2008 No Rest for the Angsty
posted by September 11 at 13:05 PMon
One thing I try to remind all the Obama-fans who come to me with acute cases of election anxiety is that it’s all about the electoral college. This is usually calming, because until now, daily tracking poll fluctuations aside, Obama has been leading by a wide margin in many electoral college vote projections.
But now his electoral college lead has shrunk quite a bit, and here’s a big reason: Obama seems to be in trouble in Pennsylvania.
Since winning the Democratic nomination, Mr. Obama’s campaign has labored to secure his standing here. It has conducted a ferocious voter registration drive, flooded the airwaves with commercials and dispatched thousands of volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls. It has opened 65 offices across the state — four times as many as Mr. McCain has — and more than it has opened in any other state.
Still, Craig Schirmer, the Obama state director, said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday that he expected the race here to be “incredibly close,” within “a couple” of percentage points.
Maybe he was just lowering expectations.
But a new Quinnipiac poll released on Thursday shows that Mr. Obama’s lead over Mr. McCain in Pennsylvania has shrunk to three percentage points (48-45) from seven percentage points on Aug. 26. (The sampling was taken Sept. 5-9 of 1,001 likely Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points, making the results statistically a dead heat.)
If Obama can’t take Pennsylvania, then the math for him racking up the necessary 270 electoral votes becomes a lot more tricky.
And if this new closeness in Pennsylvania is all about the state’s “bitter” gun-clingers still being upset with Obama over his April gaffe, and this same group of voters becoming newly excited about McCain because he picked the rural, religious, gun-shooting Sarah Palin as his VP—well, if that’s the case, I know a lot of Democrats who are going to be needing a fainting couch right about now.