Tuesday, October 21, 2008


1. The polls may be wrong. This is an unprecedented election. No one knows how racism may affect what voters tell pollsters—or what they do in the voting booth. And the polls are narrowing anyway. In the last few days, John McCain has gained ground in most national polls, as his campaign has gone even more negative.

2. Dirty tricks. Republicans are already illegally purging voters from the rolls in some states. They're whipping up hysteria over ACORN to justify more challenges to new voters. Misleading flyers about the voting process have started appearing in black neighborhoods. And of course, many counties still use unsecure voting machines.

3. October surprise. In politics, 15 days is a long time. The next McCain smear could dominate the news for a week. There could be a crisis with Iran, or Bin Laden could release another tape, or worse.

4. Those who forget history... In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote after trailing by seven points in the final days of the race. In 1980, Reagan was eight points down in the polls in late October and came back to win. Races can shift—fast!

5. Landslide. Even with Barack Obama in the White House, passing universal health care and a new clean-energy policy is going to be hard. Insurance, drug and oil companies will fight us every step of the way. We need the kind of landslide that will give Barack a huge mandate.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Election 2008: Mid October Analysis

Will Barrack Obama win? What would happen if the Bradley Effect plays a significant role in this election? This is a discrepancy between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in American political campaigns. The theory of the Bradley effect is that the inaccurate polls have been skewed by the phenomenon of social desirability bias. Specifically, some white voters give inaccurate polling responses for fear that, by stating their true preference, they will open themselves to criticism of racial motivation. The reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well.

How ironic that John McCain’s best strategy is based of Obama’s primary mantra of hope. Hope the Bradley Effect has skewed polling significantly enough to error on the side of John McCain. In the past however we have seen with victories of President George W. Bush that a well-built political machine can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. This is to the advantage of Barrack Obama who has put together the most disciplined political ground force seen in my life time.

Obama Puts Money and Manpower in Florida

The caption is of Barack Obama speaking in Florida (with FAMU Marching Band).

"By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama's campaign is pouring $39 million into Florida and sending some of its most senior people there in a bid to win the 27 electoral votes of a state that has voted Republican in the last two presidential elections.

Florida is considered a must-win state for Republican candidate John McCain, and polls show the race is close, less than three weeks before Election Day.

``There's an opening we see in Florida, and we like our chances,'' Temo Figueroa, national Latino vote director for Obama, an Illinois Democrat, said in an interview. Hispanics represent 14 percent of the electorate in Florida, making them a key to victory in this battleground state.
Paul Tewes, who directed Obama's victory in Iowa's caucuses in January, has relocated to Florida for the duration of the campaign. Tewes left the Democratic National Committee, where he coordinated efforts with the Obama camp.

Obama's deputy national campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, has been in Florida since last week, and Figueroa will join him this weekend.

Florida has 415,000 newly registered Democrats, about 50,000 more than newly registered Republicans, according to estimates based on the secretary of state's data. Tewes, Figueroa and Hildebrand want to ensure the new Democrats make it to the voting booths on Nov. 4.

``The polling trends have been going our way for the last month,'' Figueroa said.
A CNN/Time poll conducted in Florida from Oct. 11-14 has Obama leading McCain 51 percent to 46 percent. A Fox/Rasmussen poll on Oct. 12 found an identical spread.
Twice the Ads
Obama is running twice as many television advertisements and three times as many radio ads as McCain in Spanish-language media in Florida, Figueroa said.

``You're going to see lots of Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and Jill Biden on the ground in Florida'' for the remainder of the campaign, he said. ``If we win Florida, Barack Obama is president. There's no way for John McCain to win without Florida.''
Mike DuHaime, McCain's national political director, said the Arizona senator's campaign is vigorously contesting the state.

Voters in the coming days ``are going to see a lot of Governor Sarah Palin, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senator Joe Lieberman and other prominent surrogates,'' he said.
McCain himself is scheduled to address rallies tomorrow in Miami and Melbourne.
Absentee Ballots

DuHaime said the campaign's TV and radio ads, direct-mail efforts and get-out-the-vote drives in Florida will carry a price-tag in the ``tens of millions'' of dollars, although he declined to be more specific.

He also said 218,000 more Republicans than Democrats so far have requested absentee ballots, which he said is a promising sign for McCain's hopes of carrying Florida.
Cuban-Americans, a reliably Republican voting bloc in South Florida, are among those likely to vote for McCain.

Still, Figueroa said Obama has openings with the growing number of Puerto Ricans in Orlando and Tampa, and with other new immigrants in South Florida who have largely registered and voted for Democrats.

This is the first election year that Cuban-Americans are no longer the majority of Hispanic registered voters in Florida, according to state figures.

``People in Florida are worried about their jobs, their pensions, their mortgages, they get angry every time they gas up,'' Figueroa said. ``We're going to fight like hell for every vote.'' "

Alaska Beluga whales endangered

"The depleted population of beluga whales that swim off the coast of Alaska's largest city was listed as endangered on Friday by the federal government.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it has determined that belugas in Cook Inlet, the channel that flows from Anchorage to the Gulf of Alaska, are at risk of extinction and deserving of strict protections under the Endangered Species Act.
The population, which fell to a low of 278 in 2005 from 653 in 1994, has yet to rebound from a period of over-harvesting by the region's Native hunters, officials said.
Hunting of Cook Inlet belugas largely ceased in 1999, but the population continues to struggle, officials said.

"In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering," James Balsinger, acting assistant administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service, said in a statement.
Environmentalists hailed the listing decision, but criticized the time it took to materialize.
"This ends the debate about whether the beluga should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, and starts the critically important process of actually working to recover the species and protect its habitat," Brendan Cummings, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement.

"Hopefully the State of Alaska will now work toward protecting the beluga rather than, as with the polar bear, denying the science and suing to overturn the listing."
The endangered listing comes despite objections from Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for vice president. At the urging of the Palin administration, NOAA delayed a listing decision that had been expected in April so that it could conduct one additional summer population survey.

Various industry groups have also fought the listing, which they fear will hamper Cook Inlet oil and gas development, cargo shipping, commercial fishing and major construction projects.
The beluga population of Cook Inlet is among five beluga populations in Alaska waters."