Can McCain still win? - The Intrepid

Friday, October 31, 2008

Can McCain still win?

Yes, but he has no margin of error. McCain is fighting on his own turf. With perhaps the exception of Pennsylvania, all of the Kerry 2004 states, plus Iowa, are locked up for the Democrats. This time around, all of the political battles are taking place on Republican turf. If Obama wins Virginia, he wins. If Obama wins Missouri, he wins. If Obama wins Colorado and New Mexico, he wins. As John Dickerson argued this week on the Slate Political Gabfest, “Obama has multiple paths to the [Presidency]. The McCain strategy relies on a lot of things just falling into place.”

McCain can only win if there are deep flaws within all of the Democratic advantages. Not just one, all of them. National polls have to be wrong. Swing state polls have to be flawed. Newly registered Democrats need to stay home.

Sure, one or two polls might be wrong. But, it seems unlikely that Obama’s leads in Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada could all evaporate.

For McCain to win, there must be an underlying factor that polls are not picking up. Numerous analysts have suggested that Obama might fall victim to the Bradley Effect. The Bradley Effect suggests that voters lie on exit polls to conceal their own racist prejudices. The effect is named after Tom Bradley. In 1982, Bradley ran for Governor in California, but lost despite double digit leads before Election Day. Political analysts at the time concluded that polling couldn’t always predict racial prejudice.

Whether the Bradley Effect is real or not is debatable. Certain studies suggest that it never existed and others indicate that it has abated over the 1990s. If it is real, it might be McCain’s only ticket to the White House.