Campaign notes from Pennsylvania

For the next 24 hours I will mostly be thinking/blogging about US politics. Just received this from one of our local readers who is currently working with the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania:

The machine here is so awesome that there has been little contact with floating voters for a while, we have been in GOTV (Get out the Vote) this week so have been concentrating soley on people we know are supportive.

Previous to that there has of course been times when I have encountered opposition, including some underlying racial issues and even a few “could you honestly vote for a black man?” questions…..ehhhhh ‘YES!!!’

The area where I have been concentrating in Pennsylvania is pretty poor, literally no one will benefit under McCain, but there are some Democrats who just dont want to vote this time, we have been working to insure they do.

Having said that the enthusiasm is very high, even in areas notorious for low turnout and high voter apathy, I have had numerous “I will crawl to the polls to vote for this man” “I will be there unless I am dead” that type of thing.

This campaign is unimaginable in size and there is alot of work in the background, data maintenance and analysis (which we do at night) but during the day its grassroots led and the people are fired up and ready to go. We also have alot of out of state volunteers, who have come to what they rightly perceive to be a vital state, we also have a german field organiser and me…..I guess the world cares enough this time to get involved.

In Pennsylvania alone we contacted (phone and door knocking) 1.6 million people yesterday (in one day!)

fivethirtyeight.com are claiming a +6 for obama nationwide with a +8 in PA, we are ignoring all polls and just going through what we have to do.

The early figures for georgia are amazing, almost 2 million early votes cast (only 3.3 voted total last time out).

Sorry if this is a little disjointed but it was written in 5 second bursts throughout the day.

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  • latcheeco

    Nervous night/day Mick 🙂 Every dem you talk to is afraid to skud the result.Here’s an anecdote.Points a little bit as to why few want to call it. Apologies in advance for any offence. No offence taken if you delete:) My wife phoned her da Sunday night. Old guy/old school, lives in veterans home in midwest.
    “Who are you voting for dad” she asks
    ” Well I think me and all the guys here are going to pick the n####r.” She then phones her brother in midwest and asks him. He answers “If Obama and an apple fell out of a tree, what would hit the ground first?”
    “Don’t know.”
    “The apple because the rope would save Obama.”
    But then his wife is voting Obama because of the stem cell research issue and they have a very sick child.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rove’s calling a landslide: http://tinyurl.com/5mluot

  • Eunice

    Frightening. I had just come up with 338 as well…never thought Rove and I would ever have the same thought…

  • KieranJ

    Absolutely amazing the lack of knowledge of American politics displayed in Ireland.

    What’s more, the Irish willingness to accept as fact reports from partisan elements in the States.

    It would be very amusing if it were not so sad.

    Now here is the real situation. The U.S. is not ready for a black President and that fact will become more evident as the day passes tomorrow.

    Google “Bradley Effect” if you really want to know about polls in the United States work when race enters the picture.

    Mick, I’ll try my best to educate the viewers tomorrow on the true picture and dispel the nonsense being spewed here by the uninformed.

  • Eunice

    I think people are well aware of the Bradley Effect. I also think that, in the end, the fact that people are losing jobs is going to be more important than the fact that Obama doesn’t look like the Pillsbury Doughboy. Race is definitely going to be a factor, but I don’t think it’ll be the deciding one.

  • KieranJ

    No, people in Ireland are not aware of the Bradley Effect. Nor are the “expert” pollsters in the United States. But they will be tomorrow as the day goes on.

  • Dave

    I think the ‘Obama Effect’ will outweigh the Bradley Effect. The Obama Effect is where a candidate identifies a substantial block of voters and appeals to their selfish, short-term interest, essentially bribing them to vote for him irrespective of the national interest. It’s the opposite of the JFK Effect, where the voters are told “Ask what your country can do for you.” So, in this instance, the candidate identifies that 40% of Americans pay no income tax whatsoever. Naturally, he can’t appeal to their selfish interest by offering them a cut in income tax since they don’t pay any income back (and actually receive a net gain of 3.8% from the government), so instead he appeals to their selfish interest by bribing them with an additional payment from the government. This gives this 40% of Americans a solid reason to vote for Obama: they will get a bigger check from the government. Since the bottom 60% of Americans contribute only 0.6% of tax revenue, that leaves the top 40% paying 99.4% of income taxes (with the top 1% paying 40%). Of course, since the higher tax payers who contribute most of the taxes are the minority, it is easy to force this group to pay for your bribe as you don’t need their support to get elected. This used to be called the ‘Fianna Fail Effect’ but Obama is welcome to it since those tax-and-spend policies and the massive bribes offered to vested interests had the lamentable effect of both perverting the democratic system and destroying the economy.

