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October 2008
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Electoral College: Pennsylvania strengthens for Obama

Only one status change today. Obama’s lead in Pennsylvania heads north of 10%, moving that state from “Weak Obama” to “Strong Obama”. This does not change the map, or affect our best or worst cases. It does mean that unless something changes, there is no need for Obama to waste too many more resources in Pennsylvania over the next few weeks.

New Summary:

McCain Best Case – Obama 277, McCain 261
Obama Best Case – Obama 375, McCain 163

If everybody gets their leans – 353 Obama, 185 McCain

We still have McCain’s best case scenario, sweeping all of the swing states, still giving an Obama win. The overall charts, despite Florida becoming a swing state again, look incredibly strong for Obama. Right now McCain winning is simply not a possibility… barring of course a major earthquake that changes the landscape of the campaign completely.

Looking at some of the internal numbers though… poll changes that have not yet caused changes to switch categories… there has been some movement toward McCain in a few states. I still expect some additional tightening before we are done here.

And, just for my own fun on election night, I’d rather go into election night NOT having a map that is completely determined. I am a news junkie. I want a tight race and some suspense here. 2000 is my ideal election, with the results unknown for weeks… that was fun! A map that looks like we already know the winner at the beginning of October? Not as much fun.

But it looks like that is what we have right now.

Again, barring some major event that has a quick and dramatic effect on the map. This is not the kind of thing McCain can orchestrate though. It almost needs to be an external event that happens. And as the days dwindle, the odds of such a dramatic event happening are dropping rapidly.

Still Heading Down

Asian markets continuing the downward plunge we saw in the US Monday.

Wheeeee!

That One…

Since it is absolutely everywhere…

The other moment that everybody is saying shows McCain’s lack of respect.

The Non-Handshake

(via Slog)

Edit a few moments later: There are reports though that they had shaken hands earlier… at the moment they were blocking Brokaw’s teleprompter.

Edit 4:14 UTC: A picture of the handshake they DID have. McCain still blew him off later though, and many people only saw that.

InstaPolls

I’m running more than half an hour behind on tape delay now because I was interrupted by other things for awhile, but the Instant Polls CNN is reporting are OVERWHELMING in Obama’s favor in terms of how he did on the debate, but also in terms of improved Obama favorability ratings and ratings on various issues. It is looking like a complete blowout.

Dissed!

Oh, and McCain dissed Obama on the handshake right after it was over!

Ouch!

Prez Debate #2 Reax

This is my reaction immediately after the debate. I have yet to be spun by listening to anybody else talk about it… well, other than the handful of comments on the liveblog… and, well, by the focus group lines of the “Uncommitted Ohio Voters”. And I will admit, that last is definitely spin and will have influenced my thoughts. For the last debate, I think I’ll watch on C-Span… with no little focus group lines.

Look, basically this was a boring debate. Nobody did anything memorable at all. No attacks that stung. No inspiring moments. No nothing. Just pedestrian standard answers to predictable questions.

As such, it means that nobody who had already made up their mind will change their mind. At this point though, it is getting harder and harder to reach those people.

We are left with the small group of people who still haven’t made up their minds. Which basically means people who don’t pay much attention to politics and/or people who are just confused and have no idea who to trust or believe.

And this is where those focus group lines come in.

Without them, I would have said that Obama continued to be rock steady and to exude confidence and whatever quality is labeled “Presidential” while McCain for the most part did not. And just the mere fact that the two share a stage elevates Obama in the minds of people who may have had some doubts, and because of that it is a plus for Obama and I’d expect the trends toward Obama’s direction from the past few weeks to just continue.

Having watched the lines though, I’d go even stronger. These were all “uncommitted” voters.

McCain was barely able to get his lines above the midpoint of the positive part of the graph. They peaked above there only a handful of times. Most of the time they just hovered around the neutral line, or barely above. The one exception was when he spoke about Russia. And the ONLY times I saw the lines dip below neutral were when McCain was speaking… and usually when he was attacking Obama… indicating that the undecideds were not going for that at all… and since his whole campaign is telegraphing that they are going negative, that does not bode well for McCain.

Meanwhile, Obama’s lines were consistently in the top half of the positive range during the domestic questions, and around the mid-point of the positive range during most of the foreign policy questions. And they pegged the top of the meters on quite a few occasions. And they almost always were higher than McCain’s responses on the same questions.

I think we don’t just have a few undecideds moving toward Obama. I think we have undecideds breaking decisively toward Obama at this point.

If that goes beyond this little focus group, and is actually reflected in real polls in a variety of the remaining swing states, then we are just going to see Obama’s lead grow, as McCain looks more and more helpless, ineffectual and lost next to him.

I guess we can only wait and see.

One more debate.

Unknown news events for a month.

And then election night.

Wheeee!!!

Prez Debate #2 – Liveblog

Yes, I got home in time, and yes, I had fun last time, so yes, I’ll be liveblogging tonight’s debate again, starting momentarily.

Updates will be added to this posting as I make them. Timestamps in UTC.

0:51 – OK, I’m watching on CNN this time, so I can see the little focus group squiggles.

0:52 – If anybody is actually watching this live, I am on AIM, screen name “abulsme”. If you send me comments I’ll (possibly) include them in this. Or, of course, feel free to add comments in the blog.

0:53 – Switched to Safari so I can easily make my input box bigger for adding my comments.

0:54 – This time Brandy has other things to do, so instead of on the projector downstairs, I’m on the computer in the office. I have CNN on via Slingbox fullscreen on a laptop to my left.

0:55 – The format tonight will suck. Questions from “regular people”. But not regular people. Specially chosen people, all “undecided” but yet forced to be demographically representative of the US, even though undecideds do not match the general population demographically. Also, questions must be submitted in advance. Brokaw and company decide who gets to ask a question based on the pre-submitted questions. The questioners are not allowed to change their questions or ask something else. They are not allowed to follow up. The camera will only show them answering the question, not reacting to the answer. Etc.

0:59 – It would be more interesting if only McCain supporters were allowed to ask questions of Obama, and only Obama supporters were allowed to ask questions of McCain, and both were allowed followups. And a big buzzer would go off if either candidate started talking about anything that was not a direct answer to the question.

1:00 – OK, here comes.

1:01 – Reb is here!

1:02 – Brokaw felt up Reb many years ago.

1:03 – McCain made a point of looking at Obama this time.

1:04 – I hate the thank you’s at the beginning. I’d ring the off-topic buzzer.

1:06 – The little focus group squigglies are all high right now.

1:07 – Slight snark from McCain about Obama not accepting his town hall invites a couple of months ago.

1:08 – They are both fighting for who can have the government do more. I guess real conservatism is now long dead. “Take care of working Americans” but it isn’t anybody’s plan. What?

1:09 – Tom is asking a question. Is that allowed?

1:10 – Meg Whitman for Treasury? Isn’t eBay having a lot of issues right now too? Is that really the example we want? It would have been Carly if she hadn’t misspoken a few weeks back. The both like Buffet. He will not be Treasury Secretary.

1:11 – I thought McCain was going to go whole hog negative? Where is it? Obama rambled a bit about what the Treasury Secretary would need to do, but didn’t name names.

1:12 – An excellent question? Really? It is asking about what the current plan will or will not do. How is that relevant for the person who will be President in January? It isn’t. That plan is done, check online to see what it will do. Ask about what they will do next.

1:13 – Oh, now some attacks.

1:14 – McCain attacks and gets mad. Obama basically blows him off and goes back to answering the question.

1:15 – Oh, now he “corrects the history”. “Not surprisingly.” Counter-attack in play.

1:16 – Very defensive body language in McCain right now.

1:17 – The women set their dials back to zero when Brokaw talks. The men don’t.

1:18 – The line… McCain is having trouble getting it up. (Sorry, had to.)

1:19 – Seriously, the focus group lines have gone up for both of them, but are often flat. I haven’t seen them dip significantly below the line for either of them yet.

1:21 – Obama’s meter was pegged a little while ago. I’ve seen that a couple of times for him so far. Not yet for McCain. Damn those things are distracting though. I find myself looking at them more than listening to what they say. Maybe I should switch channels. Nah, not yet.

1:22 – McCain is trying to convince us to trust him. He is talking about earmarks and attacking Obama. The lines are completely flat. This is not good for McCain.

1:24 – Brokaw wants them to prioritize. Does anyone doubt they will both say they are all important?

1:26 – Wait… Obama actually picked 1, 2, 3 and put them in order. I did not expect that. PS: What did McCain say earlier about the 700 Billion going partially to terrorists?

