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McCain by a Landslide?

That’s the opinion of Rush. Ivan the K sent me this link as part of a note saying both that this opinion is increasingly common in the world of conservative blogs and that he’s increasingly inclined to share its optimism. I have to admit that I haven’t yet felt the audacity of hope in the McCain campaign. But things aren’t hopeless either. I won’t dare deny that the character is there is Mac’s case, but I waiting to see more competence. At this point, my tentative guess is that polls actually understate Obama’s lead, because they don’t account for the probable increases in African-American and youthful turnout. I have to add that both Rush and his dittoheads aren’t what they used to be.

Discussions - 18 Comments

My Navy son says all the enlisted around him are saying they will vote for Obama, to end Iraq sooner. They think he will end the military over-reach they see and feel the strain of. They think with Obama world peace is at hand. My son (and I) say that Obama will probably draw down the military, but then some emergency will arise and ala Carter and Iran and Clinton in Somalia, etc., throw an unprepared and underfunded military at the situation with disastrous consequences. This is just a low-level military guy and his mom gassing. Yet the idea that the guys around him are planning on voting for Obama and isolation is a discouraging revelation.

I should probably clarify my own position--I think that that much of the pessimism surrounding McCain's chances is probably overstated and that while the optimism of Rush and company might be a helpful corrective, the landslide stuff is unrealistic as well. However, even if McCain does win, he's still a president with considerable flaws who will likely be severely constrained by the heavy electoral losses elsewhere. I'm not sure how significant the African American vote is going to be if it doesn't specifically contribute to victories for Obama in places like Ohio and Michigan and I'm still sceptical about the youth vote.

I think the polls overstate McCain's chances in one way. In 2004, millions of socially conservative rural and exurban citizens who do not usually vote to come out and vote for Bush. They expanded the electorate in a center right direction. That turnout was probably a function of two factors. 1. The appeal of President Bush to religous social conservatives. 2. The brilliant and extensive Karl Rove get out the vote operation that personally contacted those voters. McCain has no such connection with social conservative voters and its doubtful his get out the vote operation will be as organized and effective as the Bush/Rove operation.

Even a small drop of in the center right vote (which I think is pretty likely to happen) could tip the balance in places like Ohio, New Mexico and Iowa. The only way to make up for it is among voters in the center. But there is a problem with that stategy as well. There are presumably two kinds independent voters that McCain could add to his column. 1. Independent voters who sat out the 2004 election. This would be a hard group to rally because if you couldn't get someone to vote in the high turnout election of 2004, then... its gonna be tough to get them out to vote period. 2. Moderate voters who held their noses and voted for John Kerry in 2004. Its tough to see many voters who voted Democrat in 2004 switching to vote Republican in 2008. Obama is just a more attractive candidate than Kerry and the Republican brand is much weaker.

I was rather confident of a McCain win, mostly because I find it so hard to take Obama seriously. Therefore, I assume that, eventually, all my middle American neighbors will see the race as I do. However, I had counted on the military being in the McCain camp and my son's experience challenges my assumptions. In a sense, he is talking about one aspect of the "youth vote."


I would tie this to someone below speaking about disillusionment with government as we now know it. Reading . this by Thomas Franks today suggests that Obama speaks to that disillusionment in a way that engages the young. Yet every young person I know would prefer to see less government, not more, and I can't see Barack giving them what they say they want. Of course, maybe it is not really what they want. Maybe they want a big government that delivers on promise. I don't think that's possible. That is what GWB has tried and failed in trying to do. Can McCain do any better? I doubt it, and will happily reiterate, I do not think it can be done.

However, the mood for America seems to be democratic Fascism and not to be on-board is to be labeled undemocratic when it is the authoritarian government part that worries.

Too many Bobo's around today for it to be 1972 all over again. I can't see a McCain landslide under any reasonable circumstances. But I do see a likely McCain victory at this point (with the real campaign not yet really begun). Obama just will not be perceived as American enough to be president. That, plus his overreaching. He's going for a knockout with pizzazz instead of acting like a normal presidential candidate as he needs to do. The McCain campaign seems to see these factors as the way to victory and I think they are right. "Country First" will win it. I don't see how the black turnout can be increased too much in the blue states where it has been totally mobilized before. And in other red states, mostly in the South, it won't matter. And the large youth vote will be more than matched by a huge anti-Obama turnout among older Americans. There is absolutely no way the the current studies UNDERSTATE Obama's lead. I agree with Peter though that it will be interesting to see whether the Obama threat will be sufficient to stimulate the Republican brain to thinking seriously about domestic policy. The nihilistic desire for CHANGE may be great enough that Americans will elect their first trans-national trans-constitutional president of the the world--but I don't think so.

