Friday, September 26, 2008

The Pre-Debate State of Things


Again, the map has not changed. Obama/Biden have made gains, but they have mostly been in solidifying close states in which they were already leading (like Michigan, Colorado, New Mexico & Wisconsin) and in closing the gap in states that they are still slightly behind (like Virginia and North Carolina -- although some sites are starting to call Virginia for Obama, this is not yet the finding according to our methodology.)

We have three shifts in battleground levels, all in Obama's favor.

So, the pre-debate battlefield looks as follows:

This is big simply in that it means that either candidate has a bit of a hill to climb to swing a state.

Substantial Battlegrounds
Virginia -- stays GOP but promoted from somewhat to substantial battleground -- this one has slowly been creeping up the past few weeks. We still show Mccain leading, but it is undoubtedly getting closer here.
Ohio -- no change -- still an auto-win for Obama if he wins here
Nevada -- no change

Somewhat Battlegrounds
New Hampshire -- stays DEM and demoted from serious to somewhat battleground -- it is still close to be sure but Obama may have somewhat resolidifed his lead here. Still probably the most at-risk Kerry state for Obama
Colorado -- no change
Pennsylvania -- no change

Fringe Battlegrounds
North Carolina -- still GOP, but....I knew this would make the list sooner or later -- Obama still putting a lot of resources behind trying to pull an upset here -- loss would be devastating for Mccain
Indiana -- no change
Florida -- no change
Minneosta -- no change
Wisconsin -- no change

Potential Battlegrounds
Only Michigan, Missouri and New Mexico stay.

I have dropped North Dakota and Montana as Obama has pulled resources and effectively conceded these states. Expect further reduction in the number of states in play in the coming weeks and the campaigns tactically focus in on a few key battles.

The Financial Crisis and the Debate Debate
John Mccain and Barack Obama WILL debate in Oxford, MS tonight.

My conservative friends, avert your gaze to the next paragraph.

To my eyes, Mccain made a strategic blunder in "suspending" his campaign (whatever that means) to focus on the financial crisis. He has no standing to lead the debate (he is not on any of the relevant committees and has never been a key player in economic legislation other than attackcing pork), was unable to broker a deal and provided a great opening for the Obama camp to make him look weak and indecisive -- first he says he won't debate if there is a deal, then bends to public pressure and pressure from Mississippi (which had spent $5 million preparing for the debate) and says he will go since enough progress had been made, which is odd, seeing as how the debate seems to be at best, no further along than when he arrived and at worst, more entrenched.

Obama, meanwhile, was able to play the statesman by leaving the complexity of actually passing a bill to the rest of congress while outlining principles that people could easily relate to agree to.

Round to Obama.

But, perhaps the reason Mccain did what he did was....

The Couric/Palin Debacle
I just watched Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin on YouTube and Republicans should be glad that the financial crisis was front and center and not this interview. Palin came off very uniformed, unable to articulate any thoughts beyond her talking points and at times, downright incoherent (case in point, we have to do the bailout to provide healthcare to people???) The saving grace is that nobody watched it because the country was pre-occupied with the drama on capitol hill and Wall St.

John Mccain is a better politican and a better candidate than he is showing right now, but he needs a strong night in the debate or he risks this one slipping away early. I don't expect Palin to help him at all next week, although one has to believe they are trying to prep the heck out of her right now to get ready.

Tune in at 9 PM tonight and see what happens!

Also -- as an aside, if you have not yet registered to vote, please do so soon. Most states have either a 21-day or 30-day requirement, so deadlines are fast approaching!

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