When we started reading The Price of Politics last month we knew that the presidential race was going to end up being close but that Obama held an edge in the national polling and in most of the important swing states.
Now after the debates (with the last one taking place tonight in Florida) we still know that the presidential race is going to end up being close, but you can no longer say that Obama has the edge. You can dig through the polling data that’s coming out of the swing states and see that this race is within a point or two, and something less than a point, in almost every case.
It’s really that close.
But there are still clear advantages that Obama has in the race.
First, the demographics of the electorate. There are more Millennial voters this election than in 2008- and they still heavily favor Obama. There are more Hispanic voters this election than in 2008- and they heavily favor Obama.
Second- it’s about organization and the ground game- especially now that the debates are over. It’s get out the vote time- and over half the country is already voting with early voting. I’ve been saying this all year but it really makes the biggest difference- and the Obama campaign has a significant advantage with the organization.
Third- it’s the network. It’s now or never time for all of the data mining that the campaigns have been doing for months (or in Obama’s case, for years). Obama has a clear advantage in how all this data is used to get out the vote in the final 2 weeks.
So while the polls, there are other advantages that are harder to measure.
Here’s what we know and what Woodward’s book reminds us about- whoever is elected- the big issue they’re going to have to deal with first is the “fiscal cliff”.
And the results of the presidential race – and how close the vote ends up being in the end – will determine who has the advantage in those negotiations.
Unless the election results are indecisive.
Dan Gross, who is also reading The Price of Politics on Copia, has made a couple of points that I wanted to respond to this week.
First, he makes the point about the early days of the Obama Administration failing to update economic projections- specifically the promise that unemployment would not increase to beyond 8% if the stimulus were passed.
I think he’s right. And their economic team is not going to make that mistake again. But here’s the caution for Mitt Romney. He has embedded into his campaign this idea that he’s going to create 12 million new jobs in his first 4 years. His feet are to the fire on that. If he is elected and runs for re-electon in 2016 and the number of new jobs in four years is anything less than 12 million..I just don’t know how you spin that (though I’m sure they will think of a way).
Second, Dan asks why Republicans weren’t called out more (by the media) for walking away from their own proposals- like the creation of a fiscal commission. It’s a really great question and one that we haven’t heard at all in this campaign or even at the VP debate in Kentucky two weeks ago. Remember, Paul Ryan was on that commission. And he voted against Bowles/Simpson. I don’t know why this hasn’t come up in any of the debates.
All of this leads to this week’s discussion question:
If the results of the election 2 weeks from now end up to be just as close as the polling today suggests, what do you think the chances are that anything “will get done” in Washington, especially on the fiscal cliff?
Let me know what you think. I’ll be answering your posts and questions through the week.
1/ Sign-Up: If you haven’t already created a free account on TheCopia.com, you can sign up at thecopia.com/trippi.
2/ Download the book: Once you create your account, you’ll need to do two things in order to read the book along with us. You need to download an app or reader from Copia. (Instructions at: http://www.thecopia.com/about/applications.html) and then you need to download our book. Just search in the library for “The Price of Politics” and click download. This is the only way that you’ll be able to see my in-page comments.
3/ Join the Discussion: All of the discussion questions will be posted in my group on thecopia.com.