Monday, November 03, 2008

Grounding the Polls

The latest polling data can be interpreted to predict either a blowout for Senator Barack Obama, or to indicate that Senator John McCain is easily within striking distance. Many of the critical state races are either within the margin of error, or close enough to give the challenger a reasonable opportunity for victory. Should the margin swing just a few points in several states, Senator Obama's sure victory becomes a razor thin loss.

However, the polls are just one part of the data which predicts the outcome. The best analogy I can summon is that of a swimmer recognizing an object approaching him as a shark's fin. The fin is a sure sign of serious danger, yet it is only an indicator. The real danger is below the fin, the part that actually does the biting is below the surface. The Obama team's ground game is deadly.

Howard Dean's 50 State strategy is clear and apparent in the Obama game plan. The Obama campaign is dedicating huge amounts of money and effort to the grassroots efforts more commonly referred to as the "ground game." The strategy of investing heavily in the field work and aggressively attacking the Republicans in states which they traditionally carry will show up much more prominently at the polling booths than has been reflected by the polling data. The poll numbers do not accurately reflect the effect of the Obama Camp's 5 million nationwide volunteers and their herculean two year effort to register new voters. Hundreds of thousands, or more likely millions of these new voters will not show up in polling data as likely voters, nor be counted in any of the pre-election statistics. Many non-traditional voters have only a cell phone and therefor will never receive the calls necessary to be counted in the traditionally run polls. The Obama grassroots numbers are astounding; 5 million volunteers, over 400,000 doors knocked on daily, and 82 field offices in Ohio alone. In Montana, nearly 25,000 new voters between the age of 18 and 35, a demographic which heavily favors Obama, were registered since January 1, 2008. This in a State which saw only 456,096 votes were cast in the 2004 election and currently shows dead even in the polls.

I predict an overwhelming victory for Senator Obama. Senator Obama will quite possibly carry every coastal State from Maine to Florida and a number of Congressional races will be shocking upsets in favor of the Democrats. Both Georgia and South Carolina have strong chances of turning blue due to African American and youth turnout. There will be nothing remotely close about this election. Come Wednesday, you'll likely need a history book to find a Republican in Congress. How long before the news pundits give Howard Dean the genius status they awarded Karl Rove?

No comments: