The Race

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The smart money, including Joe Hubris' is on Obama.

The Horse Race.

Since June, McCain has been ahead in only one national poll.  It is important not to overstate the value of these numbers, but hey, you'd rather have the lead than not.  And if you have only showed a lead... a couple of times(?) since the spring, you can't feel good about that.  If McCain starts to show more leads going forward, that could be a good sign for the GOP.  I keep hearing comments tonight (8/19) about the race tightening, but it seems to me that it's been about 5-8ish for Obama ever since June.

State by State.

Howard Dean's so-called 50 state strategy could end up proving genius.  Who would have thought that Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Virginia and North Carolina would be considered in play.  Obama trailed by one point on July 29 in Montana.  He trailed by 3 points in a July 22 poll in North Dakota; by 4 points in South Dakota on July 9; by 4 in North Carolina on July 29; and LED by 2 in Virginia on July 19.  I think the Obama people should be concerned by McCain's strong showing in Minnesota--especially if he picks Governor Pawlenty and Michigan if he picks Romney.

One thing I can't understand: after the debackle of Katrina, how is Louisiana not in play?  Surely voters there attribute some of what happened to Republican cronyism.  Doesn't any of that stick to McCain and the GOP?  I guess I could say the same thing about Mississippi and Alabama but Louisiana is a state that has gone blue in the past.

The Northeast is going 100% blue--including New Hampshire, where Obama has a 6-point lead currently.  After a little buzz about Idaho, the Northwest has settled back into its recent trend:  Idaho goes red while Oregon and Washington go blue.  In the South, I don't buy the hype that Obama can make significant inroads here.  However, I do think that the margins will be closer and thus McCain will be compelled to pay more attention to that part of the red base.  In the Mountain West, Colorado and Nevada have made it interesting (along with Montana above), but otherwise, it's business as usual there and elsewhere.

The Money.

The spectacle of republican outrage at Obama declining public funding for his candidacy was about the most entertaining thing on television this summer.  The GOP haven't yet been able to adapt to the internet fundraising model.  Voters will be treated to a smaller number of McCain ads and far more 527's than Obama.  That'll give Obama far more control over the messages on the screens of voters.  Also, the 527's can't run "pro-candidate" ads.  That means McCain's TV campaign will be more negative than Obama's.

Intangibles.

Obama has consistently shown me what an outstanding campaigner he is.  McCain?  Not so much.  His current, scurrilous attacks on Obama's patriotism are downright dishonorable.  They may, however, work.  They have before.  Perhaps things have changed since 1988 or 2004, or perhaps they haven't.  Obama would appear to be less vulnerable to these attacks.

2008 could be El Año del Votador, replacing the security/soccer moms of yore.  Hispanic voters have increased in Pennsylvania from 99,000 in 2000 to 249,000 today.1  The Latin vote could very well be decisive here.  Fortunately for Obama, he's trouncing him with that group.  Latin voters in Nevada and Colorado could be critical those states as well.

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