Is McCain hotheaded--or just pampered?

A mostly political Weblog.
March 10 2008 3:34 AM

McCain's Not Unhinged!

His bullying is tactical.

(Continued from Page 49)

MyDD is  temporarily stunned! ... 2:33 P.M.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

'Bradley Effect' Update: Obama is ahead by 9 points over Hillary in the most recent Mason-Dixon poll of South Carolina voters. But can we trust voters to have told pollsters the truth--or are racial concerns (including the desire not to offend) leading them to give inaccurate answers?

a) Black 'Bradley' Voters? Noam Scheiber weighs in again  on the possiblity of such a "Bradley Effect" for black voters. It all depends on the race of the interviewer, he argues--suggesting that when the interviewer is black, some black voters may opt to (falsely) show racial solidarity, but that

when African-Americans are in the presence of whites, the greater social fear is being considered a "race man" ...

Debra Dickerson isn't buying that, and neither am I--though it's an empirical question that presumably could be resolved one way or another.

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b)White 'Bradley' Voters? Meanwhile, Emailer Z, who knows his or her polls, argues the Mason-Dixon poll might not have such good news for Obama after all--given the more-often discussed tendency of white voters to occasionally mislead pollsters:

Here's how the Bradley Effect works:  A stranger calls you to ask how you intend to vote.  You do NOT intend to vote for the African American, but you don't want to get a lot of guff from this stranger about how you must be a racist if you won't vote for the African American.  So you answer, "Not sure."  In all the classic Bradley Effect elections (and NH fit the pattern), the polls got the vote for the African American about right, but OVERREPORTED not sure and UNDERREPORTED the other candidate's vote.

So when the brand new MSNBC-McClatchy-Mason Dixon poll in SC says there are twice as many undecided in the Dem race (15%) than in the GOP race (8%), you might suspect Bradley-ism in that poll.  So what looks like a 9-point Obama lead with a fat undecided might in fact portend a very close race, no? [E.A.]

4:49 P.M.

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Obama Church Update: He  defuses the Farrakhan issue, but not his church's misguided 'keep-it-real' guilt-tripping of successful blacks ("Disavowal of the Pursuit of 'Middleclassness'"). ... 4:12 P.M.

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Has the MSM lost its ability to hound candidates from the race? If McCain loses in 'make-or-break,' 'single elimination' South Carolina on Saturday, will he be forced to drop out? Probably not. For one thing, he has too many supporters in the press. They can't quit him! For another, as First Read suggests, the press may have lost its ability to hound a candidate out of the race--a long-term consequence of Hillary's bolt-from-the-blue victory in New Hampshire. It's not just that the candidates themselves see less reason to drop out after the press has pronounced them dead, though that's probably true. (The press pronounced Hillary dead, and look what happened.) It's that one of the important mechanisms of hounding-out--increasingly negative coverage that turns off your funders and embarrasses you with constituents back home--may have broken down. That would be because the press itself has lost confidence in its ability to declare a candidate 'over,' and funders would be less likely to believe the press if it did. ... I predict that even Edwards, if he loses in both Nevada and South Carolina, will continue to get respectful MSM treatment. ...

P.S.: Edwards is a special case, in part because he has no constituents back home to embarrass himself with. But even Rep. Duncan Hunter, who does have constituents but very few primary votes, is still in the race. Maybe the constituents don't care anymore if their elected official persists in a doomed, Kucinich-like White House campaign. Maybe Hunter's district is so gerrymandered he couldn't possibly embarrass himself enough to threaten his majority. [Seecorrection**] Or maybe running a doomed campaign isn't embarrassing anymore. It's like having a blog, but with buttons! And many more radio interviews. ...

P.P.S.: For a contrary view see John Ellis, who argues the networks will cut off coverage of candidates like Edwards for their own budgetary reasons--coverage is expensive--which will in turn starve Edwards of the MSM attention he needs to keep raising money, etc.. Ellis could be right! Edwards will be a test--I bet the networks and the big papers either revise their budgets, or keep someone part-time on him. Or else Edwards figures out low-cost, non-MSM, Internet-based ways to carry on. This test won't happen if Edwards, you know ... wins. But then they'll never get anyone to drop out. ...

**--Correction: Text originally referred to his "reelection." Hunter is not seeking reelection. But his son, who has the same name, is running for his seat. That presumably provides some reason for the elder Hunter not to embarrass himself. ... 11:41 A.M. link