The Watering Hole: Wednesday, November 3, 2010: There’s got to be a morning after…

Well, the election is over and most races have a declared winner and a concession from the loser(s). Slighty more than half the votes will be pleased. And those who sat this one out, well, they’ll just have to take whatever they get, or give up whatever will now be taken away.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

The undecided voter

It’s the weekend before the election and, apparently, there are still some Americans who can’t decide who they want to vote for. Hard to believe, given the months and months of campaigning through the primaries and then toward the general election; all the press attention and discussion; all the commercials and mailers and posters . . . there are still some Americans who at least claim to be “undecided.”

On NPR’s “All Things Considered” last night, there was an interesting segment called “Who Are the Undecided Voters?” in which a pollster attempted to answer the question of who those 6.4% of voters might be.

According to Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, 63 percent of undecided voters are female. Twenty-seven percent are age 65 and older; many tend to be less well-educated and more religious than voters who have already picked their candidate.

Hmm. So, have these people been in solitary confinement for the last year, or perhaps living underground in an experimental biosphere?

When voters are asked by pollsters why they remain undecided, their answers typically put them into three categories, Kohut says: the conflicted voters who feel torn between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama; the disengaged voters who have not been paying attention to the campaign; and the nonvoters.

“There’s some real reason for these people to not being able to make up their mind,” Kohut says, “in addition to the fact there’s a component of them who are disengaged, who probably won’t vote.”

In fact, in the actual broadcast, Kohut said that the nonvoters accounted for about 50% of the “undecided.” In other words, there are may really be 3.2% of actual voters who are undecided. NPR interviewed an undecided voter from Tennessee, who only partly fit the profile: she was a single mom in her 30s, definitely religious, and had issues with both candidates. Her issues weren’t stupid, and were primarily concerns about the economy and the perceived failure of either candidate to define exactly what he intended to do about it. According to her, and to Kohut, there’s a 50% chance she’ll vote for McCain. In Tennessee. Maybe NPR couldn’t find an undecided voter in a swing state.

However that particular voter ends up making her choice (toss a coin, lady!), it doesn’t appear that the “undecided” voters will have much impact on the election — or any election, if as Kohut said, “You’re never going to get everyone giving you an answer, and the numbers that we’re seeing in ’08 are the same as ’04 and ’00.”

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From a Distance: The Jitters, will Obama lose after all?

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It has been noted recently that, for a foreigner, I was pretty much fired up and passionate about the American Presidential elections. I asked myself, why do I care that much? And the answer on that is fairly easy. When you are restricted from really participating, like voting or actually donating to , or working for a campaign, you have to rely on others to do what you consider would be the right thing. I don’t like that, like I do not like riding shotgun in a car or sitting in an airplane at the mercy of the driver’s or pilot’s competence. And I am not alone. Out there in European newspapers, there are people who say it so much better than I can.

Like George Monbiot in yesterday’s Guardian. He gives voice to one of the specifics in American politics that, like him, I cannot get my head around:

How was it allowed to happen? How did politics in the US come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance? Was it charity that has permitted mankind’s closest living relative to spend two terms as president? How did Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other such gibbering numbskulls get to where they are? How could Republican rallies in 2008 be drowned out by screaming ignoramuses insisting that Barack Obama was a Muslim and a terrorist? (read more)

Will it be that way next Tuesday? Will the anti-intellectuals prevail once again? Sorry, but to be blunt: A borderline senile and a borderline imbecile joining forces to run the most powerful nation there is, has me in panic mode.

Not only me. There is Mark Steel over at The Independent who has the jitters as well:

McCain could announce he’d bomb Argentina for being too near the start of the alphabet, flash at Oprah Winfrey shouting “Hey Joe the plumber, there’s ONE waterworks that doesn’t need fixing” during the national anthem, reveal he was chairman of a company that’s been selling teddy bears that turn out to be stuffed with petrol-soaked semtex, and admit he didn’t go to Vietnam at all but spent the whole war in the bath. And the following day we’d hear that a string of gaffes had caused Obama’s lead to climb to SIX per cent. (read more)

He has a point hasn’t he? I’m visiting Real Clear Politics like fifty times a day. I’m preferring that Republican leaning site just because I do not want to get my hopes up too high.

