Less than a week from now I’ll step into a polling booth and (figuratively) pull the lever for someone. I think it time to do a bit more discussion – partly because this helps me clarify my own thinking.
I will not vote for a Republican candidate for federal office. There’s one for state office about whom I’m ambivalent, and I may wind up voting for him — I despise the other Republican on a personal level, his politics thus being immaterial. But let’s stay with the federal level and continue. More relevant to my few readers, I’ll stay with the presidential candidates. And even though I won’t vote for them, I’ll discuss the Republicans a bit first.
In North Georgia, Ron Paul is going to have one of his best turnouts ever. Seriously, his signs were up before anyone else, and they are EVERYWHERE — in people’s yards, not just the cluster zones. No, I don’t think he’ll win. But… considering what I said earlier about him, it gives me pause once more when I consider the people among whom I live. Anyway, the winner is going to be Huckabee. They don’t like Romney and don’t trust McCain and are heavily biased in favor of the candidate who is one of them. Not just religious, but dominionist. I suspect, based on polls, that Huckabee may actually win Georgia as a whole (on the R side), but don’t know for sure.
As to my vote, I was planning to vote for Edwards. Since he’s withdrawn that’s obviously not going to happen, and so I’m down to Clinton and Obama. And I am, frankly, torn. I have disagreements with both, and there are things from each I like. And believe it or not there is no calculation of “electability” — both will defeat McCain – who polls the best in every head-to-head matchup.
Digression to expand that bit… In several polls of “likely voters”, McCain is within the margin of error against both Obama and Clinton – meaning it’s a nominal tie. The problem is that the way “likely voters” is measured is wrong for this year. See, it’s based on two historical datapoints – the number of self-declared D, R, and I (and how they split), and historical turnout rates for each. If the sample’s number of D, R, and I isn’t in line with the expected numbers, they’re adjusted — polling is still a bit of art to go with the science. With that in mind, the big problem comes up just by looking at the primaries and caucuses so far. First, the number of self-declared D/R/I has shifted heavily toward the D. (My guess is that several I have shifted to D, and several R have shifted to I.) Second, turnout for Ds has SURGED. Now at first I thought this was some sneaky – foul but legal – play. (I’ve mentioned that before.) But the turnout surge has been consistent across all elections so far regardless of eventual winner. The Rs have faced… very tiny increases, if not declines.
My back-of-the-envelope swags are that the likely voter models are over-weighted in favor of the R by between 3 and 8%. Shifting 3% from McCain to either of the two Dems puts them clearly ahead.
Is this surmountable? Yes. Will it be overcome? I strongly doubt it. Between war and the economy, too many people do NOT want “more of the same”, and that’s what McCain’s promises come down to being. Less jobs, more wars is how Scarborough described it the other night.
What this means is that I am free to select my candidate not on “can he/she win” but “which one do I want in office?” And the answer is, I can’t make up my mind.
Expect more posts as I try to parse the two enough to make a decision. And yes, I’ll tell you which one got my vote when I do it, and why – even if it was, “I flipped a coin…”