrong? NO! It is because Obama is only going there to respond to McCain and clean up whatever mess he makes. What about when McCain went to New Hampshire? Could it be the polls were not the reality on the ground? NO! It is because McCain is senile. So how does this explain Palin going to Iowa which is considered a ‘lock’ to Obama by polling? Could the polls be wrong and that it may be more competitive than we thought? NO! The only possible answer is that Palin had gone completly rouge and is going to Iowa to jumpstart here 2012 presidential campaign (this ‘rationale’ was so hysterical I actually spit coffee on my monitor. The idea of the VP candidate deciding to run off to Iowa to start his/her own presidential campaign is hilarious in itself). But why is Obama going to Iowa then? Could it, possibly, be the polls in that state are more competitive than we think? NOOOO. The reason why Obama is going to Iowa is to make up for his trip to grandma, and as a pitstop before he goes trick-or-treating with his kid (I kid you not! People actually think this). When McCain goes off to Maine, they are going to run out of excuses as they have already used the ‘insane candidate’ one.

One thing that is very different about this election is the omnipresence of polls and how polls are the axis around all political analysis is conducted. This has never been the case in previous elections. Real political analysts (meaning not hacks or unprofessional pundits), use historical trends, demagraphical data, and other ‘truths’ of past elections. Much of this cannot be translated into a chart or graph. It is a myth that analysis is done via math or graphs or computer models. The original economists, for example, used only words and essays. Political analysis is not about math. Political analysis is about people. To analyze politics, you must be able to analyze people. In other words, the poet and novelist becomes the political analyst, not the mathematician and software engineer. Politics is all about people.

It seems no one is interested in studying ‘people’ anymore. Look at the political analysis currently. There is very little analysis of the current ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’, for example, or the person from Pennslyvania or person from Iowa. In fact, there are no people. There are only numbers. Stark, lifeless, numbers. The problem with leveling political analysis to nothing more than a soup of numbers is that it cannot measure intensity. What does intensity have to do with politics? Well, everything. Intense people are those who vote.

In previous elections, polling data was used as a supplement and never taken as the Thing That Can Never Be Questioned as it is for this election. Why are people turning themselves into pretzels to choose every possible answer, including the crazy ones, to NOT question the polls? Let’s find out…

Obama Campaign is Strangely Obsessed with Media

One of the reasons why the Kerry Campaign failed is because they were hell-bent on ‘winning every news-cycle’. To win an election, you need to win votes on the ground. The news is not where the campaign battle is. Yet, Kerry Campaign thought it was.

Obama Campaign is making the same mistake but doing it with a very different twist. The push to win every news-cycle is no longer there. What has been replaced is the tactic, often used in other countries, to create neutral media entities (which are, of course, not neutral at all) and have them carry the narrative. People would be unwilling to question the narrative because it comes from, supposed, neutral entities. For example, in 2004, only the choir listened to Moveon.org or Michael Moore as the public saw them as Democrat entities (i.e. non-neutral). But with neutral entities, the narrative will be seen as ‘reality’ itself. Of course, the narrative can’t come across as liberal or conservative or the other side will reject it. After all, neutral entities do not really talk about issues since issues are relatively divisive (which is why they are ‘issues’). Interestingly, Obama’s campaign narrative is not about an issues based campaign as is standard. The narrative is more of ‘Obama’s win is inevitable’, ‘Obama is doing well in states no one ever thought possible’, ‘Obama’s opponent has conceded X state’, ‘Obama’s opponent’s campaign is falling apart’, ‘Obama’s opponent has become desperate, now saying ridiculous things’ etc etc etc. This technique can, obviously, be seen in the general election but was also deployed during the primary against Hillary Clinton.

During the primary, it kept being reported that Clinton was ‘pulling out of a state’ or ‘falling apart internally’ and ‘state polls show double digit Obama lead’ and so on. The reality was that Clinton did not pull out of those states, wasn’t falling apart internally, and state polls that showed double digit Obama leads ended up either becoming small Obama wins (such as Virginia) or comfortabel Clinton wins (New Hampshire, California, Pennslyvania, etc. etc). Hillary Clinton was tied with Obama for much of the primary. As she won in many later states such as Ohio and Texas, it became ridiculous for calls for her to ‘pull out’ when she was winning in the moment. Nevertheless, it is no coincidence that the same exact things are being said of the two campaigns. It is obvious this is orchestrated, i.e. it appears as a classic Astroturf Campaign clothing itself in ‘neutral’ entities.

Obama’s Campaign’s obsession with media reveals itself with Obama himself. At one point, he said, “Fox News is costing me a point or two in the polls.” I thought this was odd since he was up double digits in the polls. Look folks, when you are a presidential candidate, media folks are *below* you. There was one time, around 1996 I suspect, when President Clinton kept talking about Rush Limbaugh. James Carville told Clinton to shush as “Limbaugh isn’t running for anything.” This was good advice.  When Obama makes remarks about Sean Hannity, I scratch my head and I’m going, “WHY does he keep mention someone who he is not running for any office?” The swift breaking of access for the local news sites that asked difficult (or unfair, whatever your view) questions to Biden to moving out certain reporters from the campaign plane points to an obsession with the media. I am not saying the Obama Campaign is being ‘bad’ or ‘good’, I’m just highlighting a curious sensitivity to media concerns. After all, the Obama Campaign did spend a lavish amount to make a slick half hour ‘Obama-show’ which is not the norm of presidential campaigns.

