Danger Signs, Schmanger Signs

ABC reports that recent polling shows that Senator Obama should be wary of “danger signs” within the electorate; particularly those offered by embittered Clinton supporters that are continuing to threaten to defect in November.

Of course, as I’ve been saying time and again, I simply don’t think this is the case, and thus this will be my final word on the apparent defection threat that some breathlessly warn could sink the Obama campaign.

First things first, there’s simply not enough data out there to suggest that such a group is large enough to capsize Obama’s presidential aspirations.  Whether Obama is enjoying a post victory bump or not is apparently up for debate (Though I would like to interject that here in the early stage of the general election Obama continues to poll better versus McCain than Kerry did versus Bush), but I would argue that he’s doing fine, even with the “bitter-enders” taken into account.

For instance, according to Gallup, Obama enjoys significant leads against McCain among women.  ABC notes that in their poll he is losing to McCain among married white women by twenty points, but to me that sounds more like an outlier than anything else.  Indeed, one thing that is backed up by this poll is that McCain and Obama are currently enjoying roughly the same amount of party support, something I made mention of last week.

The significance of this statistic cannot be under-emphasized.  McCain has had MONTHS to consolidate party support with virtually no real primary challengers, and his Democratic rivals beating the ever-living snot out of each other.

That Obama is staying competative with McCain a mere two weeks after a particularly bloody primary indicates that Obama is in a far better position among his own supporters when you take into consideration that for Democrats, the healing and unity phase has only really just begun.

I continue to believe that there’s not much that Obama has to worry about here, after all, those Clinton supporters who are going to vote for McCain have to maintain that stance over the course of the next five months; five months during which they will have to come to grips with what they believe, and what McCain stands for.

Specifically, we have to look at where McCain stands on women’s rights.  A large group of what one imagines are feminists will have to reconcile voting for someone who has had a zero percent rating from NARAL over the course of the last six years, who supports the immediate overturn of Roe vs. Wade, and who opposed legislation that would have facilitated women suing for equal pay.  Indeed, there are a whole slew of women’s issues that McCain has found himself on the wrong side of, and I think that’s going to have an impact on the decision process of a great many of those who now say they will vote for McCain over Obama.

Elections are rough, and there’s no telling what will become a prime focus, but I imagine that McCain will find himself having an even harder time should his cheating on and subsequent divorce of his first wife, or using an extremely offensive term beginning with the letter C on his second wife again find their way center stage in this election.

Now, I don’t really like digging too deeply on identity politics, to be honest with you, because people are individuals, and what drives them to the polls will be different issues.  But even on issues that progressive women care about outside of what identity politics says they should care about, McCain still doesn’t appear to be an attractive candidate.  Especially on the economy.  After all, this is a man who can’t even balance his own checkbook.

When women, and progressives in general, are faced with either McCain’s irresponsible adherence to Bush’s tax cuts (which he himself once called “irresponsible”), or Obama’s approach to provide tax relief to the middle and working class, I think the decision those folks make will be pretty clear.

So, again, this is a process, and things take time.  What ABC calls “danger signs” I call a natural aftermath of a particularly bloody primary, and we’re going to continue to see those “danger signs” go away.

On the other hand, I’m curious as to why George Stephanopoulos, whose thoughts are what largely drive the piece, didn’t make mention of the largest warning sign in the poll.  Skimming through the pdf, this just jumped out at me.  When you look at enthusiasm, overall Obama enjoys a strong double digit lead regarding enthusiasm among voters compared to McCain.

Most importantly, among his own supporters, Obama has 54% that are very enthusiastic about him.  Among John McCain’s own supporters; only 17% are very enthusiastic.

What does this mean?  There’s a big difference between getting someone to agree with you, and inspiring someone to get off the couch and go vote for you.  This is partly what has driven Republican success in the past decade or so; by focusing on hot button issues as opposed to more complex and ultimately more esoteric issues in elections, they were able engender significant levels of enthusiasm among wide swaths of voters such as the so-called “values voters.”

Very enthusiastic voters are the kinds of voters that will get out there and organize for you, knock on doors, make phone calls, drive people to polling places, and most importantly vote in rain, sleet, snow, earth quakes and other natural disasters.

That McCain can only excite 17% of his own supporters, that I think, spells trouble for the one time Maverick.

Danger signs?  What about John McCain’s danger signs?

More at MemeorandumPolitical Punch, Flopping Aces, TownHall Blog, Redstate and Wake up America

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