“I’m Not Dead Yet!”

First things first; crowd sizes are in no way indicative of how well a politician will do on election day.  Back in 2004, John Kerry managed at least once to pull a crowd of 100,000, and he still lost.  But a McCain rally in Tampa today could hold some fascinating information.

In 2004, just one day before the presidential election, President George W. Bush was able to round up 15,000 supporters for his rally in Tampa.  Four years later and his would-be successor manages to draw only 1,000.  Given that enthusiasm and getting out the vote are vital in these last waning hours of the presidential election, only drawing a thousand is a poor omen for the presidential ticket.

This is not to say that the Republican nominee will only garner one fifteenth the support of Bush in the polls tomorrow, but I do think it is a telltale sign as to the lack of enthusiasm among McCain supporters.  If they really thought their candidate had a chance, wouldn’t they be coming out of the woodwork to rally support?

Especially in the battleground state with the highest purse of electoral votes?

Again, I don’t think this is indicative of what will happen tomorrow, as a whole, but the relatively low level of enthusiasm should be worrying especially to those most concerned with the McCain get out the vote efforts.  We’ve already read a number of headlines which suggest that record long lines and waits are awaiting voters tomorrow; it’s now important to contemplate who will be more likely to wait through these record long lines, and who will even bother to show up.  Especially in those areas where weather is likely to be poor.

If you think your candidate has a chance at winning, then you stay in line.  This is most true when the race is close, but even if it’s not close, knowing you are casting a ballot for a winning candidate tends to be more encouraging.  On the other hand, I think one question that will pop up in a lot of voters heads tomorrow will be: Why am I going to sit in this line for five hours in the rain when I already know McCain is going to lose?

This is a much more difficult attribute of voters to measure than support, but it’s things like this rally that I think gives us a little insight.  If McCain supporters in the Tampa area really felt that McCain had a chance, I think more of them would have shown up.  But already it would seem that a lot of them are thinking, ‘why bother?  He’s not going to win.’

So while the election isn’t over, it’s definitely not a good sign for McCain if he’s already in a place where he has to convince people that he’s not dead yet.

(edited by DrGail)

2 Responses to ““I’m Not Dead Yet!””

  1. tas says:

    What also might play into this is scheduling — and McCain trying to hold rallies in like seven states today. Were these rallies held at 4pm, prehaps we would see numbers closer to 15k.

    This isn’t to remove fault from the McCain camp. They look like they’re cramming for a test in these final hours of this campaign — when they should have studied more to begin with. It’s too many states to hit in one day, and McCain has opened himself up to stories about people just not showing up to his rallies.

  2. Very true; he’s painted himself into a damned if you do, damned if you don’t corner.

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