McCain Campaign is more of the traditional issues based campaign (though they seemed to keep changing what they wanted to focus on). Only in the latter days, did the McCain Campaign settle on focusing on the economy with the ‘socialism’ message. Since this election is more of a referendum on Obama than anything else, it is hard to focus on the McCain Campaign. If people trust Obama, he wins. If they don’t, McCain wins. The election is based more on Obama than McCain.

For examples of ‘neutral’ media entities that channel the narrative (which is ‘inevitable’ Obama victory and ‘inevitable’ McCain Campaign collapse), the Politico is one such entity. It was created right when Obama began his presidential campaign, went anti-Hillary during the primaries and never says anything good about McCain (Politico has responsed to this charge by saying ‘don’t blame us, the McCain Campaign sucks’. Then how did McCain get Obama to campaign in blue states in these final days?). Much of the legacy media (already fast falling in subscribers and viewers) easily participated. The ones that didn’t, such as Fox, was strategically blunted (e.g. give O’Reilly access to Obama and promise more to keep O’Reilly’s criticisms ‘soft’ on Obama). Pollsters willingly went along as there is little money in the polling business anyway. 2006 was a depressed turn-out year for Republican voters, but not even 2006 numbers are used. The spread used is an irrational 7 points or so. Other ways to cook the poll would be to take a majority of your samples from urban areas with little from rural areas (this practice hasn’t been caught on yet by the poll critics yet). When pollsters say that McCain’s chances of winning is the same as a meteorite plunging into the Earth or that the pollster will become a sacker at a grocery store, is this the language of analysts and scientists? No. It is the language of the demagogue. They were likely paid, or in a contract, to put on such a front. This is typical Chicago Machine type stuff.

And, for another ‘neutral’ media entity that is actually a player in the Obama campaign strategy of ‘inevitable victory narrative’, is Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.

FiveThirtyEight Is Propaganda Site Masquerading as a ‘Calculation’ Site

I was first made aware of FiveThirtyEight when, after explaining to a friend why the probability of Obama losing Pennslyvania is very high, he laughed and said McCain’s chances of winning the election was 5%. I went, “What!? Whoever told you that?” “This website…” I went to the website and, instantly, I could tell it was a hack. Political campaigns are a very uncertain business which can change overnight for one candidate or another. No political scientist would seriously say a candidate has 5% chance to win the election. Maybe if the candidate was a social conservative running in San Francisco or a communist running in Kansas, this might be true. But for a presidential election? No. Not even Mondale was given that percentage. The ‘interviews’ with Dan Rather are raised flags because after 2004, Dan Rather lost all ‘neutral’ status after the forged memo scenario (in 2004, the retiring Dan Rather put up memos from early seventies whose fonts count only have been done in a modern word processor, an obvious forgery). I’ve met Dan Rather personally as he was raised in my area. He is a nice guy. But no network will hire him for news now for the reason of partisanship.

Here are some of the (many) problems with FiveThirtyEight:

-Nate Silver’s ‘news stories’ carefully follow Obama Campaign’s strategy, used both in the primary and now in the general campaign, of inevitable Obama victory (which no political analyst, worth their salt, believes as no election is inevitable), showing pictures of a closed McCain Campaign office and declare “It is all falling apart”, etc. etc.

-Nate Silver says he is busy with real life job and life but when the Zogby poll, that had McCain +1, came out, he responded to it ASAP (and on Halloween night of all times!). Now, I don’t trust Zogby because he was off in 2004. I also know, for a fact, Zogby is contractually obligated to weight more Democrats in his polling (and weeks ago, when the AP showed a close poll, Zogby got ‘angry’ at them). However, Zogby also publicly declared Obama’s declaration of ‘inevitable victory’ ismore about strategy. Nate Silver doesn’t bother to tell his readers why Zogby became famous in the first place. It was because Zogby was the only pollster who picked up on the Gore surge in the 2000 election. This, alone, is why people are listening to Zogby closely now. (I still don’t trust him as he has been all over the place. However, that might had been intentional). The ‘rapidity’ to deconstruct a positive McCain poll obviously should be a flag raiser. Real political scientists never rush to deconstruct or denounce anything.

-There is absolutely no questioning as to why the candidates are going to solid blue areas. In fact, there is strangely no questioning to the polls at all.

-Nate Silver, on his FAQ page, says he incorporates 2000, 2004, and 2006 election returns. What about 2002? In 2002, in a historical upset (President’s party loses seats in the off year election), Republicans performed well and made gains in both the House and Senate. In fact, exit polls were seen as ‘unreliable’ and thrown out that year with only ‘votes’ counted (which is how it should be done anyway). Only after the election did we realize the exit polls were thrown out because the analysts/media couldn’t believe the results.

