What’s wrong with this picture? Obama leads PA by 13, but it’s a battleground. McCain is ahead in Arizona by 2, but it’s not a story.




Today, two new polls, Franklin & Marshall/Daily News and the Marist poll, were released from Pennsylvania both showing a 13 point lead for Obama. But, if you pay any attention to the political pundits, you’d think that state is a toss-up. Why? Because the latest tactic from the McCain campaign has been to spin the idea that Pennsylvania is a lot closer than it seems. The traditional media dutifully adopts the GOP’s narrative about Pennsylvania because 1) they always fall for GOP tactics and 2) it makes for a good story. Chuck Todd continued to play along with the Pennsylvania bluff today:

Clearly, the McCain campaign is counting on something happening in Virginia or Pennsylvania, as a lot of new money and candidate time is being poured into both states.

But will it be enough?

No, because it’s not going to happen and everyone knows it. There are 6 days left….when is this alleged movement for McCain going to show up somewhere besides the talking points of the Republicans?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, another toss-up state has emerged — Arizona:

Sen. John McCain’s once-comfortable lead in Arizona has all but evaporated, according to a new poll that has the underdog Republican presidential candidate struggling in his own backyard.

With less than a week until Election Day, McCain is leading his Democratic rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, by 2 points, 46 to 44, down from a 7-point lead a month ago and a double-digit lead this summer, according to a poll from Arizona State University.

Factor in the 3-percentage point margin of error, and a race that was once a nearly sure thing for McCain is now a toss-up, pollsters say.

The pollsters who did that poll from ASU are considered the “gold standard” for Arizona polling. So, this should be a huge, just huge, story. Greg Sargent at TPM Election Central reports McCain and the RNC have started their nasty robo-calls about Obama into Arizona. This is real. But, the political media has been slow to cover this development. Why? If Arizona is in play, this election is going to be a blow-out. And, that destroys the traditional media’s story line that the race is closer than we all think. (Because, you know, they have access to the McCain campaign and the McCain campaign told them that.)

So for the next couple days, we’ll be subjected to intense scrutiny of every poll showing movement for McCain. After all, as John reported below, McCain’s pollster, has told the political punditry about McCain’s “internal polls” — and the political punditry loves it. In reality, the “internal polls” line is the last bastion of losers.

So, what’s really the bigger story here? Pennsylvania or Arizona.

And, if the race tightened to two points in Illinois, would the traditional media be covering it?


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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