Friday, October 17, 2008

Erratic Polls Indicate Don't Measure For The White House Drapes Just Yet.

Earlier in the week some pretty strong polling numbers sure looked strong for Barack Obama, but then even with another losing debate performance on Wednesday evening by John McCain and continued economic problems, some other polling organization numbers now show a shocking trend of the race tightening once again with Rasmussen now indicating John McCain only 4 points behind and gaining a few points over the last few days. Even more shocking is one Gallup poll this week that had Obama only leading by a mere 3 points when a poll of likely voters was considered.

The fact of the matter may be that a number of Republican ads running around the country may be selling a misleading message to voters that their taxes will rise if the Democrats are elected even though the Obama Campaign has only proposed a modest small tax increase of just 3% on those earning in excess of $250,000 a year to restore some tax fairness which is also only a return to the same tax levels for higher income earners of 39% during the Clinton economic boom years in the 1990's. The current tax percentage is 36% on incomes over $250,000. However, the Obama plan still offers higher income earners new opportunities for tax credits and breaks if they will hire new employees or keep jobs in the U.S. So ample opportunity to shield income from higher taxes is also built into the Obama plans that did not exist in the Clinton years.

Surprisingly, Republicans could pull still this election out even with all the baggage of George Bush and a serious economic crisis if Democratic turnout is lower than expected, or if too many voters expect Obama to win and don't bother to vote. It is certainly possible that some of the reporting from CNN may have overstated any slight Obama advantage right now, and this could make some voters feel that their votes may not count. In fact, every vote might well count, and this election may tighten to a near tie by election day. Even after strong debate performances, the Obama numbers seem to soften up after a few days and the race tightens each time. McCain unfortunately has more than enough days left in this election cycle to still pull out a win based on the past history of the polls. Even if the race tightens by one point every two days. that is unfortunately more than enough time for McCain to pull even and win.

By all means this should be an election that the Republicans should lose. 8 years of George Bush and all the serious economic news should be a shocking wake-up call to voters to change direction. But they may not. McCain still could win and Republican candidates still have the potential to do far better than expected in congressional and other races. In fact, the latest Gallup poll out just today indicates a narrow Democratic advantage for congressional candidates of just 51-45%, which hardly proves any American electorate tidal wave of support in favor of change despite shocking and historically awful conditions with the economy. This close number is indeed a surprising statistic.

While the McCain campaign seems awful in every regard, including the lack of a clear central message, screwball issues like Bill Ayers instead of clearly addressing the economy concerns of voters, a questionable vice presidential choice, and a candidate both old and somewhat erratic at times, there is still the strong possibility this simply awful campaign could still pull out an election victory.

In the end, it is also not known whether there is a still something known as the "Bradley effect" as well. African American candidate Tom Bradley was clearly ahead in public opinion polls in the governor's race in California in 1982, but then surprisingly lost the election. Pollsters were dumbfounded how many voters would mislead the pollsters which candidate that they actually supported and then voted against the African American candidate for reasons apparently no better than that of race. It was a shocking result that really disappointed many on how race relations still lag in the U.S. It is also a huge unknown equation in the this presidential race as well. Could a candidate as good as Barack Obama still lose the election after winning every debate, acting more presidential than John McCain, having clear issues and campaign messages, more campaign money to spend, and a far superior campaign organization as well as leading poll numbers. If the McCain Campaign wins despite all these factors it will be a shocking message to not only this nation, but the world community at large that even a superior effort by an African American is simply not good enough yet in a nation with lagging social advancement on race issues.

Mr. Obama seeks to judged on the basis of his character and his talents, yet it will be very disappointing if it appears that race still matters more over these other traits thought important for an effective president. The election needs to appear as fair no matter who wins. Any sense of any standard any less than this will be very destructive to the already tarnished world image of the U.S.

The world image of the U.S. has already taken a huge hit under George Bush. Even Russia is viewing the U.S. as largely an irrelevant world power and has sent out signals that it wishes more direct relations with Europe instead. And the current economic crisis, largely viewed as a problem of the U.S. that has impacted the larger world economy has not been very helpful to the American world image on top of the frictions of an unpopular Bush foreign policy.

Indeed, this election should stand as real watershed that indicates a strong voter preference for a change of direction. But it may not be.

Ohio has chosen the winner in every presidential election since 1964 and one new poll from Rasmussen has this state now tied between Obama and McCain. This is very significant because the actual vote from Ohio often reflects the real national vote percentages very closely. If the current opinion polls from Ohio have this election tied, then it very well may be nationally as well despite perceptions of Obama as the clear front-runner by many in the public and media. If this isn't a wake-up call for high voter turnout for change, then I don't know what is. After 8 years of George Bush, and all the problems it has brought, voters may actually choose more of the same with John McCain. Believe it or not.


At 9:07 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Hi, Paul. I just saw your several comments to Lorie Byrd's posting about the WSJ op-ed on what to expect from an Obama presidency. I can't remember the last time (if ever) I've been so impressed by a reader's gentleness, civility, and tact.

I pride myself on being respectful and thoughtful in my comments on other bloggers' posts, but you showed respect at a whole 'nother level. Anyone who has liberal, or progressive, or left-leaning political positions and can post responses to right-wing bloggers' talking points without getting ad hominem rantings in return is someone to be admired.

I found your blog by clicking on the embedded link in your name at Wizbang. I'll be checking it out every chance I can from now on.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Paul Hooson said...

Hello Kathy, I have no reason to dislike anyone just because they have a little different politics than me, than if they attended a different church than me, or supported a different sports team.

I think we're all pretty much a creature and a creation of the environment that we are raised in and view the world in that light. I like Lorie and many of the other writers at Wizbang. I might disagree with their viewpoints, but I always believe in presenting a civil response to facts that I may view as wrobg or seek to give equal time to the progressive opinions.

But always being civil is very important. You always want to be a good citizen to your fellow Americans. They're just people like anyone else just trying to get through life as well.


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