An Obama jump in the polls: can he make it stick?

Posted on August 29th, 2008 in Politics by Robert Miller

The Democrats have had a good week at their convention. Even David Brooks, the conservative NYT columnist from Disney Land, working with Mark Shields and Jim Lehrer on PBS, conceded that the Republicans had a tough act to follow (once Biden gave his speech, Brooks countered that McCain needed to choose Lieberman as his VP to counter the attacks that the Democrats will be leveling at McCain). As we all know, every candidate gets a boost in the polls from their respective convention, so it will be interesting to see what McCain can do next week. The Gallup Poll has Obama with a 6 point bump, with perhaps more to come in next Monday’s poll, as the current one does not reflect the entire convention. This Poll has had McCain slightly ahead in the last few weeks.

In the midst of the post-convention euphoria, John Zogby writes (August 24) that, over the summer, Obama lost 12 points to McCain in going from a 47-40 lead to a five point deficit by his latest polling results (pre-convention). He also points out that Obama lost that lead because young voters began to see him waiver on things that are important to them. Just as I had predicted when I made the point earlier, the majority of Americans, in the range of 60-80%, support the views of progressive liberals on issues which include the war in Iraq, energy and health care. Obama’s move to the center cost him that lead and I worry that, while he reinforced his commitment to a more liberal position last night in his convention speech, his campaign managers have moved him to a more central position to steal votes from the undecided independents that are wavering on McCain. The trouble with that strategy is that the young voters that have been newly attracted to Obama will just stay home on election day, especially if they perceive he is no longer their kind of candidate. Young voters won’t go for McCain, they just won’t go to the polls. The polls that are taken after the two conventions are the ones that begin to reveal the public sentiments and tracking them then becomes more indicative of voter commitments. I have been personally disappointed by Obama for his centrist slide and, while I contributed to the Democratic Party, I have yet to contribute directly to Obama’s campaign. I certainly will do so in the coming days and, while I am disappointed in his lack of progressive vigor, letting McCain win this election would be tantamount to a public crime–one committed by the public!
I have not seen the ad, but the Swift Boat people who attacked Kerry, have put together an attack ad against Obama that links him to the terrorist past of William Ayers (former member of the Weatherman Underground and now a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago). The Republicans have a way of making these connections mean something (unlike Kerry who didn’t fight back against the Swift Boaters, Obama’s campaign is going after the legality of these kinds of ads, although one sees little hope of this strategy actually achieving anything).
In my opinion, what the Obama campaign should do is hit very hard on McCain with the evidence that he has early Alzheimer’s (published accounts reveal that he has 6 of the 10 behavioral features of early cognitive failure). and demand that he take a neurological exam with a test for his cognitive capacity to reassure Americans that he is competent to lead the country. If elected, McCain will be our oldest president at a time when the problems a new administration will face have never been greater or more demanding. Given his family history of early death (father age 70, grandfather age 61) and the apparent signs of cognitive dysfunction, a test should be demanded by the American public. By putting McCain on the defensive about his ability to lead because of cognitive impairment, it is one way to change the tone of the election. You can go to this site and contribute to ads demanding an examination of McCains cognitive state. Of course, as well all know, anyone voting or registering Republican already has a serious cognitive impairment. We have yet to learn whether this might be something in the water, the same water that Bush as been drinking. Perhaps an overdose of solvents used in processing the plastic bottles they favor as their source of water–that could be the root of all this strange Republicanism and the birth of Faux News. Perhaps McCain, learning the source of his cognitive disability in the solvents of plastic processing, will add a new campaign slogan “I will bring back quality public drinking water to Arizona–oops I mean to the American People.”


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