The state of the 2008 Presidential campaign with 30 days to go

By Leonid Balaban

There is only a month left in what seems like a never ending 2008 Presidential election. A great number “earth shattering” political events took place since January 2007, and yet the last 30 days promise to be as interesting, exciting and exhilarating as the last 20 months have been.

Since the conclusion of both Democratic and Republican conventions, the state of the election has changed several times. Right after the pick of Sarah Palin as his Vice-Presidential running mate, John McCain’s campaign took over the lead not only in nation wide polls, but also in the more important state-by-state polls.

Yet, with the news of the collapsing financial markets and other bad economic reports, Barack Obama’s campaign has regained the ground in the polls and took over the lead again. He now has a clear edge in the vast majority of national polls, well beyond the margin of error. Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of 11 polls, is showing Obama up by almost six points nation wide. In state-by-state battleground polls, Obama has the lead in New Mexico, Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina, Nevada, Florida and Ohio – the states that Bush won in 2004. Obama is also in contention in two other Bush states: Indiana and Missouri. Of the states that Kerry won in 2004, polls show Obama up by a comfortable margin.

In fact, according to Jonathan Martin of Politico.com, things for the McCain’s campaign are getting so bad that they have decided to pull out all the advertising and staff out of Michigan and utilize those resources in other states. (Obama’s campaign has also recently pulled his staff and other resources out of North Dakota and Alaska)

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.

Furthermore, the first of the three Presidential debates and one and only Vice-Presidential debate were not considered “game changers” for the McCain campaign as these two events did not allow the Republican to stop his decline in polls.

Having said all this, the McCain team has most likely realized that it has very few chances left, perhaps the two Presidential campaigns being its last, at which it can potentially change the narrative or the direction of the race. Therefore, they have decided over the weekend to change their tactics and attack Obama on a more “personal level”. According to the ABC News, the Republican is preparing to launch a forceful assault on Obama’s character by portraying him as having a cozy relationship with William Ayers – Weather Underground (1960s group) radical – man it calls an “unrepentant terrorist.” Actually, Governor Palin, in her Friday campaign event in Colorado might have given us possible preview of such an attack.

Obama’s campaign appear to be ready for such an attack and is launching their “prevent” ad, in which they are accusing McCain of trying to change the narrative at a time when the issues surrounding the economy are at the top of people’s worries.

Additionally, Obama’s campaign is also prepared to launch an attack on John McCain and his association to the Keating Five scandal of the 1980s. As reported by John Marshall of Talking Points Memo, the Democratic campaign is sending out a web link to the supporters which provides in-depth information about the scandal.

Thus, it is fair to say that, with time running out, if McCain’s latest attacks succeed in changing the election story line and he does a better job than Obama in the two remaining Presidential debates, the race will not only tighten, but perhaps will give the Republican a fighting chance to win the election. If the GOP candidate, however, is not successful in his character attacks on Obama, then the Democrat just might pull off the election win for himself with a comfortable electoral margin.

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2 Comments

Filed under McCain, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Republican

2 responses to “The state of the 2008 Presidential campaign with 30 days to go

  1. Tony Robinson

    Great information Leo. You’re right that the McCain personal attacks–or the Palin attacks that is–are all about stopping the bleeding and changing the focus. But when stocks are dropping 5% a day, its hard to get worked up about Ayers. And Obama is no Kerry either. While kerry just sat and took the Swiftboating without response, Obama hits back with a response or distraction of his own, every time McCain attacks. The Keating ad is meant to hit back at McCain and offer counterpunches to every swiftboat attack–the Kerry lessons of 2004 have been taken to heart by Obama. It’s going to take a bigger October surprise than Ayers to reverse McCain’s fall. There will be an October surprise, I’m sure. What can we expect?

  2. balaban13

    I didn’t put it in my original post, but I think there is another important factor that might have a huge effect for the remainder of the campaign and that’s money. With the economy being in a pretty bad shape, it will be interesting to see whether Obama can keep pace on the record breaking fund raising he has set in August. His financial figures for September, in my opinion, need to look as close as possible to the ones in the previous month. Otherwise, he just won’t be able to keep all the battleground states in play.

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