Hello again, and time for another edition of the Secret Poll. The election remains winnable by either John McCain or Barack Obama, the keys still coming down to turnout, the independents, and just plain not giving up. This being the final week, it is unlikely that either candidate could say or do anything to significantly improve his profile, although a badly-timed gaffe or surprise piece of bad news could influence the remaining undecideds, still over 10% of all voters. With early voting projected to represent more than 30% of all votes this year, Obama’s night-before election infomercial is unlikely to change anyone’s mind, although Obama is likely doing this as a last-step effort to maintain the high emotion on which his campaign has run.
So once again, here’s the recap of where I think the true numbers have played out, and where we are now:
August 31: McCain 41.77%, Obama 41.06%
September 7: McCain 42.45%, Obama 42.04%
September 14: McCain 45.71%, Obama 39.62%
September 21: McCain 44.48%, Obama 42.06%
September 28: McCain 42.73%, Obama 41.62%
October 5: McCain 44.09%, Obama 43.96%
October 12: McCain 42.68%, Obama 45.31%
October 19: McCain 43.49%, Obama 46.03%
October 26: McCain 44.50%, Obama 44.48%
McCain gained more support among independents and is eating into ‘soft democrat’ territory, the first possible indications of PUMA support. However, republicans are still less active than democrats in GOTV efforts, so winning may well depend on genuine last-minute efforts to encourage republicans, to focus on Sarah Palin’s future and the consequences of an all-Democrat government. Independents appear to be responsive to tax and stability issues, especially as Obama has neglected answering them in any depth, apparently believing they can only hurt him if he addresses them. The undecided portion has increased slightly to 11.02%, indicating that the emotion-based voters have begun to lose excitement, especially as these numbers appear to have fallen directly off Obama’s support, which had been at a campaign-high 46.03% last week.
The keys, again, are the following:
Turnout – if one party clearly does a better job getting its base to vote, that party will clearly win. More than ever, your vote matters.
Independents – Right now, the Independent vote is essentially tied, with about 25% of Independents still undecided. Whoever wins the most of that vote will win the election.
Undecideds – Overall, 11.02% of voters are still undecided. It’s slowly resolving itself, but there will still be a large pool of voters waiting to be convinced just before election day. Finishing strong could make all the difference.