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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Since I’m Suddenly Everyone’s Shrink, a Poll

posted by on September 9 at 9:51 AM

In the last 24 hours alone about four people have come to me with various levels of election-related anxiety (have stopped me on the street, have sent me terrified Facebook messages, have worried over the phone). They all want me to soothe their fears about Barack Obama’s chances in November, given the current poll numbers.

I don’t mind this at all—it’s been going on since the primaries, it’s fun to play election therapist, and it gives me a chance to talk about what’s happening beyond the latest polling. But patient walk-ins and referrals and skyrocketing lately, so just to help me get a handle on how serious this epidemic of election anxiety is becoming, a Slog poll:

How’s your election anxiety today?

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Canada? You mean Istanbul. November. M-hm.

Posted by Mr. Poe | September 9, 2008 9:57 AM

I've been pretty worried lately. Seems like Obama's playing defense (trying to knock down McCain's narrative of himself, rather than setting the narrative). The Times headline about Obama's fundraising being lackluster doesn't help. People seem to like Palin. Both the Princeton Election website and have swings back toward McCain.

What the fuck is wrong with this country?

Posted by Dan | September 9, 2008 9:58 AM

Yeah, I'm a little worried, but how long were we ahead in the polls? Not as far ahead as I would have liked, but still ahead, and looking even better in the electoral college. I only hope that people start to see what a fraud Palin and McCain are. I heard her same, tired, dishonest stump speech this morning about putting the governor's plane on Ebay and saying "thanks, but no thanks" to the bridge to nowhere, which she did not do. Will voters start to figure out that the few talking points she has to sell herself are either lies or not particularly impressive?

Posted by spencer | September 9, 2008 10:01 AM

It's been crossing my mind what would be best for me to do NOW and in the next few months or years to protect myself as our society and economy dissolves.

I feel like I'm watching footage from a documentary about the end of America as it happens.

Posted by Non | September 9, 2008 10:03 AM

Seriously, what do we have to do to apply to be a province in Canada? Any ideas? Is there a fee to pay? Can we start to lobby the Canadian Parliment? Maybe we can just have BC annex us?

The reality seems to be that the Democrats have put things off the table from discussion about Palin and are allowing the Republicans to set the discussion. Remember when I said never count Rove out of politics after 2006 and you all said I was stupid? What do you think now? McCain is playing the Rove playbook and it is showing signs of working.

You can count Rove out of it when he is dead and buried.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | September 9, 2008 10:06 AM

IMO? Close polls will increase turnout. I'm convinced that the better the turnout, the better Obama will do. So I hope all the polls indicate that things will be neck and neck, and that the polls are wrong.

Granted, I fundamentally don't understand the psychology of swing voters. Independents? I get that--I don't align myself with any party and have voted for both in the past (it seems to generally be the case that the intrenched party in any area is the more corrupt, whichever it is). What I don't understand is this 5% shift over a week--it's as though there are people out there who will just vote for the last person they saw on TV. As everyone's favorite congressional elf would say, "Wake up, America!!"

Posted by gember | September 9, 2008 10:10 AM

I'm a little worried about the supposed Clinton supporters who are now supporting McSame. I don't believe these voters actually exist- all the Clinton supporters I know have absolutely no interest in voting for McSame. One of the cornerstones for most Clinton supporters is being pro-Choice, and so Palin is anathema.

But I admit that I don't know many working poor in OH, PA, and MI so I could have a sampling bias. And I don't have a vah-jay-jay, further complicating matters.

Posted by Big Sven | September 9, 2008 10:17 AM

Its only Gallup thats showing really bad numbers

They seem to have gotten some weird results over the weekend that are still affecting their tracking polls. Things should be back to tie/slight Obama lead by the end of the week.

Posted by giffy | September 9, 2008 10:20 AM

I'm not worried. I'm just pissed. Canada is looking better, not to avoid the inevitable economic collapse under a McCain administration (any economic misery in the U.S. is going to effect the rest of the world), but to get the fuck away from people who prefer a creepy, war-mongering freakazoid over the handsome, reasonable, charismatic candidate.

I mean what the fuck do they see in him? He's as clueless as Bush, but ugly, weird, and unlikable.

Posted by keshmeshi | September 9, 2008 10:21 AM

“There’s a lot of hyperventilating about national polls,” Plouffe said, which wasn’t a surprise since both a CBS News poll and the Gallup daily tracking poll showed McCain taking the lead nationally in the presidential race. “When you look at battleground states, we feel very good about where we are.”

Personally, I am concerned about the easily-led mainstream media, who are eager to tell an exciting story, and McCain's "comeback" appeals to them, a horserace, instead of what it is: a single race on a single day in November.

The way the story is presented could influence voters, who are, generally, motivated by simple arguments.

Obama needs to do something flashy to take back the narrative lead. I think.

