July 28th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
Its 1213am, Tuesday Morning here in Ireland as I am trying to keep cool in some unusual Irish humidity. Let me tell you, it never gets humid here, ever…but for the last few days, the best place to sleep was outdoors unless you happened to work in an office building with an AC. Regardless of the weather, I would like to apologize to some of my commenter’s today because I usually would have made time to promptly reply to all comments however Monday has disappeared already and I have a full day of work tomorrow. I can promise everyone that I will reply to all comments tomorrow at some point during the day.
It’s 99 days until the election and Senator McCain continues to flounder like a really old fish out of water. Today’s polls have not helped him and according to the latest election prediction from Pollster.com, Senator Obama will clinch the election by a large margin:
For an explanation of the results, please look here.This latest data as well as recent polls explain the McCain campaign’s recent increase in their aggressive attacks of Senator Obama. I do feel a bit sorry for Senator McCain and Senator Obama because I truly believed that both of them wanted to have a good, clean fight however the only way Senator McCain is going to make any inroads into an Obama lead is to attack his values.
The media has pushed Senator McCain as having the most experience when it comes to national security and foreign policy however the voters have decided that this issue is secondary to the economy. Generally speaking, I remember reading previous polls where Senator Obama polled better in terms of judgment and character which explains Senator McCain’s recent attack on these two attributes. Whether it will work, we will have to see but if current polling data is any indication, Senator McCain needs to find a new political team:
June 6th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
Two years ago, if you had told me that 70% of people interviewed in Ireland thought that drinking Guiness was good for your health, I would have actually considered it without thinking about the methodology used to gather the relevant data. These days, many people look at polls and take them as fact when they should be thinking about the data that the media and other institutions are presenting to them in various mediums. Douglas Walton in Media Argumentation: Dialect, Persuasion confirms this point:
But activists, the media, and private agencies can and often use “mutant statistics” as tactics to manipulate public opinion. They can and often convince people that even the most implausible claims are true by twisting the question wording in a poll (Best 2001, p.4).
So how are we to trust polls? How are we to discern what is true, and what is false? I think that question is best answered by each individual person. Polls are great as a public discussion tool but they should not be the basis of any voter making a judgment about a political candidate. Take the example of the current CNN Poll conducted over the telephone with 435 registered Democrats. The poll suggests that the majority of Democrats want Senator Clinton to be on the ticket, but whether that represents the larger populations is an unanswered question.
Telephone interviewing is quick and fast and allows organizations like CNN and Gallup who have the money to crank out these research reports fairly quickly in order to maximize exposure to the public and the general media. There are some problems with telephone interviews as it relates to political research:
- You cannot tell if someone is lying, telling the truth or just plain joking.
- Depending on the length of the telephone interview, the respondent might rush his or her answers if they feel that they are pressed for time.
- Telephone interviews are often not planned so the interviewer might catch the interviewee at an inappropriate moment and receive negative feedback as a result.
- The respondent cannot research the topic or even have time to formulate a response that he or she feels is appropriate therefore the interviewer might receive data that does not truly represent the interviewee’s opinion.
- Lastly the person that conducts the interview is critical to adequate data being gathered because no one likes to talk to someone who speaks in a monotone for example.
Having said all of that, I have to say I like the Gallup data because they also include Independents which are a going to be a significant voting segment come the general election. 50% of people interviewed in the Gallup Poll want Senator Obama to select Senator Clinton as his running mate. I don’t find this very surprising given how popular Senator Clinton is but despite all these numbers, I am still not sure whether the Obama campaign could pull of selecting Senator Clinton as their VP.
Ideally I would like to see some comprehensive nationwide polls indicating how strong some Obama supporters feel about that possibility? If the significant majority do not care, than I believe, even if Senator Clinton gives Senator Obama a minor boost, it might be worth it. Don’t quote me on this as this is not my final opinion, I will wait and see what the next month reveals.
May 27th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics, Book Reviews |
I finished The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter a few days ago and was quite surprised at the amount of negative facts an author can include about the presumptive Republican candidate in 150 pages. The book is pretty short and took me 10 days to finish it from beginning to end. I expected more of the same in terms of content; similar to what Suzanne Goldenberg wrote in Madam President, but I was pleasantly surprised. Cliff Schecter has done what most authors tend not to do, get right to the point from page two:
If it is not political calculation on McCain’s part to tell the evangelicals what they want to hear, then what is it?