On the other hand Daniel Finkelstein – The Times – has everything wrapped up and tells Republicans the stark truth about their impending unimportance. He compares November 5, 2008 with the day after Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997:

There was a feeling of euphoria in Britain that morning, a feeling of freshness and change. Even people who hadn’t voted for Blair were caught up in it. Many of them wished that they had, and his poll rating soared. Much of the good feeling about new Labour was generated in the months after their landslide, oddly, rather than in the months before it.(read more)

This makes me feel slightly better. After all, the conservatives’ predictions have been more right all those years than mine. My wishes for a President Gore and then a President Kerry haven’t been granted. To be honest, it has never been good news for a candidate, if I supported the guy. Mine tended to lose.

On to the Economist, they are really good at analysis, every time. They say McCain’s campaign was looking doomed.

JOHN MCCAIN has survived against long odds before. But, despite a stubborn televised interview on Sunday October 26th, in which he touted a poll showing him just a few points behind Barack Obama in the race for the White House, soon he may have to tape up his windows to keep out bad news. Pollster.com, a website that aggregates poll results, suggests that the Republican is now behind Mr Obama by an average of just over seven percentage points. Other pollsters give Mr Obama a slightly smaller lead. Intrade, a betting website, indicates that those risking money on the election result believe that the Democrat has nearly a 90% chance of victory next week. (read more)

But, but have they ever heard of rigged elections? No, this is not comforting at all. And then, there are the Chinese zodiac signs.

Maybe most impressing is Simon Heffer in The Telegraph. He grudgingly and moodily writes about the time when Obama will be President. He doesn’t like it, but then – it will most probably happen.

One can find two kinds of voters in this great city in the week before the presidential election; those Democrats who can see no possibility of defeat for Barack Obama next Tuesday, and those who wake with a jolt at 4am imagining he has lost, and feeling in their bowels the fear that something might happen in the next few days to stop the saviour of the United States from fulfilling his mission. I have yet to find a Republican, despite this being the city that returned Rudy Giuliani twice as mayor. But then it is hard to find anyone in the city that gave Hillary Clinton a big victory in February in the New York state primary who will now not admit to being a dyed-in-the-wool Obamamaniac. The fat lady has yet to sing, but, as far as New Yorkers are concerned, the show is over already. (read more)

I am still as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers, but I am confident I am not alone in this. There is a Global Electoral College in the Economist and as far as I can see, my anxiety is shared by many.

McCain Disputes Polls With Obama’s Lead – Then Cites Poll To Prove Point

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John McCain’s theory is that the polls have to be wrong, if they are not favoring him. I thought this was particularly funny that he would disagree with a poll and use another poll to prove his point.

John McCain disputed the polls that show him trailing Barack Obama by double digits, saying that he would rather rely on his “senses” and is encouraged by the enthusiasm at his events.

The Republican presidential candidate made an argument for the viability of his campaign during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning. McCain predicted a come-from-behind and win on Election Day, just nine days away.

“Those polls have consistently shown me much further behind than we actually are,” said McCain during the interview here with veteran journalist Tom Brokaw.

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From a Distance: “The Economist’s” poll of economists

The Economist has compared the economic plans of both candidates and concludes:

A candidate’s economic expertise may matter rather less if he surrounds himself with clever advisers. Unfortunately for Mr McCain, 81% of all respondents reckon Mr Obama is more likely to do that; among unaffiliated respondents, 71% say so. That is despite praise across party lines for the excellent Doug Holtz-Eakin, Mr McCain’s most prominent economic adviser and a former head of the Congressional Budget Office. “Although I have tended to vote Republican,” one reply says, “the Democrats have a deep pool of talented, moderate economists.”

All in all Barack Obama has a big advantage in the views of economists. You can find more on the topic in “The Economist” here, here and here.

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From a distance – Calling the race for Obama, or maybe not just yet ?

