When I wrote this piece about Sarah Palin which was published here at TWN and also Huffington Post the other night, a good number of progressive readers really wanted to have my head. I had about 400 emails — a good 80% of which were screaming at me for what I saw as Sarah Palin beating expectations. Many said I was blind or deaf — and one said I was working covertly for the GOP. (I’m not working for either party for the record.)
Now we’ve had a few days to see that in fact Sarah Palin has revved up a lot of Republicans. She has also animated a lot on the left who fear her, and Barack Obama’s coffers are filling up fast with donations in response to the McCain/Palin ticket.
But among many progressive political junkies, of whom I consider myself one, a real depression has set in.
They see poll numbers showing a significant bounce for McCain — with one poll showing him 10 points ahead. CNN has McCain ahead by two and the Washington Post has McCain and Obama in a dead heat. But most other polls show McCain ahead at this point — and that is making a lot of pundits, writers, and activists hyperventilate.
Guardian US editor Michael Tomasky wrote a note to me and a few others today encouraging folks to calm down. I quote him with permission:
Let’s calm down a little. Let’s not live and die by the last poll or the last thing that Candy Crowley said. This will be decided by 1) debates 2) field and 3) ads, in that order.
Tomasky is wise. There is a long way to go in the race. I remember when John Kerry and Michael Dukakis were considerably ahead at this point in their races, and they were still defeated. The same fate could befall McCain.
But this site seems to do a better job than any others I have seen of not getting seduced into the laziness of national polls. It uses state polls to sort out what might happen in the electoral college.
FiveThirtyEight.com notes that there is new polling in five key swing states and after sorting it out, the analyst notes that McCain has made some modest inroads but that Obama still wins if the election was held tomorrow. 298 to 240 electoral votes.
But still that’s incredibly close. Not much has really changed about how divided America is even after eight years of Bush/Cheney.
— Steve Clemons