  • CincinnatiDave

    The only poll to matter is about to start & the voters will have the final say.

    While the Obama ground game is impressive, along with his online fundraising, he should have had this in the bag months ago.

    Tomorrow night we shall see if Axelrod & Chicago machine has put him over. I’m still calling it for McCain in the Electoral college, while Barry gets the popular vote.

    Cheers
    David

  • KieranJ

    Well said, Dave.

    Obama’s policy will only work in a socialist state. Not in a capitalistic society like the U.S.

    Unfortunetely for the slackers, the free lunches in America are about to end. Time for the welfare crowd to get away from the television set and find some work.

    If they don’t, the country could soon resemble the welfare province that is Ulster.

  • stewart

    I think most people are aware of the Bradley effect even if they do not know it by name.

    I think it will play a part but the drive and enthusiasm that Obama has brought to the table is also a variable and in my experience it is sizable, he is bringing out people who have never voted.

    I am fairly confident but it will be closer than most polls have it, I see that they are starting to level out a bit to sensible levels, tomorrow will be interesting to say the least.

    Our polls in Pennsylvania open in 7 hours ten minutes, I need to get some sleep….but I cant see it.

  • Nomad

    Patronising much, Kieran? Please continue to educate us with your insight.

    I’m not sure I buy the Bradley effect. It’s been widely discredited recently looking back at its origins. If Obama loses I don’t think it’s just because he’s black, it will be more because Americans, like you, fear the term “socialism” (Obama hasn’t outlined socialist policies- he’s as socialist as the tories). With 5-6% undecideds, an already fairly close race and the possibility of people having a change of heart there are more factors than race at play. Karl Rove is already playing the usual game of claiming the GOP are gonna be wiped out.

    Speaking of which, guys. You’re making it sound like he’s gonna move America to communism. In reality he will just take the states back to Clintonesque tax rates. When Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world is protesting he is paying too little taxes- the lowest rates of his life, you know there is a problem.

    http://andrewspagnoli.newsvine.com/_news/2008/10/05/1950433-warren-buffet-says-i-pay-less-tax-than-my-cleaning-lady-or-when-i-was-paper-boy-mccainpalin-have-even-worse-deal-in-store-for-middle-class

    Dave, out of interest are you referring to taxpayers in your 40/60% analysis, or do you include children and pensioners?

    The United States owes over $10 trillion! That works out at over $34,000 per person in America. (http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/)

    Kieran, what exactly is it about Obama’s policies that are not going to work? He’s a fairly calm, prudent person with sensible economic policies so I’m confused about your statements. The Economist and NY Times sums his positions up nicely in their endorsements if you haven’t read.

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think McCain would ruin America by any means. They would probably end up behaving very similarly. (Despite a range of horrible decisions in the campaign). I just think Obama would be better.

  • Eunice

    I agree – the panic and furor over this whole ‘socialism’ thing is absolutely absurd.

  • fin

    at times like this I always look at the bookies odds to get a picture, paddypowers is giving 5/6 on mccain +160, and a side bet on mccain outright at 13/2, i think neil kinnock might stick a few quid on him aswell.
    all in all, what does it matter, you can change the management but you can’t change the firm

    although, i’m still looking forward to a good nights entertainment, the cinema in brixton are showing oliver stones W and piping the election into the bar (btw anyone local its the best cinema around small screens, big comfy chairs and you an bring your beer into the screen…)

  • Mick Fealty

    Talking to a big Tory mate of mine last night who’s a big McCain fan, he said that whatever happens tomorrow, Barry and the Chicago crew have undoubtedly won the campaign about as fairly and squarely as anyone ever wins a US election.

    We’ll just have to see how the actual vote goes. If McCain gets it, it’ll be a squeak through in the College. I just hope for his sake your call on this is a little more substantial than the false witness you’re prepared to bare on Northern Irish affairs KeiranJ

    The Reps have just not been able to damage the candidate in the way they did Kerry and Gore. I’d hate to think the last card McCain has, other than his excellent sense of humour and timing, is the last vestiges of corporate racism in the US electorate.

    The desertion of people like Peggy Noonan would indicate his base is as deeply unstable as people like Richard Delevan have been suggesting from the off…

  • Comrade Stalin

    KieranJ:

    Unfortunetely for the slackers, the free lunches in America are about to end. Time for the welfare crowd to get away from the television set and find some work.

    Is this an accurate description of the present Bush America ? I didn’t think that the Republicans had encouraged the development of “slackers” or a “welfare crowd” during the 6 years in which they had complete control of the US government.