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The underlying conviction of the British newspapers about the Presidential Election seems to be, Obama will win the race. They just don’t dare to say it out loud. In a way it is understandable, there have been so many surprises in this overlong campaign, so why not another momentum change in the last four weeks? Personally, I do not think there will be another upset, if only because the McCain surprises have lost almost all of their charm. His first one, the nomination of a woman as running mate could have been a real game-changer, had he made a wiser choice. By all means the perfomance of Sarah Palin is painfully inadequate. Whatever the pundits say, she was an abject failure in the debate. She so obviously skirted the questions to spew forth her talking points it was an embarrassment to watch. I am not an American, but I am a woman and really, to me this is insulting. John McCain’s second attempt at mavericking the race by theatrically suspending his campaign, racing to Washington to “fix it”, was another failure. So what on earth can he think up now that will change a race that has Obama leading 264 to 163 in electoral votes (111 votes toss up with Obama leading in six of the eight remaining toss-up states). Going dirty is the only remaining option, William Kristol has already done the “journalistic” groundwork for that and the McCain campaign has already gone there, but my guess is that people have moved on and mostly made up their minds. Barack Obama will win this race.

But then, who am I? Let’s have a look what the big boys and the big girls in journalism have to say:

Starting with The Times there is Daniel Finkelstein, who essentially says the race is over. Holly Watt is traveling the South and is detecting early warning signs in Georgia:

The Peach State has already begun early voting, and it will not have lowered Republican blood pressure one little bit. 30% of Georgia’s voters are African-American, but that group has cast 40% of the votes so far.

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Obama Ticket Cracks 50%

For the first time, the Obama campaign has reached or exceeded the important 50% mark in two consecutive polls. In fact, the three most recent polls have Obama at that level:

Gallup: 50%, 8 point lead

Rasmussen: 51%, 6 point lead

USA Today: 50%, 7 point lead

The current polling has Obama at the highest level since March.

The 50% mark is important because, if accurate, it suggests that the McCain campaign cannot be satisfied only going after undecided voters, but must agressively attempt to convert at least some voters who are already committed to Obama.

Politics of Fear 2.0

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Ok, it’s a wee bit more subtle this time: No mushroom clouds, no smoking guns, no weapons of mass destruction, no UN hearings or white powder in vials. On the other hand the Georgian President was nudged into war and a contract with Poland allows the ultimate provocation to place powerful American weaponry into Russia’s back yard. With the help of Russia’s imperialistic tendencies and their stick at nothing government, the Administration managed to get the public perception back to military threats as a major concern of Americans. The threat level’s up. And expect it to get boosted even more.

There’s nothing like a good old crisis with Russia to get voters to toe the line. And consequently bring McCain’s poll numbers up.

My behind is clearly much, much too close to Poland – which Russia threatened with a nuclear attack – for my own comfort, to appreciate gameplaying with the security of us Europeans for a cheap, albeit quite successful, election campaign booster. I do not need another mindless, intellectually incurious, neocon tool as a leader of the still remaining superpower. I loathe and fear the clueless risk-taking of diplomatically challenged leaders and their military recklessness which is designed to instill fear in you all. For their own political gain and at the cost of lives all over the world.

Semi-Regular Polling Update

RealClearPolitics.com

RealClearPolitics.com

Now that the mainstream media has higher priority news, with headline-grabbing stories from places like Beijing, Georgia, and John Edwards’ pants, they’ve been a bit less eager to invent news about presidential polling. So, it seemed a good time for our once-in-awhile look at the current numbers.

According to the floating average of polls at RealClearPolitics.com, as of 8/12 Obama’s lead now stands at 4.8%. It’s interesting to look at where the polling average was a month ago, and the month before that, and so on, to get sort of a “big picture” view. There is amazing consistency.

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With Friends like Fox Who Needs Enemas

h/t to Eric Kleefeld at TPM. I am reprinting it in full.

Hmmm. It looks like Fox News is asking some rather loaded questions in its latest poll:

Have you heard any of your friends and neighbors say there is something about Barack Obama that scares them?
Yes 49%
No 50%

Have you heard any of your friends and neighbors say there is something about John McCain that scares them?
Yes 36%
No 62%

Some people believe Barack Obama, despite his professed Christianity, is secretly a Muslim. Others say that is just a rumor and Obama really is a Christian as he says, and point out he’s attended a Christian church for years. What do you believe — is Obama a Muslim or a Christian?
Muslim 10%
Christian 57%

John McCain was held captive for five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. Do you think that experience would make McCain a better president or a worse president?
Better 49%
Worse 11%
No Difference (voluntary) 33%

Do you think Barack Obama’s trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East is better described as a fact-finding trip or as a campaign event?
Fact-finding 19%
Campaign event 47%
Both (voluntary) 25%

And if you’re into more detailed polling data, the following is from Fox’s own detailed stats.