When I read at night, I often have some sticky notes close by so that I can mark important passages in the book. Initially I started off marking about the first fifty pages before I realized that Mr.Schecter has managed to include every negative substantive fact about Senator McCain in this book. Senator McCain has denied the contents of the book because Mr. Schecter mentions using anonymous sources at several places in the book however in an interview with BuzzFlash he mentions Senator McCain’s reaction to the book:
He did, and he denied it. And I guess that’s the point I’m making is that he denied the charge [of assaulting Renzi], and that’s been proven. Because he said that I had anonymous sources and I was making it up. But now, of course, he’s had to admit that it did happen, and try to say, well, it happened, but it didn’t happen exactly the way I said. But that’s the newest line out of the McCain camp.
I enjoyed this book for the most part but chose to read it over an official autobiography of John McCain because as a liberal I don’t know how much republican rhetoric I can stand to read before I go to bed at night. I enjoyed the book because it was clearly well researched but it got quite boring towards the end because the endless negativity (not in a bad way). It is a definite must read for any liberals or independents who are debating on whether to vote for John McCain.
The overall conclusion I drew from this book based on the facts presented is that Senator McCain is the typical personification of a politician. He says what he needs to say to please the crowds and the people who support him. It is impossible to know what he truly stands for because of his changing nature but I believe this kind of politician cannot exist in the 21st century but we will have to wait to see whether the general election proves this statement. If I were talking a rating out of 10, I would give The Real McCain 6 out of 10 for being enlightening but far too negative for a book of only 150 pages.
May 5th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
The unfortunate circumstance of me living in Ireland is that while I was living in Massachusetts, I had the benefit of the American edition of CNN however in international waters; the only all American channel we get here is the “Unbiased” Fox News. While I had Fox news on today (there was nothing else to watch), I managed to listen to the phone call Rush Limbaugh made to Fox News about the primaries in Indiana and North Carolina tomorrow. The liberal devotee that he is, Rush once more implored his brain-washed fans to support Senator Clinton so that more chaos can be caused within the Democratic Party. I have come to the conclusion that Rush is really afraid of Senator Obama and is doing everything he can to make sure he does not win. I found this call hysterical on one hand but totally frightening on the other hand that people actually listen to this guy? The worst part about is that Indiana has an open primary tomorrow where registered Republicans can vote for their respective Democratic candidate. If you look at the latest Gallup Poll statistics, they show Senator Obama beating Senator McCain and losing to Senator Clinton amongst Democratic leaning voters therefore I fear a cooked primary in Indiana could lead the democratic voters as well as the superdelegates to assume that Senator Clinton is the stronger candidate when that could be furthest from the truth.
A few things to note about these polls are that they do not include the probability that Republicans might participate in the Indiana primary. The second fact to note is that the Gallup organization only surveys people that are officially left-leaning democrats so that does not include the independents who traditionally favor Obama. These polls also don’t take into account that Senator Obama has a strong appeal amongst some conservatives where the 4% gap between Obama and McCain will probably double in the general election when it is just the two of them facing off. The last fact is that Senator Obama has no more dirty laundry left to air because Senator Clinton has done the job of the GOP; the worst thing has already come out which is his relationship with Rev. Wright which the GOP can only bash so much before people get bored with it. If we are talking sheer electability here, Senator Obama can win hands down and I hope the people of Indiana and North Carolina think about that tomorrow.
Granted that polls only tell you so much but many democratic strategists have said that Senator Obama can give the party access to voter bases that they would not have normally have achieved. Even with the Reverend Wright Worry, the Flagpin Fiasco and the Anthem Aneurism… I think it comes down to the eloquence of Senator Obama as well as his message that will galvanize the youth vote which will easily win him the Whitehouse come the general election. Hopefully the superdelegates will smarten up to this probability if it does happen which I hope it will not, but either way this drawn-out process is going to go to the convention where hopefully the Democratic Party will make the right decision.
April 25th, 2008 -- Posted in American Politics |
I was doing my usual end of the night browse through Digg when I came across the Huffington Post article about the Mainstream Media jumping ship and throwing their collective weight behind Senator Clinton. Even my favorite channel (CNN) which I had already suspected was slightly pro-Clinton is now even more so touting her “new found success”. In honor of this being the weekend I have created a twist on a classical picture: