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Thursday, September 11, 2008

No Rest for the Angsty

posted by on September 11 at 13:05 PM

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.

RSS icon Comments


I'm not going to vote, because

Posted by it’s all about the electoral college. | September 11, 2008 1:08 PM

I'm not worried at all.

Posted by Just Sayin' | September 11, 2008 1:14 PM

uh, it might help if you would stop fanning the flames of paranoia...

we're still in the post RNC bump period and we haven't had a debate yet.

Posted by michael strangeways | September 11, 2008 1:20 PM

Don't give me a poll; give me a trendline.

Posted by Fnarf | September 11, 2008 1:26 PM

What Fnarf said. For god's sake.

Posted by MvB | September 11, 2008 1:28 PM

Fnarf: \

Posted by jrrrl | September 11, 2008 1:29 PM

Democrats quickly forgot that their current candidate lost almost every big state primary to a woman.

Posted by John Bailo | September 11, 2008 1:40 PM

And yet, some polls have Obama up in Ohio by about 6 points.

Worry enough to do something, yes, but don't become frozen in existential despair. Or whatever.

Posted by Nora | September 11, 2008 1:44 PM

Once again, I ask that you close such a post with a link to Obama's campaign. Call it compulsive donating, a variation of "shopping therapy", but I kicked in chunk last night, as money is where it matters...

Posted by Lose-Lose | September 11, 2008 1:50 PM

Add this to your worry list:


I didn't know Joe Biden was prone to gaffes. The "Wheelchair" one would be pretty funny if it wasn't so serious.

Posted by lark | September 11, 2008 1:50 PM

can someone dig up some dirt on joe biden having electroshock therapy so obama can pick hillary already?

Posted by jrrrl | September 11, 2008 1:53 PM

Fnarf - For a reassuring trendline, try's PA trend (but it's not very sensitive, as you can see by the three post-convention data points).

For less reassuring trends, there's this (national) from -- and note that Nate now projects Obama 269.9 EV, McCain 268.1 ... but with McCain winning 52.1% of the time.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | September 11, 2008 1:58 PM


Oh lord... Biden is a gaffe machine... Has been for years. More seriously, he's a plagiarist and a liar too.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | September 11, 2008 2:00 PM

If Obama can win in Virginia and Florida (both very much in play) and a couple of mountain west states, he's probably fine without PA and OH.

The polls are crazy right now anyway. Survey USA has Obama ahead in Washington state by only 4%, as of 9/7. That doesn't seem credible to me.

Posted by Joe M | September 11, 2008 2:09 PM

they sure do cling to their bitterness!

cascadian secession!

Posted by max solomon | September 11, 2008 2:11 PM


I just came across this:

I doubt Sen. Obama will win Florida.

Posted by lark | September 11, 2008 2:19 PM

That's right. It's not the national polls, it's the Electoral College. In two fucking months, okay? Your lame analysis is giving me a headache. (It's all about Obama saying "bitter" a million years ago, because now that there's a Palin, everyone is suddenly focusing on a million years ago.) But keep auditioning, and you will eventually get your spot on MSNBC.

Posted by bobbo | September 11, 2008 2:25 PM

Palinmania is going to cool somewhat as she retreats to her Hidden Arctic Lair to cram for the debates for the next couple weeks and Walnuts McCain is gonna be out there on his own blithering without his Star Player...meanwhile, Obama and Biden and Michelle and yes, even Hilary are going to be out on the trail.

and, Pennsylvania isn't going consistently goes Dem and it ain't gonna go Red this year because of the Frostbite Queen...

Posted by michael strangeways | September 11, 2008 2:37 PM

I suppose racism and "bitter" was the reason PA was so close for Kerry too, right?

Oh wait, that doesn't fit in the narrative the media has constructed...

In any case, looking at all this positive movement in the polls for John McCain, it's almost as if the Republicans held some sort of National Convention last week...

Nah, it must be because of racism and Barack Obama's overall suckiness as a candidate. That better fits the narrative the media has crafted for my consumption.

Posted by whatwhat | September 11, 2008 2:46 PM

I'm usually the last person to complain about how the hectic pace of modern life is screwing us (and normally I laugh at those sorts), but seriously, chill. The speed of these emotional changes we're bringing on ourselves is ridiculous, and only damaging in the long run. Or something.

Posted by Abby | September 11, 2008 3:16 PM

For those bitterly clinging to the "it's not the national polls, it's the battleground states" conceit, take a look at this GQR Democracy Corps survey.

Side by side, toplines or internals, there's not a whit's difference between national and battleground results.

Now relax! We're all gonna die, many of us in decidedly undignified circumstances, and before we do we'll see more than one hopium-filled thought-balloon slip our grasp and get raptured out of sight.

Relax! It's better than the hellish experience of finding out what a disaster Obama would have been as President.

Relax! If McCain can gut it out through 5 and a half years in POW camp, you can gut it out through 2 and a half years of having him as President.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | September 11, 2008 4:29 PM

#22, that's nice RonK, and I agree that we could probably survive 2 1/2 years of McCain, but after those 2.5 years when he keels over, the riegns will be left in Palin's hands, and since GW destroyed the Constitution, she'll have unlimited power.

I guess that means only 5 years left of The Stranger!

Posted by Lose-Lose | September 11, 2008 4:43 PM

Here's a site that shows Obama ahead of McCain in Pennsylvania for "the sky is falling" crowd.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | September 11, 2008 4:57 PM

Hils thought she had the nom locked up.

But it was all about the delegates, not the popular vote.

John "Traitor" McCain and Sarah "Separatist" Palin think they have it all locked up.

But they're being schooled by President Obama with his Electoral College degree.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 12, 2008 12:00 AM

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