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It’s like shooting fish in a barrel…

I was talking to one of my friends last night who graduated with me in Political Science from The U. Of Guelph. He now works as a Conservative Party staffer, and is more “conservative” then even what the official Conservative Party orthodoxy is right now which they are trying to present to the Canadian public. So, we don’t see eye to eye on Canadian politics, to say the least.

However, our discussion was about the Obama-McCain race in the US. I made the remark that I felt Obama was going to slaughter McCain in the presidential race – that it wouldn’t be close, and that he’d win 300 electoral votes minimum in this race. My friend spat out in reply there was “no way a liberal wins 300 electoral votes in the US! And have you seen the national polls?”. Putting aside the fact on whether Obama is as “liberal” as he claims, I have indeed seen the national polls – every day as a matter of fact – but as I reminded my friend, national popular vote isn’t what counts in the US (if it did, Al Gore would have been President and would have spared the world 8 years of grief and terrible leadership, and his own country’s constitution wouldn’t have been shredded or attempted to have been shredded in the name of “national security”.). State polls and state votes and their electoral votes are what counts.

I pointed out to him that if you look at a variety of electoral projection sites, including the Electoral-Vote.com site I have a link to on my sidebar here, as well as the Election Prediction site, (which is run by a couple of Republican supporters), those electoral counts show Obama either near or well over 300 (ironically, its the Republican-run site that has the highest # of electoral votes for Obama at this point in the state electoral race).

Regardless, my title is not referring to that. My friend and I then proceeded to get to the US Congress. While conceding the House of Rep. was “lost” to the Republicans, he was predicting the Republicans were going to re-take the Senate, which of course a) made my jaw drop, and b) confirmed to me that my friend has been listening to far too much of Anne Coulter, Rachel Marsden, Michelle Malkin and any other whacko right-wing commentator down there that you can think of. I’m even more secure in the fact that the Dems are going to pick up seats in the Senate then I am Obama going to win 300+ electoral votes, and I’m pretty confident in THAT, so I asked him if he’d like to place a little wager on that Senate prediction, which he accepted.

We were originally going to pick #’s, but that became a tad complex, so we made it a simple bet of me predicting the Dems would increase their Senate majority, while he predicted that the Repubs would pull off an upset and regain the majority. For the record, I was originally predicting the Dems would pick up 3 additional Senate seats, while he was predicting the Repubs to pick up +5 seats – yes, you read that right. His premise for that was he felt that battleground states would all vote Republican for McCain – thus electing McCain to the presidency, and thus they’d vote for the Republican Senate candidate as well. My conservative friend is being a tad hopeful in his prediction, I’d suggest. Others may have worse descriptions of his stance, but I’m a nice guy.

No polls support his current premise on the Senate, but hey, If he wants to give away a free dinner like that to me, who am I to argue? 🙂

13 comments to It’s like shooting fish in a barrel…

  • Ted

    The Dems will retain both the House and the Senate.
    MacCain has a decent shot at the White House.

  • Moebius

    I’m assuming this is a “straw-man” hypothetical friend?

    My American colleagues assure me that it’s not a shoo-in for Obama, especially after the nomination, where he may now actually have to be specific about what he supports. Liberalism is seen as a (somewhat) negative in this Southern state group. Interestingly, they preface any criticism with comments that it’s not about colour.

    I think Bush-itis, and McCain’s age will make it difficult for the Reps, but then I don’t get to vote.

  • The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do in the closely divided battleground states, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. Two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 20 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  • Anon Ymous

    A quick return for a few final remarks:

    1) I’d imagine that most conservatives would say that your commentary is often pretty ridiculous. As expected, it all depends on your point of view.

    2) Thanks, but I already knew what you were saying about national polls. I was simply making a comment about something you wrote in your original blog post. The only person who seems to be confused is you, old friend. : )

    3) Your comments about national polls are wrong. They are – and have always been – historically important indicators of the mood of the voting public. But similar to state polls, national polls occasionally make mistakes and miss certain trends. All in all, ignore them at your own peril.

    4) Based on the U.S.’s political climate, the red state/blue state divide and high levels of uncommitted support, this will be a close presidential election. Obama will not win 300+ delegates – he would have to win a good chunk of traditional Republican states, and they are not going to vote for an inexperienced Illinois senator. Obama may ultimately win the election, of course, but not by a big margin. And the reverse is true for McCain. In fact, a repeat of 2004 is not implausible, albeit without Ohio being the deciding factor.

    5) Dukakis’s collapse in ’88 is a fact, and I’m not screaming “liberal! liberal!” wherever I go. But Obama’s liberalism – and make no mistake about it, he is a liberal – has had an impact with some former Clinton supporters (and that’s on the public record) and will continue to cause him problems. While conservatism is not necessarily in vogue in the U.S. right now, the word “liberal” still bothers a lot of Americans – and with good reason. : )

    Here’s my final point.

    Aside from our posturing, keep in mind that we’re still in July. Neither party has held their convention. Neither presidential candidate has announced a running mate. And neither candidate has debated one another in a public forum.

    In other words, there’s lots of time for things to change, moods to swing and trends to pop up and/or disappear.

    Let’s see how it goes.

  • Originally Posted By Anon Ymous

    1) I don’t recall spatting out at any point in our conversation.

    That was my interpretation of your typed remark. It looked rather spitting to me. 😉

    2) Nice try, but I don’t listen to American talk radio. Never have. I read a lot of U.S. magazines (National Review), books and newspapers (Wall Street Journal), though. Even a few on the other side of the fence. : )

    I’ll take your word for it you don’t listen to those whackos, but it doesn’t make your remarks any less ridiculous 😉

    3) National polls and the national popular vote are a wee bit different, Scott. The former also takes into account possible electoral votes, while the latter is purely geared to potential popular support among voters.

    You seem to be confused here. My point here was – and I’ll repeat it again for your benefit – that national polls mean diddly-squat ( notwithstanding Gallup’s daily tracking poll for Sunday gives Obama a 9 point national lead). It doesn’t matter what the polls are nationally. It is the state polls and who is winning those and how many of those electoral votes that state hold that count.. and in every site I listed to you in that chat and again at this blogpost here, Obama is a decisive winner (and yes, very close to and over 300 EV’s), and that’s with models also predicting only a 4-5 point difference in popular vote “nationally” between the 2 candidates.

    4) I actually said that the Republicans COULD win back the Senate if they take all the battleground states. I took the bet for fun, and because I think a GOP victory in the Senate is within the realm of possibility. But I agree that things have to align correctly for this to happen.

    That chance is slim or none.. and slim already left town 🙂

    5) Speaking of jaw-dropping, I can’t believe you actually wrote in the Comment section that Obama’s political liberalism won’t “hurt him much in the U.S.” Fascinating, albeit historically inaccurate. I can flip you some interesting book titles written by political scientists who would dispute this point. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Michael Dukakis.

    It hasn’t hurt him so far.. it will continue not to hurt him in this campaign. That attack line by conservatives will fail to work against Obama, I predict. Dukakis and screaming “liberal! liberal!” is old news, my friend.. but you’re resorting to stale tactics – as are the Republicans, and it will be their undoing.

  • Anon Ymous

    Ah, it appears I made the funny pages…er, your blog. : )

    Thanks for leaving my name out, though.

    A few things, mostly minor:

    1) I don’t recall spatting out at any point in our conversation. And be fair to your readers – some of your language was also less than disciplined. The heat of battle often brings out the worst in combatants.

    2) Nice try, but I don’t listen to American talk radio. Never have. I read a lot of U.S. magazines (National Review), books and newspapers (Wall Street Journal), though. Even a few on the other side of the fence. : )

    3) National polls and the national popular vote are a wee bit different, Scott. The former also takes into account possible electoral votes, while the latter is purely geared to potential popular support among voters.

