Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Barna Group Poll and the McCain Campaign

The Barna Group, which focuses on polling religious voters, came out with the results of a new survey tonight.

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Obama's Lead is Not That Much Less Than Expected. As is the case with every other poll, the Barna group shows Obama ahead--this time by 43-34. But their last poll two months ago had Obama up 50-35. So, the Barna group views the race as "tightening." What's significant is that Obama's ahead by 9. The "tightening" may be completely a result of Obama losing the post-clinching "bump" he had early in June. Moreover, the 9 point margin is pretty close to the 11.8 lead the Democrats have in the generic Congressional ballot. Obama might be closing the gap on the generic Democrat.

There's more good news for Obama in the breakdown between "likely" and "registered" voters. The Barna group shows Obama with a 9 point lead among "likely" voters. The lead expands to 14 (43-29%) if registered voters are included and the Obama campaign has been working overtime to register new voters.

2. McCain Not Gaining. The big movement in the poll was from Obama to undecided with the proportion of "undecideds" increasing from 15% to 21%. The problem for McCain is that he has not been able to increase his own support even though his negative advertising has been effective in creating doubts about Obama. So far, John McCain has not defined a compelling reason for undecided voters to switch their votes to him.

3. The McCain Embarrassment Hidden in the Numbers. The Barna group breaks down its sample into nineteen different religious groups. Being 9 points behind, it's not surprising that McCain is behind in most of the religious groups. Obama leads among
non-evangelical born again Christians (43% to 31%); notional Christians (44% to 28%); people aligned with faiths other than Christianity (56% to 24%); atheists and agnostics (55% to 17%); Catholics (39% vs. 29%); and Protestants (43% to 34%).
McCain only leads among evangelical voters (61-17%) but that's only an 8% slice of the total electorate and McCain's lead has been falling even among that group.

The embarrassment for McCain is that his lead among evangelicals has nothing to do with his own campaigning which has not been reaching out to evangelicals since he denounced Rev. John Hagee in June. For all the good that John McCain's presidential campaign is doing in attracting votes, McCain might as well not be campaigning at all.

If McCain wants to be president, he has get a lot better at being something besides the "un-Obama."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's very true as far as it goes.Michael Moore identified some problems within our (Democratic) strategy. Herewith
How to blow it
Wednesday, August 13th, 2008
It's the most winnable presidential election in American history - but the Democrats are old hands at losing. Michael Moore offers some helpful hints on how they might gift it all to the Republicans.
This is an edited extract from Mike's Election Guide, by Michael Moore / The Guardian

"Let's snatch defeat from the jaws of victory."
"We never met an election we'd like to win."
"Why get elected when you can be defeated!"

These have been the mantras of the Democratic Party. Beginning with their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in American history, Richard Nixon, and continuing through their stunning inability to defeat the most detested politician in the world, George II, the Democrats are the masters of blowing it. And they don't just simply "blow it" - they blow it especially when the electorate seems desperate to give it to them.

After eight years of Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office, the public had seen enough. The Democrats chose Michael Dukakis as their nominee. Two months before the election, he was ahead of Bush I in the polls. Then he went to an army tank factory in Michigan, put on some kind of stupid-fitting helmet and rode around in a tank with a goofy smile on his face. Weeks later, when asked what kind of punishment he would like to see given to someone who might rape his wife, he started mumbling some sort of gibberish instead of just saying what anyone would say: "I'd like to tear the bastard limb from limb!" The voters were so put off by his wimpiness, they elected an actual wimp over him, George H W Bush.

For years now, nearly every poll has shown that the American people are right in sync with the platform of the Democratic Party. They are pro-environment, pro-women's rights, pro-choice, they don't like war, they want the minimum wage raised, and they want a single-payer universal healthcare system. The American public agrees with the Republican Party on only one major issue: they support the death penalty.

So you would think, with more than 200 million eligible voters, the Dems would be cleaning up, election after election. Obviously not. The Democrats appear to be professional losers. They are so pathetic in their ability to win elections, they even lose when they win! Al Gore won the 2000 election, but for some strange reason he didn't become the president of the United States.
If you are unable as a party to get the landlord to turn over the keys to a house that is yours, what the hell good are you?

In 2006, the Dems had a meeting with themselves and, under the leadership of Rahm Emanuel, won so many House seats, they just waltzed in and took the place over. What a great day that was, seeing Nancy Pelosi bang the gavel down to open Congress. And yet, Bush kept doing what he'd been doing for the first six years.

After the debacles of Iraq, Katrina, gas prices, home foreclosures, our standing in the world, the failure to capture Bin Laden, and revealing the identity of a CIA agent in an act of revenge, it would seem that Barack Obama should be on a cakewalk to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The man should be able to sleep his way through the rest of the campaign season.

Ha! Think again. How many Democrats does it take to lose the most easily winnable election in American history? Not many. Just a few "close advisers" to Barack Obama who tell him a bunch of asinine stuff and he ends up listening to them instead of his own heart.

