We have few signposts that give heart to anyone this election. More than any other, we have pollsters who disagree on their most basic premises. We have personal styles that greatly differentiate both presidential candidates. And we have a very different vision of America, although this is best seen not by the rhetoric of the candidates but instead the real fact of Obama's last four years as opposed to something new in terms of direction and future. I therefore offer this view on the most considerable effects on the election that most of the candidates can agree upon.
For days now, Barack Obama and his campaign surrogates have weaved a disjointed message to voters. They have the race won, although it is close. And vote. The Obama minority coalition, made up of Hispanics, African Americans and white voters largely from suburbs and Hollywood, has been gasping for air recently as it has become clear the race is either on a razor's edge, not to be decided for at least two additional weeks, or is a major wreck about to happen for Obama.
At the center of this fight are polls, their sampling errors known and unknown, and the Bradley Effect. And perhaps but not necessarily Obama's complete bust as a president, satisfying neither the left or the right, but making it because some will vote for him no matter what, and a very talented businessman whose best assets are those that Obama's voters fear the most: a more efficient government that they have been told is a much meaner government interested only in the most wealthy in the United States.
But for some reason, as if they are of utmost importance to the voters, poll information has become an important part of the election process. And now more than ever before, we have so many polls it is much more likely that they will differ.
This year, however, we have enormous discrepancies in polling. Someone is wrong, badly wrong. And because of this, the election may not be the nail-biter that we have been told to expect.
The biggest part of the equation has emerged when looking at Rasmussen, who has the national race tied at 48% apiece in his latest poll and strongly suggests that Obama will end up with 51% nationally. Who exactly is undecided? That number has apparently come entirely from the Romney side of the ledger since he once had Romney ahead with around 50% of the vote.
But if you really want to see what is going on with the polls, witness some of the most recent in Florida taken on the same days. The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll has Obama up by two, 49% to 47%. But the Tampa Bay Times/Herald/Mason-Dixon poll shows Romney the winner, 51% to 45%. Given this eight point difference between the poll, you might ask if there are two states named Florida.
Stay at Home
The purpose behind the discussions regarding these polls is to influence voters by having them join a winner, a pull of uncertain numbers, not to get them to stay home. Yet if Obama is winning, he may get fewer voters to the polls.
Democrats have been petrified that their record-breaking numbers during the last election will fade. Since Obama fulfilled few promises and resided in if not presided over the most fractious Congress perhaps in history, his position is weak in pulling the same crowd out to vote for him this time around.
Anecdotal evidence appears to make it more likely that the stay at home crowd this time will be more significantly Democrats. We can expect many election day challenges and claims as a result, further complicated by the mess caused by Sandy, requiring written ballots at polling places more distant or not even where the residents used to live. A mess, especially for New Jersey. All in all, the real danger is for the most distant voting locations, such as northwestern Pennsylvania and northeast West Virginia, will be down in their votes, neither favoring Romney.
But the cause for alarm is whether the claims of how bad Romney is will get voters out to stave off the government take-over by wild-eyed crazies.
Apparently this is not enough. For in this year a number of firsts have emerged.
The first ad sanctioned by a candidate's campaign that involves equating voting to having sex with candidate Barack Obama, which has stimulated young girls to ask if Obama is a pervert.
The first time in history that a president has likened voting to revenge and told people not to help voters to polling places if they do not tell those offering a ride that they are voting for the incumbent.
And the first time in history that a president has so openly manipulated the powers of his presidency to gain votes despite the fact that the actions were illegal or unconstitutional (immigration reform) or maybe both (the Benghazi affair).
If these do not indicate worry, they reveal more of Obama's character than I would like to know about.
The Bradley Effect
Although it has other names, the key issue involved here is whether white voters do not tell the truth during polls about who they are voting for because of the inherent social opprobrium of voting against a person who is half African American. They then vote for the white who is running. Although this still has some credence, it is likely that the fervor is greater now for those who have stated they oppose Obama than before, and that few fall in this category. Yet, in perhaps the most likely factor that resembles this effect, voters may have continued to state that they are undecided, and legitimately believe this, in large part because they do not want to vote against anyone who is half African American. They have tried everything they can to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. Will this be enough on election day to thwart Obama's quest for another term?
The Jersey Shore Effects
There are three Jersey Shore effects this election. In the first, a real disaster has boosted Obama. In the second, Chris Christie, another self-promoting egomaniac, has attempted to ensure himself an easy ride to the Republican nomination in 2016 by boosting Obama and showing the world just how great Obama is to work with even if the person involved is a Republican. And in the fourth, Mike Bloomberg has stated he does not know if there is global warming, but you need to vote for Obama because there might be.
Obama has gained due to Hurricane Sandy. Christie has shown himself a man of opportunity, lavishing praise on Obama for no real reason other than political gain. Christie prefers to set himself for his 2016 run rather than supporting his party's candidate and perhaps changing the course of this election. His is likely to change to a Democrat some day.
Why not? He is already toast as a Republican, and perhaps that will give Obama that last surge.
Better climate change than not. So says New York's Mayor Bloomberg, who says it may not exist but after his city's calamity he needs a president who will continue to stop coal, increase the burdens of business and drive us to something according to some much more important than saving the planet from starvation or even making things less costly for the poor. Keep gas prices high, because only Obama knows that the poor do not need transportation and not being able to afford gasoline or gas to heat their homes is just tough. Obama is after the "middle class," a fake group of people going from pretty poor to quite well off. A group pandering to the Jersey Shore crowd.
Does Obama win?
It is tempting to claim that Obama will win because there are more polls favoring him out there, or because he has the right agenda.
But the polls are not skewed because they are contacting the right people if they favor Obama. They depend on a very specific test of "turn out" which determine based on a lot of factors whether a given voting population is going to come out and vote, and what their mix happens to be.
It is often said that the pollsters who matter the most are those hired by the candidates themselves. They are paid to be right, not to gain constituencies or please their readers. And they both say the vote will be very close.
So we are left to determine whether, in the middle of all this, there is evidence of a trend. Because more than anything else, this may determine who will win the election.
Incredibly, the trend has been in front of our eyes, but it was muddied by a category 1 hurricane and other extraneous factors.
Obama is in real trouble. Biden says he is going to win by a huge margin, enough to make even Obama worry. And Biden says he will win Pennsylvania and Ohio comfortably.
But as usual, the facts are of no concern to Biden.
As the last day closes, it is readily apparent that more states are in play, just as happened in every landslide election. Supporting Michael Barone's and that guy in Vegas who both say it is not even going to be close.
Momentum is going Romney's way despite Sandy, which will prove that yet another Obama self-promotion fails with no help coming from Obama on gasoline, food, shelter and all those things he should have already planned for.
As to agendas, we have come too far to let our country go bankrupt (although I support us doing this) or to put us into harm's way for a president without any consideration for the rule of law or humanity. Yes, we will get more of the same from Romney. But there are signs that Republicans are for more efficient and open government.
We will see.