Friday, October 10, 2008
Feelin’ a landslide a-comin’
Is it just me, or do you get the feeling that the Nov election is going to be an Obama landslide of historic proportions?
I read an interesting MSNBC article today about some of the unknowns which confront the pollsters this year: The Bradley-Wilder Effect, undercounting of big segments of potential voters, and the change in the electorate itself.
The “Bradley-Wilder Effect” is, apparently, the whiteys who won’t vote for Obama based strictly on race, but who are ashamed to admit it when polled. The effect is named for two black candidates who ran for governor in the 80’s – Tom Bradley in CA and Douglas Wilder in VA. In both cases, pre-election poll numbers held steady for the black guy, but the white opponent received substantially more votes than the polls had predicted. This phenomenon has occurred in other elections as well, and there are studies which suggest it might be due to Ed Earl and Viola sitting in their double-wide, repentant enough to know they shouldn’t discount Obama just because he’s a Nee-grow, but still unable to resist the impulse to vote for the honkey just to keep everything all-white.
I think this was a bigger problem in the 80’s. I think we’ve come a long way since then. The phenomenon still exists, but I think the people out there who won’t vote for a brother just because he’s a brother will, by and large, tell you so. I don’t think there are as many closet racists as there used to be. If you’re still a racist in 2008, you’re old school enough to be pretty open about it.
The other two items on the list of pollster-panic-inducers – undercounting the young and the changing face of the electorate – are fairly closely related.
Pollsters call people on their home phones. The problem with this is there is a large, and growing, segment of the population who don’t have landline home phones. Up to 20% of the population is mobile-phone only. And that segment of the population is mostly young. And the young voter is overwhelmingly pro-Obama.
In addition, during the primaries, we saw many, many young and African-American voters hit the polls, many more than have in previous elections. Obama has galvanized these segments of the electorate in a way that John Kerry never could. A lot of people who haven’t voted before are likely to head to the polls, and most of them will be wearing blue.
The financial mess couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the Republicans, as well. The financial mis-management of the country we’ve seen for the past 8 years has come home to roost. I know, a great many things have been in the works for a lot longer than that, but the reality is the average American thinks George Bush broke the world economy. Can either McCain or Obama fix it? Hell, I don’t know. Get us off oil, and anything becomes possible.
The Palin move turns out to have been a mistake. A HUGE splash at first, a major shift in pop culture, and a Vice-Presidential debate that actually got watched, sure. But now the initial steam has been expended and we find out that, while she’s still sorta librarian-hot, if she were a guy she’d have been Dan Quayle’d out of town weeks ago.
The insane “I’m suspending my campaign to go work on the bailout” thing from last week was the final nail in the coffin, if you ask me. I’m sure it sounded great sitting at the conference table. When I first heard it, I was astonished at McCain’s guts for trying it, and thought it had a real chance to work. But it didn’t; it backfired big time.
All this leaves me thinking that we may be on the cusp of some real history here, boys and girls. I am going to go on record as predicting a HUGE win for Obama-Biden. Like, unmistakable-mandate huge.
I’m not going on record saying that’s good or bad. I’m not even going on record as saying which way I’m going to vote (like it even freaking matters – I live in Texas). I’m just saying that’s the way I see it.