Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obama's support among Hispanics slipping?

This is based on Gallup "key indicators" weekly pooled data, the last of which ends Sept 21.  Obama's lead among Hispanics - according to Gallup - was down to +15% from +40% a month earlier.

Support among non-Hispanic Whites (Obama-McCain): 
Aug 18-24: 37-52 
Aug 25-31: 40-50 
Sept 1-7: 39-53 
Sept 8-14: 37-55 
Sept 15-21: 42-51 (M +9; best O-margin pre-last week) 
Support among non-Hispanic Blacks: 
Sept 8-14: 93-4 
Sept 15-21: 93-3 
Support among Hispanics: 
Aug 18-24: 58-31 
Aug 25-31: 64-24 (O +40) 
Sept 1-7: 60-31 (O +29) 
Sept 8-14: 55-35 (O +20) 
Sept 15-21: 53-38 (O +15; pre-last week; lowest O-margin)

I wonder why that is - Obama losing ground among Hispanics even as he gains among non-Hispanic Whites.

Recently, Obama's campaign put out the "Limbaugh" ad [clarification] [where Limbaugh's apparently attacking Mexicans].  Politifact says the ad came out on Sept 18, and called it "pantalones en fuego" wrong (also includes the video).  That ad also comes bang in the middle of that last week for which Gallup's pooled internals are available.

One way to read that ad is that Obama's support was slipping among Hispanics in their internal polling, and so they put out this misleading ad.  Another way is that somehow, Hispanics saw the ad, and figured Obama was trying to scare them... Much as an Obama-bot I am, and as we know McCain in trying to win the nomination said he wouldn't vote for his own immigration bill, yes, that ad was trying to scare Hispanics by linking Limbaugh and McCain, and I wish Obama hadn't put that out.  Still, looking at the Gallup trends (O+40 to O+15 in one month), the first explanation seems more reasonable... We'll see over the next couple weeks if it worked, though the effect may well be lost in the economic crisis effect -Hispanics are as effected by it as anybody else.

Of course, I still haven't figured out why Obama's losing ground among Hispanics in the first place...

[UPDATE: Yes, the dkos/R2K poll shows Obama up 40 points among Latinos, and had been for a while.  But (a) I am looking at Gallup which has a longer history; (b) Gallup's pooled weekly sample has about 7000 voters; say 15% Hispanics, makes that a Hispanic sample of ~1000 voters, with a MOE of 3%.]

As I was writing this, I looked up PPP's numbers for two states where Hispanics are influential - CO (O +7) and FL (O +3).  Obama leads CO Hispanics 57-36 (PDF), but McCain and Obama are almost even among FL Hispanics (including Cubans) (PDF).  Obama's gotta win them back...

I wrote this post at dkos first, here.  I got a lot of flames, including accusations that I was concern-trolling... That if I didn't know the difference between Florida and NM Hispanics, I shouldn't comment... While all I was doing was point out that based on the Gallup data, which have a decent sub-sample size in the pooled weekly data, Obama seemed to be slipping - which might be confirmed by the release of the "pants on fire"-wrong "Limbaugh" ad (as the Obama camp's reaction to try and bring back Latinos).  Guess I am not a complete Obama-bot after all - my support isn't blind.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The first debate

The first debate between Senators Obama and McCain was reasonably good.  McCain kept yammering away that Obama "does not understand" - but Obama showed that claim to be hollow through his thoughtful, considered responses to Jim Lehrer's questions as well as McCain's accusations.  Throughout the debate, I kept yelling at Obama to state the obvious - that Osama bin Laden is still free because of Bush-McCain's singular focus on Iraq.  Repeating this mantra throughout the debate would have done some good - unlike McCain's juvenile, disrespectful "Obama does not understand."  Still, I am glad Obama pointed out bin Laden is free and Al-Qaeda is growing, as his closing argument - a strong finish.
If anything, this debate was a tie, which benefits Obama much more than McCain.  McCain came off as a jerk, while Obama was cool personified.*  More than that, Obama showed he's well-versed in foreign policy, and that an Obama Presidency would not be a risky proposition.  Now all Obama has to do is point out - matter of factly - that a President McCain would be dangerous, driven by a "beautiful fatalism" that would lead to another Cold War, which is what McCain appears most comfortable with.
Today, more than ever, I feel confident that Obama will win this election.

* Alas, the original Mr Cool passed away this morning.  Paul Newman, RIP.  Your "Newman's Own Virgin Lemonade" is a staple.

Monday, September 15, 2008

On pointing out lies and mistruths

Commenting on my previous post, Ciccina asks: "Is it okay to mention one side's distortions, but not the other?"
Definitely not, but as I have mentioned before, I am not a journalist, but a partisan blogger.  Still, in the interests of (some) fairness, here's my take on the distortions/lies split between the two campaigns:

First, anecdotal: The front page of FactCheck as of writing lists a dozen recent articles.  One debunks rumors spread about Governor Palin by chain e-mails (though a few have some truth to them); two point out issues with Obama ads.  The remaining NINE point out distortions, smears and lies spread by John McCain, Sarah Palin, and their acolytes, mostly about Barack Obama.

Second, some quantification.  Politifact has a truth-o-meter that tracks claims and statements made by each candidate.  As of writing, they have looked at 113 for John McCain, and 114 for Barack Obama.  I assume these are serious enough to be looked at by Politifact; some may be fluff, of course, but a lie is a lie, and a truth is a truth.  Etc.
Anyway, I graded these judgments on a numerical scale:
True: +10 [25-39 McCain-Obama]
Mostly-true: +5 [20-24]
Half-true: 0 [19-21]
Barely-true: -5 [21-12]
False: -10 [22-18]
Pants-on-fire: -20 [the most egregious lies carry the heaviest penalty; 6-0]

Weighting and averaging the scores, Senator McCain gets a -0.84, while Senator Obama gets +2.37.  So it seems that on average, Senator McCain's statements fall somewhere between "half-true" (0 points) and "barely-true" (-5), while Senator Obama's statements fall between "half-true" and "mostly-true" (+5).  Reducing the "Pants-on-fire" weighting to -10 still leaves Senator McCain at sub-zero levels.

There you have it... Yes, all politicians stretch the truth or exaggerate; but of the two Presidential candidates currently running, one has been much more truthful than the other.  And it is not the one claiming honor and integrity as his cornerstone.  Surprise, surprise.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Women react to Sarah Palin: Part Deux

I quoted a few anecdotal responses and a poll earlier.  Recent polls suggest White women now prefer the Palin-McCain ticket over the Obama-Biden ticket...

Hopefully, as the media wakes up to the lie-machine that is the Palin-McCain ticket and calls them on the wrong facts, distortions, deceptions, exaggerations and outright lies / gutter smears, people, including sensible women, will come to their senses.  After all, I am sure women - and men - don't want to support someone who made rape victims pay for their rape kits and forensic examinations, so tax-payers wouldn't be burdened...

"It's been one week since we sent out a letter to a few friends and family members asking them to respond to Sarah Palin's candidacy for Vice President. We had never done anything like this before. What motivated us? It's pretty simple: we were tired of feeling angry and helpless. We were thrilled to receive the first 100 letters in reply. Their eloquence and passion were inspiring, their rage and frustration palpable. Our disbelief began to mount as those 100 letters turned into 1,000 letters, which then turned into 10,000 letters. And as we sit here writing you now, we have reached nearly 100,000 letters."

Thankfully, not all women are vagina-Americans.