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From the time that Hillary Clinton had her "comeback" during the primaries (after it was too late mathematically for her to win), pundits have been asking, why can't Barack Obama seal the deal? They're still asking it, regarding the "close" race between Obama and John McCain.
The story goes, that this is a Democratic year. The Republicans have had a deeply unpopular President, whose administration has been stuffed full of some of the most despised people since Nixon's. The economy is shaky, gas prices are high, we're in a perpetual, unpopular war. . . Everything should ad up to a cake walk for Barack Obama. So, the punditry is confused that the polls only have Obama in a single-digit lead. Forget the fact that he's lead in all but a couple of polls ever since he clinched the nomination. . .why isn't he further ahead?
The story I've excerpted below goes part of the way into explaining why. I have an idea. The polls are close because we're a nation of partisans these days. Many Republicans have their political ideology so wrapped up in who they are, voting for a Democrat--demonized for twenty years by Rush Limbaugh--is unthinkable. No matter how badly Republicans are doing things, or how good the Democrat is, they just can't do it.
Democrats are in a different situation. They're less lock-steppy than Republicans, by and large. It's often said that trying to lead Democrats is like herding cats. But many are just as defiantly against voting Republican. Their votes are often more against a Republican than for a Democrat. But it works out the same.
That leaves very little middle ground. Can you even imagine not being sure who you're voting for this year? So polls are close, because we're divided. The hope that I have is that Democrats are more energized to go out and vote. That is what will win this election for Barack Obama. The danger in that scenario is, that a widespread popular opinion of a close election makes it much easier to steal. And we know Rovian armies are out there right now looking to do just that.
Now, another reason why the polls look close. . .
SHIFT: Obama's secret weapon — the cellphone
Recent polls have the two egomaniacs ("No, I should be the leader of the free world!") in a statistical dead heat. But to paraphrase defense witness Marisa Tomei suddenly realizing the import of the photographed tire marks in My Cousin Vinny, the polls are wrong. Why? Pollsters don't poll people with cellphones. Read on to find out what this means. . .
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