Friday, June 20, 2008


The McCain problem.... simply put

You want to know what McCain's problem? Just take a look at a recent poll... his favorables are higher than his unfavorables, but he still trails Obama. Even in the Newsweek poll where McCain is trailing by 16 points ( (a poll that is garbage as most Newsweek polls are), McCain still manages to have a favorability rating of positive 12 (12% more of people like him then don't). The problem for him is that Obama rating is an astounding +36! But look at other polling, Rasmussen ( has his favorables higher than Obama's, and he still trails!!!!

This puts McCain is a very difficult position.... it doesn't matter how much people like him because the election doesn't seem to be about McCain at all. It has and will always be about Obama. As many people have pointed out, Obama was able to ultimately succeed in the primary because he was able not so much prove Hillary to be incompetent, but more that he was able to prove himself to be. The same is holding true in the general election. As long as people have a favorable view of him, he will lead. As long as over 50% of people have a favorable opinion of him, he will win.

So how the devil does Obama lose?

Well the answer is quite simple... his favorables fall below 50%. If Obama isn't seen as competent, he will lose... and by default McCain will win.

If this script seems familiar, it should..... It's in a way the Kerry strategy of 2004. When people pulled the lever, marked the ballot, or used a computer machine that you hoped would register a vote for John Kerry, they weren't doing so in favor of Kerry but against Bush ( Of course, it didn't help in the end that most people didn't like Kerry, but in the end it was that they didn't hate Bush. But let's bring it back a second.... why didn't people like Kerry? Though God knows many confounding variables exist, the numbers of "which candidate attacked unfairly" and which candidate got the ultimate share of the vote were nearly identical. In other words, Kerry pretty much took himself out of the running because he needed Bush to drop in favorability..... and thus ran negative ads, which made Bush seem more "Presidential" (perhaps?).

This lesson and the facts put McCain a precarious position... how the devil can you bring Obama down without pulling yourself down too?

I don't know the answer. But what I can tell you is that McCain is dead to right if both candidates are viewed with the same favorable ratings....

You can articulate policy differences all you want.... but unless Obama is seen as "distant", "out of touch", "unlikable", etc. this election is adios.

P.S. If you think I'm nuts comparing Obama to Bush, check out today's "The Note" with Rick Klein: .

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