A massive shift in younger and older voters is roiling the presidential race according to new data from the Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll concluded October 28-29. Younger voters — under 45 — once Obama’s base, now are evenly divided between the two candidates. But voters over 65 have shifted sharply to the Democrat in the past week.
Published in the New York Post on October 30, 2008
Iraq isn’t the only place where the surge seems to be working. John McCain’s gains over the last five days are remaking the political landscape as Election Day approaches.
The double-digit leads Barack Obama held last week have evaporated, as all three of the top tracking polls (the most current and reliable measurements out there) show McCain hot on Obama’s heels.
Published on TheHill.com on October 28, 2008
If current survey trends continue, Obama will finish with less than 50 percent in the polls. Even discounting the Nader vote (some people never learn), the undecided voters could tip the race either way. How will they break?
Since there is no incumbent, they cannot automatically be assigned to the challenger; and since turnout is likely to be huge, the current undecided voters will probably make their way to the polls and cast their ballots.
But for whom?
Zogby, Rasmussen and Gallup all report McCain closing to 5 points back. Zogby had him 12 back, Rasmussen 8 and Gallup 6 in their previous polling. McCain’s use of the Joe the Plumber and the tax issue in his ads is working!
Unilaterally, John McCain agreed to disarm himself by refusing to use perhaps his most potent weapon in exposing Barack Obama: the Democrats’ relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The McCain campaign and, at its direction, the Republican Party, have banned use of footage of Rev. Wright from their campaign commercials. Perhaps for fear of being accused of racism, they are not bringing up the single most compromising association in Obama’s past – his close liaison with Rev. Wright.
Published in the New York Post on October 26, 2008
The most reliable surveys put McCain five to seven points behind Obama as we enter the last week of this interminable campaign. But in a race that will be famous for years afterwards for its volatility, it is not too late for the Republican to pull out a victory.
The perfect storm combining the vast expansion of government’s role in the American economy, a looming Obama triumph and likely huge Democratic gains in Congress augur the most serious threat of the onset of socialism the United States has faced since the New Deal. But while it became obvious that FDR’s goal was to save capitalism, not to replace it, it is by no means clear that Barack Obama is similarly inclined.
Today (Thursday, October 23rd), tomorrow, and the weekend are the last chance McCain has to get back into this race. To understand why, let’s briefly recap what’s happened since the conventions.
McCain left the back-to-back conventions with a lead for the first time in the presidential race. His strength was fueled by his designation of Sarah Palin and the enthusiasm she aroused in the Republican base. The Democrats, caught off guard, attacked her viciously which only reinforced the perception of a woman being victimized by a sexist left.
Published on TheHill.com on October 21, 2008
As the election enters its last two weeks, social populism wars with economic populism to become the major outlet for American anger and angst and to satisfy the demand for change. In his book The Populist Persuasion, Michael Kazin articulates the difference between these two types of populism: economic and social.
Economic populism, the staple of the Democratic left, demonizes Wall Street and glorifies Main Street. It rails against unequal distribution of wealth and warns, perpetually, that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. From Andrew Jackson’s frontier democracy to Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, economic populism has powered the left.
Obama sent shock waves through political circles when announced on Monday that he had amassed $150 million in campaign contributions in September, giving him upwards of $600 million for his campaign. While his fund raising makes a mockery of McCain’s paltry $100 million in taxpayer funded campaign money, the real advantage to Obama in the election is not likely to be decisive.
Obama is, of course, still the front runner. But McCain is closing hard as the race enters its second to last week. If Obama ultimately wins, it will have a lot more to do with the Dow Jones than with his level of campaign funding. Even if we assume his October funding brings him to even more dizzying heights, the realities of modern politics will limit the advantage that will accrue to his campaign.
Published in the New York Post on October 18, 2008
Ronald Reagan’s most important contribution to the American political dialogue was his ability to move the tax issue from an economic-populist issue into a populist, blue-collar one. Under George W. Bush, however, the issue has switched back to one of class warfare, as increasing numbers of Americans have paid no taxes at all and the rates on those who did pay taxes fell. Now, a chance encounter with “Joe the Plumber” has afforded the Republicans the chance to use taxes as a blue-collar issue.