Daniel W. Drezner

Is it over?

Back in the summer I blogged about how the fundamentals in this election were stacked in Barack Obama’s favor.  After a Palinesque convention bounce, it appears that the financial crisis has brought those fundamentamentals back to the fore.  Pollster.com’s Steve Lombardo puts it this way:  The past 14 days have transformed this election. The financial ...

Back in the summer I blogged about how the fundamentals in this election were stacked in Barack Obama’s favor.  After a Palinesque convention bounce, it appears that the financial crisis has brought those fundamentamentals back to the fore.  Pollster.com’s Steve Lombardo puts it this way

The past 14 days have transformed this election. The financial crisis has catapulted Obama into the lead both nationally and in key states. We have been saying for six months that the political environment has favored the Democrats significantly, but it took a near global financial meltdown for things to finally reach the tipping point. The economic situation has virtually ended John McCain’s presidential aspirations and no amount of tactical maneuvering in the final 29 days is likely to change that equation.

Intrade now gives Obama a 68% chance of winning.  Nate Silver now gives Obama an 88% chance of winning.  Conservative columnists like Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks are now conceding that Obama will win.  So, my questions to readers:

  1. Short of a complete fiasco of a performance by Obama, will the debates make any difference from here on in? 
  2. Short of a 9/11-style attack, will any external news-making event affect the fundamentals?
  3. Will the character mudslinging that framed yesterday’s news cycle turn off voters for both men?  Who will deal better with the inevitable “Ponytail Guy question” in tonight’s town hall? 
  4. The question that really interests me — how is McCain going to go out?  This is normally his favorite political terrain — a complete and total underdog.  He’s not going to get much sympathy, however, by using the Ayres/Wright/Rezko — no one cares about that stuff when the credit markets are shutting down.  Will McCain decide to go out as the valiant but honorable loser?  Let me second Ross Douthat here:  “McCain is almost certainly going to lose this election. He can go down trying to talk about the issues that voters actually care about, and trying to make some headway in the debates that are going to dominate our politics for the next few years, or he can go down trying to change the subject. I really don’t see any percentage in the latter.”  Indeed.
 Twitter: @dandrezner

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola