The Politico has a story up explaining why some Republicans, in spite of all the public polling, still think the race is a lot closer than it seems, and that McCain has a legitimate shot of pulling it off:
“I’ve been saying for some time that from our polling I think it’s much tighter, a 3-point national race on Friday,” said Ed Goeas, a Republican pollster who consults with the McCain campaign. “I think this race is going to be extremely tight.”
Goeas predicts, as does top McCain pollster Bill McInturff, that Obama will not significantly increase the percentage of young voters or black voters from the last election, voters they say the Democrat needs to come out in record numbers to get over the top in several crucial swing states.
Perhaps the national popular vote will be closer than suggested by some polls, but I think Goeas and McInturff are mistaken to believe that the black and youth turnout won’t come out in massive force for Obama. And I base this not on media hype, but my own experiences covering this campaign, and witnessing first hand the enthusiasiam Obama has generated among both these groups.
I remember back in Iowa, a lot of the experienced voices I’d speak to were telling me that Obama wouldn’t have a shot, because young voters don’t come out for the caucuses, that colleges were on break and thus many students weren’t in the state, and that the caucus process was so complicated so even if they did show up, they’d get buillied around by the seasoned Edwards and Clinton voters, just like Deaniacs got pushed around in 2004. Well, we all know what happened, and the post-Iowa spin is now that caucuses are biased toward the young, because it’s harder for older people to get to the caucus sites. This is not going to be a repeat of 2004, when the youth did not show up for Kerry. Kerry did not inspire younger voters. There is simply no comparison.
And anybody who thinks that blacks won’t turn out in unprecedented numbers when they have a chance to elect the first black president is badly mistaken.
Again, this is not 2004 — the electorate has shifted substantially to Democrats over the past four years, and Barack Obama is not John Kerry. Actual Election Day polls that year showed the race too close to call, but this year Obama has a significant lead nationally, as well as in Pennsylvania. Perhaps hundreds of public polls are completely mistaken and McCain will pull off the greatest upset in history today, but I can’t base my analysis on a gut feeling or what I hope will happen, I can only dispassionately draw a conclusion based on the empirical data available to me, as well as my own hands on observations covering the campaign for two years now.
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