So, how’s the worst president in history doing?

……………………………..Approve …………Disapprove …………(DK)
22-23 Jul 08 …………………27% ………………..66 ……………….7
Democrats …………………….8% ………………..90 ………………..2
Republicans ………………….57% ………………..35 ……………….8
Independents ……………….19% ………………..69 ………………12

Congress is in the toilet, too. Too bad they don’t have the balls to stand up to the most corrupt administration in living history.

……………………………..Approve …………Disapprove …………(DK)
22-23 Jul 08 …………………21% ………………..68 ……………….11
Democrats ……………………23% ………………..62 ……………….15
Republicans ………………….23% ………………..71 ………………..6
Independents ……………….15% ………………..75 ………………10

And then this question:

Please tell me whether you have a generally favorable or unfavorable opinion of
each one. If you’ve never heard of someone please just say so.

……………………………..Favorable …..Unfavorable …..Can’t Say …..Never Heard Of
Barack Obama ………………..58% ………….33 ……………..8 ……………….-
John McCain …………………..54% ………….38 ……………..9 ……………….-
Democratic Party …………….50% ………….40 …………….10 ………………-
Republican Party ……………..38% ………….51 …………….10 ………………1
George W. Bush ………………30% ………….66 ……………..4 ………………..-

And it appears that Fox viewers are not up on the list of Official McCain Flip Flops (which are currently at a whopping 66 on major issues!):

Which of the following do you think best describes John McCain’s current
position on the issues? Since the end of the primaries, do you think he has:

…………………Small changes ……Serious changes ….. Made no changes …DK
…………………stayed true ………reversing some ……..is the same
22-23 Jul 08 …….37% ………………..18 …………………..30 ………………16
Democrats ………33% ………………..18 …………………..30 ………………18
Republicans ……..43% ………………..18 …………………..29 ……………….9
Independents …..34% ………………..19 …………………..29 ………………17

Interesting stats. What do YOU think?

Big lead in Oregon for Obama?

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People have asked how the primary is shaping up in Oregon, but polling has been slim. Local pollster, Tim Hibbits, who is probably more reliable for Oregon polling than anyone else (esp. national organizations) is giving Obama a 17 point lead over Clinton.

“Every poll done in the last several months has shown Barack Obama ahead in Oregon, but this is the biggest lead so far,” Hibbitts said.

According to the new poll, Obama is winning with male and female voters. He’s also ahead in rural areas and is cutting into another part of the populace.”One of the messages Clinton has been driving is that Obama is having a hard time with white voters, but here in Oregon, he’s clearly doing very well,” Hibbitts said.

I would not be surprised, in fact, if the margin doesn’t turn out to be a lot bigger. The polling methods continue to rely on telephone calls, which in turn rely on directories, which do not include cell phones. Since a significant number of young people (and at least one old guy I know very well) do not have landlines, they’re not being reached during polling. The huge numbers of new Democratic voters who registered in Oregon before the April 29 deadline skewed very heavily to this same demographic and one thing that is clear is that the vast majority of them are planning to vote (or have voted) for Barack Obama.

I also find it very interesting that Hibbitts is seeing Obama leading in rural areas, which in Oregon means either Republican or, in this case, conservative Democratic voters and Bill Clinton has been visiting small towns all over Oregon, outside the traditionally liberal Willamette Valley. The strategy doesn’t appear to be working. That linked article references a Portland Tribune poll that shows Obama leading Clinton 55% to 35%.

Will it be a knock-out punch?

Raw Story:

Poll: Obama ties Clinton in Indiana; Leads N. Carolina by 14

Indiana is neck and neck in the final Zogby poll before the primaries. North Carolina appears solidly in Barack Obama’s camp.

