Barack Obama addressed a large rally yesterday in Richmond, Virginia. Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
** A GLOBAL PRESIDENT. We’ve spent so much time on US polls. They are resolving in a fairly clear-cut and predictable fashion.
But what does the rest of the world think?
The Gallup organization has polled over 70 nations around the world about the American presidential contest. The results show Barack Obama leading John McCain by about 4 to 1.
Now, there are a few caveats. In quite a few countries, the great majority of respondents had no opinion on the matter. And a number of key nations were not polled, such as Russia, China, Israel, Iraq, and Iran. Though I’m fairly certain that Obama would be favored in at least four of those five nations, not that he’d want the nod from one or two of them. (McCain was the favorite of Israeli voters prior to Obama’s very high-profile visit in late summer. One poll I saw after the visit showed Obama slightly ahead in Israel.)
But we don’t have those numbers. The results we do have show McCain besting Obama in only two countries. Those countries are Georgia (where McCain’s friend Misha Saakashvili, who employed McCain’s chief foreign policy advisor as his lobbyist, is president, and hasn’t that worked out well for him?) and the Phillipines (where the U.S. Navy is quite popular, with many missing the fabled Subic Bay naval base). Obama and McCain are tied in Lithuania and Pakistan.
Obama is the clear favorite across every country in Latin America and Africa. He is also a huge favorite in such key US allies as Britain (60-15), Australia (64-14), Germany (62-10), Japan (66-15), and South Korea (50-24).
The implications are obvious. Obama has the global popularity that no American president has had in a great many years.
This was obvious to Team McCain, as well, as you know from my columns and can see anew in this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine cover story on the turmoil in Republican ranks. (Which is linked to in an item below.) It was critically important to McCain to stop Obama from moving into an insurmountable lead following his big trip to the Middle East and Europe. Which gave rise to the famed “celebrity” ads mocking Obama for his popularity abroad.
** OBAMA AND THE JEWISH VOTE. There has been an enormous amount of controversy around Barack Obama and his relationship with the Jewish community and the State of Israel. But it seems to have resolved very much in Obama’s favor, as I anticipated all along.
A new Gallup Poll shows that Obama leads John McCain – a famous friend of Israel, of far longer standing than President Bush, as it happens – by a whopping 74% to 22%.
In June, Obama’s edge was only 62-31.
** WILL MCCAIN SKIP HIS ELECTION NIGHT PARTY? At the moment, it seems so.
Barack Obama’s election night party will be in Chicago’s Grant Park. NWN is credentialed for this event.
John McCain’s election night party is at Phoenix’s Biltmore Hotel. But, as the AP reports: Instead of appearing before a throng of supporters at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix on the evening of Nov. 4, the Republican presidential nominee plans to deliver postelection remarks to a small group of reporters and guests on the hotel’s lawn. Aides said Thursday that the arrangement was due to space limitations and that McCain might drop by the election watch party at some other point.
McCain’s remarks will be piped electronically into the party and media filing center, aides said. Only a small press “pool”—mostly those who have traveled regularly with the candidate on his campaign plane, plus a few local Arizona reporters and others—will be physically present when he speaks.
** MONTANA POLL: OBAMA BY 4. A new Montana State University poll of the Treasure State finds Barack Obama moving into the lead over John McCain, 44% to 40%. Montana, as readers will recall from NWN Game Day coverage in the primaries, was a big win for Obama over Hillary Clinton.
Why the surprising edge for Obama in the this Mountain West state, a regular red state in presidential politics? Obama has a big edge amongst independents. And McCain is seen as running a negative campaign. That Bill Ayers stuff is backfiring.
** CALIFORNIA CONSULTANTS WHO HAVE WON THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD. Yesterday I asked readers to come up with the five Californians who have won the American Association of Political Consultants’ Campaign Manager of the Year award. You all did not come up with all of the winners.
So here they are.
Two Republicans: Steve Schmidt for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Gorton for Governor Pete Wilson.
Three Democrats: Gale Kaufman for No on Schwarzenegger’s special election initiatives, Garry South for Governor Gray Davis, and Kam Kuwata for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
You will note that four out of the five have played major roles in campaigns for and against Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Gorton was Schwarzenegger’s chief political consultant in the run-up to the 2003 California recall and was a senior strategist in his election that year. Schmidt was Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign manager when the former action superstar came back from the debacle of 2005′s “Year of Reform.”
Kaufman ran the unified labor and Democratic campaign against Schwarzenegger’s four special election initiatives in that aforementioned year. South worked to dissuade Schwarzenegger from running against Davis in 2002 and was a senior strategist in the effort to defend Davis against Schwarzenegger in the California recall.