Posted by matt | September 9, 2008 10:29 AM

Canada is NOT looking better. The Conservatives and Stephen Harper are looking to sweep Parliament in October. This left-wing fantasy about Canada being some progressive Mecca is not only blindly ignorant, but pretty damn stupid.

Posted by demo kid | September 9, 2008 10:31 AM

Before you get too excited about Canada, Canada's having elections of their own on 14 October. Some pundits think the Conservatives will get their majority. (I don't.)

I'm not too worried about the US election, either. People obsess about the day-to-day polls, but McCain/Palin have been having nothing but bad news cycles lately.

I do agree that Obama should be taking back the narrative, though.

Posted by Cow | September 9, 2008 10:31 AM

I'm a little worried.

On the one hand, the current polls don't scare me all that much. This is McCain's convention bounce. It happens after every convention. The numbers will stabilize in about a week, and those numbers will be more relevant.

I am baffled and worried about Palin. She is such an utter nut job, and yet she seems to have helped McCain. None of the vast amount of shit that has come out about her has stuck, or made any meaningful dent in her popularity. I find this really disturbing.

McCain comes off like a doddering grandpa and can't read a teleprompter, and is following in the wake of the most unpopular president in a century. Palin is batshit crazy by any measure. Obama is smart, articulate, and charismatic. By all logic, Obama should be 20 points ahead in the polls, not neck in neck. The fact that it is even a close race right now shocks me more than anything.

This is turning into a nail biter, and I'll probably have ulcers by election day.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | September 9, 2008 10:34 AM

It's going to be fine. Why make yourself miserable? We're finally at the dawn of a better America, with the conservative movement in ruins.

Posted by Just Sayin' | September 9, 2008 10:38 AM

Conservatives in Canada are like our Democrats here. The Republicans in this country are going far far to the right; so far they are flirting with totalitarianism. I could deal with Stephen Harper as opposed to bomb happy McCain and his Christian Fundie bimbo..

Posted by Just Me | September 9, 2008 10:38 AM

I calls it "just desserts".

Big Sven -- it's only one poll (SUSA), but WA could fall back into the "competitive" column ... and Gregoire gets wiped out in the crossfire.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | September 9, 2008 10:41 AM

@15: The days of the Red Tory are over, what with the Republicans spreading their message of neoliberalism across the world. Harper may be a milquetoast next to McCain, but he's not exactly going to be the defender of all the things that liberals would move to Canada to enjoy.

Posted by demo kid | September 9, 2008 10:42 AM


I think many of those blue collar voters just really liked Bill and Hillary. I don't understand how liking them translates into supporting McCain and Palin, but those voters definitely don't have any loyalty to the Democrats in general.

Posted by keshmeshi | September 9, 2008 10:56 AM

kesh, I just find nothing in common between Clinton and Palin other than their being female. Nothing. I understand why some women would be really, really excited about a woman on the ticket, but I can't believe that excitement would trump literally EVERYTHING ELSE.

Also, where were these women when Ferraro ran in '84?

Posted by Big Sven | September 9, 2008 11:10 AM

"about four"?

Posted by Trevor | September 9, 2008 11:21 AM

Here. Let me help you move from "slightly worried/gnawing terror" directly to "constant panic / morphine drip"...

Gallup Poll
September 9, 2008

"McCain Now Winning Majority of Independents

Majority of independents now prefer him over Obama, 52% to 37%USA Democrats Election 2008 Government and Politics Republicans Americas Northern America

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ -- John McCain's 6 percentage-point bounce in voter support spanning the Republican National Convention is largely explained by political independents shifting to him in fairly big numbers, from 40% pre-convention to 52% post-convention in Gallup Poll Daily tracking..."

It seems that maybe those independents do like Palin...

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | September 9, 2008 11:25 AM


it's four days after the RNC.

calm down, people.

Posted by michael strangeways | September 9, 2008 11:47 AM

@15: @17 is quite right. Really, it's a wider spectrum; the Conservatives cover the centre-right and the right in Canada, while the Liberals cover the centre and centre-left and the NDP and Greens fight over aspects of the rest of the centre-left and left.

Anyway. Harper's making noises about revisiting the abortion question, gay marriage, all of that. Add to that that he wants to cut the GST and actually *cut* fuel taxes (global warming anyone?) at a time when Canada's surplus might not be anymore... it reminds me a lot of 2001 in America, eh?

Posted by Cow | September 9, 2008 12:15 PM

I was worried enough this morning that I finally created an account on "MyObama" site. And I plan to donate time or money to the campaign now. Sarah Palin has energized me.

Posted by mmb | September 9, 2008 12:21 PM

Does hand wringing count as "doing something"?

Posted by steves | September 9, 2008 1:13 PM

Thank you, Doctor Eli :-)

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | September 9, 2008 2:16 PM

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