-Nate Silver bans all internal polling by the reason that internal polls are used to manipulate opinion while public polls are ‘scientific’. He has it totally backwards. Public polls are made to manipulate opinion (i.e. the public is the product, not the poll’s data). Internal polls have to be ‘scientific’ because the presidential candidates are interested in winning which cannot be done if the internal polls are not as accurate as possible. What a doofus.

-In assigning ‘undecided’ voters, he bizarrely puts them to third parties (what!?) and then breaks them 50-50 between the candidates. This isn’t how it works in presidential elections and even students know that. The undecideds proportionally break toward the establishment candidate. In 2000, it was Gore. In 2004, it was Bush. In 2008, it is McCain. 2008 is a referendum on Obama. The undecideds are ‘unsold’ on Obama. As the election comes, most of them will break for McCain. Any model would have whatever undecideds left to ‘break’ mostly toward the establishment candidate in the waning days of the election. Nate doesn’t seem interested in this. In fact, he doesn’t seem interested in any of the standard ways.

-When responding to the question about whether 50-50 for undecideds is the best approach, he bizarrely goes into alternatives on proportions of the vote in the state. He explains this won’t work because sometimes the undecides break for the not-in-the-lead candidate. He doesn’t mention or doesn’t answer the truth: undecideds break proportionally for the establishment candidate (and you wonder why incumbent legislators can be hard to knock off).

Broken Glass Conservatives

One of the reasons why Democrats lost the elections of 2002, 2004, and won in 2006 so handily is the appearance (and disappearance) of the phenomenon I refer to as ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’. Conservatives are generally apathetic and have been lately about their candidates. While Bush was a Republican, he was not a conservative. He was conservative on a few things, the things that mattered most to conservatives (foreign policy, judges, taxes), but Bush has no interest in the conservative movement and doesn’t want to ‘lead’ it unlike Reagan. So conservative support for Republican candidates have been very soft (as illustrated in 2006). But if a Democrat or the legacy media (who conservatives believe are the same) insult or attack conservatives or what they believe, the result is ‘broken glass conservatives’ meaning the apathetic, soft Republican (or Democrat) conservative suddenly turns enraged and will literally walk over ‘broken glass’, if need be, to vote. ‘Broken glass conservatives’ phenomenons are all easily prevented if someone had some sense. An example of a ‘broken class conservative’ scenario would be Congressman Murtha (twice) declaring western Pennslyvania as ‘racists’. Remember, Murth’s district is mostly Democrat, and they know about Murtha’s shenanigans (the idea of ‘he’s a crook, but he is OUR crook’). But conservative Democrats took the insult personally and, out of the blue, Murtha’s safe seat suddenly becomes competitive . In 2004, the ‘broken glass conservatives’ were generated by, what conservatives felt, media bias in that veterans who served with Kerry were never had the spotlight shown (which they resorted to their own ads which became the ‘SwiftBoat Ads’) as well as Dan Rather and the forged memos.

In 2008, there are more phenomenons of the ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ than I have ever seen…

-Conservatives believe the media has been outrageously fawning over Obama and doing everything it can to protect him. This has enraged them even more than in 2004.

-Obama’s comment of people in rural areas were nothing more than ‘bitter clingers’ who cling to guns and religion have caused lingering outrage at him. This comment, alone, is one reason why Pennslyvania turned on him.

-The Bail-Out Bill enraged many and was when conservatives finally abandoned Bush. But Bush is not on the ticket anymore so that doesn’t matter. Rather, the enragement is aimed at Pelosi and Reid, the leaders of the House and Senate.

-Media treatment of Sarah Palin generated many ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ and even overlapped to the Hillary Clinton supporters.

-Joe the Plumber. At first, Joe the Plumber recieved much amusement and delight of the electorate since it was funny to watch the presidential candidates refer to some citizen and even talk directly to ‘him’ on the camera. After the debate, naturally the press put up photos of the ‘conversation’ between Joe and Obama in amusement as well (amusement in how this citizen somehow ended up as the topic in the third debate). Then, Obama and Biden mocked joe the Plumber and said plumbers could never earn $250,000, and this followed with news came out about Joe’s salary, his marriage, his driver’s license, his taxes, his lack of a plumber’s license, and him ultimately being fired by the plumbing union. This enraged people like I have never seen before. Joe the Plumber became the ‘John Galt’ icon. I heard stories of visible Obama supporters being rattled by this such as SoCal voters peeling off their bumper stickers and uprooting their Obama signs.

-Socialism. People who are over 50, who either fled a socialist country or was in the military to help liberate socialist countries, find the thought of any presidential candidate, even ‘warm’ on the ideas of socialism, to be deemed ‘unelectable’ and are outraged it took to the Joe the Plumber incident to discover what, they believe, Obama’s true motives are.

