Friday, June 20, 2008

Whats With That Georgia Poll?

As noted at Beyond the Polls there is polling going on out there in which the results should be questioned because of the the amount of weight the poll gives to each party. For example Beyond the Polls shows that polling done by PPD in Ohio showed Obama winning by 11 points! But if you look at their internal numbers their party ID breakdown is 55 D and 30 R if you compare that with Exit polls from '04 you find that for that to be accurate there would need to be a 20 point swing in less than 4 years.

Then today came a poll from Insider Advantage showing McCain only beating Obama by 1.6% in Georgia! So the first thing I did was look at the internal numbers. And although I believe they are under sampling Republicans again (R+5 Insider Adv. and R+8 CNN Exits 2004) its the fact that their internals are all over the map that makes the result questionable.

For example Insider Adv. only includes Hispanics as 1.2 % of the poll when Hispanics voted as 4% in 2004 according to CNN. If anything the Hispanic population is growing not shrinking so they could be under representing the Hispanic vote by 5%.

Also it has Obama only winning 83 % of the African American vote. Everyone expects Obama to win close to 95 % of that vote. Are they saying that close to 20 percent of African American community might not vote for Obama. That would mean Kerry did better with Blacks in Georgia than Obama!

Finally McCain is only winning 7 % of the Hispanic vote. While nationally other polls like IPsos have McCain over 20 % with Hispanics I don't know why It would be only 7 % in Georgia.

Last time Insider Advantage polled GA was its primary poll. They were off by 20 points tied for the most of any poll used to calculate the final RCP Average.

McCain's 527 Mistake

Early on in this campaign John McCain railed against 527 groups and similar groups which organize and raise money to advocate for a candidate. His harsh rhetoric toward them could have a devastating affect on his election chances in the fall.

In modern politics 527 groups are essential to win on the national level. This is because of the new Federal Campaign finance laws that prohibit the actual candidates from raising a lot of money from individuals. But 527s don't have such harsh restrictions so they can raise tons of money, get out an effective message, and if desirable not be directly linked to the campaign they are advocating for.

To show the importance of these groups we need only go back to 2004 where President Bush wanted to paint John Kerry as a flip flopper. In politics it is hard to paint your opponent as something because he gets to respond and the American people don't take politicians words as gospel. But President Bush knew how important it was to have Kerry be a flip flopper in an election based on who you trust with the country's national security. The successful portrayal of Kerry as a flip flopper was due to three things. First he said all in one statement on audio that he voted for the 87 billion dollars to fund our troops before he voted against it. Then next part of the puzzle was the famous windsurfing ad that allowed the public to see this statement as a flip flop in an entertaining way. The most third and crucial part was groundwork that was laid by a 527 group known as the swiftboaters. Kerry ran on his military experience in Vietnam to show him as a capable steward of the country's security, but the group of soldiers who were with him came out with ads contradicting his accounts of his time in Vietnam. This set up the idea in many Americans heads that he wasn't completely honest, and the windsurfing ad that aired later was the tipping point made which was only made possible by the earlier swiftboat ads.

Back to 2008 an article on the Politico reports on the lack of 527 groups on the Republican side ready to launch an attack on Obama. It's reported that big Republican donors that created groups to help President Bush attack John Kerry are reluctant because of fear that John McCain will denounce their efforts and publicly come out against them in the heat of the election season. For McCain this is very bad. He might have already committed political suicide that is like a poison that takes a long time to start working. Without an attack machine to define Barack Obama, Obama can create any image of himself and deliver it to the American people without any response. Without the flip flopper image of Kerry in 2004, Kerry might have been able to overcome the President's tiny margin of victory in Ohio and won the election. Likewise if Obama's negatives and liberal appearance numbers aren't up very high come November he may be able to to squeak out a victory in key states.

There is still time for a big Republican 527 to hit the scene, but it' hard to tell if any are in the works or not. McCain's possible presidency might depend on one.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mississippi According to Barack

Barack Obama regularly on the campaign trail makes things up, changes his mind, doesn't have a clue what he is talking about, and gets very obvious things wrong such as him claiming that he visited 57 or more states while campaigning. So I guess It shouldn't be a shock to anyone when he rattle's off state election data which is clearly inaccurate. But what makes this important enough to write about is that he is basing his election strategy on faulty data, which could end up costing him the election. In a Time Magazine Article Obama is quoted about the possibilities of being able to win Mississippi:

"I'm probably the only candidate who, having won the nomination, can actually redraw the political map," Obama replied to a question about his strategy from a Concord, N.H., woman at a house party last August. Pacing around the old Victorian home, the wooden floor creaking, Obama went on: "I'll give you one specific example: Mississippi is 40% African American, but it votes 25% African American. If we just got the African Americans in Mississippi to vote their percentage, Mississippi is suddenly a Democratic state. And Georgia may be a Democratic state. Even South Carolina starts being in play. And I guarantee you African-American turnout, if I'm the nominee, goes up 30% around the country, minimum. "

The problem is that none of those numbers are right. Obama claims that Mississippi is 40% black when according to the 2000 census, and The Almanac of American Politics Mississippi is only 36% black. Then Obama claims that it votes 25% African American but according to CNN 2004 Exit Polls African Americans made up 34% of the voting population which is pretty much in line with the percentage of blacks in Mississippi. (And actually if you calculate in the fact that the only Congressional District in MS that is losing population is the majority black district then blacks are probably overrepresented not under as Obama claims.)

Obama's numbers would have you believe that Blacks vote 15 percent less than their population in the state. And that if he could just get them to vote at the same percentage as whites in the state than he could win it. But as shown blacks in Mississippi vote in proportion to their population making Obama argument flawed and eliminating his chances in the state.

What makes this important is that recently there have been talks from the Obama campaign that they don't need Florida or Ohio to win the election because they would be able to replace them with Georgia. Well, if the logic Obama used in calculating his chances in Mississippi is similar to how he is seeing his chances in Georgia he may be in for a rude awakeing on election night when his strategy falls flat.