Gorton, incidentally, as I mentioned in a clue in yesterday’s NWN Forum, was lionized in the very good cable movie, Spinning Boris, for his seemingly unlikely role in the 1996 re-election of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. He was played by Jeff Goldblum, which is quite amusing, actually. He was also a major character in the cable movie about Arnold Schwarzenegger, See Arnold Run, which jumped back and forth between the younger Arnold defending his Mr. Olympia title in the 1970s and the current Arnold seeking the governorship in the California recall. And was co-produced by and co-starred someone you know.
In addition, regular NWN poster Pat Skipper, who I knew from The X-Files, played Mike Murphy (a frequent choice by posters as one of those national campaign managers of the year) in See Arnold Run. Schwarzenegger’s take, incidentally? “Everybody was so much better looking in the movie about me, except for me and Maria.” Though I don’t believe that Maria Shriver was displeased about being played by Mariel Hemingway.
Al the Shoe Salesman explores the Obama tax plan.
** ABOUT THAT GOOFY A.P. POLL SHOWING OBAMA ONLY UP BY ONE NATIONALLY. Readers keep asking about this poll, which is getting pushed hard by the right-wing media. Here the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder points out the obvious glaring flaw in the poll. There ain’t 45% evangelical Christians in America’s voter pool. This poll, incidentally, was done for the AP by a firm I’ve never heard of. Why AP put it out is an interesting question.
** THE SUNDAY NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE COVER STORY ON WHAT WENT WRONG IN THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN. It’s floating around so much amongst insiders that the NYT has put it online. Here it is. I’ll have more to say about it later. And much more after the election.
** QUINNIPIAC POLLS: OBAMA UP IN OHIO, FLORIDA, AND PENNSYLVANIA. The brand-new Quinnipiac polls of battleground states Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania all show Barack Obama leading John McCain.
Ohio, Obama 52-38. Florida, Obama, 49-44. Pennsylvania, Obama 53-40.
President Bush’s approval rating in these three states ranges from 21% to 27%. Sarah Palin is a net negative in favorability all three states for the McCain ticket.
** BIG 10 BATTLEGROUND POLL: BIG OBAMA LEADS IN ALL MIDWESTERN BATTLEGROUND STATES. The universities of the Big 10 Conference have just conducted polls of their Midwestern states, all of which, by coincidence, are key battleground states in the presidential race, aside from Barack Obama’s Illinois. Obama leads John McCain in every one of these states. Last month, the contest was much tighter.
Here are the numbers. In Illinois, not surprisingly, it’s Obama 61-32. Indiana, Obama 51-41. Iowa, Obama 52-39. Michigan, Obama 58-36. Minnesota, Obama 57-38. Ohio, Obama 53-41. Pennsylvania, Obama 52-41. Wisconsin, Obama 53-40.
** CALIFORNIA STORY. The new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll has some interesting numbers.
Barack Obama, of course, has a huge lead in the Golden State, 56% to 33% over John McCain. The Proposition 8 anti-gay marriage initiative is trailing, 44% to 52%. The Prop 11 redistricting reform initiative has gone up some and is leading 41% to 34%, up from last month’s poll. The Prop 4 parental notification on abortion for teen pregnancy initiative is in a very tight race, barely ahead at 46% to 44%.
There’s a big gap in party enthusiasm for the respective ticket toppers. 74% of likely Democratic voters are satisfied with Obama while only 44% of Republicans are satisfied with McCain. Last month, a much higher number, 67%, were satisfied with McCain.
Obama leads McCain amongst all age, education, and income groups. His lead with Latinos. which some Republican strategists said would be a problem for him, is 73% to 18%.
The most dominant issue is the economy, with 51% naming it the top issue. The second highest issue? Well, it only got 6%, so it’s not all that important. 80% of California voters think the state is in recession, and only 20% think the state is on the right track.
Only 40% think the federal bailout of Wall Street will help the California economy.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s job approval is moving back up, to 47%. His budget stand appears to have been a boost for his popularity.
So, what does the poll tell us? That Obama is headed for a very big win in California, bigger than usual for a Democratic presidential candidate. You can also tell this by the relative absence of McCain campaign officials such as McCain national co-chair Meg Whitman and state co-chair Steve Poizner, both possible Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2010, from the side of McCain and Palin.
Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative, may be going down after cutting into the No side’s lead – and taking a lead itself in some polling – with tough TV ads featuring San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom roaring that same-sex marriage is here to stay “Whether you like it or not!” The No on 8 campaign may have stabilized, and I’ll have more on that in another piece.
Prop 4, parental notification on abortion for teen pregnancy, is once again a seesaw issue. I think many Californians are justifiably torn. On the one hand, it’s a crucial decision in which a parent should be involved. On the other, there are a lot of dysfunctional families out there. Right now, it looks like it’s headed for a narrow defeat.
Prop 11, the latest redistricting reform initiative. I think this has a real shot at passage. And I’ll get into the details in a future piece.
Arnold Schwarzenegger? He’s heading back up. He is probably the only chief executive in the country whose job approval rating is going up now. This comes in the wake of his dramatic decision to veto the state budget and his ability to force concessions on the Legislature when its leaders learned that his veto – which he never had to make – could not be overridden. Contrary to their initial crowing. That has big repercussions as the state continues to grapple with a chronic budget deficit that the epic financial crisis has only made worse.
