Check Bounce

Adam Nagourney at The New York Times asks with reference to the Obama campaign, "Where's the Bounce?" It may be in his step but it is not showing up in the polls.

WASHINGTON -- It is a question that has hovered over Senator Barack Obama even as he has passed milestone after milestone in his race for the White House: Why is he not doing better?

It shadowed him as he struggled against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in many states through the primaries, results that sometimes stood at odds with the huge, enthusiastic crowds that turned out to see him. It was there in the exit polls that suggested that many Democrats were uncomfortable with Mr. Obama, putting an asterisk next to some of his biggest primary victories.

And it is back again as he returns from an overseas trip that even Republicans have described as politically triumphant. In this case, the question is why -- given how sour Americans feel about President Bush and the Republican party, and the perception that Mr. Obama is running a better campaign than Senator John McCain -- the senator from Illinois is not scoring even higher in national opinion polls.

Most surveys now show Mr. Obama with a lead of about 6 or 7 percentage points over Mr. McCain nationally, and Mr. Obama rarely breaks the 50 percent threshold. Those are statistics that have given Republicans, who are not exactly feeling joyful these days, a line to grab, and they have fed some underlying anxiety among some Democrats.

"They've known John McCain for years," Bill McInturff, a pollster for Mr. McCain, said of survey participants. "But people say in focus groups, 'Who the heck is Barack Obama? Had you heard of him before six months ago?' And he's 46 years old. He's somebody nobody knows about."

Wretchard at the Belmont Club is looking at the Intrade prices for Obama and if you look at the charts it looks like Obama is past his peak. The Intrade numbers still favor Obama but it looks like he may be headed for a spin, crash, and burn.

Here is what one commenter there sees:


A pattern that I use in stock index trading is what I call a 1-2-3, wherein a trend has three successively steeper subunits. In the Intrade graph that would be 1=subunit from Nov07-Feb08, 2=subunit from Feb08-May08, and 3=subunit from May08-July08. A break of the last subunit probably signals a decline. Then very often there is a rapid retest of the high of subunit 3, followed by a more prolonged decline. The Obama graph is not as vertical as I would like for one to be be before making a sizeable bet but it has the look of a crest.

As has been stated so many times before - prediction is very hard, especially about the future.

In any case, may I suggest reading Wretchard's post and the checking out the wisdom of many of the commenters.

As to predictions - here is what I have to say: "Prediction is a lot of fun, especially about the future." Make of it what you will.

PUMA PAC an anti-Obama/pro-Hillary Dem organization takes a look at the bounce question. Here is a bit of what they say:

So if you fancy yourself the Democrats' Karl Rove -- an unbeatable master of politics and strategy, how come the Grand Tour was such a flop for your guy? Sinking in blue swing states, tanking in red states. . . Most Americans believe the Ego Trip, I mean World Tour, hurts or doesn't help his chances in November. Your guy can't even make a dent against an old guy who hasn't even begun to campaign against you in earnest. You're losing during the warm-up? Oops. Groan.
Check their site for links.

I also liked this piece they did: Walking Eagle. Very funny.

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 07.29.08 at 01:47 AM


Just because prediction has been difficult before is no reason to think it will always be difficult.

Ron Hardin   ·  July 29, 2008 8:24 AM

My theory is that the media's constant complaint about Bush's lack of experience in 2000 has made it difficult for someone with even less experience to convince the public he's really worthy of the job.

If a man who was Governor of Texas for 6 years and whose father was president wasn't experienced enough how can Obama, with just shy of four years of experience in the Senate (two of which have been spent campaigning), be better? And how can someone who graduated from Yale and Harvard be an incurious boob, yet similar Ivy League degrees make Obama brilliant?

If Bush was derided for having foreign policy advisors in 2000 why should Obama be lauded -- or as some journalists suggested gravitas -- for his learning tour? As usual, the press wants to have it both ways and doesn't understand when it doesn't work to their advantage.

MMC   ·  July 29, 2008 12:52 PM

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