In an effort to help the party doofuses and pundits - and the candidate - spare all of us another suicide-inducing election night as the results giving the election to the Republican pour in, here is the blueprint from the Democrats' past losing campaigns. Just follow each of these steps and you, the Democratic Party establishment, can help elect John Sidney McCain III to a four-year extension of the Bush Era:

Keep saying nice things about McCain. Like how he's been "good on global warming" and campaign finance. Keep reminding a country at war that he and he alone is a war hero. Not to mention an all-round good guy. Say that enough and what happens? The same thing that happens when you repeat over and over, "Apply directly to the forehead" - people start to believe it! You've sold them on the idea that McCain isn't a bad egg, and they do not hear the rest of what you have to say: "But John McCain is four more years of George W Bush." If you keep saying he used to be a "maverick", our less-attention-span citizens hear only the "maverick" part, not the past tense verb included in that sentence.

This is not to say you should in any way demean John McCain as a human being or as an American. Disagreeing strongly with his policies or the direction he would lead the country is not the same as denigrating him as a person. This particular style of politics is the cesspool that the Right and the Republican Party apparatus swim in. We do not further our agenda by imitating them. Fight, fight back, and fight hard - but fight clean. It's ultimately what I believe the majority of Americans would like to see.
There is also nothing wrong with saying nice things about McCain's constituency, and you should. We want to hold out our hand to people who have voted for Republicans in the past. Many of them are tired, a good number are disgusted. They won't agree with a lot of what we stand for, but they've had it up to here with the Republicans and we should make sure our tent is big enough to welcome them in.

So if you want to help elect McCain, keep blessing him as if he were the white knight who accidentally hopped on the wrong horse. Forget to continually point out that he is truly up to no good. Keep pulling your punches. Don't remind people McCain wants to help the oil companies even more than Bush did. Back away from painting McCain as the guy who thinks it's a good idea to stay in Iraq until pigs fly. That way, if you keep praising him, you can send a mixed message to the less-informed who are simply not going to figure it out. When they walk into a voting booth, they will see two names on the ballot:
· Barack Obama
· War Hero
Trust me, this ain't Sweden. War Hero wins every time.

Obama electrified the nation on the notion of change and hope and a fresh direction in Washington. If he picks a running mate who screams "Same old same old", it will make it harder for him to attract all the new voters he needs to bring to the polls to win. Remember there are nearly 100 million adults who choose not to vote. That is a large base from which to draw millions of new votes. Obama should not desert a strategy that has worked well for him.

There is nothing wrong with picking someone who can help him win a swing state or someone who has more experience than he does in certain areas. But when I hear pundits say, "He has to pick a Catholic", well, John Kerry was a total Catholic and the Catholic vote went to Mr W. I mean, here's one of the largest groups in the country - 66 million Catholics - and they/we have allowed only one Catholic to be president in 208 years. You would think they would have been flocking to Kerry in 2004. That is not the way people think. It is the way pundits think. Keep listening to them and you can help elect John McCain the next president of the United States.

Keep writing speeches for Obama like the one in front of the American Israeli lobbying group the day after the final primaries. Here's what he said: "The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat." And: "Let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel. Sometimes there are no alternatives to confrontation."

Sounds like a speech McCain would give. Sounds like he's ready to invade Iran. Keep that up and more and more supporters will be less and less enthused. It will be harder to keep the base motivated if they continue to hear how Obama wants to expand Bush's "faith-based" initiatives, doesn't have a health plan that covers everyone, and wants to send more troops to Afghanistan. The implied message of this is that the Republican plan is a good plan. So why would voters want to elect the candidate imitating the Republican when they can get the real thing? Talk like this gets McCain elected.

Somehow forget that this was a historic year for women and that there is more work to do. Obama should be making a speech about gender like the brilliant one he gave on race back in March. Millions of people, especially women, had high hopes for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Attention must be paid.

Plus, this is just good politics. Women vote by a larger margin than men. And if it remains true that Obama will not carry the white male vote (as most of the polls indicate he will not), then he simply cannot win without capturing a strong majority of the female vote. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both lost the white male vote but won the White House. They did so by winning an overwhelming percentage of the black, Hispanic and female vote. That has to be Obama's strategy. Otherwise Cindy McCain will be our new First Lady.

Denounce me! The candidate Obama, at some point, might be asked this question: "Michael Moore is a supporter of yours and has endorsed you. But in his new book, Mike's Election Guide, he says the following (go ahead and fill in the blank - I've provided a full list of outrageously offensive lines already taken out of context in advance to make it easy for right wing commentators and Fox News). Will you still accept his endorsement or do you denounce him?"

And he better denounce me or they will tear him to shreds. He had better back away not only from me but from anyone and everyone who veers a bit too far to the left of where his advisers have told him is the sweet spot for all those red state voters.

We can't take four more years of this madness. We need Obama to be a candidate who will fight back every time they attack him.

Actually, don't even wait till you have to fight back. Fight first! Show some vision and courage and smoke them out. Take the offensive. Keep asking why these lobbyists are McCain's best friends. Let's fire first this time.

Sounds good to me.