2008 Election ‘Regular Season’ Kickoff
Although some of us have been obsessing about Campaign 2008 since, oh, November 2004, what’s happened thus far is the political equivalent of the NFL’s offseason. Both parties have completed their drafts and we’ve had some exhibition games but most people are waiting for the regular season to start before paying attention.
That happens next week, with the start of the Democratic National Convention, followed the next week by the Republican National Convention.
The focus now is on the backup quarterbacks, with numerous reports saying Barack Obama has picked his running mate and could announce his choice as early as tomorrow, with Joe Biden the apparent fan favorite, and that John McCain will make his VP announcement the morning after the Democrats finish and on what happens to be his 72nd birthday. Much speculation has ensued.
Unlike football, political campaigns don’t start at 0-0. Obama has a slight but steady lead. The current RealClearPolitics average has him up 3.4 points, about where he’s been for months, with a decreased Electoral College lead. Electoral-vote.com has the identical leaners-included numbers, a 275-250 squeaker for Obama with Virginia’s 13 votes too close to guess.
This has Obama picking up three states — Indiana, Iowa, and New Mexico — that Bush carried in 2004 and Virginia, which Bush won easily, in play. McCain has no pickups of Blue states.
This map from four years ago, though, is a useful wakeup call:
The tally this day in 2004: Kerry 301, Bush 213. As most fans know, Bush mounted a comeback, retaining his championship crown.
Obama’s a better candidate than Kerry and McCain is probably not as good a candidate as Bush, as demonstrated by the latter’s rout of the former in the 2000 primaries. And the public mood is more desperate for “change” than it was four years ago. But one simply never knows. The conventions and the serious campaign ahead — not to mention outside events — can and usually do shake up the dynamic.
That’s why, after all, they play the game.