Archive for September, 2008

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Rasmussen Polling – Swing States

September 30, 2008

Courtesy of RCP:

  • Colorado: Obama 49, McCain 48
  • Florida: McCain 47, Obama 47
  • Ohio: McCain 48, Obama 47
  • Pennsylvania: Obama 50,McCain 42
  • Virginia: Obama 50, McCain 47
  • Pennsylvania is very ugly, but Colorado looks winnable still.  Too many polls have skewed it 5 or 6 points.  Colorado has, in recent years, become home of the libertarian west.  Libertarians hate to identify with Republican candidates, especially one like J-Mac because of the McCain-Feingold.  I am amost positive, though, when they get to the polls, they will vote for the candidate closest to federalist.

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    Jay Cost on the Volatility of the Race

    September 30, 2008

    Jay Cost of RCP breaks down the polling data:

    Immediately prior to the start of the Democratic National Convention, Obama led in the RCP average 45.5% to 43.9%. In June, he had an average lead of 47.1% to 42.4%. So, from June to the beginning of the conventions, McCain whittled down Obama’s lead from 4.5 points to 1.6 points. The Republican National Convention put him ahead of Obama, but recent events have wiped that lead away. Currently, the race stands roughly where it did in June, though McCain is in a slightly better position.

    It stands to reason that the financial situation has been a campaign “moment” that has favored Barack Obama. So far, its effect is similar to him winning the nomination in June or heading to Europe in July.

    A additional few points are worth noting.

    First, the number of undecided voters has increased in the last three weeks, from a low of 6.3% of the electorate on 9/8 to 8.8% last night.

    Second, the polls themselves have been very volatile this month. The Gallup tracking poll had a crazy week last week, and individual pollsters are disagreeing with each other quite a bit. Much of the disagreement has to do with McCain’s share of the vote. The standard deviation of McCain’s share in the current RCP average is 2.8%. Obama’s is 2.0%. [The standard deviation is the average distance between an individual poll’s result and the average of all polls.] By comparison, the final RCP average in 2004 had John Kerry’s standard deviation at 1.7% and Bush’s at 1.3%. This is a sign of volatility in the current race. Pollsters are finding fairly divergent results.

    Third, there is a good subset of the electorate that claims to make up its mind in October or November. That might be hard for political junkies who have been following every twist and turn for 18 months to believe – but it’s true! In 1996, 30% of respondents claimed to make up their minds a day to a month before the election. In 2000, that number was also 30%. In 2004, 21% of the public made that claim.

    If anything, the chart and Jay’s analysis indicate that gloom and doom is not what we should be feeling… yet.  This race is far too volatile and the increase in undecideds is a good thing.  More than a few undecideds will base their choice not solely on the economy but on a myriad of possible future circumstnaces. There is a giant Russian gorilla waiting in the back of the room.  While the financial crisis is first and foremost on people’s minds, defense should not be too far behind.  When McCain looked into Putin’s soul, he saw KGB. If Putin has to look into Obama’s soul, he’ll see “puff pastry”

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    New ad

    September 30, 2008

    Can’t say it’s the best ad out there. Once you start throwing these giant numbers out, numbers which very people in the world even understand, the value of the dollar is lost.

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    Bush to Speak at 8:45

    September 30, 2008

    MIchelle Malkin is reporting this morning.

    This got me thinking.  Perhaps this isn’t McCain’s moment to shine, but Bush’s. The man is a leader and has shown deftness and skill at putting the nation at ease.  We all remember his bullhorn speech from ground zero.  I can’t remember a time when he was so inspiring.  A strong Bush showing can raise his approval and work to benefit the party.

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    Financial Crisis in Bullet Points

    September 30, 2008

    Found this linked from Redstate. It is pretty much a verbal distillation of what went wrong. From the adam smith blog

    • Anti-redlining laws in the US, passed in 1977 and strengthened in 1995, forced lenders to give mortgages to people they knew might not be able to afford repayments. People who haven’t had a full-time job in years were lent six figure sums.
    • In order to manage the risk this exposed them too, lenders packaged these sub-prime mortgages up with other ones and traded them as derivatives (collateral debt obligations, or CDOs).
    • People start to default on mortgages, but because the CDOs are so opaque, no one knows how much liability they, or others, are exposed to. So the banks stop lending to each other and the credit crunch begins.
    • Now the banks which have overextended themselves – lending far more money than they have in deposits, and relying on being able to borrow cheaply to finance their business model – are in serious trouble. Ultimately, it’s a cash flow problem.
    • Word gets out and Britain witnesses the first run on a bank in over 100 years. Confidence evaporates on both sides of the Atlantic. Share prices plummet, as one bank after another is infected. Investment banks, which do not take deposits and therefore rely most heavily on the ability to borrow, are hardest hit.
    • Two possible policy responses emerge. One, motivated by the idea of moral hazard, says that banks must be allowed to fail. If government bails them out, they’ll behave even more riskily in future. Plus, why should the taxpayers fund a welfare state for bankers? The other school of thought stems from the idea of systemic risk, that allowing banks to collapse would endanger the entire financial system (and, by extension, the capitalist economy).
    • Fears about systemic risk win out. Governments intervene to try and restore confidence. In the US, the Bush administration attempts to buy up all the bad debt, aiming to get banks lending to each other again.
    • This what happens when a bubble bursts. For years, the availability of cheap consumer goods from emerging economies like India and China kept down inflation. This meant governments and central banks thought they could flood the market with liquidity (i.e. cheap credit) and get away with it. They couldn’t. With too much money chasing too few goods, an asset bubble built up. House prices, in particular, were hugely over-inflated. It got worse after 9/11 when, facing an economic downturn, the US and the UK both pumped even more liquidity into the market. With breathtaking arrogance, politicians claimed to have abolished the economic cycle. In reality, they had simply swapped an immediate and relatively minor readjustment for a much harder landing several years down the line.
       
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    Karl Rove Destroys Pelosi

    September 30, 2008

    The blame for this mess falls squarely at the feet of Nancy Pelosi. SHe had the ability to force this turd sandwich through but failed to lead.

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    Megan McArdle: Pelosi’s Big Screw Up

    September 30, 2008

    Megan McArdle at the Atlantic:

    Pelosi screwed up royally.  She is the Democratic Tom DeLay.  Newt Gingrich was an ideologue, but Tom DeLay was simply a partisan, most keenly interested in maximizing his party’s political power.  Pelosi cut a deal in which, as far as I can tell, every single Republican in a safe seat had to vote yes so that the Democrats could maximize their no votes.  Given that the Republican caucus is pretty much in open revolt, this was beyond moronic.  She then spent a week openly and repeatedly blaming the Republicans and the Bush administration for the current crisis.  The way she set things up, it was “Heads I win, tails you lose”:  vote for the deal and I’ll paint you as heartless reactionaries bailing out your fat cat friends.  If you’re going to do that, you’d better make sure you have some goddamn margin for error in your own party.  She didn’t.  Then she got up and delivered yet another speech blaming the Republicans for the bailout deal she was about to pass.

    Great take on this. Pelosi’s battle cry was ridiculous. She will be remembered as one of the worst speakers of the house. She couldn’t pry ten more votes? Did she even try?