Thursday, September 18, 2008

Naught for your comfort?

This blogging lark means one never quite catches up.

A couple of hours back, Malcolm went public on the way the economic situation was impacting on the McCain campaign.

He hadn't appreciated quite how far.

The overnight Rasmussen figures are in; and it all comes down to the blame game:

As the financial sector meltdown continues, consumer confidence has plummeted, falling 8% overnight. Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters now rate the economy as the top issue of Election 2008. That’s up from 41% this past Saturday morning. The number saying the country is heading in the right direction fell from 23% on Saturday to 18% now.

The financial crunch provides both opportunity and risk for the candidates. Voters are closely following the story but only one-in-four believe that either Obama or McCain is Very Likely to bring about the changes that are needed on Wall Street. Adding to the complexity for politicians everywhere is the fact that 49% worry that the federal government will do too much while just 36% are more worried that it won’t do enough.

As for the political implications, polling conducted last night shows that 47% trust McCain more than Obama on economic issues while 45% trust Obama.

A note of caution: that isn't quite what the the latest New York Times/CBS News poll suggested:
By overwhelming numbers, Americans said the economy was the top issue affecting their vote decision, and they continued to express deep pessimism about the nation’s economic future. They continued to express greater confidence in Mr. Obama’s ability to manage the economy, even as Mr. McCain has aggressively sought to raise doubts about it...

Despite weeks of fierce Republican attacks, Mr. Obama has maintained an edge on several key measures of presidential leadership, including economic stewardship. Sixty percent of voters said they were confident in his ability to make the right decisions on the economy, compared with 53 percent who felt that way about Mr. McCain. Sixty percent also said he understood the needs and problems “of people like yourself,” compared with 48 percent who said that of Mr. McCain.
Now we are beginning to see how the McCain camp will spin that:

So it's FUD -- fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Which means we can expect the Obama counter-attacks to include:
  • identifying McCain with the problem (which means the link to Big Money through Gramm); like this:

  • and pushing a message of hope (which will sound close to the one that saw Clinton home in 1992).
In fact, if we can take the Guardian's Ewan MacAskill on trust, that is what is already happening. Obama, flush with campaign contributions, bought a two-minute slot for a direct-to-camera presentation:
the kind of thing campaigns usually save for the very last push
It looks like this:

47 days to go

A long while to dish the dirt; or to keep the focus on "It's the economy, stupid".

For the moment, it's difficult to see how McCain can distance himself even further
  • from the broken brand that is the Republican Party,
  • from the President with whom he has identified himself, and
  • from the consequences of his own association with Gramm.
It's a long time to be mud-wrestling. Sphere: Related Content

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