Thoughts on the state of the McCain Campaign

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October 26, 2008

10:07 PM

John McCain is in trouble right now. The Ayers stuff didn’t work, the “campaign suspension” (Is that still ongoing? I haven’t noticed.) didn’t work (and didn’t accomplish anything to boot), and Sarah Palin doesn’t seem to be working out so well. Oh, and Obama raised almost twice as much money in September as McCain can spend in the whole general election.

I read somewhere that it takes about $1 million in advertising to move one Congressional District one point. The problem for John McCain is that Obama has many times $1 million to spend in not-so-many Congressional Districts in swing states, while McCain simply … doesn’t.

Yes, McCain has some more money than is indicated, both because of the party and because of the 527s, 501(c)(3)s, and OU812s out there.

Alright, maybe not the last one, but the other ones are definitely out there in force, so the situation isn’t quite the dire mess that the straight fundraising would make one think. But it’s close.

Obama’s campaign now has eight offices in Williamsburg-James City County: The Bacon Street office and seven satellite offices in the county. They’ve got a big voter database, lots of volunteers, and they’ve got an edge in radio ads (and I suspect TV ads, but the last time I watched TV, other than part of one of the debates, was … a long time ago). All on top of those millions of dollars with which to saturate swing states.

Is it over? Not likely. Obama could still put his foot so far in his mouth that he requires surgery to remove it, but that probably won’t happen. More likely is some foreign event unrelated to the economic mess out there helping McCain; so is a “hard bounce” in the stock market that puts us over 11,000 by Election Day (and cool off the so-called “Lehman Bounce” that Obama got last month). There’s been a close enough correlation between the Dow and John McCain’s poll ratings to believe that a surge in the market could save the campaign.

Will either happen? Probably not. But either could throw the campaign into a mess. The problem, unfortunately, is that McCain needs something to change the game for him, since he really hasn’t been able to change it on his own. Four debate draws (in my opinion, at least) just didn’t cut it, particularly against the suitcases of cash that keep coming into Obama’s campaign from supporters that will in effect allow Obama to buy the election.

Let me be clear: I’m not alleging corruption in this post. Obama’s financial advantage, however, is large enough that it poses a serious issue for McCain (something not seen in recent years in a general election campaign), one that is going to be hard to balance out. If the election were fought on even terms, McCain would (compared to his current position) be up 1-2 in the national polls and 2-4 in swing states. That may not seem like a lot, but that may well be the election right there.

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