Saturday, January 19, 2008

Election 2008 Overview

It looks like Clinton will win the Democratic nomination and McCain will win the Republican nomination.

I took the rolling poll tracking data for the for the candidates at Rassmusen Reports and copied them into a spread sheet starting from December First. I averaged the results for each day with an average of the previous ten days. (The entry for the tenth is an average of the first to the tenth, the entry for the eleventh is an average of the second to the eleventh) This smoothes the results eliminating minor day to day variances in public opinion or errors in a particular days samplings. The disadvantage of this method is it is not very sensitive to the last several day’s results. (I am not reproducing the data because Rasmussen will be happy to sell you similar data, more professionally done.) Of course individual primaries and caucuses will not accurately reflect the national average and may be more important in the actual nomination.

On the Democratic side Clinton has been holding at the high thirties nationally. Obama is in the low very high twenties low thirties and Edwards in the Low twenties. These numbers are stable for a month and a half. I suspect she will win the Democratic nomination. The question is how much anti-Clinton sentiment there is in the undecided and Edwards supporters. Normally you would expect them split between Clinton and Obama proportionally, but there is too much Clinton angst to make that a safe bet.

I don’t see much in any of them to vote for. As is often pointed out that the so-called Neo-conservatives are not actual conservatives. They rebelled from the main stream of the left because they saw those policies as morally and intellectually bankrupt. Though their ideas are much better than the main stream left they are not really conservative. Left Wing Lite so to speak. Most of what got President Bush in trouble in Iraq and domestically came from the baggage they brought with them to Bush's coalition. The thought of going from Left Wing Lite to the high calorie version does not seem exciting.

In the 2000 Presidential debates Al Gore said he thought Nation Building was a good policy for the US military. This was reflecting the traditional Wilsonian ideas. Bush disagreed. The US should only use it's armed forces to protect our vital interests. Iraq is basically a Nation Building project, justified by the Bush Administration as response to Nine Eleven. This was the result of the Neocon’s increased influence after Nine Eleven. It may not have been Iraq, but Gore would have had much less inhibition to getting us into similar activities even without Nine Eleven. I see no reason to assume a new Democratic administration would not continue the traditional Democratic military policy.If you thought Iraq was fun - Vote Democratic.

The Republican side is more interesting.

Giuliani, the long time expected Republican nominee is doing a nosedive. Every three or four days since December First he has been losing a percentage point If this continues he will be in negative numbers in late February. None the less the perceptive Anchoress gives him her Endorsement:

It is easy to forget, particularly if you did not live in New York in the months following 9/11, that Rudy Giuliani went to the wakes or funerals of nearly every lost cop and firefighter in the city, sometimes going from one funeral to the next in a single day. He even walked a bride down the aisle, after she’d lost her firefighter father and brother. He was tremendous and authentic, and he showed courage, commitment and leadership.

She is right, he is the best leader in a crisis of all the candidates, but I am not at all sure what direction he will lead in the more normal affairs of government. He is not at all solid on social conservative or fiscal issues, issues that need solid leadership in directions he does not support.

Romney has been climbing slowly to the low twenties and holding. Thompson is steady at ten to twelve percent. I think they have found their level and will not go anywhere, assuming none of the other candidates does something stupid. These would both be reasonable Presidents but I am not sure they are enough of a candidate to win. Romney may be able to position himself with enough recognition that he will be a much better candidate in 2012 or 2016. The more I see of Thompson the more I like him, but at a steady ten to twelve percent he not going anywhere.

Huckabee has been doing a slow gain picking up a net of about fifteen points from a starting point of twelve percent. He has been doing a good job of bringing some very disappointed social conservatives into the process. I think the real question is can he deliver them to whomever is the candidate the Republicans nominate. The Republicans can’t win with out this support. The biggest problem was nicely summed up by Peggy Noonan.

From the mail I have received the past month after criticizing him in this space, I would say his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture.

They have been bruised and offended by the rigid, almost militant secularism and multiculturalism of the public schools; they reject those schools' squalor, in all senses of the word. They believe in God and family and America. They are populist: They don't admire billionaire CEOs, they admire husbands with two jobs who hold the family together for the sake of the kids; they don't need to see the triumph of supply-side thinking, they want to see that suffering woman down the street get the help she needs.

They believe that Mr. Huckabee, the minister who speaks their language, shares, down to the bone, their anxieties, concerns and beliefs. They fear that the other Republican candidates are caught up in a million smaller issues--taxing, spending, the global economy, Sunnis and Shia--and missing the central issue: again, our culture. They are populists who vote Republican, and as I have read their letters, I have felt nothing but respect.