    I’d consider myself left-of-centre and I have a hard time describing Obama’s policies as “socialism”, and I sympathized a lot more with John Edwards back a year ago when the candidate was still to be selected. Socialism means taking the means of production and distribution into state hands and the elimination of private property; I haven’t seen any Obama policies that go that way. If anything, I find Obama’s position on things relatively vague, other than his plans to redistribute the balance in the tax system slightly.

    I do know that the last time the Democrats were in control for two terms, they started off in the early-90s slump and ended up with an economic boom and most of the national debt paid off. Bush inherited that economic boom, and during his watch it became a bust, with the national debt increasing to record levels. The high levels of debt weakened the dollar, in turn increasing oil prices and in turn leading to the pressure which eventually caused the collapse of the sub-prime fiasco.

    I would not pretend to be a master businessman, but I have never seen a business plan that relies on running up massive amounts of debt. But it does look very much as if the Republicans have a knack for starting with an economic boom, and turning it into a bust, which the US electorate then entrust the Democrats with cleaning up.

  • kensei

    Mick

    We’ll just have to see how the actual vote goes. If McCain gets it, it’ll be a squeak through in the College.

    But he is almost 100% certain to lose the popular vote. A mismatch can be handled if it occurs rarely, but surely if this starts to become a regular occurrence it begins to lead to a constitutional crisis? How could McCain handle a heavily Democratic Congress while being weighed down with legitimacy issues?

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    KiearanJ, please take your meds. Feel free to take them all at once.

    Mick, flippin hell! Your mate got any more of these insights?

    “Talking to a big Tory mate of mine last night who’s a big McCain fan, he said that whatever happens tomorrow, Barry and the Chicago crew have undoubtedly won the campaign about as fairly and squarely as anyone ever wins a US election.”

    Should we read anything at all into the fact that he’s a Tory and a big fan of McCain? Guess he reckons Gordon Brown’s an idiot, too, huh?

  • fin

    “I would not pretend to be a master businessman, but I have never seen a business plan that relies on running up massive amounts of debt”

    Comrade Stalin, it may sound crazy but thats been the model business plan for the last decade – hence the current mess. prime examples are debenams, manchester united, arsenel, liverpoolfc, and the aa,but virtually every ‘big’ player was expected to take on debt and use it as leverage.
    On an individual level unless you prove you can take on debt and manage it your credit rating is poor.

  • 6countyprod

    Comrade Stalin: If anything, I find Obama’s position on things relatively vague

    For once, I agree wholeheartedly with you, CS. This video, purely of Obama, illustrates what I think you mean.

    The man is an enigma. Slick Willy and TB wouldn’t have a look in? We have no idea what he really stands for, apart from his limited voting record, which unquestionably puts him on the wrong side of unborn children and babies who survive abortion.

    How long will it take for people to realise he is a false messiah?

  • Jimmy

    Whether America is ready for its first Black President (In fact Obama is Mixed Race) is irrelevant. One interesting fact not reported or Deliberatly ignored by the US media is the Berg vs Obama case, This is based on the allegation that Obama is not a Natural born Citizen,He may have been born in Kenya,Some family members witnessed his birth there, his mother travelled with him to the US and scammed the authorities. he was Never naturalised after he lived in Indonesia, all Which would make him ineligable for President. Has he Lied to the US electorate?
    His birth certificate (Hawai) and School records are all sealed. When the case was lodged Obama had 30 days to reply and produce his actual birth Cert, he did niether, in US law a defendent has admitted culpability if he does not reply to a law suit within 30 Days.As a constitutional Lawyer he knew this, but continued to ask for dismissal, which happened, if he had nothing to hide then he could show all the official records.
    Some smaller Radio stations and a TV station in Israel ran the story, but the mainstream US media wont touch it, Dare I say it,but if the Allegations are true, could we say the first ‘affirmative action’ President in US history may have been elected??

  • The U.S. is not ready for a black President and that fact will become more evident as the day passes tomorrow.

    I tend to find that usually means “I’m not ready for a black president.

    Google “Bradley Effect” if you really want to know about polls in the United States work when race enters the picture.

    There is little evidence of a Bradley/Wilder effect since the days of Bradley and Wilder. More than, you know, twenty years ago. Fivethirtyeight.com did a pretty good smackdown on why conservatives would be foolish to count too much on the deus ex machina of the Bradley effect.

    The man is an enigma

    No he isn’t. He hasn’t defined his policies any more sharply than he’s had too. That makes him an American politician. McCain hasn’t done that either. I’d also argue that both candidates in this election have been Honest Abes and models of transparency compared to, say, Bush and Kerry in 2000.