    4) I actually said that the Republicans COULD win back the Senate if they take all the battleground states. I took the bet for fun, and because I think a GOP victory in the Senate is within the realm of possibility. But I agree that things have to align correctly for this to happen.

    5) Speaking of jaw-dropping, I can’t believe you actually wrote in the Comment section that Obama’s political liberalism won’t “hurt him much in the U.S.” Fascinating, albeit historically inaccurate. I can flip you some interesting book titles written by political scientists who would dispute this point. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Michael Dukakis.

  • Paul

    Mr. Obama has been ranked as having the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate for the three years he has been there. He also has something in common with Canadian Liberls. Over 150 times he has voted present rather than taking a position.

    • @Paul

      He missed about 1/3 of the votes due to campaigning; that skewed the results. If you take that into account, he comes out the 10th most liberal senator according to voting record in another study I’ve seen.

      Besides, you’re at the wrong blogsite if you think a “liberal voting record” is supposed to scare me away from Obama. I don’t particularly view his liberal voting record – regardless of where he ranks and what parameters one uses – as a bad thing.

      I don’t think it’s going to hurt him much in the US either.

  • rabbit

    You “made the remark”, “reminded him” and “pointed out”, while your friend “spat out” and “claims”.

    I’m too old of a dog, ur rabbit, not to recognize these weather-worn rhetorical gimmicks.

  • Whooee! The Merkan media only gives the Merkan public credit for the ability to focus on one issue at a time. The media has decided the The Economy will be the issue. Merkans are being groomed by the MSM to vote on pocketbook issues. They will be deciding which candidate will be best for their personal bottom line.

    The choice: A doddering status quo-er who can’t see that the failed Iraq War and other Republican policies have bankrupted the world’s richest country.
    vs.
    A dynamic speaker who offers change and hope when a change is certainly needed and the hopelessness of continuing failed policies is becoming more apparent every day.

    Obama is, IMO, a lot more style than substance. I’m very wary of his environmental policies and credentials. Ifthe vote were held today, I think it’d be an Obama landslide. The swiftboaters and closet racists haven’t really started to work their campaign magic yet. Things can change and Obama could get some change he don’t believe in.

    BTW, a Dem administration and Congress will be even more protectionist than the Repugs. Canada may see some unwelcome change, too.

    JB

  • My question is what difference does it make who is in control of the Senate? Given that the Dems have rolled on every meaningful attack on the constitution by the Bushites, who really cares if they do well in November?

  • I don’t think specific domestic or foreign policies will matter as much in the US preseidential election as the comfort factor this time. Which candidate would you invite into your home for a coffee or beer? Obama is the coffee candidate while I could invite McCain for a brewski. With McCain, I can shoot the sh** with him while we down some Budweisers. Obama might be able to drink alcohol. We would probably drink wine, some coolers, or some mixed drinks.

    I don’t think experience or new ideas will matter much in this election. Voters’ confort levels with the candidates will matter. Obama may be an American liberal which places him in the Joe Clark progressive conservative category. Obama can get politically beaten up for being a liberal unless he takes ownership of the word, liberal, and spins it positively.

    Racial politics will matter. Obama needs to keep doing what he can not to make himself appear scary to white voters. Even a five percent switch will make a difference.

    Religion does matter in the states. Obama probably won’t get the hard core evangelical vote. He will need to get support for Christians who love Jesus but want more liberal policies. He should be cautious in not pandering to this group of voters or he will lose his core supporters.

    Senate and House of Congress elections are creatures of their own. Local candidate name recognition and incumbents’ previous actions will matter greatly. I will predict that the Democrats will win one or two more seats in the Senate.

  • Calgary Grit

    You should tell your friend to put his money where his mouth is. Put some cash on every Senate seat each party picks up – Dems are looking at AT LEAST 55 Senate seats in my opinion.

    And, yeah, Obama’s got a great ground game and is the better politician, so I expect him to blow past the 300 electoral vote total by the end of this.

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