With so many polls pointing to an Obama victory, this prediction is definitely one which goes against the trend. With that said, I didn’t make this one up out of nothing. It is apparent that McCain has problems. His Titanic has struck the iceberg and is taking on water fast. His only hope is being towed into port by the strength of his base and disaffected Democrats who are incredibly scared by an impending Obama victory. So, what gives? Why make such a prediction on a ship which is sinking, as columnist Charles Krauthammer alluded to in his recent endorsement of McCain. The secret, my friends, is that while McCain is taking on water while under tow into port, the Obama ship is dragging some serious anchors. And they’re about to snag on the rock of fear. The polls numbers reflect the electorate’s natural desire to punish the party in executive power for the economic crisis. It is true that McCain forever lost some voters because of this. But what is going to be the deciding factor is that he didn’t lose them all. Voters seething over the current administration and current crisis are going to pause before they pull the lever for Obama. The reason is clear. What makes a first term senator qualified to solve this crisis?
The Bradley Effect
Many pundits are shaking their head at every mention of this. “That was 1982, and the country has changed since then!” True. I’m certain that in some states that no such effect exists. But I am also willing to insist that this factor hasn’t disappeared in states like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia. In fact it was Virginia in the early 90’s which renamed this “effect” the Wilder Effect, after an African American candidate very nearly lost after leading the polls by such a wide margin. This election is different in that now we have a national candidate running, whereas Bradley and Wilder were local ones.
The Republican Effect
It’s simply not cool to mention that you are a Republican anymore. It is the “new gay”, as many who support McCain are fearful of starting a huge scene by revealing such. I’d imagine that this in itself is responsible for 2 percentage points in the McCain direction.
Ayers and Wright
Some voters who are inclined to support Obama will not able to get over these two associations. Republicans who insist that McCain hammers this subject home in the remaining week are mistaken that somehow voters are not aware of this. Trust me, people know all about this. The battle lines have already been drawn. For McCain to harp on this will only serve to mobilize Obama’s base, not to mention spark a media firestorm.
Polls have traditionally favored the Democratic candidate. While some have been accurate, they have been known to be off, especially in state polls. What is interesting is that while often overstating the Democratic support, they have never done so with Republican support. This often lies with the mix. In this election cycle, the gap between Democrat vs. Republican has been typically 10 points in favor of the Democrat, and sometimes more. The actual spread is in single digits. What this also doesn’t take into factor are the Republicans who registered as Democrats to take part in such an exciting race, and also to affect the outcome (Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos comes to mind). Another factor are voters who registered as Democrats to support Hillary Clinton, but who are now disaffected to the point where they wont show up to vote.
What does all this mean? Let’s look at the states. Conventional wisdom states that all McCain has to do is defend the Bush states from 2004. This election, however, is not conventional by any means. McCain is still behind in many Bush states. Out of all of these, Iowa seems lost. Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina are much redder than commonly given credit for. I feel comfortable in giving these states to McCain, even though it will likely be very close. This election will be decided in New Mexico, Colorado, and Virginia. If Obama takes Colorado and New Mexico, he squeaks by into the presidency. If McCain takes Virginia and either New Mexico or Colorado, he gets in. Let’s add in McCain’s wild card, which is Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. These states point to a solid Obama lead, but in these two states I also see where the previously discussed factors taking effect. Pennsylvania Rep John Murtha’s comment that the western part of the state is full of racists is a potential game changer. New Hampshire has also overstated Obama’s support in the primaries. It’s not a stretch to suggest the same happening again. So if Obama takes Virginia, Colorado and New Mexico, McCain can win with a surprise victory in Pennsylvania.
There’s an underlying factor in this election which has not been reported on – nor could it possibly be. It is the unknown. Never before has an African American candidate been running for nationwide office. Never has anyone of any race run for president with such a sparse, left wing record. This, along with other factors, will keep Obama out of the White House.