“The pair of surveys of the Democratic presidential contests shows Obama with a significant 14-point lead in North Carolina, winning 51% support to Hillary Clinton’s 37%,” Zogby writes. “Another 12% said they were either favoring someone else or were as yet undecided. In Indiana, the race is clear as mud, as Obama holds a statistically insignificant lead of two points, winning 45% support to Clinton’s 43% support, with 12% either undecided or favoring someone else.”

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Muse’s Monday Menagerie

Above photo is a panorama shot of Jerusalem.

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For the latest on talks between Israel and Palestine, and the US role in them, go here.

Iraqi official says no conclusive evidence on some Iran arms to militias.

A top Iraqi official said Sunday there was no conclusive evidence that Shiite extremists have been directly supplied with some Iranian arms as alleged by the United States.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq does not want trouble with any country, “especially Iran.”

Al-Dabbagh was commenting on talks this week in Tehran between an Iraqi delegation and Iranian authorities aimed at halting suspected Iranian aid to some Shiite militias.

Asked about reports that some rockets made in 2007 or 2008 and seized in raids against militias were directly supplied by Iran, al-Dabbagh replied: “There is no conclusive evidence.”

Scott Ritter, former UN weapons inspector – and former marine – says attack on Iran ‘virtual guarantee’:

“We take a look at the military buildup, we take a look at the rhetoric, we take a look at the diplomatic posturing, and I would say that it’s a virtual guarantee that there will be a limited aerial strike against Iran in the not-so-near future—or not-so-distant future, that focuses on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command,” Ritter said last week in a little-noted interview with Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now. “And if this situation spins further out of control, you would see these aerial strikes expanding to include Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and some significant command and control targets.”

Well, tomorrow is the next big primaries in North Caroline and Indiana. If you think that will decide this contest, think again. The Clinton Camp is now considering the nuclear option to overtake the delegate lead. I honestly think Clinton will stop at nothing to take the nomination (you notice I didn’t say “win”), regardless of what the majority of Democrats want. More on this at the Huffington Post. I will say it again, this is all about her.

A lot more below the fold…

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Hillary Clinton is using the Wright controversy against Obama

You’d never know they were running for the same party. Hillary Clinton is using the Wright controversy to try and get superdelegates on her side. No wonder the Tonya Harding comparison keeps being brought up.

It’s bad for Obama and it’s no good for her. Why? Obama has closed the super delegate gap and is now even with Clinton when it comes to endorsements. Moreover:

Obama, an Illinois senator, has the support of 99 Democratic U.S. lawmakers and governors, compared with Clinton’s 96 — a dramatic turnabout since the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, when Clinton, a New York senator, had more than double Obama’s support within this group, 91 to 43.

But still, Hillary Clinton won’t let go of her dream, maybe just because she doesn’t know how. It is not in her personality make-up to give up, even if she is just not good enough:

Perhaps what propels Mrs Clinton more than anything is a determination to prove she can be as good at politics as her husband, who she once said “makes it look so easy”. But months on the hustings have shown she lacks his legendary political talents.

This personal trait still makes up the biggest problem for the Democratic Party. If there is no decision from outside, she will take them down with her. This has ceased to be a question solely of listening to what the voters have to say. It is and remains a question of what Hillary Clinton feels she is entitled to have. And as with a spoiled child clamouring for chewing gum at the supermarket check out line, an adult has to step in and tell her she can’t have it. Or, else:

By late summer, a rested John McCain will try to reassure Americans that he will run their country just like he ran his campaign. A wounded Barack Obama will have won a Pyrrhic nomination. And an angry Hillary Clinton will be gone – but the latest addition to the Clinton legacy not forgotten.

She thrusts her fists against the post and still insists she sees the ghost.

The ghost being, of course, her nomination. Now, let’s go visit predictions, temper tantrums and delusions:

Predictions being opinion polls. RealClearPolitics has them all and Pennsylvania is where we will have a closer look:

Poll Date Sample Clinton Obama Spread

RCP Average 03/24 – 04/01 - 48.3 42.3 Clinton +6.0

PPP (D) 03/31 – 04/01 1224 LV 43 45 Obama +2.0

Rasmussen 03/31 – 03/31 730 LV 47 42 Clinton +5.0

SurveyUSA 03/29 – 03/31 588 LV 53 41 Clinton +12.0

Quinnipiac 03/24 – 03/31 1549 LV 50 41 Clinton +9.0

Read the full chart, here. And if you liked that, North Carolina, here, should put a large smile on your face.

