Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Obama leads McCain by 2.58%

August 26, 2008

McCain needs to throw caution to the wind

As the hours tick down to Obama’s acceptance speech and McCain’s decision about a running mate, my final projections are:

Barack Obama 47.19
John McCain 44.61

These are produced by putting polls of likely voters (source: Pollster.com) through the filtering programme Samplemiser.

It is obvious that voters want a Democrat as their next President but don’t want Obama. McCain could probably grind out a win by picking Pawlentry and going negative but does he really want to face Obama’s incredible cash machine? My view is that his gaffe about housing has eliminated Romney. Similarly, Obama’s selection of Biden has damaged Pawlentry. My guess (which is the same as it has been for the past year or so) is that we are going to see a McCain/Lieberman ticket, but with Lieberman pledging to uphold the Republican stance on abortion. Certainly, this is the key moment of the election. Even if McCain doesn’t do the right thing he’s still come a long way from near anhilation, but the logic of this primary season demands the selection of Lieberman.

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Saddleback: My impressions

August 17, 2008

A narrow victory for McCain

After a quick read of the transcript, I’ve come to the conclusion that both McCain and Warren were the winners of the Saddleback forum last night. The fact that posters on Daily Kos are talking about ‘bias’, and even insinuating that Warren somehow leaked the questions to McCain beforehand, tells you all you need to know. Ironically, I was impressed by Warren. Although he had set expectations low by hinting he would ask bland questions more suited to a job interview than a Presidential forum, he managed to keep his questions relevant.

McCain clearly had two things in mind; to throw red meat to the base on abortion without ruling out Lieberman and to quash the spin that he was incoherent. He accomplished both things and also managed to raise the tone of the evening by mentioning John Lewis as one of those he would listen to closely. He clearly isn’t going to make inroads into Obama’s support in the African-American community, but it is nice to see him acknowledging it’s existence, something Hillary Clinton failed to do. His conservative stance on taxation was disappointing. However, McCain will hopefully have used his choice of running mate to demonstrate that he is not a generic Republican by the time the Presidential debates begin.

McCain also made the strategic decision to answer the less important questions more quickly, allowing him to give a detailed response on the issues he wanted to emphasise. Obama, on the other hand, took around the same time on each question, which meant that Warren was forced to cut him off on some of the questions. McCain also directly confronted the question about his first marriage without prompting, thus removing one of Obama’s possible lines of attack. The only slightly hollow note was the reference to the Obama’s decision to educate their daughters privately.

Obama will gain some credit for showing up in what is Republican territory. However, the way his appearance had been over-hyped and the fact that this was a relatively sympathetic environment, means that any boost on these grounds will be marginal. The only positive thing that Obama did well was to mention his elderly grandmother as one of those whom he consults regularly, though that risks re-dredging up memories of Wrightgate. Reading the transcript Obama seemed hesitant and nearly avoided making a major gaffe in his speech about Clarence Thomas. As someone who has money on McCain I am happy that my worst fears were not realised.

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Happy 4th of July!

July 4, 2008

Greating from TPT

As regular readers will know I am not American. In fact my side was on the losing end of the War of Independance. However, I wish all readers a happy fourth of July.

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Another day another 5% Obama lead

July 4, 2008

Well actually it’s a 5.05% lead but who’s counting?

My new national projections are:

Barack Obama 49
John McCain 43.95

I don’t know what is more strange; McCain’s utterly aparthetic style of campaigning or the fact that despite all that, and despite Obama’s move to the centre McCain is still within spitting distance of the Audacity of Hype (sorry, Senator Obama). Part of me wishes Obama were racking up double digit leads because that would have forced McCain to make some real changes to his campaign’s strategy rather than tinkering with the organisation. In any case any sensible person would think that Rick Davis’s days are now pretty much numbered, but I have been saying that for a while now.

