Are You on the Edge of Your Seat?
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As the big day approaches, there's a glut of information out there on the election. What follows is a round up of some of the most important and fascinating news from the 2008 race:
Latest polling shows Obama upswing
Gallup/USA Today Poll released on Nov. 2: Obama: 53% McCain: 42%
And CBS released another poll showing similar numbers: 54 percent to 41 percent.
"When Gallup allocates undecided voters â€¦ Obama's share climbs to 55%, giving him an 11-point spread over McCain's 44%. These are blowout numbers. By comparison, in 1988 (the last time one of the two major parties posted a decisive win, without a significant third-party candidate in the race) George Bush Sr. won 53.4% to Michael Dukakis's 45.7%.
"In other words, if Gallup's final poll is roughly right, John McCain may very well end up underperforming Mike Dukakis . And how effective have McCain's slimeball attacks on Obama been? One more historic tidbit from the survey: Obama's favorable rating is 62% -- the highest that any presidential candidate has registered in Gallup's final pre-election polls going back to 1992."
Sarah Palin Is Still at It
Palin suggests the U.S. is at war with Iran: Speaking to Fox News' Greta van Susteren this weekend, Palin said, "We realize that more and more Americans are starting to see the light there and understand the contrast. And we talk a lot about, OK, we're confident that we're going to win on Tuesday, so from there, the first 100 days, how are we going to kick in the plan that will get this economy back on the right track and really shore up the strategies that we need over in Iraq and Iran to win these wars?"
Sarah Palin thinks her 1st amendment rights are being attacked if the press calls her comments 'negative': ABC News' Steven Portnoy reports, "In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by 'attacks' from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama."
Thinking about the possibility of a stolen election
Things might go smoothly in the election, but many doubt that it will. There have already been tens of thousands voter complaints from all over the country.
If voter suppression spreads, machines break down, lines last for many hours, and aggressive legal tactics are employed and together they appear to put the election in jeopardy, it will be vital that tens of thousands of people are mobilized as quickly as possible.
AlterNet will supply readers with instant, accurate information if the vote has to be protected.
But to be serious about fighting back against an election at risk requires an election challenge process in concert with the campaign. It can not function as a PR exercise. Candidates shouldn't concede prematurely.
Citizen assemblies would have to be generated immediately so people can testify as to where the system broke down on election day. And people who report problems actually need to leave very detailed contact information, so they too can be contacted by attorneys. In Ohio in 04, Kerry asked the OH Dem Party if they could pull together evidence in 24 hours to show how the vote was stolen and they replied no. He then conceded.
As AlterNet's Steve Rosenfeld writes, " 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) and 1-888-Ve-Y-Vota (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund). These hotlines have legal staff that will answer questions in real time and give advice, regardless of political affiliation. They have 10,000 volunteer lawyers who will answer questions, log problems and take legal action if necessary."
Polls and analysis point to Obama victory -- but election system is far from perfect
While hundreds of polls point to a strong Obama victory, and while even top GOP analysts concede they can't see a path for McCain to win, there are still many unresolved issues relating to the election process itself: it is hard to assess what the enormous turnout and huge numbers of mail-in ballots are going to do to the voting and counting process. Recent elections show that there are never enough voting machines in lower income neighborhoods, no matter what the circumstances. Read about the Advancement Project's report identifying the cities and precincts in swing states that may face long lines, poll worker shortages and voting delays in 2008.
Early voting results put Obama ahead in key states:
Political scientist Michael McDonald of George Mason has a comprehensive website displaying the most current information on the status of early voting. More than 25 million early votes have been cast so far, according to McDonald's site, and the numbers clearly favor Obama, writes brownsox of DailyKos:
Florida: Early-voting Democrats are outnumbering Republicans at those sites by more than 20 percentage points, and a WSVN-Suffolk University poll has Barack Obama leading over John McCain 60% to 40% among early voters. Georgia: Two million people, a record, cast early ballots in Georgia. That's 60% of the total 2004 vote. Blacks comprise 35% of Georgia early voters, and women 56%, suggesting that as of right now, Barack Obama and Jim Martin are winning big. Nevada: With more than 600,000 Nevadans already having voted according to the AP, "The early voting in advance of Election Day has been so heavy that Secretary of State Ross Miller increased his total turnout prediction from about 1 million to 1.1 million voters." That lowers the early-absentee balloting percentage -- but it's still at 56 percent of the revised total of expected voters. In Clark County, Democratic early voting outstrips Republican by 52% to 31%, while in traditionally Republican Washoe County (where just a couple of weeks ago, Democratic registration topped Republicans for the first time since 1978), 47% of early voters are Democrats to 35% Republicans."
