The Collective
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the MSNBC we have the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

With two weeks to go until Election Day, Obama now leads his Republican rival by 10 points among registered voters, 52 to 42 percent, up from 49 to 43 percent two weeks ago.

Obama’s current lead is also fueled by his strength among independent voters (topping McCain 49 to 37 percent), suburban voters (53 to 41), Catholics (50 to 44) and white women (49 to 45).

The Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll has similar numbers:

Obama leads McCain 52 percent to 42 percent among likely U.S. voters in the latest three-day tracking poll, up from an 8-point advantage for Obama on Tuesday. The telephone poll has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

And the Pew poll has even more dire numbers for the McCain campaign: Overview: Growing Doubts About McCain’s Judgment, Age a%nd Campaign Conduct

Currently, Obama enjoys his widest margin yet over McCain among registered voters, at 52% to 38%. When the sample of voters is narrowed to those most likely to vote, Obama leads by 53% to 39%.

Looking a the Pew numbers, it seems unlikely that 8% of the vote would go to third party candidates, and so I can’t see a Obama in the 50s an McCain in the 30s in the popular vote once everything settles out. If it were to turn out that way, then clearly the Republican Party is in far more trouble than we think that it is.

Consider the vote share of the two major parties in the last several decades (i.e., Dem vote + Rep vote):1

2004: 99.81%
2000: 96.25%
1996: 89.95%
1992: 80.44%
1988: 99.02%
1984: 99.33%
1980: 91.76%
1976: 98.1%
1972: 98.17%

1992 and 1996 are the Perot elections, with 1992 being the one in which he won 18.91% of the vote. 1980 had John Anderson running as an independent (he won 6.61% of the vote). While there is an impressive list (in terms of name recognition versus the norm) this year (e.g., Barr for the PL, McKinney for the Greens, Nader as an independent), it is still difficult to see them combining to capture 8% of the vote–indeed I will be mildly surprised if they combine for more than 2%-3% (and even that is likely generous). None of these third parties has a push to even rival Nader’s 2000 run. They are getting no press and no media exposure. Further, Obama is the clear benefactor of the frustrated voter this election, not some third party candidate.

Now, 1972 provides a model for a blow-out as an alternative path for McCain to get in the 30s (Nixon 60.67%, McGovern 37.52%) but that kind of gap seems perhaps even more unlikely than 8% going to third parties at this stage.

As such, it seems more likely, based on the current numbers and the trends, that Obama would break into the mid-to-low 50s and McCain would be in the mid-to-lower 40s. In other words, it continues to appear to be the case that issue is no whether Obama wins, but rather, what the magnitude of the victory will be.

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  1. McDonald pointed to the record number of early votes already cast in Georgia as an example of the high interest in the race.

    Voters in Cobb County stood outdoors in line for two hours to cast ballots Tuesday. Lines for early balloting were long all over metro-Atlanta Tuesday as the volume of voters in the upcoming presidential election continued to rise. On Monday alone, 66,159 people voted early in Georgia. That’s more than double last Monday’s figure. About 13 percent of registered voters — or 757,666 people — have cast ballots in Georgia so far.

    If that was not bad enough for Republicans this year in Georgia the DeKalb County Republican Party chairman, a long-time John McCain backer, said this week that the Republican’s campaign has left Georgia to chance.

    Two weeks out and here’s the state of the race in Georgia: McCain enjoys a lead ranging from a high of 6 percentage points to a low of 2, according to the past week’s worth of polls. Both campaigns are focused on the ground game, as early voting continues until next Friday. Turnout so far has been heavy, with a disproportionate number of votes from African-Americans, who tend to vote Democrat. One poll showed Obama with a double-digit lead among early voters.

    Reply to paul

    Comment by paul — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 8:39 am

  2. Hello Voting America,

    Are you afraid your vote won’t count? Scared of all the swarming news about voter fraud? Got your absentee ballot, but plan to drive it to the election’s office instead of putting in the mail?

    Well, this diary is for you (chicken voter). I am a poll worker in The Great State of Georgia! I have had extensive voter registration training from the Georgia Election Office (no, I’m not telling you which county).

