Wednesday, November 05, 2008
"I'm mad as hell and won't take it any more!"
OK, we're not moving to Canada--In the wonderful Paddy Cheyefsky film "Network," there is a scene in which Americans slam open their windows and shout the above. They are mad as hell and they won't take it any more. That's what happened yesterday. It was a total rejection of Bush, Cheney and the neocons. It was a rejection of the Republican party and a repudiation of the conservative movement. This allegedly "right of center" country just had a tectonic shift to the left. And about damned time.
OK, how did all that polling turn out? All the polls predicted an Obama victory but a lot of them were really off. Obama won 52-46, a six point victory that many, but not all of the pollsters got right. Some, like Zogby (Reuters), Gallup, CBS-New York Times, and ABC-Washington Post, were wrong, giving Obama far more of a margin than he actually got. Pollster.com, which I used a lot, got Obama's percentage right but got McCain's wrong by 2, which is pretty close. Nate Silver and Fivethirtyeight, got it right on the money. (Zogby sent out a nasty little note criticizing Silver and his background in SABR baseball statitics after Silver criticized one of Zogby's weirder results. Silver got his revenge). The poll that got it right on the money was the Rasmussen. Both academic polls, Pollyvote and Princeton were correct. So, polling works even in strange elections.
I spent yesterday in Harrisburg, PA as a canvasser for Obama. I can tell you first hand how he won.
Every voter in Harrisburg had been canvassed and everyone who showed an interest in voting for Obama has been listed on a computer printout. I did canvassing. That means we went to every one of those people to make sure they had voted or were going to. We were the second shift, meaning they had already been canvassed once during the day. Most people were not home, of course. But there would be a third shift to get them at supper time. If they said they tried to vote but had trouble, we had a number to call to straighten it out. If they said they needed a ride, I had a number to call and a car would show up within an hour to take them to the polling place. (They had more volunteer drivers than there were people needing a ride). We went floor to floor in a senior citizens home, knocking on doors. So every potential Obama voter in Harrisburg was visited three times today and had no excuses for not showing up to vote. Several times Obama canvassers crossed each other on the street. The African-Americans we visited were particularly jolly and they damned well voted.
I ended the day in an Irish bar with my partner with a pumpkin beer.