Sunday, November 02, 2008

Good luck Obama

All of us on the centre-left are holding our breath hoping that nothing gets in the way of Obama winning the US Presidential election on Tuesday.

Perhaps it's because I'm Labour, but I believe the only moment of certainty in politics is the night the ballots get counted. The uncertainty starts again the very next morning. I am always astonished when people think something is "in the bag" - that's usually when things start to slip away from them (for the most recent example of this see this poll done by Conservative Home just before their party conference, where an astonishing 91% thought they were either heading for a large victory or a small victory - that was when the Tories were running a good 25 points ahead of Labour and before the meltdown of the markets).

American polls are more inaccurate than British ones - we saw this in the primaries. At least the regular primary ballots provided a reality check. We haven't had one for a while, and it's likely that media hype is disguising an unstated resistance to having Obama in the White House.

I hope I'm wrong, but if I was Obama I would get my people to fight fiercely to the very end to get out the vote. I think the result will be close and that every last vote will count. Obama has very good organisation on the ground, and if he wins it will be down to that rather than any radical shift in the zeitgeist (the shift will come after he wins and starts to govern, and has the power to "change the weather" in fundamental ways).

7 comments:

labourparty said...

A sentiment shared by many of us.

For all the latest on the Obama campaign it's worth going to this long running, multi-author blog:
http://www.englandforobama.com/

broncodelsey said...

So it's ok with New Labour for the most powerful country in the world to be led by a novice?

snowflake5 said...

broncodelsey - the USA is choosing between two novices (neither McCain nor Obama has ever had administrative experience as they both come from the Senate).

If you are choosing between two novices, you go for the more intelligent - Obama in this case. Especially if the other team has 72-year old man who has suffered from cancer a lot and is not expected to live long, with the unusually dim novice Palin as his number two, a mere heart-beat away from the presidency.

USA08 was actually about Obama v Palin

If you are choosing between an experienced team (Brown/Darling) or a novice team that is unusually thick Sarah Palin-style (Dave "Russians should stop shopping in London while I send my chief fundraiser to get cage donations from them" Cameron and George "I think all banks should go bust and would prefer financial meltdown to nationalisation" Osborne), you would naturally go for the experienced team. :-)

DevonChap said...

Well, where shall I start? Unless you are a doctor I wouldn't prognosticate over John McCain's lifespan. Yes actuarially there is a 25% chance a man of his age and his cancer history will die in the next 4 years. But that is a game of averages so he could go on forever, like his mother.

Secondly you castigate the Tories for expecting to have a “small” victory when they are 25% ahead in the polls. I would point out that they haven’t been proved wrong yet, and despite a crisis Yatchgate and a economic crisis that allowed the Prime Minister to claim to save the world the Conservatives are still 8-15 points ahead of Labour and balanced political observers (such as the politicshome PH100) still think the Conservatives will be the single largest party after the next election.

And a final thing. What is it with “I’m Labour”? You might be a part of the Labour Party or Labour movement, or support the ideals of the Labour Party. But you can’t be Labour any more than I can be ice cream. Unless of course you are the only member of the Labour Party (oh given their membership figures that could be true).

broncodelsey said...

So we should go for the Brown / Darling team that have trashed our economy,no more boom or bust?

The last 18 months of a Labour government for probaly a generation is clearly getting to you!

snowflake5 said...

Devonchap - I didn't castigate the Tories for expecting a "small victory"! (read the piece again)

I'm guessing you didn't actually look at the figures from ConHome - the result was 48% thinking that the Conservatives are heading for a large victory, and 43% thinking that they were heading for a small victory. Which makes a total of 91% thinking that they were certain to win!

I was remarking on the near unanimous certainty that they would win. But now you mention it, the 48% thinking they would get a large victory is also astonishing.

You clearly don't like my colloquialism of "I'm Labour" instead of "I'm a Labourite". But hey, it's my blog, I can use language any way I like. That's the beauty of English.

Broncodelsey - Ken Clarke has proudly announced that the phrase "no more boom and bust" is actually his.

DevonChap said...

My point is that with the balance of political pundits and betters forecasting a Conservative victory, along with the consistent polls leads and the difficultly historically of winning a fourth term, Conservative supporters have reason to believe in victory at the next election. Now I'd say small rather than big is likely but they are true believers (like you only for another team) and so they are less objective. Remember 1992 was a nice surprise for the Tories, not a gut-renching crushing defeat as it was for Labour, so they don’t have that scar of expecting to win and then having it taken away in a Sheffield rally moment of madness.