At one McCain rally, that man who screamed, “I’M ANGRY! I’M REALLY ANGRY!!!” is a microcosm of the ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’. It is the reason why, now, the blood red Utah has people rushing to the early voting polls. In Texas, an army of pick-up trucks have descended upon the polls. Much of the interest in early voting, which is exceeding 2004 levels, is being mistaken as enthused support for Obama. But it is likely that it is ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ which exist in both Democrat and Republican parties. This white hot intensity of the ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ has not, and cannot, be measured with standard measures (how can a poll detect passion? It cannot). It can be detected by the mushrooming ‘McCain-Palin’ signs that have been sprouting out in the oddest places. The ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ will likely surprise election results with the biggest plum being Pennslyvania turning red.

Pennslyvania is now red

Take to the bank, folks, Pennslyvania is turning red this election. I’ve been talking Pennslyvania for the last couple of election posts so might as well continue. Pennslyvania is the *special state* of this election, the state that everyone will be talking about after the election. In that regards, Pennslyvania is to 2008 as Florida is to 2000 and Ohio is to 2004.

FiveThirtyEight put up a hilarious piece on Pennslyvania. Nate says:

Suppose that Barack Obama were to concede Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. Literally, concede them. Throw ‘em back, like a Chase Utley home run at a Cubs game. How often would he still win the election?

89.0% of the time, according to our most recent run of simulations, along with another 2.4% of outcomes that ended in ties. This is because in the vast majority of our simulations, Obama either:

a) was winning at least 291 electoral votes, meaning that he could drop Pennsylvania’s 21 and still be over 270, and/or

b) was winning at least 270 electoral votes, while already being projected to lose Pennsylvania in the first place.

(a) was much, much more common than (b), obviously.

Why anyone believes FiveThirtyEight is anything but a tentacle from the Obama Campaign is beyond me as it is obvious he is spoonfeeding ‘correct thought’ to Obama fans. Anyway, what Nate is saying here is hilarious.

The Electoral College is not a game of geographical Risk. States move in groups almost as if there is an elevation to them (with the national vote being the water level). For example, Obama winning Utah means a blowout in Nevada as Nevada is far more to the left than Utah is. In the same way, in order for New Jersey to go red, Pennslyvania has to be won by large margins as Pennslyvania is less blue than New Jersey.

A state cannot be plucked out of its group unless the vote is extremely close or the state is the home state of one of the candidates. What does this mean? Well, as the more common sense commentators say on that page is…

If Pennslyvania goes red, you can bet there is no Obama ‘landslide’. This means Montana stays red, Indiana stays red, Ohio stays red (if Ohio turns blue and Pennslyvania turns red, that would be obvious voter fraud as Ohio is five points to the right of Pennslyvania), North Carolina stays red, and likely Virginia, Colorado and Nevada do as well. But losing Pennslyvania points to a bigger problem in the Rust Belt and puts McCain in the possibility of picking up Iowa as well as Wisconsin and Minessota. In other words, if Pennslyvania goes red, it shows that the national vote is at a ‘sea level’ where the more reddish states are safely red.

It is electorally impossible for Obama to become president without winning Ohio and Pennslyvania. Scenarios of Obama winning all these other little states just isn’t realistic. Maybe the Western states, but not the more red states in the East.

These are the trips from October 25th that McCain has taken:

McCain has been living in Ohio essentially. Now, let us look at Palin’s trips:

Most of these areas centers around Pennslyvania. Both McCain and Palin are focusing in the same Rust Belt area. They aren’t taking many trips to the West. Let’s have a closer look at Ohio and Pennslyvania:

Blue = McCain
Green = Palin
Purple = Joint Appearance

McCain Campaign’s strategy is to go on the offensive in the Rust Belt while holding on to the Bush states. Obama is weakest in the Rust Belt area. The visits, as you can see in the picture above, have several that take place in blue counties and Democrat strongholds. I suspect that with Ohio stripping their voting laws down for the past eight years (now a park bench is considered a ‘legal address’ for a voter), the fear of voter fraud is strong in the MCCain Campaign and they feel they must make up for it in votes in the Democrat areas of the state.

The biggest plum of the Rust Belt is Pennslyvania which the McCain Campaign has, obviously, targeted heavily. Pennslyvania was razor thin in 2000 and 2004. Since Obama is a weaker candidate than Kerry and Gore, especially in the Rust Belt, McCain Campaign believes Pennslyvania is winnable. He’s right. It is.

From Ohio and Pennslyvania, the Rust Belt states branch out and generally move together as a group. This is why McCain Campaign feels it is worth campaigning in Iowa as it borders several Rust Belt states as well as being close, in itself. McCain could possibly pick up another Rust Belt state such as Wisconsin (razor thin in 2004) or Minnesota. The attention is focused, laser like, on Pennslyvania simply because it is the biggest prize of the Rust Belt states. Pennslyvania would create a 40 point electoral vote swing and would be a sizable buffer if Obama picks up any small states along the way.

Pennslyvania has been grossly misreported on this election cycle. During the Democrat primary, union bosses approached Hillary Clinton and said, “Promise us you will not put Obama as your Veep and you will have our support.” The moment Obama become the nominee was when he lost Pennslyvania. Obama has been spending money like a drunken sailor in the state, blasting the state full of advertising, but it isn’t working. The famous Philly machine won’t be at Obama’s disposal as the governor, Rendell, is a Clinton supporter , and he has been hinting at Pennslyvania going red by the mysterious leak of the Obama internal campaign poll of PA being +2 a couple of weeks ago and publicly asking Obama to come back to the state as well as saying that things are ‘tightening’ there. The evidence that PA is going red should be with how the safe Democrat seats are becoming suddenly competitive. Rendell is a Democrat and doesn’t want to lose house seats which is another reason to ask Obama to come back.

Pennslyvania is not a New England state, it is a mid-atlantic state. It is mostly a rural state. Obama likely thought Philly and Pittsburgh would be enough to carry the state (Obama is relying on cities to swing entire states his way). But Kerry could barely hold the state even with the Philly machine and the Democrat base on his side. And McCain and Palin are far more popular, campaign wise, than Bush and Cheney were in 2004.

Obama does not have the Democrat base solidified behind him. In states that massively swung to Clinton, such as Pennslyvania, a sizable number of Hillary Clinton supporters are voting for McCain under the banner of ‘Party Unity My Ass’ or ‘PUMA’s. In McCain Campaign offices throughout Pennslyvania, manning their phone banks, are DEMOCRATS which voted for Hillary Clinton. An unholy alliance has developed between senators McCain and Clinton. Both are friends to one another. Both have a framed picture of the other in their offices. The PUMA story is the biggest one not being told about in this election.

Lying to pollsters is frequent and a necessity in Pennslyvania due to the unions. Many union bosses will call their members, posing as a ‘pollster’, and if the member gives the wrong asnwer, a thug is sent to the house. The Teacher’s Union there has sent strict orders to vote for Obama “or else”.

And to add on to Obama’s problems in Pennslyvania is the presence of Nader on the ballot. Nader was blamed for ciphoning away votes from Gore in 2000. Democrats fought hard to keep Nader off the ballot and in 2004, Nader was not on the Pennslyvania ballot. If he was, the state would have likely swung to Bush in 2004. With razor thin margins in 2004, Obama cannot afford a Nader on the ballot in PA.

Pennslyvania may not be a Republican state, but it is a conservative one. Democrats have been slowly losing their grasp over Pennslyvania for quite some time. It has been on the edge for the last eight years, but now it will likely fall off into the Republican column. Color this state red.

Palin Fever

Obama was headed toward an inevitable victory because McCain could not rally his base. His stunts as a ‘maverick’ left him despised by conservatives. Picking Palin as the VP rallied the conservative base, became an olive leaf to Hillary Clinton Democrats, and generally left the Obama Campaign shocked. Palin is the mysterious X factor at work which no one is sure what effect she will have on the electorate. Her rallies are pulling in crowds. There isn’t much talked about why Palin is making a splash with the electorate, of why she is both loved and hated.

Palin is appealing to conservatives due to the ‘fire in the belly’ where she is expressing what conservatives want, what they wished their conservative politicians would say and fight back against, in their perception, is a hostile media to them. Palin does not articulate conservative philosophy in her speeches as she appears more populist. Palin is not a female Reagan, but a Truman in a skirt. I’ve been reading much on Truman lately, and I’ve been struck with the similarities. Truman was an ardent outdoorsman, one from a small town and related extremely well with the rural population. Taft, among others, thought Truman was below them and kept referring to him as ‘filth’ and a ‘redneck’. Famously, Truman alone believed he would win his election when everyone else said he wouldn’t and traveled across the country visiting various farms and other small towns. The reporters traveling with Truman noticed that everywhere he went, there were large crowds. The electorate referred to Truman more by his first name, ‘Harry’, with the common phrase of ‘Give em Hell, Harry!’ Truman was not a wordsmith, but he had a fire in his belly and, most of all, his speeches held warmth. At every stop, Truman praised the rural people there and often talked about something in the locality. Truman, by his biographers, is most remembered for his constant energy, how his appearance was always ‘fresh’, how he always looked ‘rested’, and appeared in high spirits most of the time. Truman was constantly made fun of by his rural pronounciation and his non-intellectual demeanor by the press, yet those things endeared him to the rural electorate. In all my life, I have never seen a Vice Presidential nominee out-pull the Presidential nominee or steal his spotlight. Win or lose, Palin will likely have a long shelf life.

Aside from being an attractive female (politics is literally show-business for the ugly which might explain why a former beauty queen would cause such commotion), there is something else about Palin that is causing her to resonate within the electorate (from those who love her to those who hate her).

Palin is representative of something within the American mythos that many outside America may not get. There is a mythos of America of the frontiersmen and women, living in log cabins, going through harsh winters, hunting, surviving through the elements. When Palin was introduced, the photos and her history left many jaws dropped. She grew up in a log cabin, hunted, survived the harsh Alaskan winters, had a large family, and generally appear as if she walked out of a history book on America’s frontier. Palin’s life history matches many American’s grandmothers and great grandmothers. (Camille Paglia, ardent feminist and Obama supporter, admitted as much). Much of the appeal Palin holds is that she is representative of the mythos of the American frontierswoman. I think this is why she keeps being compared to Reagan because Reagan draped his speeches and actions in the American mythos. But she has more in common with the mannerisms and personality of Truman than Reagan.

Anyone who knows anything about analyzing this election knows the reports of Palin ‘dragging down’ the McCain ticket are laughable. It is pretty clear she saved the ticket. The base would not be mobilized or passionate if Palin was not there. When Palin was announced, McCain Campaign could not keep up with the donations coming in. McCain knows he needs her in order for his ticket to win. He knows she pulls largers crowds than he does.

Palin’s effect in the Republican Party is far more interesting and isn’t being accurately reported anywhere. Everyone knows of the ‘political civil war’ over the Democrat Party over New Party Obama and traditional Democrat Hillary Clinton through the very public and long primary battle. But there has been a very quiet civil war within the Republican party as well. On one side are the Republicans which means the established Republicans in Washington and various columnists and moderates. The other side are the Conservatives that hail from outside Washington and exist in mostly rural areas. In 2006, conservatives unhappy with their Republican representatives sat out the election which caused Democrats to take over the House and Senate.

With conservatives, there is a three legged stool of three different types of conservatives. The first leg is strong foreign policy (represented by McCain). The second leg is Social Conservatism (represented by Huckabee). The third leg is Economic Conservatism (represented by Romney). Reagan was all three legs of the stool. Bush the Elder did well on the foreign policy leg but lost it with the other two legs, especially the Economic Conservatives. McCain was the favored candidate by the Republicans (but not the conservatives who favored Romney or Huckabee more). With McCain as the nominee, it was clear the Republican ticket was going to lose since the base was not united, conservatives refused to vote for McCain. McCain had too much history acting as a Republican and not a Conservative (meaning he would ‘cross the aisle’ and stab a conservative ideal in the back such as his push on amnesty).

In reality, the McCain Campaign has done a superb job considering where they began. Starting from a nominee Republicans (mostly in Washington) liked but conservatives didn’t, the pick of Palin rallied the base but mostly the Social Conservatives. The Economic Conservatives mostly came around after the Joe the Plumber incident. But even still, such as in El Paso Colorado, they are are not all fully convinced which is why Romney was sent out there to rally them.

McCain’s choice of Palin and push against ‘Socialism’, since the nominee is head of the political party, has swung the party back into the control of the conservatives rather than Republicans. Most of these ‘Republicans’ tend to reside in the Washington loop, and have been there since Reagan, while others are ‘moderates’. The Obama Campaign with its psych-ops of ‘landslide’ polls, have made conservatives giddy in that it is flushing out the Washington Republicans and moderates from the party. For example, Colin Powell, who is pro-choice and for affirmative action, who appeared to be Republican mostly as Reagan made him a four star general, Bush the Elder put him in charge of the Joint Chief, and Bush the Younger put him as Secretary as State, is now forever blacklisted after endorsing Obama. George Will, longtime columnist who has been in Washington for a long time, wrote against the Iraq War (which already put him on thin ice), but now he will be flushed out. Peggy Noonan, long time Washington person since the Reagan years, is now flushed out. Parker, ditto. From the conservative side, they are celebrating as they consider these Republicans to been in Washington too long and are no longer connected to the people. The point is that Palin has become a Conservative Touchstone that, like a wave, has flowed through the party and is revealing who is and who is not a conservative. And these non-conservatives will not be well recieved anymore. (In the case of women, such as Peggy Noonan, I suspect some old fashioned female jealousy going on as well. Remember, Pelosi wanted Hillary Clinton to lose because she wouldn’t be the dominant female in Washington anymore. This might seem strange to guys, but only women exist in women’s world.)

Another source of of issues is Romney who desired to become the conservative flagbearer (a Massachusetts governor who was once pro-choice being a conservative icon? No way. He only lasted as long as he did because he could spend his own fortune).Palin becoming vice president totally destroys that and destroys Romney’s chance to run in 2012.  The ‘leaks’ from the McCain Campaign, especially the ‘internal campaign staff criticism of Palin’, were coming from Romney surrogates.

The most remarkable thing about Palin, I’ve noticed, is her strange effect on men. I do not mean men in the electorate who have the hots for her but the male players in the Washington game. Take a look at this video of Dick Morris after the Vice Presidential Debate (most watched debate since 1992):

What has gotten into Dick Morris for beating up on Alan Colmnes? Since when did Morris get some balls?  And Biden, at the end of the debate such as when he said “It was a pleasure to meat you, Governor Palin,” he had the look, and his voice had the tone, of an old man struck by a pretty lady. Even dry McCain became far more energetic and has sounded like a different person, as if he had passion, as time went on after Palin joined the ticket. While no one else will comment on this, it is something I’ve noticed as I have gotten older how a woman can draw out a man. Palin seems to be creating that effect from the men around her.

When I ask people, “Why do you like Palin?” they respond, “Because she is normal.” They see her family as normal, her way of talking as normal, and her personality as their personality. More intriguing, people I have asked seem to really want to watch Palin’s family for the next four years. They did not respond the same to McCain’s family, or Obama and Biden’s.