McCain-Palin's focus on Pennsylvania reveals cynical hopes about appeal to racism:
The Mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania said this weekend: "There is no other reason for John McCain and Sarah Palin to be in the state based on what the polls say, except that they're counting on us to be bigots." The past five Pennsylvania presidential polls show Obama with a 6-8 point lead. Said VP candidate Joe Biden on Saturday, "I don't think it will be that close in Pennsylvania. I feel very good about Pennsylvania," he said. "Maybe because I know the state so well. I'm not overconfident about it, but I feel real good there."
If Arizona Gets as close as polling shows, it could take weeks to call
Themost recent poll from Arizona shows only a 1 point lead for McCain over Obama, and the latest news about voting there reveals it may take much longer than Nov. 4 to know for sure:
From the Arizona Republic:
[Maricopa County elections spokeswoman Yvonne] Reed said 827,380 County residents had requested absentee ballots or had voted early as of 2 p.m. Friday. The county has seen 566,656, or 68.4 percent, of those ballots returned. There are about 1.7 million registered voters in the county. Early ballots figure to create a significant delay in the compilation of final results. Officials expect that about 200,000 early ballots won't be marked or mailed early but instead will be walked into a polling place or will arrive via mail on Election Day. Those ballots won't be processed until two days after the election, Reed said, and Maricopa County hopes to have all of them compiled by Nov. 21.
Polling indicates huge landslide for Obama ... in Iowa:
Sen. Barack Obama is beating Sen. John McCain in Iowa by a huge 17 point margin, 54% to 37%, according to a new Des Moines Register Iowa Poll. Writes dean of Iowa political reporters David Yepsen: "If that kind of margin is reflected in what happens on Election Day, it would be the largest presidential margin in Iowa since Richard Nixon beat George McGovern by 17.1 percentage points in the state in 1972."
Montana could turn blue for Obama
From the Christian Science Monitor : "With less than 48 hours to go before Election Day, talk of the usually reliable red state of Montana going Obama is being seen as a real possibility. Both CNN and NBC have moved the Big Sky state from leaning McCain to toss-up."
Republicans scramble to save seats in Congress
"With the election imminent, Senate Republicans threw their remaining resources into protecting endangered lawmakers in Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Oregon, while House Republicans were forced to put money into what should be secure Republican territory in Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia and Wyoming.
"Sensing an extraordinary opportunity to expand their numbers in both the House and Senate, Democrats were spending freely on television advertising across the campaign map. Senate Democrats were active in nine states where Republicans are running for re-election; House Democrats, meanwhile, bought advertising in 63 districts, twice the number of districts where Republicans bought advertisements and helped candidates."
McCain campaigning in Tennessee?
"On Monday, McCain will spend much of the day in the air while traveling to six states -- starting the day in Tampa, FL, he then heads to Blountville, TN and Moon Township, PA, Indianapolis, IN, Roswell, NM, Henderson, NV and ending the night with a midnight rally in Prescott, AZ. Palin continues in Ohio, starting in Lakewood before moving on to Jefferson City, MO and Dubuque, IA and Colorado Springs, CO before finishing in Reno and Elko, NV."
Huge discrepancy in cellphone polls vs. landline polls
Nate Silver of 538.com writes: "The cellphone polls have Obama ahead by an average of 9.4 points; the landline-only polls, 5.1 points."
Grey color indicates landline poll, yellow indicates cell phone.
Silver explains, "I [spoke to] Mark DeCamillo of California's vaunted Field Poll, which does include cellphones in their samples. He suggested to me that it was much easier to get the cooperation of cellphone users on the weekend than during the week. How come? Because most cellphone plans include free weekend minutes. Conversely, one might expect that young people are particularly difficult to reach on their landlines over the weekend, since they tend to be away from home more (especially on a weekend when some nontrivial number of them are out volunteering for Obama). So, while I haven't tried to verify this, it wouldn't surprise me if the 'cellphone gap' expands over the weekend, and contracts during the week."
Shadowy campaign by racist abortion activist to hurt Obama's Latino vote:
Will Evans, Center for Investigative Reporting via TruthDig writes:
"In a last-ditch attempt to derail Latino support for Obama, an anti-abortion crusader and anti-illegal immigration activist have teamed up to blast out Gracida's message by email to nearly three million Latino voters and reaching even more people by radio.
"Randall Terry, the aggressive anti-abortion organizer who founded Operation Rescue, says it was his idea. He enlisted Gracida, who made national headlines in 1990 by excommunicating three Catholics for assisting with abortions. In 2004, Gracida gave a special benediction for the Republican National Convention." He told us the emails went to "2.9 million Hispanic voters" as well as "100,000 whites." He corrected that to "100,000 Americans," then quickly said that didn't sound quite right either."