Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Debate 2: The Rematch (E-27)

Well, that was kinda pointless. McCain's punching for all he's worth, but can't seem to land any telling blows. Obama seems like he's running the clock down. And Brokaw, God bless him, tried to enforce the time limits, to little effect. They say the opera's not over until the fat lady sings. She's not onstage yet, but I think I can hear her warming up.

And now, the numbers.

First, from Pollster:

DEM: 320 (+70)
REP: 163 (+/- 0)
Toss-Up: 55 (-70)

(Caveat Emptor: these guys may well be snorting tequila by the bathtub while they're doing their numbers. You'd be well advised to check their math.)

And from Intrade:

Obama: 338, 72.1% chance to win (+0 EV, +5.7%)
McCain: 200, 26.5% chance to win (+0 EV, -7%)

The interesting thing is how closely the totals match. I expect the projections to converge on some "final" predicted value on November 4th, which may or may not be the final, real number. I expect it'll be close, but not exact. The other interesting thing is how little the Intrade numbers have moved, EV-wise. That projection looks fairly solid. The other telling thing is that the guys in Intrade are unloading their McCain futures for whatever price they can get for them.

This is where it gets ugly. McCain absolutely has to pull out all the stops. He has to go negative, way negative, and it probably won't work even if he does. But he has to try. I can't see how he gets out of this hole, though, I really can't. This election is going to turn on the economic crisis, and McCain isn't exactly renowned for his economic expertise. The really tragic thing about all of this is that McCain should have been the Republican nominee eight years ago. He'd have been a simply outstanding Commander-in-Chief for the period immediately after 9/11, and would have been singularly qualified to lead at the outset of that war. But he does not realize that his time has passed. He's a lion in winter: worthy of respect for what he's done and endured, but clearly fading. The answers he has are for questions that have already been and gone. He doesn't have any new ones.

What John McCain must do: He's got to carve 50-60 EVs out of what Obama's got in his column, otherwise, it's goodbye and good night. Since this won't happen barring unforeseen good fortune on his part, he's probably done.

What Barack Obama must do: Pretty much, just keep on doing what he's been doing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. At this point, he's got to keep his lead, and not screw it up. He's ahead by two scores late in the 4th quarter. The clock is his friend.

The Way to Bet: Intrade's quoting 2.72 to 1 in Obama's favor, and I'm kicking myself for not putting money down when it was still 3-2 or, better still, even money. Expect the odds to climb higher as Election Day approaches.

Early voting in Texas starts on October 20th. Vote early, and vote often!

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