    Here are a few tips to make sure your vote counts!

    Please have ID…yes THAT MEANS YOU! One reason get turn away from voting is that they don’t have identification. Here is a list of type of identification you should use.
    A. Driver’s License (Best Choice)
    B. Passport (Great Choice)
    C. State/Government Issue ID (Military,County, State, Municipal)
    D. State Funded Public School ID (Georgia State, Community College)
    E. Voter ID (this is free!)
    F. Non Driver’s License


    When voting electronically, BRING A No. 2 Pencil with eraser top. Why?
    A. Use the pencil to make your candidate choice
    B. Don’t Wear Jewelry (rings, bracelets)
    C. Don’t advance your screen UNTIL prompted
    D. Cut your fingernails to nubs

    Many people have big fingers or long fingernails which causes the person to “miss” their candidate vote….This is called a VOTER ERROR…

    Sometimes the person ring (especially if you use your knuckles) can cause the VOTER ERROR….

    By using a No. 2 Pencil with eraser top…you can choose your candidate by hitting the correct person. Make sure it lights up!

    Don’t keep hitting the NEXT button until prompted. WAIT for the machine to state (the hourglass prompt) to hit the button


    Sometimes “Voter Error” comes from having:

    Long fingernails
    jewelry (ring)
    YOU BLIND as hell because of the slant of the screen.
    I am a poll worker here in GA and this happened 4 times last week. We keep no. 2 pencils and this quickly “erase” (no pun intended) the problem.


    Reply to paul

    Comment by paul — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 8:41 am

  3. Yesterday Palin told a 3rd grader that the Vice Presidents job was to oversee the Senate. Perhaps the 3rd grader should be running instead of Palin?

    Today it is relieved she took her kids on trips at Alaskan taxpayers expense to outtings they were NOT invited to.

    And again today, Palins shopping trip to Neiman Marcus and SAKS on campaign money to the tune of $150,000. Good thing she wears skirts and blouses. I could not afford for her to wear a dress! New duds for Todd Palin, as well. I didn’t know he was running for anything.

    Reply to CarolO

    Comment by CarolO — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  4. Obama supporters act as if the polls are a true reflection of what’s going to happen on November 4th. When you don’t have an actual record to run on … and all you can do is point out problems, and blame others, as Obama has, you have to rely on gimmicks that have nothing to do with your actual ability to lead … like early voting …busing and indoctrinating homeless people on the way to the polls … spending 4 to 1 on advertising … having the media in the tank … having Hollywood in the tank, having Acorn in the tank … and, having 98% of all black voters in the tank. But, all of these things are nothing more than a fabricated perception. They have nothing to do with a person’s experience, or ability to lead. They just reveal a candidate who will say, or do anything to get elected. That’s why the Obamabots are so worried. That’s why Obama is telling his disciples not to get over confident. That’s why the Obama campaign tries real hard to make it look like Obama has already won … just like they did in the run against Hillary in the primaries. I happen to believe there are legions of people who are going to vote for McCain on November 4th … unlike the ‘in your face’ Obama supporters, November 4th is when the McCain supporters will express themselves. Keep America safe and strong, elect McCain/Palin on November 4th.

    Reply to Howard

    Comment by Howard — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  5. Well, if the issue is how big a margin Obama wins by, I’m not sure why that matters. A 1% margin is no different than an 99% margin in terms of what it results in - either way, he’s the president. He doesn’t get any more power for winning by a larger margin, or less for a smaller one.

    So who cares what the margin is?

    Personally - I still say that the pollsters could be wrong (they have been before) and things will be tighter than they are calling them. And it is still possible for McCain to win, although it may be the less probable outcome.

    In any case, who gives a flip what margin the guy (whoever it is) wins by? The Constitution doesn’t bestow extra powers based on the number of states you win. If it did then Ronald Reagan would have been our king, not our president.

    Reply to Captain D

    Comment by Captain D — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  6. Errrr, CarolO, the Vice President’s job IS to oversee the Senate. He or she is officially in charge of the Senate, and casts the deciding vote in the case of a tie. In fact, this is one of the few constitutional roles for the Veep, the others always being delegated by the executive.

