Will Obama kill bling?

A mostly political Weblog.
June 13 2008 3:07 PM

Will Obama Kill Bling?

The audacity of hope!

(Continued from Page 63)

For myself, I tend to agree with Obama's point 1), the passage that rightly  impressed Abigail Thernstrom. But I disagree with 2), and suspect a lot of other "typical" voters may also (and not like to be lectured about it). More important, on (3) and (4), it's hard to believe we're about to nominate a Democrat who doesn't acknowledge the lesson of the 1990s--that voters are worried about issues like welfare because they are worried about welfare, not because "welfare" is a surrogate for "lack of national health insurance." Can a Dem who hasn't learned that lesson can be elected in a two-candidate general election? That's no longer unthinkable, but it would require not only that the old Carter-Ford-Reagan-Clinton issues like welfare, crime, etc. recede into the background (replaced by Iraq and the economy). It would also require Republicans who are too stupid to find a way to bring them back into the foreground.

For those Democrats worried about Obama's seemingly old-fashioned liberalism--sorry, progressivism!-- the great hope has been that of course he'll pivot and turn toward the reformist, Clintonian center once he's got the nomination in hand. But what if The Pivot never happens (as David Frum, for one, has predicted)? That's a big issue--maybe the big issue--raised by Obama's "race" address. That's a big--maybe main--reason that it's a gaffe. Obama's honesty is bracing.  But he honestly doesn't seem to be the sort of neoliberal politician who wins national elections. ... 2:17 A.M. link

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The 'Bradley Effect' is Back? Gallup's national tracking poll has Obama retaking the lead over Hillary  after bottoming out on the day of his big race speech. Rasmussen's robo-poll, on the other hand, shows Obama losing ground since last Tuesday.  True, even Rasmussen doesn't seem to be putting a lot of emphasis  on his survey's 6-point shift. But isn't this week's primary race exactly the sort of environment--i.e.., the issue of race is in the air--when robo-polling is supposed to have an advantage over the conventional human telephone polling used by Gallup? Voters wary of looking like bigots to a live operator--'and why didn't you like Obama's plea for mutual for understanding that all the editorial pages liked?'--might lie about their opinions, a phenomenon known as the Bradley Effect. But they might be more willing to tell the truth to a machine. ...

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P.S.: I take no position on this issue. I say wait for Pennsylvania. I've previously argued that the robo-pollers' truth-divining advantage might well have disappeared  because, with all the computers now tracking expenditures and generating credit ratings, etc.--people are scared to tell the truth to machines too. But this theory was dismissed by Pollster.com'sMark Blumenthal as lacking "supportive evidence." Picky! But maybe Blumenthal's right, in which case Obama should be worried. ...

P.P.S.: Of course, the 'Bradley Effect' could be inflating Obama's numbers in both the Gallup and Rasmussen polls to at least some extent, in which case Obama should be very worried. ...

Backfill: Blumenthal posted on another bad-for-Barack robo-poll (Survey USA) on Friday, but needs to update! ...

More: First Read's daily email identifies a third robo-poll, in North Carolina, in which Obama did relatively poorly (leading by only a point in a state he's supposed to win). ...

Three. Trend! ...

Blumenthal responds:  Mystery Pollster notes  that if you average poll results since the Wright controversy broke on the 14th, Obama does slightly better in Rasmussen's robo-poll (where he's a point above Hillary on average) than in Gallup's regular poll (where he's two points down on average). But the two polls aren't that different. ... kf: But if you look at the trend since Obama's 3/18 speech--which is what arguably charged the campaign with high-minded condemnation of racism and MSM sympathy for Obama of the sort that might produce a Bradley Effect--Obama gains 6 points in Gallup and loses 6 in Rasmussen through last Friday (and he's since lost one more on Rasmussen). That seems like a non-small difference. ... 3/25 Update: Obama has now lost a net of 8 points on Rasmussen since the 18th, and 11 points since the 14th. On Gallup, he's gained several points. ...  11:10 P.M. link

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