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Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


So apparently in various polls, McCain is pulling ahead or closer to Obama.

In conversation with a friend yesterday, I was reminded that polling is done primarily by telephone and primarily to listed numbers. Meaning landlines. Meaning those who primarily use cell phones are not polled. Which means, of course, that Obama supporters are unlikely to be polled and that the results are going to lean towards an older set.

Has anyone else heard this?

Now, obviously older voters are considered more "likely" voters anyhow. And the idea that Obama (being a man named Obama, young and black) could ever really be considered a 'frontrunner' in America is a bit of a fantasy. But with so much in his favor, and a new wave of voters coming his way, I think any panic about the polling is a bit overstated.

Maybe, just maybe, it'll be good for Obama to be seen as fighting for it.


Jaime said...

I remember hearing a lot of this theory four years ago, Octoberish, as a reason for Kerry supporters to not despair.

Freeman said...


That's fair. Although I'd say it's hard to equate Obama and Kerry.

RLewis said...

Throughout the primaries I'd heard that theory about land-line only polling, but just this morning on wnyc Brian Lehrer's guest specifically mentioned that this was not true.

Freeman said...

Interesting. I'd love to get to the bottom of that question. I've heard thumbs up or down on it all over the place.

Scott Walters said...

Let's see -- Obama takes a week's vacation while McSame runs 3 times more negative ads, and then his numbers drop, and everybody gets upset. I know we Dems are nervous these days, but please. Wait until the campaign starts after the convention. Hearing about Kerry in October is different than hearing it about Obama in August. And you are right: Obama is no Kerry. Kerry was the most ponderous, portentous, and indirect candidate the Dems could have picked. He couldn't answer a question directly if his life depended on it. When I hear people mentioning him as VP, I want to barf. Obama can do a takedown on McSame any day of the week. Watch how he uses McSame's inability to remember how many houses he has.

As far as the cell phones, many of the current polls do cell numbers and land-lines. What is more important is that these polls use a formula that weights the results according to the turnout percentages from previous elections. This one is a whole new ballgame.

Mark said...

I think that there is every reason to expect Obama to be a clear frontrunner at this point and every reason to be concerned, perhaps alarmed, that he is not. He is running way behind "generic Democrat" and McCain is running ahead of "generic Republican." He's wasting his time trying to fudge the very real differences between his (and the Democratic) position on issues important to religious conservatives (who are not fooled) while he ignores (and fails to consolidate) the Democratic base.
Only four percent of Americans say they won't vote for an African-American while 20-something percent say they won't vote for someone who's 72, but Obama still just isn't pulling away. He's frowned on the 527s that could be hitting McCain hard, told them to close up shop, only to recant when he realized he needed them. He's never had to run a competitive general election campaign in his career and has surrounded himself with operatives from the losing Daschle, Gephardt and Kerry teams, while sidelining effective surrogates like Wes Clark. And unless something wildly unexpected happens, we'll all be getting text messages with the name of an extremely lame VP choice (i.e. anyone whose name is currently being floated) today or tomorrow, which will seem all the lamer for how long it's taken him to make the call.

This guy just is not running a good campaign and his people need to get their act together in time for the convention -- because if they pass up the chance to hit McCain hard all week in Denver in favor of that post-partisan unity schtick, we're toast. I'm very worried.

TD said...

"I remember hearing a lot of this theory four years ago, Octoberish"

I was going to say the same, jaime beat me to it.

Freeman said...

Democrats are a gloomy lot. Odd that we don't win, with our ravenous enthusiasm.

Joshua James said...

McCain's been pummeling Obama, basically giving him almost everything he got (and also a smear book being publicly touted by Corsi) and the best he can do is come even with Obama in a couple of polls.

Guys, this is classic rope-a-dope stategery, classic. He did a very similar dance during the Dem nom process. He does it well. Remember going into Iowa, it didn't seem like he was doing much?

The real fight won't start until after the convention, right now Obama's taking punches and feeling him out. McCain ain't really landing anything yet - Hillary hit harder than McCain has.

What else does McCain got?

We just agreed to pull out of Iraq, which Obama said we should do and McCain said was a mistake?

McCain also just cut his own throat by not remembering how many houses he owns DURING A HOUSING CRISIS.

That was a gift and Obama didn't waste time. Hit him hard three hours later with a video linking to his one gaffe at Saddleback which Mccain allegedly won!

That's classic boxing technique, McCain got tired and cocky and dropped his guard and BAM-BAM-BAM gets his bell rung by a fast combination he didn't even see coming.

Kerry never did that.

McCain's rep came out with the "but he was a POW" rap and now pundits are actually pushing back at that.

Any ground he's made, he just lost. It'll show in the polls in a couple days, I'll bet.

Obama's taken some hits, but he's not only still standing, he's got gas in the tank and now he's ready to rumble.

It's not a gimme, there are still a legion of folks out there who won't vote for a black man with a funny name . . . they'll use some excuse (he's not experienced, he's a secret Muslim, etc) but really it's dressed up fancy bigotry. And there are some people who won't vote for a Democrat no matter what, so it's not a cakewalk, not by a long shot.

But I think Obama knows that, and he's acting accordingly.

Okay, I realize I just ranted there. I'll be quiet for awhile.

Anonymous said...

When I see a number on my caller ID I don't recognize I don't answer.

Perhaps the lonely will soon be a respected and feared demographic.

Dan F