Why Has The Race Tightened UP?
by RickM, Thu Aug 21, 2008 at 06:33:51 AM EDT
Why has the race tightened up? I think it is a combination of three factors.
1. The Republican base is coming home to McCain. Of course if he picks a pro-choice VP, then he will put this group into a lather which will like cost him a point or two in the polls, but probably less, when all is said in done in the voting booth. Its one thing to tell a pollster you haven't made up your mind because you are pissed off, its another to not vote at all, or, gasp, vote for the all pro-choice ticket.
2. The attack ads have had a modest effect on Obama, by playing to the meme of "otherness." This has lead some independents who were earlier saying they would vote for Obama (based largely on general anti-Republicanism) to slip back to "I haven't made up my mind" when polled.
3. The whole VP dance, and "putting her name in nomination or not" dance has served to reopen the barely scabbed wounds of the really angry part of Hillary's support. Let's call it about 20% of her primary season voters. When the pollsters call these women (my assumption is that is mostly women) they are too angry to say that they will vote for Obama. And McCain's flirting with a pro-choice VP, gives them a little cover, as they toy with the idea of violating every core principle they have, out of anger. But again, it is hard to imagine that in November, with a pro-choice, progressive ticket within smelling distance of the White House, that they will stay home, or vote McCain.
So.. If I were McCain, I would shoot for the independents, reclaim my maverick brand, and pick Tom Ridge, let the base chips fall as they may. But, I don't think he will do that. He will pick a safer VP, who is anti-choice, firm up his base, but also further dilute his "maverick" brand, and look like just another Republican in a year when the Republican brand is toxic.
If Obama picks a women VP, the Hillary really angry group will come home to him sooner than if he picks a white male, but either way, when it comes time to vote, that group will sigh deeply about how close they came to electing one of their own President, and vote for Obama. Indeed, they may well deny it to pollsters right up to the moment in the voting booth, but when the actual votes are counted, I bet more than two-thirds of that group comes home to Obama.