The Undecideds

The Undecideds *have* decided: they have decided not to declare their choice to pollsters.

The polls are way, way off this election cycle. Pollsters have admitted that this election has the highest ‘refusal to respond’ number. The ‘undecideds’ are people who don’t want to declare their choice. Why would they do that? If you belong to a Union, and they tell you to vote for Obama or ‘else’, you will not answer a pollster for it could be a union boss checking up on its members. PUMAs have declared their intention to lie to pollsters and they are organized. And there are many people who don’t want to declare ‘McCain’ because of being percieved as a ‘racist’.

Look, days away from the election and there are like 11% undecideds? No! This is not normal. The Bradley Effect is occuring with the undecideds. I suspect there is oversampling from the urban population as well. Another big factor is the pollsters putting in the additional Democrat registrations as if these are new voters. The boost in Democrat registrations came from many ‘registration drives’ where people are paid to meet a quota (where you get names like Mickey Mouse on the ballots or the Dallas Cowboys) as well as Republicans who switched to the Democrat Party to tamper with the Democrat Primary. I suspect the boost in Democrat registrations was intentional early on to throw off the pollsters so their calculations can only factor in a much larger than Democrat turnout than normal as part of their ‘inevitable strategy’ psy-op campaign.

Projections are only as good as their inputs. With the high rate of people refusing to be polled (as admitted by pollsters), the high rate of people not willing to declare who they want to vote for (the undecideds), and the huge wave of junk Democrat registrations, you’re going to see the polls be way, way off.

Why I Will Be Right

Political Analysis is not a ‘science’, it is a ‘black art’. It depends highly on what is going on the ground. My advantage is that I am not on a sound set in Washington DC, and I am not in a phone bank in Deleware. I can see what is going on in the ground around me (Texas, a state that doesn’t matter, or does it?) and have sources I trust on the ground in other states.

While the election was originally a referendum on Obama, it has now become a referendum on socialism. It won’t matter if a minority group (like african americans) turn out in record numbers because everyone else is turning out in record numbers as well. The youth vote is not turning out as it never does. As James Carville says, “You know what we call candidates who rely on the youth vote? We call them ‘losers’.” Contrary to the intentional false information put out, the GOP get-out-the-vote is extremely strong for Karl Rove invested a significant amount of money and created the machine in the first place. The Democrats are catching up, but some of the Obama ‘get out the vote’ efforts remind me of pouring a bottle of water on an ant pile. The ants run around like crazy, trying to do everything to stop it, but end up accomplishing nothing. For evidence of how overblown the Obama ‘GOTV’ effort is, look at the primaries where Obama had trouble closing the deal against Clinton.

In 2004, the media wisely delayed calling states when voting hadn’t been completed (such as Florida in 2000). There will be none of that delay in 2008. I suspect we will have many states called for Obama before the voting is even done. The state that will be erroneously called for Obama will be Pennslyvania. In Pennslyvania, all the Obama votes are mostly in the Philly and Pittsburg area and Obama will comfortably carry those areas. And those areas are the eastern part of Pennslyvania with the western part being more rural. With the ‘Obama leads’ that Philly and Pittsburg area comes in, and the myth that Obama is ahead 25 points (or whatever) in PA being believed by the anchors, they will call PA early. But once all the rest of the state votes, they will have to turn it into a toss-up. They will be EXTREMELY reluctant to call the state for McCain even when the votes clearly show he has won there (and he *will* win there.)

Obama will take New Mexico. Iowa is a true toss-up. Nevada leans McCain. Colorado won’t be called until very late in the night because it will be close. Virginia will go to McCain but the networks won’t call it, because they won’t believe McCain has won it. NC, IN, GA will, of course, go McCain. NH will also go McCain. The Rust Belt will be full of surprises on election night. I expect the traditional blue states to be more competitive than we have seen them over a decade due to very soft Obama support. (I am curious how strong Obama’s vote will be in New York, the state where Clinton is senator).

Electoral maps showing Arizona as a toss-up, and the Obama Campaign spending advertising money there, is arrogance. Presidential candidates never lose their home state (except for Gore in 2000, but 2000 election was anything but normal). Even Mondale, who lost 49 states, won his home state. Those looking to ridicule their political opponents with the inevitable Obama win need to be very careful. Karma is a bitch. The tables will likely be turned around on election night.

In the end, I expect McCain to win with around 300 + electoral votes and Republicans gaining seats in the House. To make this short, the reasons why is:

-Republican base is energized.

-Reagan Democrats are voting Republican which they haven’t really done since Reagan.

-PUMAs are going for MCCain.

-Many Democrats will refuse to vote for Obama. This ‘soft’ blue support will appear throughout the country and will be the reason why Pennslyvania turns red.

I was in Washington DC during the election of 1994. The faces were completely shocked. Why were they so shocked? People in Washington DC and the Legacy Media are not connected to what is going on in the ground, especially in the ‘flyover’ country. In 1994, they were completely shocked by the results. The same will be true in 2008. What they do not get is that the electorate is going to give them, and the media, and Obama, the equivalent of the middle finger. The white hot passion down here in the ground is not being picked up. Turn-out at the most ‘red’ states being at record highs should be a flag of this occurring. Yet, they don’t see it for whatever reason.

