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Four Scenarios

September 14, 2008

The Political Tipster looks into his crystal ball

Instead of giving my usual predictions I am going to outline four major scenarios that can occur in in the next fifty days and their implications. Three of these outcomes can be predicted while the final outcome is a general compilation of possible scenarios. The fact that the first three scenarious involve Governor Palin indicates the reckless nature of McCain’s selection, if indeed it was McCain’s choice rather than something Karl Rove or Steve Schmidt pressured him into doing at the last moment.

The primary scenario is that Obama ignores Palin or attacks her in a half-hearted way, retreating the moment he gets criticism from the Hillary groupies and Republican. Sarah Palin meets, or exceeds, the abysmally low expectations set by the media becoming the Dick Cheney of the 2008 campaign, a vulnerable and deeply mediocre politican who becomes a net positive for her ticket because she is given a free ride. The campaign boils down to a McCain vs Obama contest with McCain in a stronger position that he otherwise would have been. The probability of this occuring is 25% and McCain has a 65% chance of winning.

It is possilbe that the press could still find something that either forces Palin off the ticket or makes her deeply unpopular. This assumes that there is some scandal out there (80%), that the press can find it in time (50%) and that having found it the press presents it in a coherant form with proper documentation to back their charges up (50%). In this case Obama would have a very clear advantage, though there is a possibility that a McCain/Lieberman or McCain/Huckabee ticket could profit from the inevitable sympathy than a Palin withdrawal would generate. There is a 20% chance that this will happen and Obama would have a 75% chance of winning in this scenario.

Alternatively, Obama’s team could actually take advantage of this open goal. They could use some of their cash to take out a major ad buy in the swing states, debunking Palin’s reputation as a reformer and reminding women that under Palin’s management the city of Wasilla refused to pay for the test of Rape victims. The Obama campaign would also have to avoid any major gaffes that would step on this story and would have to send enough surrogates out to face down the inevitable cries of bias from the Republicans. There is a 20% chance that this will occur and a 70% chance of Obama winning in this scenario.

Finally, there could be an “October surprise”. A scandal could hit Biden, McCain or Obama. Troopergate could explode or fizzle out. The press or an Obama surrogate could make a huge gaffe that changes the election. The Middle East or the economy could get better or worse. There is even the possibility that the electorate could become deeply bored with the whole process after nearly eighteen months and simply move onto other things. In this case Obama and McCain would have a roughly equal chance of winning.

Overall, I am giving Obama roughly a 60% chance of winning the election.

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