One more day

The final polls look great for Barack Obama. In many polls, his lead is expanding. I’ve been seeing Reverend Wright commercials all weekend through today. I wonder if these last-minute ads are hurting McCain instead of Obama.

Now if just comes down to turnout.

  

Al Franken surging in Minnesota

The Minnesota Senate race is stsrting to look like a potential pick-up for Democrats. Al Franken has taken the lead in the three latest polls in this race. The economy is obviously a factor, but Norm Coleman’s campaign is having some serious problems. Franken’s latest ad shows how the Coleman campaign has been taking clips out of context to make Franken appear to be angry and unstable (sort of like John McCain). Here’s Franken’s latest ad.

Coleman has also been embarassed by recent reports that a wealthy donor has been buying expensive suits for Coleman. His campaign spokesman had a disastrous news conference where he refused to answer simple questions about this allegation.

Races like this one might get the Democrats to 60 seats in the Senate.

  

Obama opens lead in Ohio

The Ohio polls are starting to break for Barack Obama. The latest polls from the Columbus Dispatch gives him a 7-point lead over John McCain.

Amid growing concerns about the economy, Ohio Democrats are coming home to Sen. Barack Obama, giving him a 7-point advantage in a new Dispatch Poll as the volatile presidential campaign swings into its final month.

The Illinois senator’s lead of 49 percent to 42 percent over Republican Sen. John McCain comes at an especially opportune time for Obama because thousands of Ohioans already are casting ballots in the state’s first presidential election allowing any registered voter to vote absentee. The new setup takes away some of the heft from the adage “the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day.”

Ohio is even more critical to McCain’s campaign this year since he pulled out of Michigan last week. Not only has no Republican ever won the presidency without carrying the Buckeye State, McCain almost has to run the 2004 electoral table to win, carrying every single state President Bush won four years ago, including Ohio.

Early voting is very important this year in Ohio. Obama’s campaign has a huge ground game in the state which should help with turnout.

  

Latest polls

All of the national polls are generally tied. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows a one-point lead for Obama, while most others have it tied or McCain up one or two points.

The only outlier seems to be Gallup, which always fluctuates the most. This article explains how the recent Gallup polls have a greater Republican weight than previous Gallup polls, which likely accounts for the lead expressed in those polls.

The question is whether the weighting needs to be changed. Republicans are now more energized, but it’s hard to imagine that party identification trends changed overnight. Also, the new registration numbers over the past four years have strongly tilted towards the Democrats.

It will be interesting to see which are correct. The state polls in the battleground states seem to be stable in the tossup category, reflecting the polls that have it as a dead heat.

Can the Republicans keep this up, or has the support for Palin peaked? The next several weeks will be interesting, and then we have the debates.

  

Quick draw McCain

The Obama campaign is starting to ratchet up attacks on John McCain, taking on a presumed strength in his foreign policy experience.

John McCain likes to talk tough, but talking tough is not always the best approach. Also, the country is wearly of war, and McCain’s willingness to think of military options first may not sit well with some voters.

The Obama camapign has plenty of ammunition here. McCain was itching for a fight with Iraq, as he made clear in the late 90’s and again immediately following 9/11, even before the Bush administration started speaking publicly about that option. He has taken a bellicose approach towards Iran as well.

Bottom line – can the Obama camapign paint McCain as an angry warmonger? Based on today’s comments, it looks like they’re heading in this direction.

In an apparent effort to regain the offensive, the Obama campaign launched a broad attack on McCain today, portraying him as reckless on foreign policy, a hot-head who’s too willing to use force and not willing enough to apprise himself of facts on the ground before urging military action.

On a conference call with reporters just now, senior Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice argued that there is “a pattern here of recklessness” when it comes to McCain’s approach to various national security issues. She pointed out that McCain reacted too quickly with “aggressive and bellicose” rhetoric on the Russia-Georgia crisis, and contrasted that with Obama’s measured response to the dust-up.

Richard Clarke was also on the call.

Clarke joins in on slamming “quick draw McCain,” calling him “reckless,” “trigger-happy” and “discredited.”

Obama also has some cover here, as a recent poll shows voters believe that John McCain is running a negative camapign by a 6-1 margin.

  

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