Monday, October 06, 2008

Excuse me Capt. Queeg. Can you stop making that noise

John is having a bad day--OK, more on the election. Since I am obsessed with it I might as well quit trying to write about anything else. The Alaska proposal is off to my agent and I can indulge my obsession.

An interesting column in the Des Moines Register's website hints at what many have begun to suspect: Sen. John McCain is losing it. Not just losing the election; losing it. McCain was at a meet-the-editor conference at the Register last week, normal campaign stuff, and anyone watching could see something was wrong. His body language, the way he held his face, his petulent anwers to what were clearly pertinent questions. At least one editor at the meeting had a similar reaction and suggests that McCain may be too unstable to be President. See here. For video, go here.

McCain is losing. McCain is pissed off. Running around like a headless chicken during the Congressional battle for the bailout bill isn't leadership, it's hysteria.

Current polling is not likely to change his mood. Tracking polls, all completed after the vice presidentail debate, shows Barack Obama's lead expanding and he is now approaching double digits.

Explanation: tracking polls should be called rolling polls and are done on a daily basis, accumulating three days worth of data. That means, for instance, they will poll on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then they poll on Sunday and drop the data from Thursday. On Monday, they drop the Friday data. All the polls out today have the three days since the Biden-Palin debate. The data are clear, Alaska's dingbat governor did McCain very little good with the general electorate.

All this is reflected in the state polls and some of the numbers are astonishing. Minnesota was listed as a close contest--until last week. Obama now is ahead by as much as 11 or 18, depending on which poll you watch. North Carolina was always considered a solid Republican state. Now it is a toss-up; Obama now leads slightly and in one poll has reached the 50% mark. He now leads in Virginia--Virginia, for God's sake--by double digits in one poll. McCain has already given up in Michigan, which is interesting in itself.

Political campaigns are like chess matches in many ways. When you are losing, you often sacrifice pieces to protect the king. What McCain did in Michigan is sacrifice a piece (a bishop or a knight in this case) to protect the campaign. The difference is that in chess, you don't announce it ahead of time.

In the next posting I'll produce a list of the best places to poll watch on the internet. You already know one, There are others I'll pass on.

So who is Capt. Queeg? Movie fans?


Arrowsmith said...

I think it's hard to beat FiveThirtyEight for thoroughness and depth


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