This Election is far from Over and Obama is still the Underdog!

Things are starting to align well for Obama.  McCain’s erratic nature, the economic problems we are facing, Palin’s implosion, and the debate – among other things.

The latest Gallup poll shows Obama up by five and that about where all of today’s polls are, including the Republican biased Rasmussen poll.  Additionally, Obama looks like he is taking control of the Electoral College with predictions averaging about 286 Electoral votes as he has shored up some of his ‘leaners’ and now is trending in Virginia.

But it needs to be clearly stated:

1) 5% and 286 Electoral votes is a very thin margin (even though in this race it seems big)

2) 37 Days out is a lot of time still

3) Two presidential debates and, yes, a vice presidential debate are remaining

4) McCain has proven he is a ‘maverick’ and as if things get more desperate, he’ll become even more of a maverick

5) Bin Laden is out there and he’d love to play a part in this race

6) October suprises!

5% is not much of a lead, and while Obama is trending well, 286 electoral votes is one Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Ohio slip away from losing the election.  After the Palin pick and the GOP convention, there was about a 8 to 9 point swing for McCain in less than a week.  Obama swung 6 to 7 points right prior and during the economic crisis – over about two weeks.  It’s still very close and any major event could trigger another swing.  I am not sure a gaff or a swift boat issue could affect the election at this point.  It would have to be pretty large – but don’t discount the ability of the GOP to play anything up.  37 days is 5 weeks – sufficient time for two or three large swings in the electorate.

From some of the stories I’ve read across the blogosphere and news sites, there may be a Bin Laden play still to be made in October.  Bin Laden has been known to dabble in elections before – he did it before the Spain election several years ago.  I do recall four years ago, there was chatter he might be up to something prior to the last POTUS election.  Bin Laden’s potential October surprise could play out well for Obama or McCain.  But the better bet right now is for McCain.  In a time of crisis you turn to a leader with experience and demonstrated resolve to fight.  Right or wrong, McCain holds those credentials according to the polls.  Obama could make gains if he can tie a potential attack to a failed policy by Bush supported by McCain.

I truly doubt the debates are going to be ‘game changers’.  At this point, Obama can’t play a prevent defense in the next two debates.  However, he can play a little safer defense to ensure no gaffs (but that could look like a weakness).  I am very worried that the Democrats think they dodged a bullet with the first debate being on foreign policy and that they think they will absolutely win the economic/domestic debates.  McCain does well in the Town Hall format so he may gain some traction in the second debate.  If he can parlay that into good showing in the economic debate, he can make up some real ground.  McCain isn’t an idiot.  He will smarten up and focus his game better for both debates – but particularly for the economic debate.  Remember, he only has to do what Obama had to do in the first debate – show competence.  His team, right now, is probably drafting ‘middle class’ language and fleshing details he can utilize during the debate.  The Obama camp can’t underestimate McCain.  This probably wouldn’t turn the election around, but make it much closer and set McCain to pounce on any other opportunity.

I know, I know.  At this point, everyone sees the Palin/Biden debate as a joke – DON’T FALL FOR IT!  I’ve watched some of her debates from Alaska.  She didn’t have much more of the details back then either.  However, she did a great job of staying focused and connecting with her responses at a high level.  The bar is set so low for her that, if she can muster up some of her former self-image and ability to debate, she will be tough.  My money is on her doing A LOT better than she is expected – and that scares the hell out of me.  I truly believe that the media, the public, and the campaign are being setup right now. We’ll know ten minutes into the debate if my prediction is right or wrong.  If she does well, there will be another Palin bounce, another energized Republican base, and a very close race again.

Finally, if nothing else works – don’t discount McCain and what he would do in desperation.  We’ve seen the Palin pick and the suspended campaign.   Who knows what he and the Rovian Republicans will cook up to win.  This could include a massive slash and burn campaign that tells absolutely outrageous lies, brings back Reverend Wright in a new light, knocks Palin off and brings Romney on, coming up with a very covert and very organized fourth quarter rally, or even making race an issue.  You just don’t know.  All of those carry huge risks of not working, but if he thinks he is desperate and he can’t win otherwise, I think he has proven himself desperate enough to do anything.

The moral of the story is this – Don’t let your guard down.  Don’t stop donating, don’t stop volunteering, don’t stop talking, and don’t stop showing your support.  I really hope that the campaign is already planning for these contingencies.  They are very well organized and seem to deal with crisis in a very methodical process. But some of the events of the last week took them off-guard and as crunch time approaches and the pressure is on, they may act emotionally rather than intellectually.

This is an important.  Always think of Obama as the underdog – because he still is.  I don’t care what the polls say.  We’ve got all fight and work as hard as ever to ensure we restore honor and respectability to the White House.  This is a blog I hope you pass on to other Obama supporters and those still deciding.

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