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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Morning politics.

* Landslide ascendant? New polls from Quinnipiac show Obama breaking away in Florida (51-43), Ohio (50-42) and Pennsylvania (54-39). Lots of reasons for this; in addition to the economic crisis that Ben Smith highlights, there's also McCain's increasingly erratic behavior and the snowballing unpopularity of Sarah Palin. Nate Silver of was on Countdown last night trumpeting a predicted 330-207 Electoral College blowout—an opinion Dick Morris of all people would call conservative—and OpenLeft has a great chart from the Princeton Election Meta-Analysis showing the distribution of all possible outcomes.

* Which means it's time for McCain to get nasty. Again.

* Speaking of Palin, I'm reserving judgment on the debate until I actually see it. It's very hard to say how the expectations game is going to work; traditionally, the candidate perceived as unimpressive benefits from asymmetric expectations and thereby "wins," and in that sense Palin can't lose. But I'm not sure there's ever been a candidate as manifestly unprepared as Sarah Palin—and basically any mistake she makes, even relatively trivial ones, will serve to ratify the Tina-Fey caricature that has achieved critical cultural mass. In that sense she can't win. So I have no idea what's going to happen. Her recent interviews with Katie Couric have been no better than the early ones—she famously reads all newspapers but won't admit or has no idea what pro-life actually means and it's now been confirmed she couldn't discuss any court decision beyond Roe v. Wade—and the Republicans are working overtime both to prep her and to pre-spin the debate. They're now strongly attacking Gwen Ifill all over. If they're going to cry about it, fine, let's replace Ifill—is Katie Couric available?

* Explosive breaking news from Troopergate probably won't help Palin's popularity.

* What is it about being mayor of New York City that causes people to lust after emergency powers? Now Bloomberg wants an emergency third term.

* And Google endorses marriage equality.