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Monday, November 03, 2008

Above is a chart from Chris Bowers by way of Matt Yglesias charting the comparative advantages of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Al Gore over the course of the campaign season. This is an important charts for Democrats who are about to be confronted with something that has long seemed impossible: not just a victory but what looks to be a blowout. For the last fifty days of election 2004, we were never ahead, according to the polls—we just thought we were, having mystified the polls and made faulty assumptions about turnout and the undecided break.

Obama's situation is quite different, with a nine-point lead in the final NBC/WSJ poll and between nine and eleven points in Gallup. Those numbers would have McCain underperforming Dukakis, and if you believe in Nate Silver's cellphone effect, the margin could be even larger. This same movement is reflected in the tracking polls—despite persistent claims that "the polls are narrowing," there's no real evidence of this.

And Obama has already locked down good margins in the early vote, to all appearances: over 2.5 million people have already voted in North Carolina, including almost half of the state's African-American population and 44% of registered Democrats. In Colorado and New Mexico in particular, the margins may already be too great to overcome.

What I'm saying is, though there's still work to be done, this time I really think we actually win.