Why McCain could win the White House

Today’s Post has an article about Americans outlook on the direction of the country being at it’s lowest since 1992. Despite the fact that 8 out of ten Americans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction, Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain runs a close race in a hypothetical election race with both Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama.

U.S. Outlook Is Worst Since ’92, Poll Finds
Results Give Democrats Edge

By Jon Cohen and Dan Balz

Americans are gloomier about the direction of the country than they have been at any point in 15 years, and Democrats hold their biggest advantage since early 1993 as the party better able to deal with the nation’s main problems, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Despite more than eight in 10 now saying the country is headed in the wrong direction, coupled with growing disaffection with the Republican Party, Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, remains competitive in a hypothetical general-election matchup with Sen. Barack Obama, the favorite for the Democratic nomination, and he runs almost even with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Those findings indicate that McCain continues to elude some of the anger aimed at his party and at President Bush, whose approval ratings dipped to an all-time low in Post-ABC polling. Maintaining a separate identity will be a key to McCain’s chances of winning the White House in November. Overall, Democrats hold a 21-percentage-point advantage over Republicans as the party better equipped to handle the nation’s problems.

As the Democratic race nears the end of its primary season, with the next round of voting happening today in West Virginia, this new national poll shows Obama with a 12-point advantage over Clinton as the preferred choice for the nomination.

More than six in 10 Democrats now say Obama is the one with the better shot at winning in November. Although Clinton retains her wide advantage as the more experienced candidate, for the first time Obama has the edge on being considered the stronger leader.

The Toronto Star has an article about how Senator McCain can still win the White House race despite the country’s disaffecation with the Republican Party.

Why McCain could win the White House

For many voters, the Republican nominee is viewed as true war hero and the one to best defend country

May 12, 2008
Tim Harper
Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON–Howard Dean surveyed the Indianapolis ballroom, a crowd of almost 2,500 Democratic faithful including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and offered a warning.

“The only thing that can stop us from winning the presidency is ourselves,” said the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Maybe.

Conventional wisdom still tells us Obama, the young, silver-tongued agent of change, will easily dispatch Republican John McCain, the geriatric extension of the Bush administration, a man on the wrong side of the Iraq debate in a war-weary country.

This is the same conventional wisdom, however, that once pronounced McCain dead, Clinton the easy Democratic nominee and the primaries wrapped up by the first Tuesday in February.

So here are 10 reasons McCain could become the next president of the United States:

REAGAN DEMOCRATS

This is the term coined for white, working-class voters who migrated to Ronald Reagan, putting him in office in 1980 and 1984.

Will they become McCain Democrats?

They have consistently put their faith in Clinton during this primary season and Obama has offered no proof so far that he can win them back in the general election.

Obama outpolled Clinton among white voters without a college degree in only three states for which exit polling is available: Vermont, Wisconsin and Utah.

You can file Utah. George W. Bush won 71.5 per cent of the vote there in 2004.

Obama is supported by less than 30 per cent of these voters in two states key to Democratic hopes: Pennsylvania and Ohio.

A Pew Research poll found almost one in four voters who consider themselves conservative or moderate Democrats would vote for McCain over Obama.

They were much more likely to stay with Clinton against McCain.

WOMEN

Much has been written about the danger of African-Americans and young voters fleeing the party if Clinton was seen to have somehow stolen the nomination from Obama.

Time, space and a unified convention will radically bring down the increasing number of Democrats who angrily say they would not vote for the winner if their candidate loses the nomination.

But there are millions of women, mainly middle-aged and older, who believed this was the year a woman was going to win the White House and are convinced the bar was placed much higher for Clinton by a biased media. Many are angry. How many of them will stay home in November or move to McCain?

SCORCHED EARTH

The race so far has been bruising, but not debilitating for Obama.

Clinton has done much of the Republican work in defining her opponent as elitist, inexperienced, a man of words instead of action.

But she has not really crossed any line.

If she plays this out until June 3, she has promised to take the high road, but there will be a temptation from Camp Clinton to launch one more “kitchen sink” salvo and the party is worried about their presumptive nominee emerging tarnished.

RACE

There is still a hesitancy among some in the U.S. heartland to vote for an African-American as president and it is not always reflected in polling.

“You can’t be called a racist in this country,” said Edward Frantz, a history professor at the University of Indianapolis.

“It is worse to be a racial bigot than a gender bigot in this country at this time.” Voters often cite other reasons for not backing Obama.

Clinton wasn’t as restrained when she told USA Today last week, “Senator Obama’s support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again … and whites in (Indiana and North Carolina) who had not completed college were supporting me.”

DISTRACTIONS

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former urban terrorist William Ayers, flag lapel pins, questions about whether he placed his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem – they will all resurface for Obama in the general election.

He has called them distractions, remnants of old-style politics that he will change, but symbols Canadians would dismiss as irrelevant can stick and change perceptions in elections here.

MCCAIN’S LIFE STORY

It is compelling and it will be exploited.

A man seen as a genuine war hero who overcame more than five years in captivity will play to a patriotic strain in this country which will be hard to counter for Obama, a 46-year-old first-term senator who came of age in the post-Vietnam era.

This will be the first U.S. election when Vietnam should (finally) cease to be an issue, but service to one’s country will always be an issue here.

OCTOBER SURPRISE

Even if the country heads into the home stretch of this campaign with Obama well ahead, there will always be a sense right until election day that there is a well-timed grenade from the Democrat’s past waiting to explode.

The Republicans have already started crafting a story line that the Democrats are nominating a candidate about whom less is known than any other candidate in history.

HOMELAND SECURITY

This has always been the Republican trump card and they will use it again. Polling indicates voters have much more confidence in McCain (63 per cent) than Obama (26 per cent) to defend the country against future attacks.

That far outstrips any margin Bush ever held over the 2004 Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry, on the issue.

THE L WORD

A widely cited National Journal analysis has pegged Obama as the most liberal voter in the U.S. Senate.

Obama’s camp disputs the analysis, but liberal in this country still means high taxes, profligate spending (although the Bush record blunts that McCain argument), being soft on terror and outside the mainstream on social issues.

McCain is also seen as out of step by a major portion of the Republican base, but assuming the party will eventually coalesce behind him to head off this liberal menace, Obama will have to be believable when he tacks to the centre.

CALIFORNIA

Solidly Democrat? Sure, right now. But never underestimate the Schwarzenegger effect: Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could put his home state in play by stumping for his friend McCain, something he would not do for Bush in 2004.

Respected political analyst Charles Cook has McCain leading in electoral votes right now.

A California flip would make him president.

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