Obama Looks Headed for Victory

Photo from the New York Times
Photo from the New York Times

I have to agree with Conrad De Quiros’ assessment that barring any last-minute twist–or a horrific blunder on the part of Barack Obama–the United States is going to have its first black president next year.

All polls have consistently shown Obama ahead, with some, like the CBS/New York Times, putting him up by as much as 14 percentage points. Although historically wide gaps in polls have tended to narrow in the closing weeks of the race, the lead of the Democratic Party’s candidate may be too large to be overhauled by John McCain at this late stage of the game.

According to Simon Rosenberg in the Huffington Post, McCain is expected to gain ground in these final weeks, but this doesn’t necessarily mean he has a realistic chance of catching up.

McCain’s gains these coming weeks will be because he had been so dramatically underperforming since his successful convention. His erratic performance in the debates, his very public confusion during that first week of the financial crisis, the cratering of Sarah Palin, have all combined to leave him several points below where he should be at this point. In these next few weeks he will in all likelihood regain ground he should have been occupying all along but lost due to his disappointing campaign. So in many ways, McCain’s likely uptick is more a sign of his current weakness than any newfound strength.

Getting back up to 46, 47, 48 (in the polls) is not the same as winning.

What we are seeing is a slight uptick in the McCain number with no decline in the Obama number. The real trend line to watch now is Obama’s — if he holds at 49,50,51 — he will win. If he starts dropping below that, we may have a race on our hands.

I’ve always believed the main issue in the general election was whether Obama could give enough people enough comfort about him and his views to take the ground the American people were ready to give him. The debates, his strong performance during the financial crisis, a series of direct-to-camera ads have done a lot to give people more comfort about this new kid with a funny name whom we all have just gotten to know.

The latest Gallup poll shows Obama with an 11 percentage point lead over McCain in the presidential vote preferences of all registered voters, 52% to 41%.

It was a perfect storm which caught up with the McCain campaign, with the economy crumbling at the exact moment the Republicans were building momentum. Widespread mistrust of the Bush administration, the unpopular war in Iraq and lingering questions on the suitability of Sarah Palin for the second highest post in the land all conspired to do McCain in.

My own personal take on the matter is that Obama found himself in the right place and at the right time. It would be very difficult for any Republican to run and win against a backdrop of the extraordinary financial crisis and George W.’ s horrendous foreign policy blunders. Maybe it really is destiny.

Not that Barack doesn’t deserve to win. He’s an extremely intelligent and charismatic guy, a gifted orator and clearly the kind of visionary that McCain would never be. And his heart seems to be in the right place. My favorite Obama quip (from his book The Audacity of Hope) is one I’ve often thought myself and holds true for the Philippines as well:

I wish this country had fewer lawyers and more engineers.

He should make it happen, despite being an outstanding lawyer himself.

Former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell breaks with his party and endorses Obama.

He has both style and substance. I think he is a transformational figure. I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and you have to take that into account — as well as his substance — he has both style and substance.He has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.

Powell’s endorsement also an effort to reshape a legacy that he himself considers tainted by his service under President Bush, according to the NYT.

The latest AP poll shows the candidates neck-and-neck, with Obama at 44% and McCain at 43%.

5 thoughts on “Obama Looks Headed for Victory”

  1. I’m stunned to find people describing Barack Obama as a “gifted orator,” despite the fact that his oratorical prowess surfaces only when he is using a teleprompter. In a recent post, I highlight a media interview during which Obama used variations of the word, “Uhh,” a total of 30 times during the interview that lasted two minutes and 47 seconds. That’s almost 10 times per minute!

  2. Very true, Techguy. Does this also mean that he is race-neutral, since the half that’s white would cancel out the half that’s black and vice-versa ?

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