    The ‘enigma’ line is just another throwaway reference aimed at stirring up race haters. “Oh, yea Barry Obama, he’s such an enigma, his middle name is Obama and his father was a Muslim.” In what ways is he an enigma. His life story has been repeated ad nauseam buy himself amongst others. I never heard this crap about Bush (yeah, he’s an enigma, he has this Texas accent but he was still allowed into the skull and bones).

    The other one that gets me is the references to “The One”, which is a fairly transparent attempt to imply that Barack Obama is some sort of Nicolae Carpathia figure. I would have found it difficult to believe that McCain’s campaign would actually buy into that crap as a useful tool, but then when I was staying in the great state of Pennsylvania and was told by my host that his brother-in-law thought that the only explanation for Obama’s ‘rise from nowhere’ was him being the antichrist. And my host, who while being a conservative Republican is also an intelligent, educated, Catholic, didn’t entirely rule the possibility out, either, although mainly he just thought Obama was a socialist.

    Thankfully, the lunatic tendency of American evangelicalism is going to have its power broken on the wheel today.

  • Mayor Curley

    Speaking of ill informed, the ‘Bradley effect’ has been rubbished for some time now:

    http://www.onthemedia.org/episodes/2008/10/24/segments/113589

  • 6countyprod

    The Mail has an amazing picture of a white Obama and a black McCain.

    It’s not about colour, it’s about politics.

    Come on, McCain!

  • Comrade Stalin

    6countyprod:

    How long will it take for people to realise he is a false messiah?

    This is probably where we don’t agree. I do not believe that Obama will be bad for the USA, I’d be recently confident that he will turn it around, as previous Democratic administrations historically have, and I’m looking forward to a more carefully considered foreign policy. My opinion of Obama has improved quite a lot in recent months; McCain looks like an unstable maniac whereas Obama is a voice of reason and measured control. Chris Patten once mused about how fascinating it is that some of the people who are best able to combine authority with a controlled, calm demeanour are black – Colin Powell, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan etc.

    The whole campaign reminds me very much of New Labour in 1997. Tony Blair spent two years talking about change without being very specific about what he meant. When he got in he didn’t change a great deal at all, although the country stabilized, foreign relations improved, and there was a long period of economic growth (about which the history books have yet to be written). I’m expecting about the same for Obama. I’m not expecting radical change on healthcare or defence spending, instead I think there’ll be slow, steady moves made.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Comrade Stalin: “I do not believe that Obama will be bad for the USA, I’d be recently confident that he will turn it around, as previous Democratic administrations historically have, and I’m looking forward to a more carefully considered foreign policy.”

    “Considered” in that Neville Chamberlain/ Jimmy Carter sort of way, maybe.

  • Dave

    “Dave, out of interest are you referring to taxpayers in your 40/60% analysis, or do you include children and pensioners?” – Nomad

    Taxpayers. You can find the supporting statistics here:

    “The latest Congressional Budget Office data shows the bottom 40% of income earners already pays no income taxes. Indeed, they receive a net payment from the federal income tax system — meaning from the taxpayers — equal to 3.8% of all federal income taxes, because of the refundable tax credits under current law. The middle 20% of income earners, the true middle class, pays 4.4% of federal income taxes. Overall, the bottom 60% of income earners pay less than 1% of federal income taxes on net.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121910303529751345.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    The problem is that big government is already too big and Obama is about to make it even bigger. Public spending at the federal level increased 23% under Clinton and 45% under Bush. So, while innocents (Greenflag) may see Bush as an example of small government, he was very much the opposite. It is now the case that the bottom 40% of Amercians don’t pay any income tax at all and the bottom 60% only pay 0.6% of the total take. This is already redistribution of wealth! Now a federal spend of 2.7 trillion at the federal level will buy you a lot of votes, and that is the real reason that government spending is now 27 times per capita what it was since FDR kicked it off. It is hacks buying votes and it is passed off as something less grass, and it is perillously close to defying the laws of economics, not least the Laffer Curve. The last thing the top 1% need is an extra tax bill for another 9% of their income in order to pay for Obama’s bribe to buy votes from those who don’t pay taxes. It isn’t the poor folks who have seen the markets crash decimate their wealth, is it? If you want these folks to do their magic and generate more wealth then you have to let them reinvest it and create more jobs, not take it from them and kill the golden goose. Remember, Reagonomics has created 40 million new jobs for America. Forget that lesson and you’ll end up as backward as the Europeans. 😉