    So in that case, Palin is right.

    Reply to B. Minich

    Comment by B. Minich — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  7. It’s true, Sarah Palin DOES have more
    Executive experience than anyone else in this race.

    That experience includes;

    A: “Spreading the wealth around…”

    Check out Alaskas Windfall Profits Tax that takes oil company success,
    redistributes it’s wealth by act of government,
    thereby socializing the entrepreneur’s profits.

    B: “Abuse of Power…”

    Troopergate, tasergate, don’t use the government for your family’s thangs…

    C: “Questionable expenditures…”

    If you don’t understand why you don’t use $21,000 of taxpayer money
    to cart your family around with you, maybe your understanding of political
    office is more in line with pre-America Europe than democracy.

    Man, I hope if McCain/Palin win she will be President inside of 4 months.
    Perhaps that’s the test Joe Biden was channeling from beyond.

    PALIN in oh-12 foolz

    Reply to Joffrey the Stud

    Comment by Joffrey the Stud — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 12:48 pm

  8. How does voting 96% down the party line equate to change(when the Democrats have been in the majority the last couple years). Democrats act as if they just showed up to find this mess. Riiiiight. They are just as responsible. And he voted 96% down those party lines(but critiques McCain because he voted 90%…actually 86% per CNN along party lines). 96% doesn’t sound like someone who reaches across party lines. It sounds like what it is,someone who has no experience & mails in their vote. He hasn’t been in office long enough to show many warts but has even less accomplishments to show for those 4 years. And that is suppose to be good enough? To run the country? You could put clips from January till now & chances are you couldn’t tell them apart,it’s like he’s on autopilot(much like his Senate term). Hillary,Biden & McCain are at least leaders within their own party. Obama stayed under the radar. You wouldn’t put someone that had been in a major company only 4 years as it’s manager or president. We are far from out of the woods. I don’t know if coasting for 4 years will be good enough.

    Reply to Kurt G.

    Comment by Kurt G. — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

    A far left Media …
    A far left President …
    A far left Congress …
    A far left Senate …
    eliminates all the checks and
    balances that our democracy is based upon.
    A vote for Obama is a vote for voter fraud,
    a corrupt media, and the road to Socialism.
    God Help Us !!!

    Reply to Howard

    Comment by Howard — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

  10. Even though Obama has not been in the senate as long as McCain, that doesn’t mean he is not smarter than McCain, he is just younger, and more in touch with what America needs. He is a Harvard grad. I am pretty sure he is capable of making good decisions.

    “Joe the Plumber” is really starting to annoy me. Why is everyone listening to this guy? What are his credentials? He makes it seem like families that make under $250,000 a year are lazy and don’t deserve a tax cut. I really don’t understand how “Joe the Plumber” can call Obama a socialist. Joe the Plumber’s family was on welfare when he was growing up! Dumb.

    I think Obama is going to win by a much larger percentage than the polls say. The youth vote is going to be HUGE & we are not being polled very well.

    Reply to Sarah

    Comment by Sarah — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 6:37 pm

  11. I don’t understand where all this socialism talk is coming from. Whoever wins this race, it can’t get much worse than it is now. You guys are acting like we are in okay shape now, and we’re not. Frankly the way things have gone for some people in this last year or two the last thing we need to do is go anywhere near the direction of the current administration.
    To sit here and say that a man that has graduated top of his class from one of most prestigious learning institutions in the world, and to say that a man that has the backing of some of the best minds in the world is not qualified?

    what the heck is wrong with that statement? John McCain can’t actually articulate any of his plans, and he still hasn’t done so. All he has done is bad mouth a man, and his family, questioned his patriotism, and the patriotism of anyone connected to him.
    That tells me how this man will act in office, he won’t be concerned about our standing in the world, he won’t be a consensus builder, and he can’t take the lead in those types of negotiations.

    I am sorry for all of you who believe in that man, but to me he is hot headed, he has been very erratic throughout his campaign, and showed absoutely no leadership or foresight in his choice of running mates.