But there are two problems. One is that while the presidency, as an office, can actually make real changes in the areas of economic and foreign policy, the federal government has a limited ability to change the culture of America. That is something conservatives used to know. Second, I'm sorry to say it is my sense that Mr. Huckabee is not so much leading a movement as riding a wave. One senses he brilliantly discerned and pursued an underserved part of the voting demographic, and went for it.

John McCain was down to the low teens in mid December and has been sky rocketing up ever since. I think this reflects that in addition to his strong base at about his minimum in December, but he also is an acceptable candidate to the undecided and acceptable as a second or third choice of the Republicans who support other candidates and acceptable to independents in the general election. But with that much soft support it is easy to stumble.

El Jefe of the The Kingdom of Chaos calls John McCain the the Most Viable Conservative.

So convince me, people. I'll go with the most viable conservative. McCain's voting record in Congress is in general conservative, and he can win. Show me somebody else who can win. Show me somebody else as persistent. Think on something else: McCain could have been anointed -- walked into this nomination if he wanted -- all he had to do was back-off a bunch of stands that have irritated the Hell out of a lot of us. Okay, most of us on the conversative side of things disagree with his stands. But he made them anyway. He didn't maneuver for advantage, when it was clearly in his interest to do so. He did his duty as he saw it. Show me somebody else, who -- at such great political cost to himself: stands up for what he thinks . . .

Gerald of the The Cafeteria is Closed quotes Gerard V. Bradley of Notre Dame University on McCain’s prolife record. He may actually be stronger on social conservativism in practice than Huckabee.

Of the remaining pro-life Republicans, none can match McCain’s record of opposing abortion. He has served in Congress for 24 years, and cast a lot of votes on abortion legislation during that time. His record is not merely exemplary — it is perfect. McCain’s votes on abortion really could not be better. A campaign advertisement in South Carolina says of John McCain: “Pro-life. Not just recently. Always. Never wavering.” The ad is true....Twenty-four years of service at the national level — almost all of them in the Senate — make a big difference when we are talking about the next President, compared to candidates who have been small-state governors. There is no need to speculate or to rely upon promises or take matters on faith when it comes to McCain and abortion. He has demonstrated himself to be the best pro-life choice.

Identifying the best presidential pro-life candidate is very largely about judges, as well as particular issues. The next president is likely to (no one can say for sure, of course) have a couple of vacancies on the Supreme Court to fill. Given the Court’s present makeup and who is likely to be replaced, these two nominations will either tip the balance against Roe, or confirm it once again for a whole generation. For if the Court revisits the question of Roe’s basic validity in, say, 2010, it will not do so again for a very long time.(The last time was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in 1992.) McCain’s “model” of a Supreme Court Justice are — he has said — Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.I mentioned a recent South Carolina advertisement about McCain’s pro-life voting record. As good as that record is, the ad contained still more powerful evidence of his pro-life convictions. This part of the ad shows Cindy McCain walking beside a diminutive Catholic nun. Mrs. McCain is holding an infant in her arms. It is (the ad text says) “little Bridget, a baby she and John adopted in 1993 from Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh. Bridget has been a great blessing to the McCain family.”

McCain seems to be the best (or least worse) of the candidates. However I am not entirely happy with him. The McCain Finegold Act denies freedom of speech, but nothing like the so called hate speech laws advocated by the Democrats; those parts of the act should be repealed or ruled unconstitutional. His grandstanding on torture with proposed legislation that was so poorly written that it could increase the use of torture was disappointing. (The link is my post.)

He is the best the candidate that’s running, but I think I will keep my old endorsement until I accommodate myself to reality.

Update 8 PM,Jan 19, 2008: I corrected some grammer errors and rewrote some text that was not clear. I shouldn't post after midnight.

1 comment:

El Jefe Maximo said...

This sums up the state of play, and the issues connected with McCain very well. "McCain seems to be the best (or least worse) of the candidates. However I am not entirely happy with him." My position in a nutshell.

Ms. Noonan is onto something about Huckabee. The issues his supporters see are real. I wonder, though, if any of those very real problems -- not limited to the culture -- can be addressed in the context of our system as it presently exists. Things are going to get harder economically as the Chinese bills become due. Wonder how that will play with this crowd.

Copyright 2004-2012 - All rights reserved. All opnions are mine, except comments or quoted material - who else would want them. Site Meter