NOTE: My methodology for my detailed polling projections involves collating all the available polls of likely voters and then filtering them through Samplemiser, a Kalman filter. I only used polls of likely voters and I get my data from pollster.com.

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More veepstakes speculation

May 27, 2008

TPT ponders Obama-Hagel

Given that there aren’t that many polls and the primary season is all but finished, speculation of who Obama and McCain’s running mate will be will probably dominate both the media and this web-log for the next few weeks. Reading Andrew Sullivan’s article about Chuck Hagel I was struck by how much one could say similary things about McCain and Lieberman, in that Lieberman (Hagel) is a solid Democrat (Republican) on everything but his support for (opposition to) the War in Iraq. However, the real difference between the two is while Lieberman is a respected figure who was selected as Gore’s running mate in 2000 and had the guts to stand up to Clinton, Hagel has done nothing. Another, more cynical, comparison would be between the large number of pieces of legislation that McCain and Lieberman have sponsored (or co-sponsored) together and Obama’s legislative achievements. It would also seem ridiculous for Hagel, a strong personal friend of McCain, to ditch the party at the very moment a moderate had triumphed, while Lieberman waited until the Kossacks had completely taken over the Democratic party to leave.

Note: I’m still adjusting to the WordPress rules about sidebars, so I apologise to the person whose post I just deleted.

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Returning to National Greatness: How the GOP can reinvent itself

May 16, 2008

TPT offers some advice to the elephant

The Republican party seems to be in turmoil with a combination of poor congressional ratings and a shocking results in Mississippi producing a crisis of confidence that has seen the ravings of Ron Paul climb to the top of the bookseller charts. Given that every person with access to a computer has written about the direction the Republican party should be taking, I am going to outline my suggestions on what the Republican party should do. It might seem strange that a left-of-centre Brit, who is definitely not any sort of conservative, is giving advice to the GOP, but I would contend that the amount of money that I have staked on Obama not being president, and the small amount that I have on the Republicans retaking Congress makes my motivations more straightforward that those of other commentators. In any case distance from the subject has never stopped me before so it is not going to stop me now.

The first thing that the Republican party needs to do is to move to the centre on economic issues. The Democrats, even though they have been dominated by the left, have managed to gain a huge advantage on the economy, healthcare and taxation. Indeed, had September 11th not increased the importance of national security, and unleashed the forces that would move the Democrats sharply to the left, the Republican party would have lost badly in 2002 and a Democrat would now be occupying the White House. Even the Republican magazines were disgusted with the ‘no-government anarchism’ of Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul when it dominated the Republican debates in the fall of 2004. Economic conservatism might have got some traction in the 70s and 80s when taxes were sky high, but they now seem like an anachronism in an age of increasing inequality. By all means the Republican party should remain an opponent of wasteful spending and a supporter of free trade, since these are good for society whatever philosophy you support, but it should recognise that the government needs to play a more active role in healthcare and education.

The Republican party also needs to stop treating people like Newt Gingrich with reverence. Although he occasionally has a few good ideas, such as his support for a McCain/Lieberman ticket, he is extremely unpopular in the country at large. Indeed, the latest poll gave Newt Gingrich a net approval rating of -27%. Similarly, although it may break the heart of Andrew Sullivan, Barry Goldwater should not be a model for the modern Republican party, unless they want to experience a repeat of 1964. Although many people believe that Bush was unpopular because he departed from ‘conservative’ (or more accurately paleo-libertarian) principles, the inconvenient truth is that it was precisely those departures (Iraq, No Child Left Behind) that have made him a middle-ranking president, as opposed to one of the worst. Even if one ignores the fact that the policies of the libertarian and conservative philosopher kings of the Republican Party are both unpopular and unworkable, their ‘leave us alone’ philosophy on guns directly runs against their distaste for immigrants and their love for limited government and the market runs against their support for attempts to find loopholes to the antitrust laws.

