I Guess You Can’t Knock Hope

I caught this earlier and was going to let it blow over, but I see it’s catching on in some right-wing blog circles, so because I’m all about not only winning elections but crushing your opponents will to come back, let’s dissect the absurdity of John Podhoretz’s 10 Reasons McCain Might Win. Some of them aren’t fundamentally flawed so much as they’re just wishful thinking, but some of them have some obvious problems with reality.

One poll has undecided voters at 14 percent on the last weekend, which means most of them probably really aren’t undecided, that they are either going to stay home or vote preponderantly for McCain and pull McCain across the finish line.

First of all, there was no poll registering a 14% level of undecided voters, that would be historic this late in the game. Podhoretz is referring to an AP-Yahoo News survey that’s been tracking the same 2000 “persuadable” voters through the cycle, and found that, of there survey group, 14% are undecided. But that’s not a poll representative of the entire electorate, at best it represents the portion of the electorate that represents self-identified “persaudable” voters. The full poll from AP-Yahoo showed Obama with a 51-43 lead, leaving only 9% not identifying a preference between Obama and McCain.

Most pollsters are claiming the electorate this year is six to nine points more Democratic than it is Republican. That would be an unprecedented shift from four years ago, when the electorate was evenly divided, 37-37, Republican and Democratic, and a huge shift from two years ago, when it was 37-33 Democratic. A shift of this size didn’t even happen after Watergate.

To be blunt, this doesn’t make any sense. If the electorate was 37-37 in 2004, and 37-33 in 2006, the same shift would leave Democrats with an 8 point margin. Obviously that sort of change wouldn’t be “unprecedented,” it just happened in the last election. And, indeed, to get to the small end of the window one only needs to add 1% to the Democrats, and take away 1% from Republicans, something that doesn’t seem implausible at all given the wide discrepencies in party idenitification amongst new registrants. But nice try, I guess.

Obama frequently outpolled his final result in primaries, which might have many causes but might also indicate that he has difficulty closing the sale.

Actually, Obama most often came in over where final polls pegged his support. But, again, nice try I suppose.

The argument in the past two weeks has shifted, such that many undecided voters who are now paying attention are hearing about Obama’s redistributionist tendencies at exactly the right moment for McCain.

2 weeks ago Obama had a 5.6% lead in the RCP polling average, coming in at 49.2% to McCain’s 43.6%. Today Obama’s lead is 6.5%, and he’s averaging a markof 50.2% to McCain’s 43.7%. Maybe McCain wants to stop pointing out that Obama “wants to spread the wealth?”

The tightening in several daily tracking polls indicates a modest surge on McCain’s part that could continue through the weekend until election day. If he is behind by three or four points right now, a slow and steady move upward could push him past the finish line in first place.

What tightening? Obama is only 0.2% below his peak in the RCP averages today, and coming in at over 50%. Soif we trust the validity of those numbers, it wouldn’t matter if ever undecided voter in the country broke for McCain, Obama would still get more votes. Sort of like getting one free play in a football game with 0:00 on the clock…but being down by 9 points.

What happened with the Joe the Plumber story is that Obama has now been effectively outed as a liberal, not a moderate; and because liberalism is still less popular than conservatism, that’s not the best place for Obama to be.

Once again John, Obama is polling at higher levels now than he was when the nation was introduced to “Joe the Plumber,” and poor Joe is almost as big a punchline as “Sarah the Vice-Presidential Candidate.” Once again, perhaps you need a new new message?

Hispanic voters, who are always underpolled, know and appreciate McCain from his stance on immigration and will vote for him in larger numbers than anyone anticipates.

I’m just going to quietly laugh at this one.

Look, I can understand wanting to hope for the best, but this stuff is ust ridiculous. It’s hard for me to actually think he can write this down without realizing how silly it all is, and indeed it’s entirely possible this is just an effort to delude the rubes into thinking McCain has a chance so they’ll go out and vote. But on the other hand, you do sort of have to wonder if these right-wing bloggers believe their own bullshit.