Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

Public Overwhelmingly Rejects Ayers Attack


Massive fail from the McCain campaign on their Ayers attack (PDF):

More challenges for John McCain: Likely voters overwhelmingly reject his effort to make an issue of Barack Obama’s association with 1960’s radical William Ayers. Fallout continues from McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin for vice president, with 52 percent saying it weakens their confidence in his judgment. And on optimism, it’s Obama by 2-1. Skepticism about the Ayers issue was one of the factors cited by Colin Powell in his endorsement of Obama yesterday, and in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll likely voters broadly agree: Sixty percent say Obama’s relationship with Ayers is not a legitimate issue in the presidential campaign; 37 percent say it is.

The Acorn numbers are less solid, but that issue hasn’t been explained as well. With Ayers, it’s as simple as, “he did those acts 40 years ago when I was eight, and the board I served on was headed by conservatives.” So Acorn needs to be explained a little better, but overall these are great numbers that show that McCain’s antics aren’t working to any appreciable degree. But hey, keep it up McCain. Maybe your favorables can get into Dick Cheney territory. Full results (including the head-to-head I presume) should be released later.


October 20, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy, Polling | , , , | 1 Comment

McCain Bailing on Michigan


Big news on the campaign front:

John McCain is pulling out of Michigan, according to two Republicans, a stunning move a month away from Election Day that indicates the difficulty Republicans are having in finding blue states to put in play.

McCain will go off TV in Michigan, stop dropping mail there and send most of his staff to more competitive states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida. Wisconsin went for Kerry in 2004, Ohio and Florida for Bush.

McCain’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Republicans had been bullish on Michigan, hopeful that McCain’s past success in the state in the 2000 primary combined with voter dissatisfaction with Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and skepticism among blue-collar voters about Barack Obama could make it competitive.

Aside from Pennsylvania, Michigan was high on McCain’s list of blue states that they’d hoped to poach. Bailing on Michigan means that McCain will likely be playing defense for the remainder of the election. I’d expect them to move to Pennsylvania as the state they most hope to flip, but polling there has also been moving in Obama’s direction. The battleground is shrinking…for McCain.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Polling | , , , , | 4 Comments


A bunch of eye-opening polls out today must have the GOP’ers sulking in the corner.


FLORIDA: Obama 51, McCain 47
MINNESOTA: Obama 54, McCain 43
MISSOURI: Obama 49, McCain 48
NEVADA: Obama 51, McCain 47
VIRGINIA: Obama 53, McCain 44


FLORIDA: Obama 51, McCain 43
OHIO: Obama 50, McCain 42
PENNSYLVANIA: Obama 54, McCain 39


AP/GfK: Obama 48, McCain 41
CBS News: Obama 50, McCain 41

After the Quinnipiac polls came out, the McCain camp went into pushback mode, claiming the poll was an outlier. But with all of the confirmation, I don’t think it is operative at this point. So what does this mean for the future? We’ll probably have to wait until after tomorrow’s debate for sure, but I’d expect McCain to push the panic (Wright/Ayers) button to change the subject, assuming that the debate doesn’t fundamentally change the trajectory of the race. Be prepared.

October 1, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Polling | , , | 5 Comments

AP: McCain “irratable, sarcastic” in interview

Apropos of my post below linking to McCain’s meltdown in front of the Des Moines Register editorial board, we have a story from AP bringing the story into the mainstream. Not good for Mccain.


DES MOINES, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate John McCain, once renowned for his jocular sessions with journalists, appeared irritable and at times sarcastic in an interview in which he defended running mate Sarah Palin’s experience and campaign ads critical of rival Barack Obama.

Meeting Tuesday with the editorial board of The Des Moines Register, McCain was asked why he picked the Alaska governor, someone “who doesn’t have a lot of experience.”

“Thank you, but I disagree with your fundamental principle that she doesn’t have the experience,” McCain replied before citing Palin’s work as a PTA member, city council member, mayor and governor. “You and I just have a fundamental disagreement, and I am so happy the American people seem to be siding with me.”

When it was suggested that Palin’s lack of experience worried voters, McCain turned sarcastic.