277 vs. 261 Obama wins. Also I will offer 5 to 1 odds that McCain doesn't get more than 307 electoral votes, so whatever you think is a "blowout/landslide"(if you happen to agree with my guess that it is more than 307 electoral votes, then you stand to make 5 to 1, by comparison my 5 to 1 on Obama is 355 EV.)

For those inclined to hate or distrust deterministic accounts I will offer 10 to one if California votes Republican or Oklahoma votes democrat, and 20 to one if you parlay the bet.

For a monster parlay on the idea that it will be a blowout and a total CHANGE/reorientation you can parlay the California/Oklahoma flip with a McCain blowout=307 for 100 to 1 odds.

All fine comments. Sorry to I the K for misrepresenting his position.

I believe the last fellow voted into office in a landslide was Dwight Eisenhower (Mr. Reagan's plurality in 1980 having been a consequence of the draw of John Anderson's candidacy). Unless Mr. Obama is caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, it ain't gonna happen.

Miss Kate, I would be quite wary of a sample drawn just from your son's immediate circle.

Re: the frequency of presidential landslides, one would probably have to count (post-Eisenhower) at least Johnson (64), Nixon (72), and Reagan (84). All dominated in the Electoral College and hovered around 60% in the popular vote.

The EC map hasn't changed much in recent years...even if all of the battleground states go to only one of the candidates (very unlikely), he still won't be able to claim the kind of EC victory enjoyed by the aforementioned presidents. That either candidate would command anywhere near 60% of the popular vote--much more unlikely than a landslide in the EC.

Art Deco, I promise I won't flip out over the testimony of my son. Nor do I expect anyone to do so here. It was just so unexpected. My son is a corpsman and his cross-sampling is not exactly his immediate circle. He chats about the election with the Marines he treats as a way of keeping their minds off whatever it is he is doing to them. Still, while I defend the breadth of his sample, I hope he has this wrong.

I think Robert Jeffery is right about an anti-Obama turnout among the older crowd who are too busy with life and businesses and - well - LIFE, to engage with pollsters just yet. Wouldn't a landslide for McCain be fun? Unlikely, but what a pleasure!

Sara, you are referring to incumbents returned to office. I was not. Trivia time.

Since the genesis of the current party system, 22 men have been elected in the first instance (the rest succeeding according to constitutional provisions). Eight have achieved this arbitrary plurality while doing so, so that seems common enough. However, only twice has the party of the incumbent president retained the office with a new candidate and a generous margin. One occasion was in 1856, when the party system was inchoate; the other occasion was in 1928.

Most of those who have acquired the Presidency in a landslide were competing in multiparty contests (as in 1856, 1860, 1912, and 1980) or engaged in seizing the office from an incumbent party presiding over inclement circumstances (1860, 1920, 1932 [!], 1952, 1980). There are just two candidates of note this year and the circumstances, such as they are, are beneficial to the Democratic candidate. Mr. Limbaugh is looking forward to quite a political anomaly. I suspect he will be disappointed.

Obama just will not be perceived as American enough to be president.

Hate to say it, but America is not very American any more. Both parties have sown liberalism for decades, and now we reap that bitter harvest.

Peter,

No apologies necessary---I was just adding a bit of clarity where I'm sure my original note to you lacked it.

At this point, my tentative guess is that polls actually understate Obama’s lead, because they don’t account for the probable increases in African-American and youthful turnout.

Don't forget the 'conservative for Obama' vote (aka, 'real liberals instead of another liberal republican' vote). I am firmly in that crowd, and I just moved to New Mexico. Hey! May vote actually may count this year!!!

See, sometimes I see McCain having a shot at it, but then he gets asked a question like "Do you prefer Mac or PC?" and he responds with something akin to: "Neither. I completely rely on my wife for all of that stuff." That there makes him seem a bit incompetent and out-of-touch, like the old grandparents that many of my friends complain about getting calls from all the time for doing something simple like making sure the printer is turned on before trying to print something....

"I have to add that both Rush and his dittoheads aren�t what they used to be."

What did he/they used to be, exactly?

(I know that Rush was the recipient of the Claremont Institute's Statesmanship Award back in '04 - a decision that should serve as a serious black mark on that organization's credibility for years to come (and check out those non-elitist, regular-guy dinner ticket prices!))

That tells me that our boys have been over there too long and they're infected with Arab ideas. They're starting to think it's okay for a Moslem named Hussein to be president.

Craig,

Your link refers to a study which was undertaken of a population (not a sample) of just 323 political contributions from servicemen deployed abroad.

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