Tag Archives: polls

My Friends, My Friends, My Friends

By Alicia Long

There were high hopes for last night’s debate between Senator Obama and Senator McCain.  With Obama widening his lead in the polls (his current lead is around 4-9 points nationally), McCain really needed this debate to help him turn the trend back into his favor.

The high hopes that McCain fans had for this second debate were justified.  Late last year, McCain had all been counted out in the race for the Republican ticket.  Some blogs even had reader polls as to when McCain would drop out (The Right’s Field had the longest running poll on this topic).  But McCain fought his way back using town hall-style meetings with thousands of New Hampshire residents all across the Granite State, and ultimately winning the January primary and rocketing his way to the Republican nomination.

Town hall meetings are McCain’s favorite way of communicating with voters, and he typically does very well in this format.  Many politicos felt that since the second presidential debate was a town hall, McCain had a good opportunity to reignite his campaign.  Unfortunately, he did not succeed.

I’m not saying McCain didn’t do well.  In fact, both Obama and McCain did well in this debate.  The popular opinion amongst the talking heads was that McCain needed this debate to be a game changer –  he needed to make a strong, new attack against Obama, or Obama needed to make a big gaffe – neither of which happened.  Both candidates stuck to their tried and true tactics and nothing really happened that made the performance of either candidate stick out.

This is not good for McCain.  This debate retained the status quo for voters, so one could argue that Obama “won” the debate.  Not because he did anything special or made better points than McCain, but simply because he came out of this debate the same way he came in… ahead in the polls.

CNN analysts thoroughly picked apart the debate last night.  This group is informative because it is compromised of Democratic and Republican analysts, as well as non-partisan journalists.  Overall, they rated Obama with a “B” and McCain with a “C.”  You can read more about their individual grades and opinions HERE (you can also give your personal grades through CNN’s online poll).

Just to mix things up a bit, I created tag clouds of Obama and McCain during the debate.  These tag clouds visually represent the 40 most frequently used words, with the biggest words being used the most frequently.

OBAMA TOWN HALL TAG CLOUD:

Visually, Obama definitely kept to the issues that are strong for him.  Health care, energy, and change were among the topics he kept bringing up.  Amusingly, the word he used most was “going.”

McCAIN TOWN HALL TAG CLOUD:

One thing I am not surprised to see in McCain’s cloud is the word “friends.”  I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say “my friends” so many times in 90 minutes.  This is something he says frequently in his town halls, and last night was no different.  However this came off as less of a personable remark and just became annoying after the first half hour.

Thanks for reading my post, my friends.

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The Nader Effect

Author: Jet Peterson

The year 2000 saw new changes in the world of politics first with the idea of the Supreme Court halting further recounts to effectively give the presidency to George W. Bush. Along with the sight of the importance of just a little over 1%. Ralph Nader the Green Party candidate of 2000 garnished just a little over 1% of the Florida vote that year. Currently he is now known as the spoiler for Gore.

Flashing forward to this year who and what is the possible Nader effect for this election. The primary season changed the face of politics and showed a few interesting ideas of how big of an effect this seasons Nader, Bob Barr. During the primary McCain fell behind twice of one Ron Paul, whom was just asked by Bob Barr to be the Libertarian ticket running-mate. Ron Paul recieved more votes of support than John McCain in the Nevada primary, and the Montana caucus. How large of an effect will that be in those two states, one of which, Nevada, is considdered a battleground?

This current season only sparringly does the major polling institutions take account of the third party by making them an option on who would be elected. The last Rasmussen that took that into account had Bob Barr polling at 6% nationally, an estimated that figure took 7% from McCain, 5% from Obama, and another 5% from undecideds. Olbermann on Countdown on MSNBC when Bob Barr, July 25, 2008, was the guest stated, “All the early polling has suggested that you(Barr) and Mr. Nader seperately and collectavely would get not insignificant support.” Fox Business earlier that month had Barr quoted stating,”We are already polling in some states in double digits. Which is very unusal for a Libertarian candidate.”  How large of a spoiler is Barr this election, when there is so many states that are within a 6% margin for one candidate or the other, Currently Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, New Mexico, Florida, and South Dakoda are up to be spoiled to the other side because of Barr.  While Barr will never be able to steal the lime-light or probally not even have enough polls to put him on the debates, will he be the spoiler of 2008 and take the Republicans with him?

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The Great Slip

McCain now leads Obama by 5 points in the polls. Rather than sweeping up the floor with McCain, Obama and McCain have remained close in the polls with McCain gradually closing the gap. This election is the Democrat’s to lose. An unpopular President, high gas prices, and a mortgage crisis should give an overwhelming advantage to a candidate who preaches change. So why has McCain been keeping up and now even surpassing Obama in the polls?

Obama has been a celebrity during this race, but as the graph below shows his numbers have been steadily declining, with many polls currently showing a deadlock between the two candidates. What has happened to the Obama who brought out crowds in the hundreds of thousands? Why aren’t people fainting at the sight of Obama anymore?

The longer the campaign goes on the more it hurts Obama. Gas prices continue to rise and now consumers are beginning to support more drilling because they realize that their survival trumps any reason for not drilling if it will provide relief from high prices; even if only temporarily. The war is not as strong a platform as it was a year ago because the surge that Obama was opposed to has worked as reported by the London Times. A new deal has also just occurred that would have American troops pulling out of cities next summer. His speech in Berlin was received well by the European’s, but not as well by the American electorate.

Obama’s performance in the saddleback forum has not helped him either. He never really answered at what time he felt life began, unlike McCain who answered right away without any hesitation or stuttering. Obama also almost criticized Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for a lack of experience, but caught himself. Had he claimed a lack of experience on the part of the Clarence Thomas then it would have likely raised questions in the minds of the electorate as to whether Obama, who has significantly less experience than Thomas, had enough experience to be President.

Obama is not able to run simply on the platitudes of hope and change anymore, now voters want details about the change. Obama was able to get away with saying a lot without saying anything for a while because of his charisma, his supporters, and a teleprompter, but now he has to step up and show that there is fire and not just smoke.

Once the electorate began to see Obama was nothing but a charismatic empty suit they began to turn away. If Obama does not fill the empty suit and reclaim the celebrity status he held that drew out hundreds of thousands of supporters, had people fainting, and brought in the young vote in record numbers then we may very well witness one of the greatest upsets in the race for the White House.

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama, Voter Demographics