Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Week To Go

With one week to go before the General Election, we hear the news that things may indeed be much closer than they appear:

Barack Obama's been leading John McCain in almost every national poll since late September, and it may seem like he's got the election all sewn up.

But the Democratic presidential nominee's margin has fluctuated wildly, anywhere from 1 to 13 points in the past two weeks alone. And a few recent polls are even within the margin of error, suggesting McCain could actually be leading among certain sets of voters.

But some of the inconsistencies in the polls this year can also be traced to the method used by the pollsters.

The "expanded" Gallup poll, unlike the "traditional" one, includes those citizens who call themselves likely voters but who've never actually voted before.

I've always placed a lot of stock in the traditional Gallup poll because until this year, the Gallup Organization has remained one of the most reliable means to predict election outcomes. However, news outlets are choosing not to use the traditional Gallup poll, and instead are using the new "expanded poll." The expanded poll's methods are arguably very flawed, and yet this is the poll the media has been using because it favors Barack Obama by such a large margin.

I do not indulge in fantasies, and I am not under the illusion that John McCain is in the lead. This election is much closer than the press is indicating, however, and I think our media friends will be in for a surprise next Tuesday when Barack Obama fails to win the election in the first two hours. He may not have won by midnight, and NBC will be asking how this could happen.

In 2006, I recounted how emotionally exhausted I was in the wake of one of the hardest campaign years that I could remember up to that point. The U.S. Senate campaign here in Tennessee, as well as the bruising Tennessee House race in the 18th District between my friend Stacey Campfield and Schree Pettigrew had taken its toll on my heart and mind, especially since nasty primaries-one lost and one won-were involved in both cases. On Election Day, most of the candidates that I had personally supported and placed a stake in won their races, yet I was never happier in my life to see a campaign come to an end. My emotions were numb and I was a tired man in November.

This year, not only does the GOP appear to be behind nationally, but I am a candidate for office myself. When I entered the race for City Council here in White Pine, it looked like it was just going to be me and Ann Strom. Since the top two vote-getters are elected, it appeared that we would cruise to unopposed victories. Instead, my first ballot run for public office puts me in a field of six candidates where I know if I win it will be by just a few votes and I could lose by a tiny margin as well. I have invested time and money into this little campaign, more than all of my opponents, and I could still be defeated next week. One would think that the state of the national polls, the Republican position in the Congressional ballot, and the tired slog of my own campaign would place an emotional drain on me the makes 2006 look like a cakewalk. Yet, while I am physically very tired, and may collapse from exhaustion in seven days after spending a 12-hour day at the 100-foot polling line, my emotions are in a far superior state than they were two years ago. I feel pleased that not only have I done everything I could for myself, but the local GOP will turn out its voters-we've all done our part and I feel proud of that. My heart is very high.

It is a far different feeling than I felt two Novembers ago. If that is any indication of what will happen next Tuesday, things just might not be as bad for the Grand Old Party as it now appears.

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At Tuesday, October 28, 2008 3:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you are talking about the "likely voter" Gallup poll? Have you voted yet or seen the lines? I'm pretty sure there's way more people out there than just traditional "likely voters"...less than 7 days to go...

At Tuesday, October 28, 2008 3:26:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I have voted. When I did there wasn't much of a line. I walked right up and cast my vote and left.

At Tuesday, October 28, 2008 4:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the same experience here in GB KS. I walked into the County court house, into the clerks office and told the lady there I wanted to vote. SHe asked me my name, my address, had me sign a ballot application and then I walked into this little side room where an election officer briefed my on the touch screen machine and then I went thru the list of offices/candidates and pushed the "vote" button and then I walked home. I was there for all of 20 minutes.
I'm sure that Kansas is going to go for McCain, no doubt in my mind, however, I think the margin is going to smaller than many might think.
We have Obama/McCain/Repub/Dem key chain thingys for sale next to the cash register and working the night shift (12AM - 8AM) I've sold moe Obama key chains than McCain ones (4 to 1). Also, in discussion with folks (at work and elsewhere) I've heard the typical "he's a muslim", and even the "he's a N-word" BUT I've heard more talk about McCain's health plan (you know the one with the tax credits so you can buy your own private insurence) and how it would adversly effect them. And these were crusty old timers, too! So next Tuesday will be interesting. Wednesday will be even more interesting.
Oh, and by the way, David, you're still cherry-picking your polls. I just thought you should know.


At Tuesday, October 28, 2008 6:18:00 PM, Blogger the rep said...

I know how hard a campaign you are running and wish you the best. I have faith that no matter what happens you will be the better person for it. It is different being on the recieving end of the bullets then on the trigger end. Unlike some people who have run I know you will be stronger no matter what.

At Tuesday, October 28, 2008 10:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The media has an interest in making the race appear close because that increases the audience so they can sell ads. There's no story in 15% leads. Unlike many polls, Gallup isn't tied to a media outlet.

At Wednesday, October 29, 2008 9:43:00 AM, Anonymous IM Russell said...

Good for you for getting into the political fray! There are so many armchair quarterbacks out there who never put their money where their mouth is. It is time for the conservatives to step forward and make their voice heard. Thank goodness for Stacey paving the way! Keep the faith, you are doing the right thing!


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