In essence the Republicans need to re-read David Brook’s 1997 essay, ‘A Return to National Greatness: A Manifesto for a Lost Creed’. In this David Brooks argues for a several key principles, ‘limited but energetic government, full-bore Americanism, active foreign policy, big national projects (such as the Panama Canal and the national parks), and efforts to smash cozy arrangements (like the trusts) that retarded dynamic meritocracy’. In essence this means a more socially conservative version of the Blairite/DLC agenda. Of course, you could argue that it has been Bush’s pursuit of this agenda that has got the GOP in these straits. However, it is not Bush’s foreign policy that is the reason that he is at twenty eight percent in the pollster.com polling averages, it has been his departure from it. This was illustrated in the 2004 exit polls where Bush beat Kerry by nearly twenty points (59.5 vs 40.2) among voters who were concerned about foreign policy (National Security and Iraq) but lost by a whopping 33% with those who focused more on domestic issues (Healthcare, Education and Taxes).

Indeed, the triumph of the anti-war and anti-everything wing of the Democratic party has opened an opportunity for the Republicans to capture the centre ground, as has the emergence, in Barack Obama, of a Democratic candidate who not only seems determined to drive a wedge between the generations but is more likely to nod his head to Jeremiah Wright’s rantings than view his country as a force for good. When even someone like Hillary Clinton is held to be too right-wing and too wedded to middle America for the Democratic party, you know that something is wrong. Of course, it is important to remember that there are potential flaws. This strategy should not be an imitation of David Cameron or Boris Johnson’s peculiar amalgam or elitism, isolationist (and in Boris Johnson’s case) racism. It also should be noted that ‘full-bore Americanism’ in this context means a celebration of a ‘shinning city on a hill’ and positive action to welcome immigrants out of the shadows of the underground economy into the American family, rather than a xenophobic immigration policy or the unwholesome dog whistling that Hillary Clinton and the North Carolina GOP have been engaged in. In essence this means combining the populism and honour of John McCain, combined with Giuliani’s optimism and Lieberman’s principled stance on foriegn policy and family values.

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Why Obama will NOT win the Presidency – even if he wins the nomination

May 6, 2008

Ten Reasons why there won’t be a President Obama any time soon

Over the next ten days I am going to write a series of articles detailing why Barack Obama can’t beat John McCain. Although I will look at each factor in detail, for now I will just list them.

1. Jeremiah Wright means that, whatever McCain does, the Republican base will ultimately be behind him. This will allow McCain to move to the centre.

2. Barack Obama’s antiwar stance will make the election about foreign policy rather than the economy. There is clear evidence that people are willing to listen to someone who can put forward a consistent plan for seeing Iraq through to victory. According to the polls, more people trust McCain than Obama on Iraq.

3. Obama’s reliance on students and 18-24 voters who tend to be less reliable is risky to say the least. George McGovern found out the hard way that they can change their minds between the Spring and November.

4. John McCain’s role as a moderate Republican set against Obama’s extremely liberal (in Amercian terms) voting record.

5. Although Hillary will support Obama many of her surrogates will not, so that Hillary could make a comeback in 2012.

6. There is a serious question mark about Obama’s competence on foreign policy and his judgement in choosing such advisors/mentors as Samantha Power and Jeremiah Wright.

7. Obama’s lack of experience will contrasts embarrassingly with McCain’s. This didn’t matter so much among Democrats, but it will play poorly with moderates, independents and weak Republicans.

8. The Latino-American vote will go to McCain (or at least break even). This is not on some assumption, as had been suggested, that Latino voters are somehow biased but simply a recognition that McCain carried 75% of the Latino vote in his home state. Latino-American voters have been steadily losing their automatic identification with the Democrats and becoming more like typical voters.

9. Obama can’t help being perceived as slightly wimpish and elitist. This is unfair but, as John Kerry in 2004 and Michael Dukakis in 1988 found out, such things unfortunately matter.

10. George W Bush will not be a candidate.