The good news is that a variety of sources are predicting that Obama wins -- barring some unforeseen catastrophe. In fact, pollster.com has Obama rocking it with 320 votes right now. In other words, it's not just shaping up for an Obama win -- it's looking like a landslide. It's these numbers that have the pundits predicting victory, but I prefer to look at the numbers: Brian Schaffner writes that only one candidate in the last fifty years has lost after reaching 50% in October. Unfortunately, that candidate was Al Gore. But hey -- he won the popular vote!
Fortunately, Schaffner wrote that article a few days ago and, even in that brief time, new polls have significantly widened Obama's lead. We all know that as a result, the McCain campaign has turned ugly -- accusing Obama of associating with terrorists and now playing the Reverend Wright card, etc. I enjoyed a friend's comment about Palin's misreading of the NY Times article which had actually concluded that Obama did not have a relationship with Ayers. On her citing the Times my friend remarked "Oh, so the first time she picks up a newspaper . . ."
Not surprisingly, there's outrage all over the media (except Fox News, of course) about the McCain campaign's new tactics -- and commentary on how they won't work. I hope not -- because it's frightening to think what it would mean if McCain's attacks proved successful. I've written about the damage a McCain campaign would do to the country, but imagine what his campaign would do to political races in this country. A successful McCain campaign -- even an uptick in his numbers this month -- would signal that baseless and ridiculous attacks (including accusing a sitting United States senator of terrorist ties) do more for a candidate's election prospects than actually talking about the issues. It would give future presidential candidates zero incentives to talk about the issues and every incentive to smear their opponents with vicious attacks -- no matter what their truthfulness.
Luckily, Obama seems to be playing the right card. Earlier, I thought Obama should label McCain a liar because with that frame, Americans would both distrust McCain and take his attacks with a grain of salt. However, Obama's new ad is even better -- calling McCain "erratic in a crisis" tells Americans that McCain is both trying to distract them from the real issues and that McCain is a poor leader (it also may be a subtle jab at his age -- which is legitimate given his VP choice). It helps, of course, that several of his aides explicitly stated they were trying to change the topic from the economy.
That said, the upcoming debate leaves McCain little choice but to address the economy. He wants to go on the attack but he risks looking "erratic in a crisis" as Obama sticks to the issues. Hopefully, like the pundits say, it's already in the bag. That said: it's still important to vote and get others out there!