1:28 – Question from the Internet. Bleh.

1:29 – I want an overhead projector for my planetarium too.

1:30 – “We are not rifle shots, we are Americans”. What? McCain is saying we don’t have to choose. Obama is acknowledging that you have to actually make priorities and probably won’t be able to do everything, at least not all at once.

1:33 – Bored so far. Yawn.

1:35 – McCain: Nailing jello… attacking Obama on taxes. The focus group lines just went negative for the first time.

1:37 – Promise them money though and the lines go back up. Well, at least the women.

1:38 – Obama asking to break the rules. Tom shuts him down.

1:39 – Straight Talk Express Lost a Wheel. GROAN… heard it too many times. Stop it.

1:40 – These focus group lines… so hard to look away… They are consistently much higher when Obama is talking. If these truly are chosen from the few remaining Ohio uncommitted votes in a representative way, that is pretty bad for McCain.

1:44 – Senator Obama says nuclear power has to be safe. Fuck that! Be a man! Who needs safe!

1:48 – Tom is reminding them about time and the lights they are supposed to follow. Screw that, let them talk.

1:51 – So far this is a calm sedate debate. Obama calm and controlled. McCain slightly more animated. If it continues this way, it will just once again be Obama showing he is “above the bar” for being president, and McCain is OK. More undecideds will move to Obama, and nobody who has already made up their mind will change in the slightest.

1:55 – Was that hair transplant thing a jibe at Biden? Really? Come on.

1:58 – I lost a few seconds on the Slingbox, but I don’t think I missed anything that mattered. Obama is just talking about healthcare. The women in the focus group were pegged. Men were in the middle.

2:02 – Do you think McCain knows it is over? That he has lost the election? He needs a real game changer. So far, he is doing absolutely nothing here to change anything. Obama is talking right now. McCain is standing behind him looking resigned.

2:04 – The Obama Doctrine for the use of force is… well, he isn’t really saying. Hmm, OK, maybe that was it at the end… “Only if we are supported by others” or something like that?

2:07 – “That requires a cool hand at the tiller.” Did McCain just endorse Obama? Cause he certainly isn’t talking about himself…

2:08 – This is almost over, right? I’m ready for a snack. And maybe a nap. ZZZzzz…

2:09 – The hot pursuit into Pakistan question… again… my god, this has been gone over time and time again since the primaries. Do we have to do it again?

2:11 – So McCain actually agrees with Obama, just thinks we should not say it out loud. This has been the position for awhile. This is not a change.

2:13 – So they both agree to change the rules and have followups. Woo!

2:14 – McCain rolling his eyes in the background.

2:19 – Ivan is here too now! Woo!

2:20 – The KGB Joke. Please. Stop. If I hear the joke about the bear next…

2:21 – The focus group lines are about as high as I’ve seen them for McCain while he is talking about Russia.

2:22 – Ivan says this has been a yawner. I completely agree. Brokaw just said we are “winding down”. As far as I can see we have never been wound up.

2:24 – Is Russia an Evil Empire? Obama: They have done some evil things. McCain: Maybe.

2:25 – The commenters are going nuts! Reb wants Obama to pull down his pants to liven it up.

2:26 – To Ivan, if we had indeed had the 30 town halls, I really hope they would have been REAL town halls, with just people asking questions, no Tom Brokaw pre-picking questions, no time limits, etc. But they probably would not have been like that.

2:27 – Does anybody think of superheroes when McCain says “League of Democracies”?

2:29 – Are we talking about talking to Iran again? This is so boring to anybody who has been paying attention before this debate. This is another one of those things we have heard discussed from every angle since over a year ago. Please. Sigh.

2:30 – What don’t you know and how will you learn it? OK. Fine. Obama says he will ask his wife. Then starts talking about what he DOES know and does his usual bit about his history. Bleh.

2:32 – McCain’s answer is that he doesn’t know what will happen. Or the unexpected. Hmmm. OK, fine. Now he talks about his history. Bleh.

2:34 – And we are done! Woo! They blocked Brokaw’s script!

2:36 – I will pause it as soon as the CNN weenies start to talk. OK, there they go. Paused. This will now end this liveblog. I’ll post my immediate thoughts in just a few minutes, before hearing everybody start to talk about what they thought about it.