October 01, 2004

The View from the Next Morning

How's this for a different take:

the person who benefitted from low expectations last night was.......John Kerry. I think this was even more pronounced among his supporters than his detractors. Let's face it, the months of August and September were unmitigated disasters for the Kerry campaign, a list which is too long to detail at the moment. (Someone else has and I'll look for it and post it). So the simple fact of the matter that the guy who walked on stage was not John Kerry circa 1971, and he came out without the Clinton A-Team and with the multitude of bullet holes through their own feet, produced I think a palaple sigh of relief from the left.

This of course cuts against what they were saying all week (heck all campaign), as well as the dominant fixation of the Adlai Stevenson Syndrome, which is the belief on the part of the left that their candidate is always the intellectual better of a Republican. I think the left has been in panic mode the past two weeks since the whole Rather thing blew up, to see Kerry, back on stage and on message, was an occasion to break out the Vegan champagne/non-cruelty gathered caviar.

Conversely on the right, I think there was a real sense of triumphalism going into this for the same reasons the left was in a tizzy: again, this isn't what people were talking about, but I think this is what many were hoping. And when the reality of it sets in---ie that this is going to be a fierce race over the next 5 weeks---it's going to be gut check time for the right.

One last point: a detractor wrote in the comments section criticizing my analysis using the Tradesports markets. Let me defend this analysis. As our long time readers (ie Robbo's mom and dad) know, we've been following the electronic political futures markets as an alternative method of assessing public opinion. Polls have some real methodological problems as we've discussed at great length. They are still useful, but need to be taken with a huge grain of salt. The political futures markets are that grain of salt. They are by definition collecting the information not on what people want to happen (which is what polls do), but rather on what people think is going to happen. And because the chance to profit from that is much higher on Tradesports than for the Iowa Electronic Market, and because Tradesports has such a huge volume by comparison, I think it gives an important (let alone fascinating) sense of what is going on. Heck, you can wait till tonight when the networks will release a poll which reached perhaps 800-1000 people---but we were able to tell you last night in real time what thousands of people around the globe were thinking the outcome was and acting accordingly. I think this is a useful piece of information.

Lastly, the commentator wanted to know why I was being as he put it "a partisan hack"---to which I'll use the standard Michele Catalano answer and say, "if you don't like what I say, go get your own damn blog."

What's next? The first thing to realize is that a new frame of analysis is in play. The issues of the past six weeks that were defining the parameters of the campaign are wiped clean---Rathergate, the Swift Vets, the A-Team, all this is gone now in the same way how the story lines for the NFL change once the playoffs begin. To use the football analogy, the regular season (from the conventions to the first debate) is over, and a whole lot of folks who only watch for the playoffs are beginning to tune in. It's a new set of rules.

But the truth of the matter is is that Dubya goes into the playoff period in the lead coming off a solid period where things were breaking his way. Don't forget how folks were writing him off in July. Kerry is down but certainly not out, and if somehow he can triangulate himself away from his disastrous campaign staff, this is going to be a lot closer than people were thinking a week ago.

That's all for right now---I'm doing the radio in Lynchburg in about 4 minutes. Later, I'll clean up the posts from last night (spelling etc). as well as provide links for the post above.

But thanks for coming by!

Posted by Steve at October 1, 2004 07:06 AM | TrackBack
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