Exit polls will be off as well. PUMAs have instructed their members to lie to them, to say they voted for Obama. Others, so pissed off with the media and pollsters, will lie and say Obama simply because they want to see anchors and ‘analysts’ make history by having the first strokes on live TV. The sheer anger at the legacy media cannot be underestimated. There is a reason why their ratings and subscribers are in free fall.

There is something else I’ve noticed. Two things. First, Obama has spent almost a billion dollars and still cannot close the deal. With how long this election season has been, I think people are just sick of hearing about him on TV. Second, Obama comes across as very cold. The news about the aunt living in a slum was seen as a non-issue to both the Obama and McCain campaigns. But people, curiously, are interested in it. It is amazing to people how Obama can let so many relatives live where they are at and be poor. Obama’s reaction to it reminds me of Dukakis. For those who don’t remember, at a debate when Dukakis was asked about whether he would support the death penalty if his wife was raped and murdered, he replied in a very non-chalant politician type of way with a laundry list of ‘reasons’. What the people wanted to see was Dukakis get emotional over the thought of his wife being murdered and raped, but the non-chalantness made him appear very cold. Obama is coming across that way to people. Clinton, for all his issues, always came across as very ‘warm’. Obama lacks this ‘warmth’.

America is right of center. While Carter and LBJ were the last Democrats to win over 50% of the vote, LBJ didn’t bother to run for a second term due to how despised he had become over Vietnam, and Carter was flushed out during theelection of 1980. The point is that there is an acceptable level of leftness the electorate will accept. Clinton campaigned and acted a little left which was acceptable to the electorate. But LBJ and Carter went way too far and the electorate sank them. Obama has likely gone too far left which is why the ‘socialism’ charge is sticking to him.

McCain Campaign is on the Blue Turf

It is said that at the end of a presidential campaign, the candidate who is campaigning on the enemy’s turf in the final days becomes president. The stories that say “Obama is campaigning in final days in Bush states’ is getting it wrong, of course. Obama has no choice but to campaign in Bush states since there is no other way for him to get to 270. McCain can lose some Bush states and still win. In political analysis, novices measure the election by states. Experts do it by counties. The counties McCain and Palin are visiting, be it Pennslyvania or even Ohio, are democrat counties meaning they went for Kerry the other time. Obama keeps staying in safe urban areas and other Democrat strongholds. Obama’s strategy doesn’t appear aggressive to me (he appears to be getting angry, even emotionally melting down. Such as when he got angry when trick-or-treating. Even today, he gave McCain the middle finger). When we look at the candidates themselves, we see McCain confident and laughing and Obama… being a little theatrical (“I will change the world!”). OK, candidate comparison is a matter of opinion. But there is a tradition that the campaign in the lead tends to share their internal poll numbers in the closing of an election. I’m hearing much about internal McCain polling, however, this might be the campaign’s way to provide an alternative to the way off public polls.

This election has been the strangest one I have ever seen. It started off with conservatives fearing and despising Hillary Clinton (they’ve always hated her) as she made her climb for the White House. Yet, now, conservatives and Hillary Clinton voters are campaigning side by side. Gay activists for Clinton are campaigning side by side with fundamentalist conservatives against Obama. In Pennslyvania, as I’ve said before, the phone banks and people in McCain offices are democrats. While it is usual to hear the fringe of one party to describe the opposing candidate as evil incarnate, the PUMAs have the strongest language for Obama beyond the most right wing conservative. “He is a proto-nazi!” they say. “Do you really believe that?” I ask them. “Yes. We do.”

There are some new political symbols appearing. The PUMAs have adopted the cougar or bobcat as their symbol. The Palin conservatives have adopted the moose (could this eventually replace the elephant?)

Election night will be very long because pundits will be stunned at what is going on. They think this is already over and election night is just a coronation. All these electoral map projections and polls, yet votes weren’t cast yet.

Consider Obama toast, guys. He will join Dukakis, Dole, Gore, and Kerry in the ashbin of history.

And, as a final word, let us return to Pennslyvania and discuss this story from Hillbuzz. In it, there is a story of a Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager who became a PUMA and is shapherding much of the effort for the PUMAs in Pennslyvania.

Harriet and Betty Jean are back from the airport. They were turned down at the rally for McCain because there wasn’t room. So they high tailed it to the airport with their signs in the hope they could see him. They saw McCain’s car drive onto the tarmac and were despondent when the car headed away from them. Then, the car abruptly turned around and John McCain leapt out of the car and he ran over to the group with a huge smile on his face. Cindy and Joe Lieberman quickly followed. Betty Jean said McCain was quicker than the Secret Service who had to run to keep up with him. McCain thanked them enthusiastically and hugged Betty Jean. It made her day.

The Old School Democrats have allied with Republicans against Obama. If this is in significant numbers, Obama will lose and the margins will be larger than 2004.

If this is the calm before the storm, then the center which the storm will revolve around will be Pennslyvania.

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