    Reply to randy

    Comment by randy — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  12. Can’t get much worse?

    Dude, you must be very poorly travelled. America - even in the state that it is in right now - is far better off the vast majority of the world.

    Dr. Taylor blogged recently about the inflation rate in Zimbabwe. At the time it was something like 200 million percent. I think the percentage of the population in sub-saharan Africa that has AIDS is somewhere in the 50% range; and there are countries there where you risk being hacked to little pieces by a guy with a machete on any given day, simply for living in the village you live in.

    We gripe about the cost of a gallon of gas. Half the world gripes about the cost of a pound of flour; that extra US $0.01 makes a huge dent in the monthly budget.

    We gripe about a 6 or 7 percent unemployment rate. Brother, it can get a lot higher than that. We’ve had it break 20 percent in this country before, and some other countries around the world - it’s much higher than that.

    So when you say that things can’t get worse - well, they can. I’m not saying they will. I’m just saying that in comparison to most of the world, we’ve still got it pretty good here.

    There is a TON of room for things to get worse here, believe you me.

    Reply to Captain D

    Comment by Captain D — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 7:22 pm

  13. Who cares about ACORN?… the real crime is when someone poses as the person that is registered and then votes in their name…
    Who the heck would let someone vote if they are a dude posing as someone with a woman’s name anyway? - or vice-versa? What about Mickey Mouse… c’mon.. at some point, we have to depend on the voter registration system folks…
    It’s always been like this. Some idiots have voted twice, and got caught, and spent time in prison…
    We elect presidents based on this faulty system, and that’s the way it has always been…
    and this is John Mccain’s only hope at rigging this election..
    as long as they keep pointing the fingers at BArack Hussein Obama.. and his nefarious registration tactics… no one will ever think of checkin what John Mccain has up his sleave.. I’ll bet people on his side are going to vote twenty, even thirty times… and they’ll get away with it, because.. well… because their white.

    Reply to Daniel

    Comment by Daniel — Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 8:23 pm


    Reply to na

    Comment by na — Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 6:17 am

  15. [...] back to the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that I noted yesterday, I see via Yahoo News that there are some interesting numbers in that poll in regards to [...]

    Reply to PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Palin’s Numbers

    Pingback by PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Palin’s Numbers — Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 7:58 am

  16. I agree with Captain D, when he says that things could get worse. But, not to the point of sub-Saharan Africa! It is ridiculous to think that our politics could take us to that level. Africa is having an epidemic right now & I doubt any president would be prepared to deal with that.

    On the other hand, when compared to other nations that are technologically and medically advanced, the US is lacking. So obviously what McCain proposes is that we let everyone fend for themselves, like the way it has always been. For this reason I admire Obama’s approach. The US cannot succeed if we don’t help each other as a nation. The wealthy have had lots of opportunities in their life times to get them where they are. Why not help the middle class & lower class catch up? Opportunities are less abundant to these classes. In case of an epidemic, Obama’s health care approach would be most effective by allowing more people to access medical treatment. Doctors would be able to use more effective treatments on their patients instead of being forced to do what the insurance companies & pharmaceutical companies allow. Endemics and epidemics begin when people do not seek medical treatment & instead go around spreading disease. It is in our best interest to make sure everyone is at least insured.

    Obama is obviously and advocate of education & his plans for education and new and innovative & would bring our schools and children up to par. McCain’s approach is to let our schools compete? In competition, people fail. We should not want a school system that allows children to fail. That is a failing school system.

    Reply to Sarah

    Comment by Sarah — Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 8:33 am

  17. Captain D: “Well, if the issue is how big a margin Obama wins by, I’m not sure why that matters. A 1% margin is no different than an 99% margin in terms of what it results in - either way, he’s the president. He doesn’t get any more power for winning by a larger margin, or less for a smaller one.”

    As a matter of fact, he does - a larger margin will (almost surely, in the mathematical sense) mean more Dem seats in the House and the Senate. This will help immeasurably.

    It will also mean more respect from the MSM, and other informal centers of power.

    Reply to Barry

    Comment by Barry — Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

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