Saw this post at AmericaBlog (via Memeorandum) and started to laugh uproariously. This is what's characterized as intelligent discourse among the nutroots.
Robert Arena submits a post that discusses polling and why Obama doesn't seem to be fairing well. It's a clarion call to the Progressive Nutroots to get out there and worship the Obamessiah even more. I'll provide the funnier bits, with my commentary mixed in:
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Why people should be worried about the polls
Robert Arena · 8/20/2008 09:00:00 AM ET · Link
(NOTE FROM JOHN: Rob's post is long. Please take 5 minutes and read it. It's quite possibly the best thing we've ever published in four years of running this blog. I've been wanting Rob to write for us (again) for a long while (he wrote a bit at the beginning, then got a real job). Rob used to be, arguably, the Republicans' top Internet political strategist until he defected around the year 2000. Rob's encyclopedic knowledge of politics, of dates and figures, of polls and data and electoral history, is downright scary. Read this post, then share it with someone. Thanks, JOHN)
Ok, first off... AmericaBlog has just positioned this post by Robert Arena as "possibly the best thing we've ever published" in the life of the blog's existence.
He also claims that Rob is one of the most knowledgable political strategerist since... since.... Bob Shrum? Curious that he left the GOP right as it was gaining power... How insightful.
Keep that in mind as you continue to read. This is THE BEST from THE BEST.
Last week Pew Research released their latest poll on the Presidential election. It has the horse race question at 46-43 for Obama - within margin of error. At this point in 2004, Kerry led Bush 47-45, in 1992 Clinton led Bush 57-37.
Shhhh... don't tell Bob about this poll - his head will explode at the mere possibility that McCain is actually ahead at this point.
Bob then provides some of the Pew Research poll internals. I won't bore you with the details (you probably already know them).
Bob then provides this analysis:
While some here think everything is going just fine, and that Obama has a secret plan lying in wait, I ask you to think back a year ago. Imagine if someone had told you that the most charismatic Democratic speaker in a decade would be in a dead-heat with a Republican has-been corrupt waffler - you would have laughed in their face. After eight years of George Bush? No way, people are fed up - that'll never happen.
Well, that's the reality today. This race is a dead heat and is up for grabs both in the national polls as well as in key states like Ohio, Florida, Missouri, etc. Face reality folks - something isn't working.
While some say ignore the polls at this stage, you can't really do that. To be sure, some polls are worth looking at and some are worth ignoring. How do you tell the difference?
Ok. So far so good. Bob hasn't demonstrated exactly how stupid he is - yet. But, in the next paragraph, we get to see how idiotic the Human Political Encyclopedia really is:
Let's talk about polling methodology. There are two different ways to poll - registered voters and likely voters. At this stage, I ignore likely voter polls. Why? Well after a primary full of polling errors, I'm skeptical that anyone at this stage in the game can really determine who a likely voter is. (Read more about likely voter methodology on my prior post.)
Having said that, we do have a more accurate indicator - the registered voter poll. In order to be able to vote in an election, you have to be registered.
LOL!!! First, in order to be a Likely Voter, you have to be registered as well. To be categorized as a likely voter, you have to first be registered and second show some degree of engagement in the current electoral process (ie answering yes to questions like "how likely are you to vote in November," "Did you vote in 2004," "did you vote in 2006," etc.) These questions are intended to determine how likely you are to get up on a cold November morning and pull the lever for candidates or issues you care about. If your commitment level is low, chances are that you're not going to head to the polls. If you've never voted before, there's a higher probability that you won't vote this year.
These are all relevant questions which make the poll more accurate.
Bob then goes on to assert that Registered Voter polls are more accruate, since it's a representation of the total population of registered voters. But, as we have seen time and time again, just because someone is registered does not mean they will vote. The youths of America (who the MSM always predict will provide a Democrat tidal wave) are notorious for registering in exchange for a t-shirt and then being too apathetic or hung-over to show up on election day.
By following Bob's logic, polls based on the preferences of adults (registered voters or not) would be a better indication of where the candidates stand. Heck, there's still a possibility that Team Obama will get those bastards registered in time, right?
Back to Arena's idiocy:
So then what does the Pew poll say about where we are and what to do moving ahead? What is says is that the demographic breakdown of the 2008 vote looks an awful lot like 2004, and 2000. You can draw from that, and other public polls, that the same states in play in 2004 will likely be in play in 2008, and that the races in those states are highly competitive. The Pew poll says that voters are concerned about McCain's stand on the economy and on foreign policy (i.e., Iraq), but that they aren't yet sold on Barack Obama and question his experience. They like Obama's positions on the economy, but they aren't there yet.
Surprise!!! The American voter hasn't gone from being traditionally conservative & free-market to embracing European socialism and pacifistic foreign policy!
Who'd a thunk it!
And that they kind of like Obama's position on the economy, well all that most people know are sweeping generalities from his campaign ads that everyone would agree with. For example, one of Obama's ads here in Missouri states that he wants to "grow the economy." Nevermind that his detailed policies of increased taxation will undermine this desire of his. When people learn the details of his policies, they won't come around - they'll run away.
(By the way, speaking of polls... there's one poll that the MSM often points to - the right track / wrong track poll. I would submit that a large portion of those responding wrong track are conservatives who are not calling for an ever increasing socialistic nanny state, but rather wish the government would get out of their way when it comes to making a living, saving for retirement, educating their children, etc, etc.)
Back to Arena for the final paragraph:
Not all is lost folks, Obama has time and money to make a shift. But if you thought that somehow this year was going to be different - something would change and somehow the American electorate would look completely different this year than any other year, the numbers today just don't show that. This isn't a transformative election, it's another hardscrabble, claw out each and every vote, election. To win that kind of election, you need to fight for every vote and fight hard. That's why you hear the concern you hear from Josh Marshall, John, Joe, etc. And it's backed up by years of experience watching the Republicans make Democrats look weak - Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry. That line of attack works when not countered and we were defeated. None of us want that in 2008.
Was Carter seen as weak because of the Republicans? Or because he was???? A man who never met a dictator he didn't like, couldn't decide which side of his head to part his hair, encouraged people to wear sweaters during the energy crisis, and wimp out when it came to a bunch of Iranian mullahs.
And Mondale wasn't weak at all, despite support for a nuclear freeze, etc. And it was such a close election, what with Mondale getting only the District of Columbia and his home state of Minnesota - an electoral romp of 525-13 in Reagan's favor.
And Dukakis certainly was a strong guy, right? I mean, he even jumped in a tank to prove it. And he gave a professorial answer about opposing the death penalty for a guy who hypothetically raped and murdered his wife Kitty. He had some cojones, man!
And Gore wasn't weak... nah. He was the Alpha Male - at least, that's what we were consistently told. When did the GOP paint Gore as weak? I seam to recall Gore being more the nerdy Dingle-Norwood guy who was walking into everyone's personal space rather than just a pure wimp.
And, finally, John The Hat Kerry. What with his limp-wristed "reporting for duty!" salute at the Democratic Convention and his numerous campaign ads showing him on a boat in Vietnam. He was all man... except for the fact that he trashed the military and the country when he returned from Vietnam, had his own serious gaffes when it came to photo ops, and in truth was a haughty, effete, wind-surfing Massachusetts liberal. Which, if you're a Democrat, is a bonus, not a detriment to your prospects!
But yeah... the GOP always makes the Dems look weak.
And Obama's desire to lose the war in Iraq certainly positions him well to be the candidate of strength.
So, this is the best commentary that AmericaBlog has ever produced? I think I'll pass.
ARC: St Wendeler