One Week To GoWith 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.