Temper tantrums. Bill Clinton obviously had one, while meeting superdelegates in California:

But as the group moved together for the perfunctory photo, Rachel Binah, a former Richardson delegate who now supports Hillary Clinton, told Bill how “sorry” she was to have heard former Clinton campaign manager James Carville call Richardson a “Judas” for backing Obama.

It was as if someone pulled the pin from a grenade.

Delusions: It is highly delusional if Hillary Clinton thinks she can run a campaign on unpaid bills. Oh…Well, your country is run that way for eight years now. I have to change that sentence: She is highly delusional if she believes she can be any good for a country in economic troubles if she can’t even handle the budget of a primary campaign. See, that’s better.

It’s highly delusional, too, if Senator Clinton thinks she can get away with sticking her head in the sand over tax returns any longer. I have not forgotten the promises. Today is next week, where are the tax returns?

Delusions can happen to anyone, so I sincerely hope Al Gore knows about this. An official and public denial by Al Gore would be a major embarrassment for Barack Obama.

I really thought I could escape the drama of the Democratic Primaries, by just sticking my head in the proverbial sand for two days and pray it will go away. That was a delusion, too.

Have a good day Everyone!

Go on digging ?

How deep is the hole the Democrats have dug for themselves in this primary season? And will they be able to crawl out of it in time?

The Economist provides us with poll numbers:

In a direct matchup Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama by 49% to 43% (error margin +/- 4%). This is a bit surprising if you look at the rest of the numbers, however, McCain/Clinton (46% to 39%) is a decisive lead for the Republican and McCain/Obama (44% to 42%) is within the error margin and therefore can be considered as a tie. The difference is still even more pronounced, when you look at who is the most likeable candidate. Barack Obama is liked or somewhat liked by 68% of the polled, Hillary Clinton is liked or somewhat liked by 48% and disliked by 47% and John McCain is liked a lot or somewhat by 61% and disliked by 23%. These numbers may well have to do with the credibility the candidates have. 57% think John McCain says what he thinks as opposed to 43% who think he says what people want to hear. Look at the numbers for Barack Obama. 44% say, he says what he believes and 56% believe he says what people want to hear. Hillary Clinton’s numbers are even worse, 29% reckon she says what she believes and 81% feel they are being told what they wanted to hear. When it comes to whether people have a favourable, unfavourable opinion of the candidates, Barack Obama leads with 55% to 42%, next comes John McCain 53% to 41% and last Hillary Clinton 40% to 57% as the only one with a majority voting “somewhat unfavourable” or “very unfavourable” (39%).

Democrats should really start to worry. While you can still make a case for Barack Obama for being the most likeable candidate about whom many people have a favourable opinion, John McCain is still a match for that, with numbers quite like Obama or only a little worse. As many people have a favourable opinion for McCain as for Obama, at least the numbers are within the margin of error and most problematic of all: Neither Clinton, nor Obama get anywhere near the credibility numbers John McCain has. Whatever the weaknesses of John McCain, he is as good a choice for voters as Barack Obama.

The Democratic Leadership sees this. There have been calls for Hillary Clinton to step back. Howard Dean has voiced his displeasure with the campaigns, too, or as The Times puts it bluntly: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are told to shut up! Hillary Clinton, however, is unimpressed and vows to stay in the race.

The Guardian takes a look at how the Presidential “losers” are doing today. They look at McGovern, Dukakis, Ferraro and Mondale and, given the similarities between McGovern’s and Barack Obama’s campaigns, point out which deadfalls there might be still, even and especially, after the nomination is won.

Meanwhile Obama gets support from two leading Republicans. Condoleeza Rice hails him for his speech on race and Michael Gerson, President Bush’s former head speechwriter confesses to his fascination with Barack Obama to Daniel Finkelstein.

On top of this, Barack Obama has picked up an important endorsement for the upcoming primary, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

To make a long post a little shorter: As long as Hillary Clinton stays in the race and the Democratic leadership does not take decisive action to bring this to a conclusion, there is no way to seriously tackle McCain. The Democrats can only win this, if they are able to overcome this virtual tie and replace it with a decisive lead for the Democratic candidate. For this Hillary Clinton has to go. Her weakness in most of the questions asked in the polls above is so obvious, that she simply cannot be the candidate. Unfortunately for her, she has gone too far already and the opportunity to gracefully bow out is long gone. If she goes on, what’s left of her reputation will be in the gutter, too.

Opinion: This cannot go any further!

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What,what,what,what WHAT!? Hillary Clinton is gaining ground in Texas and Ohio? Gaining ground?

March 4, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hillary Clinton gained ground on rival Barack Obama to take a slim lead in Texas and pull even in Ohio before their crucial Democratic presidential showdowns, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Houston Chronicle poll released on Tuesday.

Survey Feb 6 – 12 by Quinnipiac University:

Clinton leads Obama 55 – 34 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in Ohio and 52 – 36 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania. These are the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll’s first surveys in this election cycle of Ohio and Pennsylvania likely voters, a more select group than the wider range of registered voters surveyed in prior polls.

Texas Primary numbers January 30/31

November and December polls both gave Hillary Clinton a hefty 51% to 17% lead over Barack Obama, but that has changed considerably over the last two polls. Current results give her just a ten point lead over her main rival, 48% to 38%.

Gaining ground, my foot! This smacks to me of “the surge is working!”

This spin has triggered a very unpleasant development. Or, is it the other way around and an unpleasant development has been prepared by spinning the numbers? Hillary Clinton seemingly has decided her damaging campaigning hasn’t made a dent yet into the Democratic Party’s chances of winning the Presidential in November, so she’ll continue after today’s primaries/caucus. After all, her goal is her goal.

Indicating her intention to stay in the race, Clinton told a rally in Toledo, Ohio, yesterday: “I’m just getting warmed up.” Echoing the sentiment, Mark Penn, her chief strategist, in a conference call with reporters, said: “We expect on Wednesday morning that the momentum of Senator Obama will be significantly blunted.”

Fact is: Hillary Clinton has lost support in almost all groups that initially, hey only about four weeks ago, had given her a solid double digit lead in both large states. This is a large number of democratic primary voters who turned away from her and her “gains” right now are well within the margin of error. It can turn out both ways. Barack Obama may win both key states, Texas and Ohio narrowly, Hillary Clinton may win both, or there will be a split decision. What will not happen is a win in both states for Hillary Clinton by margins large enough to overtake Barack Obama’s lead in delegates. If you want to see how hard it is to get a decisive lead, check out the delegate counter at CNN.

Hillary Clinton will have to make a decision tonight. It will have to be a decision mindful of the goal of taking back the Presidency for the Democratic Party and much more important, a decision mindful of the difficult task ahead. Mending a country broken by war and economic depression, a country ill-prepared for a future that requires a fundamental change in lifestyle as to not ruin the very basis of our existence – our planet, can not be done by enlarging the rift in society in order to fulfil oneself’s lifetime ambition.

America’s voters have voted for an end to the war and gave the Democratic Party an immense credit in November 2006. The disappointment with what Congress did with these votes is going very deep, the approval rates of the Democratic led Congress are at a dismal 18%.

If Hillary Clinton, too, does not listen to what voters say, Congress and Hillary Clinton, between them, will have achieved the impossible. Running against a Republican Party which brought you the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush and not winning. No mean feat!

I wish you all a good Primary Tuesday, take care!

Bush Tops ‘Most Admired’ Poll?

USAToday reveals the results of a new Gallup poll indicating that George W. Bush is the most admired man on planet Earth. Tempering these impressive results is the fact that the pollsters questioned only 1011 people, of which only 10% chose Bush. It is implicit, but not stated, that Gallup polled only Bush family and cronies, and members of the House of Saud.

Interestingly, the USAToday headline is factually wrong. The article indicates that Bush was actually third on the list overall, beaten by Hillary Clinton (18%) and Oprah Winfrey (16%). Perhaps the editors of USAToday are trying to puff up George Bush for political reasons, or perhaps they are presenting an intentionally provocative headline in order to sell “news”, or perhaps they consider women to be of a secondary class. Who knows?

