Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grim Map for Mccain, Palin Holds Her Own Against Biden


Obviously all of the data is pre-VP debate, but here is where we stand: Barack Obama has a commanding lead. He has now claimed Ohio and has moved very close in North Carolina and Florida.

Our battlegrounds are as follows:

Key Battlegrounds
Ohio -- switches to Obama, stays a key battleground
Virginia -- no change
North Carolina -- no change
Florida -- no change

Serious Battleground
Nevada -- stays Mccain but promoted from substantial to serious battleground

Substantial Battlegrounds
Missouri -- stays Mccain but promoted from fringe to substantial battleground
New Hampshire -- no change

Somewhat Battlegrounds
Colorado -- no change

Fringe Battlegrounds
Indiana -- no change
Pennsylvania -- no change

Potential Battlegrounds

Debate Scorecard: Draw (or Something Like That) Goes to Palin
I just finished watching the VP debate and I think that if I were to assess the intellectual merits of the debate, clearly Joe Biden won a rousing victory. He was cool, informed and passionate at the right times, while Palin was at times stuck on talking points. Biden gave the best debate performance of his career. Of course, we all know that debates are not about who is intellectually superior. And in the expectations game I spoke of in earlier blogs, I believe Palin won the debate.
To be clear, I expect public opinion polls to show Joe Biden marginally winning. I also expect a modest boost for Mccain in the polls.
How can that be? Palin did much of what she did at the Republican convention, she re-energized her base, she appeared credible and erased some of the liability she has created in the past two weeks.
In terms of the goals I laid out for the candidates, I actually thought both candidates did very well.
Here is my unscientific scorecard.
Sarah Palin:
1. Appear credible and informed -- make Katie Couric a long lost memory
Achieved -- Palin appeared credible and confident
2. Deliver the talking points without making them sound like talking points
Mostly achieved -- she fell back on talking points several times, but came off personably for the most part. And she stuck to her core themes.
3. Be Mccain's attack dog -- get nasty, but about Obama, not Biden
Achieved -- she hit Obama hard throughout the debate
4. Hold on the "everywoman" charm while showing "superwoman" intelligence
Mostly achieved -- she definitely kept her folksy charm and held her own for the most part against Biden

Unscientific Grade: A-

1. Attack John Mccain relentlessly
Achieved -- he hit Mccain as hard as she

2. Don't gaffe! (it'll be the only thing played on the news the next day if you do)
Achieved -- no missteps tonight

3. Do not, under any circumstances attack Sarah Palin or her qualifications directly, if you feel a need to attack, see#1
Achieved -- he stuck to Mccain, never going after Palin

4. Avoid coming off as smarmy -- Biden has to put forth his "Blue Collar Delaware Joe" persona without grating with his "Bare-Knuckle Joe" persona
Achieved -- the highlight of the debate was Blue Collar Joe passionately talking about raising two sons as a single parent.

Unscientific Grade: A

Obama will probably be up by 3 to 5 points going into next Tuesday's #2 Presidential Debate. He still needs a breakthrough performance to pull within striking distance in the closing weeks of the campaign.

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