Aside from his obvious temper-tantrum in the interview, I have to ask: Why was he in Iowa in the first place? His polling there has been nearly uniformly awful, he hates ethanol and didn’t campaign there in the primary. GOP strategist Mike Murphy breaks it down:

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October 1, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Media Strategy, Polling | , , , , | Leave a comment

McCain Stunt Panned by Voters

Survey USA:

Immediately after John McCain’s announcement 3 pm ET today, Wednesday 09/24/08, that he was suspending his campaign and seeking to postpone Friday’s schedule presidential debate, SurveyUSA interviewed 1,000 adults nationwide. Key findings:

A majority of Americans say the debate should be held. Just 10% say the debate should be postponed. A sizable percentage of Americans, 36%, think the focus of the debate should be modified to focus more on the economy. 3 of 4 Americans say the presidential campaign should continue. Just 14% say the presidential campaign should be suspended. If Friday’s debate does not take place 46%, of Americans say that would be bad for America.

Massive Fail from McCain.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy, Polling | , , | 7 Comments

Did the Dam Just Break?

Item: John McCain’s pushes back (declares war?) on the New York Times for their report on Rick Davis’ connections with Fannie and Freddie. McCain goes on CNBC and denies that Davis had any dealings with Fannie or Freddie. And breaking tonight Newsweek and the Times drop bombshells, flatly contradicting McCain. The criticism starts in earnest.

Item: The continued sheltering of Sarah Palin reaches a high (low?) point, as the McCain camp attempts to prevent reporters from being in the room as Gov. Palin meets with various world leaders. CNN threatens to pull its reporters, and the McCain camp relents…for all of 29 seconds. Campbell Brown launches a blistering editorial, accusing the McCain camp of sexism for not allowing Gov. Palin to answer questions.

Item: National tracking polls have trended in Obama’s direction after McCain received a decent bounce after his convention. State polling in key states (with a few exceptions) have begun to move Obama’s way as well, with Florida and Virginia in particular looking evermore promising. And breaking tonight we have a bombshell of an ABC poll which will have the chattering class talking tomorrow:

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September 24, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Economy, Media Strategy, Polling | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oh Public Policy Polling (PPP)…

Why must you tease me so:

We’re going to release our newest North Carolina poll tonight. I’ll give you a clue:

Date—————% listing economy as top issue———————-Spread

1/21/08 —————39————————————————McCain +14

5/9/08—————43————————————————–McCain +7

8/23/08—————48————————————————McCain +3


I feel a thrill going up my leg…

Update: And we’re tied at 46-46 in North Carolina! (PDF)

September 21, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Polling | , , , | 4 Comments

Presidential Leadership

One candidate comes before the American people with insight and an understanding that everyone needs to work together to solve the financial crisis…

…the other comes before the American people with overheated rhetoric.

It’s no wonder that McCain in tanking in the polls:

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September 19, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Economy, Polling | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gallup: Obama Maintains Lead 49-42


Foghorn Leghorn and Droopy Dog result in a bounce of -1.

Now, we should prepare ourselves for a potential bounce after the Palin speech. Notwithstanding the repeated lies in her speech, Palin should not be underestimated, at least as far as riling up the base. I have no idea how it will play to the country at large. And there is some evidence that her speech bombed with independent voters:

“I was completely underwhelmed. She was a Republican novelty act with a sophomoric script. It was not even a speech I would expect for a someone running for the local PTA, much less for vice president.”

— George Lentz, 66, Southfield independent

We’ll have to wait for a few more days to see if she was effective beyond the GOP base and media chuckleheads.

September 4, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Polling | , , , , | 2 Comments

TIME Battleground Polls: OH (+2), MN (+12), IA (+15!) Obama

Here is some great news for Obama. While the national polls are good for what they are (media narrative and framing), the state polls are where the bread is buttered. In battleground states, Obama is toasting McCain with a small lead in Ohio, and HUGE leads in Minnesota and Iowa.


OHIO: Obama 47, McCain 45

MINNESOTA: Obama 53, McCain 41

IOWA: Obama 55, McCain 40

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September 3, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Polling | , , , | Leave a comment