Poll: 55 percent of Voters Say Bush Has Committed Impeachable Offenses


Salon photo composite
, photos by AP/WideWorld

via: TheBradBlog

This post is based on a recent poll from the American Research Group.

Bush:

A total of 64 percent of American voters say that George W. Bush has abused his powers as president. Of the 64 percent, 14 percent (9 percent of all voters) say the abuses are not serious enough to warrant impeachment, 33 percent (21 percent of all voters) say the abuses rise to the level of impeachable offenses, but he should not be impeached, and 53 percent (34 percent of all voters) say the abuses rise to the level of impeachable offenses and Mr. Bush should be impeached and removed from office.

Of all voters, 34 pecent believe Bush should be impeached and removed from office, while another 21 percent believe Bush is guilty of impeachment-worthy offenses but nonetheless prefer to give him a pass.

Cheney:

A total of 70 percent of American voters say that Dick Cheney has abused his powers as vice president. Of the 70 percent, 26 percent (18 percent of all voters) say the abuses are not serious enough to warrant impeachment, 13 percent (9 percent of all voters) say the abuses rise to the level of impeachable offenses, but he should not be impeached, and 61 percent (43 percent of all voters) say the abuses rise to the level of impeachable offenses and Mr. Cheney should be impeached and removed from office.

Among all voters, 52 percent believe Cheney has committed impeachable offenses, and 43 percent believe he should be impeached and removed from office while only 9 percent believe he’s guilty but should be allowed to complete his term.

So, who’s listening, and what’s it going to take?

Disenchantment every Whichway

While Eugene Robinson is spluttering with rage on the President’s legacy in the Washington Post.

It’s official: Bush Derangement Syndrome is now a full-blown epidemic. George W. Bush apparently has reduced more of his fellow citizens to frustrated, sputtering rage than any president since opinion polling began, with the possible exception of Richard Nixon.

Others don’t fare better. Lawmakers are not worth their keep.

A record number of Americans say that most members of Congress do not deserve to be re-elected, according to new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll.

And Hillary Clinton faces growing scepticism, too:

The polls are starting to suggest that the snow may have just begun to melt on the high slopes of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Who knows what will be left standing when the avalanche is over ?

Good Morning from Europe – 440 Days to Go

Ecomusée – Alsace – France

Is the turmoil in the financial markets a full-blown crisis already? Not everyone thinks so. “The Guardian” is convinced the real crisis is still ahead at least for British banks and, truly, nobody knows what’s still lurking in the “subprime basement”.

Pakistan is facing new protests, as the imposing of what is in fact martial law, produces further unrest. Benazir Bhutto has threatened to call for mass protests, but has not, as of now, done so, while Pakistani Police cracks down violently on protesters. The “Telegraph” sheds a light on the wisdom of Musharraf’s actions.

The Kurdish PKK is now an Enemy of the United States. For now an invasion into Iraq by Turkey has been averted. Intelligence gathered by US military will be forwarded to Turkish authorities to help them fight the PKK. 

While French President Sarkozy is looking forward to meeting with President Bush, “Le Petit Nicolas” will first have to confront the wrath of his own people. If the pictures here, are mindful of the Pakistani unrest, martial law and other serious incidents, it helps to know that the protests are about petrol prices!

The Swiss Blackwater Mercenary: In Switzerland a former Blackwater-in-Iraq employee is prosecuted for working as a mercenary, while still considered a member of Swiss active duty military personnel.

Truffles prices are up after an uncommonly hot summer in Italy, which leads to fairly uncommon criminal activity.

So, with only 440 more days of Bush Presidency to go through, have a nice day Everyone!

Cheney’s newest war idea is popular

Zogby reports:

A majority of likely voters – 52% – would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and 53% believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election, a new Zogby America telephone poll shows.

By party affiliation:

Democrats (63%) are most likely to believe a U.S. military strike against Iran could take place in the relatively near future, but independents (51%) and Republicans (44%) are less likely to agree. Republicans, however, are much more likely to be supportive of a strike (71%), than Democrats (41%) or independents (44%).

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “Here we go again.”

~ Egreggious