John McCain’s brand-new Joe the Plumber web video.
** TV AD WARS: MCCAIN’S JOE THE PLUMBER CAMPAIGN (SERIOUSLY). With two weeks to go, it looks like John McCain is going with Joe the Plumber as the advertising centerpiece of his campaign. Still. That seemed in question to me yesterday, as the fellow’s vogue of last week is already fading. But it may be, that absent some fantastic new character attack against Barack Obama, it’s the campaign’s best shot left at attempting to drive an economic message. Talk about your “mad men.”
So McCain has flickery ads with grained-up up the footage, with a message making it sound like Obama will raise everybody’s taxes. I guess that’s what they think they have to do to punch through when Obama is out-gunning them 4 to 1 on the air. You can see one version of a Joe the Plumber ad above, and one below.
McCain has lately been playing that Joe the Plumber card hard, invoking him more than running mate Sarah Palin, who polls show has become a liability outside the conservative Republican base. That means scaring voters about Obama and his “socialist” policies, as McCain put it the other day, as a big tax-and-spender. But in this environment, most voters probably want government to spend in order to stimulate the economy and provide more of a safety net. So the success of this tack depends on the McCain campaign’s ability to convince people that Obama would raise their taxes, and not the taxes of rich people and corporations. … From Tuesday’s column.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in Indianapolis, Indiana and Honolulu, Hawaii. Obama ducks into Indy, in hopes of a win in a state no Democrat has carried since 1964, en route to Honolulu to see his grandmother for what may be the last time. After Indy, Obama will be off the campaign trail until Saturday.
Joe Biden is in Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh, North Carolina. Obama and Biden are trying to become the first Democratic ticket to win the Tarheel State since 1964.
John McCain is in Sarasota and Ormond Beach, Florida. McCain is trying to come back in Florida, the frequent lynch pin of Republican presidential victories. McCain is on his “Joe the Plumber” tour.
Sarah Palin is in Troy, Ohio and Beaver, Pennsylvania.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launching the Proposition 11 redistricting reform initiative last December in this NWN video.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigns today for the Proposition 11 redistricting reform initiative and for solar energy.
This morning, Schwarzenegger appears in Bakersfield for the launch of the first solar thermal power plant ot come online in 15 years.
This afternoon, Schwarzenegger appears in Palo Alto at an event promoting the redistricting reform initiative, Prop 11, with campaign co-chairman Steve Westly, former State Controller, Jeannine English, State President of AARP California, Karen Clopton, San Francisco President of the League of Women Voters, Dezie Woods Jones, President of Black Women Organized For Political Action, Christopher Dawes, CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Louise Timmer, President of the American Nurses Association/California
** INSIDE THE “BRADLEY EFFECT.” Barack Obama has won all three presidential debates over John McCain. He has a solid lead in the polls. What could go wrong for him? Well, many say the polls could be wrong, skewed by a hidden racist vote.
The “Bradley effect” — the notion that white voters lie to pollsters when a black candidate is in the race — has become widely known. But what you think you know from the campaign that gave rise to the phrase, then Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s ultimately near-miss race for governor of California in 1982, isn’t so.
I was in the middle of that, doing opposition research for Bradley’s campaign. I vividly recall election day that November, as reports from the exit polling done by California’s leading polling organization, the Field Poll, circulated. It seemed that Bradley, the first black mayor of Los Angeles, was headed for a big win as California’s first black governor. … From my Friday Huffington Post column.
** THE “MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE” FANTASY: PARANOIA AND IRONY ABOUND. “He’s … an Arab.” It’s perhaps fitting that last week ended that way for John McCain — face to face, embarrassingly, with an angry supporter sputtering about Barack Obama — given that he began it with a speech playing to the deep swamp of fevered innuendo about Obama as a “Manchurian candidate” out to seize the presidency and take down America. …
The Manchurian candidate ugliness began reaching critical mass over two years ago. That’s when it became apparent that Obama could be the figure of the future in American politics. …
Produced in 1962, The Manchurian Candidate is a darkly satirical view of far right politics in America. It was made with the encouragement of President John F. Kennedy, who was all too aware of the dangers of the paranoid style in American politics, starring his good friend Frank Sinatra, as Sinatra himself recounted in a 1988 documentary on the making of the film. … From a recent column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included.
Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading in the $68 to $69 per barrel range. It’s anticipated that there will be an OPEC production cut on Friday to preserve profit margins in the face of the global economic slump.
Deutsche Bank issued a forecast over the weekend that crude oil will trade at $60 per barrel in 2009 amidst a possible “major global recession.”
The drop of $78 per barrel since the record high three months ago comes on acknowledgment that the weak US economy will cut future demand and the easing of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. The Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium in the oil market.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum.