Young Hov the King, Yeah, Just Point Out the Bounce

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Ever since Barack Obama and his army of hope-mongering sexists bounced Hillary Clinton from the presidential race, there's been a meme on the right half of the blogosphere about his "bounce." That is, he didn't get one. Robert Stacy McCain, who links to some of the other commentary:

What is important here is what has not happened. The electorate's putative hunger for "change," which was the entire rationale of the Obama insurgency, has not been reflected in a post-primary surge of support toward the presumptive Democratic nominee.

RedState's Pejman Yousefzadeh walks some of the same territory, but I think the meme is wrong—another bit of substance-free magical thinking that doesn't address Obama's strengths or McCain's problems. (To be clear, there's a massive difference between buying conspiracy theories and selectively reading polls, and Yousefzadeh is not, nor has he ever, done the former.) For starters, most of the chatter focuses on the Gallup tracking poll, a lousy measure of strength in a 50-state electoral college battle. (It would mean something if one candidate scored a 15- or 20-point lead, but 2-3 point fluctuations don't mean much.) Noam Scheiber does some work on how to read those polls, but I'm paying more attention to the state polls that show 1) Obama winning back Clinton voters and 2) McCain battling where he should be safe.

Today, we have the Quinnipiac poll of battleground states, three surveys that show an Obama surge since last month. McCain used to lead Obama in Florida and Ohio by 4 points. Now he trails in Florida by 4 and Ohio by 6. Obama used to lead in Pennsylvania by 6 points; it's up to 12 points.

If every state voted the way it did in 2004 but the GOP lost Ohio and Florida, Obama would win by 60 electoral votes. And yet, and yet… McCain is shedding Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado from the GOP coalition. He's fallen from a 34-point lead in Kentucky (one of Obama's worst states) to a 12-point lead, which says worrisome things about the fealty of Appalachian voters. In Alaska, the sleeper state that apparently only I think McCain could lose, he's down to 45 percent of the vote with 7 percent going to "other" and 41 percent to Obama.

There's another surprising Obama-McCain poll today from ABC News, about the candidates' wives. Michelle Obama has a 48/29 favorable/unfavorable rating, compared to 36/23 for Cindy McCain. For comparison, I checked how Michelle Obama compared to the mid-1992 poll numbers for Hillary Clinton.

A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll late [in April] found only 36% of voters had a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton and 40% had an unfavorable opinion. More than 80% of those polled had a good opinion of [First Lady Barbara Bush].

Basically, poll after poll shows Obama relatively stronger than Gore or Kerry was at this point in their races. He can still lose! But Republicans aren't going to will it to be so by checking one poll and squinting really hard.

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  1. Boy oh boy, I just can’t wait for several months of daily poll analysis by Dave.

  2. http://www.realclearpolitics.com

    http://www.pollingreport.com

    Remember when New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Oregon were going to be in play? That was awesome!

  3. My feeling is that these polls are all pretty worthless for at least 6-8 weeks. I just really don’t think the race has started yet in the sense that people are paying attention. All of us blog-addicts are noticing and deconstructing every pointless utterance from the anointed duo, but the average voter? Probably not so much….

  4. I might not vote this year at all. If I do vote it will not be the presidential race or any congresstional races that get me to the poles. I might vote for the sake of some ballot issue or other but that is it. This former Republican is so pissed he thinks McCain deserves to loose. His ant-free market rants against profits pushed me over the edge. I was pretty pissed at him before but now I actually HATE the man.

  5. Somewhat related, well okay, it is a Sen. Obama item and that’s about it, was being recently reminded that this whole “Change” thing is basically a ripoff of one of the Bill Clinton campaigns.

    I slightly remember it, but no idea if it is true or imagined.

    Anybody else remember William Jefferson Clinton yammering about change a lot during his campaign(s)?

  6. ant-free market should read anti-free market

  7. My feeling is that these polls are all pretty worthless for at least 6-8 weeks.

    I don’t disagree, and I expect an Obama convention bounce, then a McCain bounce, then the race to settle in. I’m just amused at the spinning here – the self-convincing, by these blogs et al, that Obama is not moving ahead at the moment.

  8. The only thing that can be said for the endless campaign is that it ultimately exposes the empty suits and charlatans for what they are. Not that we don’t vote for them anyway.

  9. Did anybody watch Dr. Paul on “The Morning Joe” this AM?

  10. Michelle Obama has a 48/29 favorable/unfavorable rating, compared to 36/23 for Cindy McCain.

    Stupid, uninformed voters! Don’t they know Cindy is a Beer Heiress? What’s unfavorable about that?

    Meanwhile, push pools report that Michelle Obama has absolutely no connection to beer, and calls it “whitey.”

  11. Most non-incumbents are running some sort of “change” campaign. Reagan, Clinton, Gingrich, Bush II, all were arguing for a change of some kind. Only Bush the Elder was, IIRC explicitly arguing against change in his run (“stay the course”). And these are just the guys I was old enough to be aware of.

  12. Jammer,

    I was not talking about “some sort of” I was talking about tossing the word about like Sen. Obama does and if it is the same as what Mr. Clinto did.

  13. It’s not too late for libertarians to get involved with the Obama campaign and pull him in a libertarian direction on a few issues – guns and trade come to mind – where he isn’t with us, but also isn’t strongly against us.

  14. Our good friend, Eric Dondero has blogged on the Bob Barr blog claiming that Bob Barr can come in second in Texas, pushing Obama into 3rd place. He thinks that Obama won’t carry many Hispanic votes and will only get liberal Democrat votes from Austin. He ignores the large population of blacks in Houston, Dallas, and East Texas. Read what he says:

    “You know, Russ Verny is correct in a sense: McCain and Republicans may indeed have to do some campaigning in Texas. But not to win the State. They are in little danger of that. But to gain a large enough vote total here to knock Obama’s numbers down in relation to Barr/Root, and possibly as far down to a third place finish.”

    “If there’s one State (outside of Alaska) where Barr could actually outpoll Obama, it’s here in Texas. Hispanics, which make up a huge portion of the Democrat constituency here, can’t stand Obama. Watch them sit on their hands in November and just not come out to vote.”

    “Which means, only liberal Austin Democrats are left for Obama.”

    “Republicans may figure, “why not vote for Bob Barr,” with such a destined massive victory for McCain in the State.”

    “The dynamics of the Texas race are just amazing. And our guy Bob Barr could hugely benefit. Break out the popcorn y’all!”

    Eric Dondero
    Angleton, Texas

  15. If you look at Tradesports.com, Obama has gone from about a 60-62% favorite to a 64-65% favorite. I would call that a bump, a modest bump, but a bump.

    People may be finding out Cindy McCain’s pursuing a married man. People expect men to be horndogs, but women, not so much.

  16. “People may be finding out Cindy McCain’s pursuing a married man.”

    What’s this about? I havn’t heard this.

  17. ant-free market should read anti-free market

    Definitely an instance of RC’z law. I could get behind an ant-free market, myself.

    People may be finding out Cindy McCain’s pursuing a married man.

    Who, John McCain?

  18. John McCain was officially divorced from his first wife in April 1980, John and Cindy were married in May 1980.

    I honestly don’t know the state of the first McCain marriage when John and Cindy met in 1979, but he was, legally, a married man. Also, pursuing may be a bit strong, but certainly accepting a married man’s advances.

  19. The worst part of the whole deal was that McCain dumped his first wife because she had become deformed and crippled in a car accident. It shows what a selfish bastard he is. I think this could hurt him as more people find out about it.

  20. I don’t disagree, and I expect an Obama convention bounce, then a McCain bounce, then the race to settle in. I’m just amused at the spinning here – the self-convincing, by these blogs et al, that Obama is not moving ahead at the moment.

    Self-convincing? That must be more of that there liberal-biased media talk.

    Don’t read that stuff much, prefer my fair and balanced echo chamber.

    Bet’chall didn’t know Michelle Obama is Bin Laden’s aunt, did’ja?

  21. And as always must be pointed out, Carol McCain has been on amicable terms with her ex-husband for a couple of decades now, and the Senator pretty much admits he was a dick at the time. (‘wanted to be 25 when I was 40.’)

  22. Kolohe, that’s how you Navy guys do it, huh? Sticking up for one another? 😉

  23. Art-
    Ha. What’s ironic is that normally jet jockeys are normally on the complete opposite side of submariners.

    Rivalries are very fractal.

    On a related note, how to like them running up the score on your Corps on Engineers?

  24. Meanwhile, push pools report that Michelle Obama has absolutely no connection to beer, and calls it “whitey.”

    McCain, on the other hand, has stated that he will veto EVERY BEER.

    I’m afraid. Hold me.

  25. For starters, most of the chatter focuses on the Gallup tracking poll, a lousy measure of strength in a 50-state electoral college battle. (It would mean something if one candidate scored a 15- or 20-point lead, but 2-3 point fluctuations don’t mean much.) Noam Scheiber does some work on how to read those polls, but I’m paying more attention to the state

    Well, the state-by-state bump might be more indicative of the shift to a general election campaign that of a natural bounce due to clinching per se. Obama’s probably dumping huge amounts of TV money in battleground states by now.

    I think if McCain has any chance, his move will be around the RNC convention.

  26. Kerry was leading Bush by a large margin in June as well

  27. Actually, Kerry never held a lead in the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

    Not one, throughout the entire campaign.

  28. The Gallup Tracking poll Robert Stacy McCain links to shows McCain’s numbers falling a few points and – more importantly, when you’re talking about tracking polls – staying there, starting the day Obama won the nomination.

  29. “Today, we have the Quinnipiac poll of battleground states, three surveys that show an Obama surge since last month. McCain used to lead Obama in Florida and Ohio by 4 points. Now he trails in Florida by 4 and Ohio by 6. Obama used to lead in Pennsylvania by 6 points; it’s up to 12 points.”

    It’s amazing how one dubious poll can alter the political discourse. This is pretty much the only poll that has McCain losing these states. Every other poll, such as the new Rasmussen poll which has McCain leading by almost ten in Florida, shows McCain winning these states, and is therefore for some reason not trumpeted by the media.
    As for the 34 point lead in KY, why and the hell does anyone believe the stupid polls that show people up by such huge margins as this? Is it so when the polls show margins that are actually believable, we can have some idiot breathlessly claim McCain is the weakest candidate since Michael Dukakis? For christ sake, Obama didn’t even win the most amount of votes in the Democratic Primary, yet he is supposed to be a stronger candidate than Kerry or Gore? Obama is the only candidate the Democrats had that is beatable by the Republicans.

  30. The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do in the closely divided battleground states, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule which awards all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state. Because of this rule, candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. Two-thirds of the visits and money are focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money goes to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people are merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 18 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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