Saturday, July 19, 2008

Susan Estrich 'Nervous' About Obama's Chances

Original Link:

By P.J. Gladnick

Susan Estrich, who is best known to the public for her fascinating psychological unraveling on Fox News on election night 2004, is now "nervous" about the electoral chances of Barack Obama. In the process she makes a startling admission that might cause her to lose friends in the mainstream media. First let us listen to Susan as she tells us why July polls are meaningless...or maybe not:

July polls don’t tell you who’s going to win in November. Just ask President Dukakis or President Gore, both of whom were well ahead in July and went on to lose in the fall (although Mr. Gore still doesn’t quite see it that way). Or ask President Clinton, who was running third in some polls after clinching his party’s nomination, and won comfortably in the fall. Polls are, at best, snapshots of the present, not predictors of the future.

But that doesn’t mean they’re meaningless. There’s a reason that news organizations, and campaigns themselves, spend time and money to try to get the picture right, even if that’s all it is. Polls give you an insight into the dynamic of the race ahead; they highlight the problems, or the challenges, facing the candidates, their strengths and weaknesses.

So now that Susan has told us why July polls are meaningless (or not), she goes on to explain why those same polls make her nervous, very nervous:

So here’s the bottom line. The polls make me nervous. Not desperate, not hopeless, not resigned, but nervous. Barack Obama should be ahead right now. Way ahead. Not even close is how it should look, even though I wouldn’t for a minute tell you that if it were that would seal the deal. But the fact that my old candidate Mike Dukakis was running better 20 years ago against George Bush than Obama is today against John McCain makes me nervous. It should be a sign to some of the whiners on my side, still worried about whether Obama is liberal enough or whether he’s doing enough to help Hillary, that it’s time to stop whining and start working. Otherwise, it will be hello President McCain.

Could the Obama poll plunge have anything to do with the fact that he looks like nothing more than a typical pandering politician with his recent drastic policy shifts? Estrich does not say. However, she does tell us why she is very worried:

First, because the experience of the primaries, not to mention that of other African-American candidates, suggests that polls tend to overstate, not understate, support for black candidates. With the exception of Indiana, every pre-primary poll in a major state showed the race between Obama and Clinton to be closer than it turned out to be. It became a sort of running joke on election to see the DrudgeReport with the red siren on the top announcing that contests that Hillary would end up winning handily were, according to the exit polls that very day, too close to call.

Now, not to insult anyone, but if Democratic primary voters are playing both sides to the middle, as it were, why should general election voters be any different? The “Bradley effect,” as we in California refer to it (Tom Bradley, the popular black Los Angeles mayor who handily won the exit polls for Ggvernor, but lost the actual vote), has always been considered a general election phenomenon, and recent polls showing America to be as racially polarized as ever don’t exacty give comfort to those who would dismiss the concern that some voters may be telling pollsters one thing and then doing something very different when they actually mark their ballots.

The last time I checked, John Kerry was white and he too was winning by a landslide in the 2004 exit polls. In fact, that was why Estrich and many other Democrats were already celebrating with copious quantities of "victory" champagne...until the real results came in. The harsh shock of reality reflected on Estrich's face when those results were made known was viewed on television with great fascination by millions. Estrich seems to be setting herself up for an even bigger disappointment as she explains why 2008 should be a Democrat year:

Second, because this should be a Democratic year. A landslide Democratic year. The best Democratic year imaginable. Twenty years ago, when Michael Dukakis was leading around now, the incumbent Republican, Ronald Reagan, was actually popular...

Susan finally winds up by hurling some obligatory, smears that have nothing to do with policy, in the direction of John McCain:

Third, John McCain is hardly the dream candidate for a tough Republican year. He’s old. He’s had cancer twice. He has a temper. His sense of humor on occasion takes him to the edge, or over it. The circumstances surrounding the break-up of his first marriage were such that the Ronald Reagans basically dropped him from their list (and hired his ex-wife). The circumstances surrounding his second marriage have led to published gossip about his relationship with a blonde lobbyist. He’s a Washington insider at a time when Washington insiders are much reviled.

Perhaps some of you might be a bit upset with Estrich for wallowing in the mudpit of smears. However, I urge you not to be too hard on poor Susan because she almost totally redeems herself with a startling admission (emphasis mine):

So how can Newsweek have the race at a dead heat? How come, even in the polls where Obama is leading, his lead is in single digits? Is it that people still don’t know enough about him? No candidate in my lifetime has ever gotten better press coverage, more adoration from the media. Being attacked by Jesse Jackson is a gift of major proportions. Maybe it just hasn’t showed up yet in the numbers. Maybe race is a bigger factor than people want to admit. Maybe people just need to be convinced on the experience front. But whatever it is, Democrats should take note. It should be a Democratic year, but that is no guarantee that it will be one.

Remember, this is a liberal making this admission about Obama getting not only better press coverage but "adoration" from the media. So the next time you hear someone in the MSM say that Obama isn't getting better (biased) coverage from them, just point out that quote from Susan Estrich the liberal. In fact, please allow your humble correspondent to conclude by repeating that memorable Estrich quote about Obama:

No candidate in my lifetime has ever gotten better press coverage, more adoration from the media.

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