Hear me, I gloat!

McCain needs Pennsylvania. McCain is playing hard in Pennsylvania. The Obama campaign, which is notoriously quick to respond to perceived threats, doesn’t even think it needs to send Obama back to Pennsylvania.
Add that to the Gallup tracker and the early-voting numbers, and it’s time to give up our treasured pessimism and start asking how big this blow-out is going to be.

Let me unpack a crucial point made by Marc Ambinder:

1. Given the way Iowa and Colorado are going, McCain can’t win without Pennsylvania.

2. McCain decided two weeks ago to put more effort into Pennsylvania, despite Obama’s big edge in polling there. Part of the reason was that PA has no early voting, so a late surge that pushed McCain just slightly ahead would carry the state for him. In many other states, Obama has locked in such a big lead in early voting that McCain would have to not just make up the gap but win big on Tuesday.

3. The Obama campaign is light on its feet and has invested heavily in information-gathering, including information from its massive daily voter contacts. The candidates’ schedules have been fluid.

4. Neither Obama nor Biden is scheduled to be in Pennsylvania between now and Tuesday. (And a friend who signed up for last-minute phone calls reports that he was offered Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia, not Pennsylvania.)

5. Therefore, the Obama campaign is not worried about Pennsylvania.

6. Therefore, Pennsylvania is not in play.

Add to that the trend in the Gallup tracking poll, which now has Obama +11 among RVs +10 on the two LV models, which are converging on the RV numbers as more and more “unlikelies” report that they’ve already voted.

I conclude that the campaign is over, and the good guys have won. The remaining questions are: (a) How big? (b) Can Obama humiliate McCain by winning Arizona? (c) Can Obama stun the racists by winning Georgia? (d) Do we get to 60 Senate seats? (e) How big a pickup in the House? (f) How many state legislative chambers? (Wouldn’t picking up the New York State Senate be sweet?)

It therefore seems appropriate to finally post this image:


Though, to be fair, most of my Democratic-political-junkie friends have resigned themselves to the inevitability of victory. Am I worried about complacency? Hell, no! Now’s the time to run up the score. Make some phone calls. Knock on some doors. Ask your wavering friends what they’re going to want to tell their grandchildren about their actions on and around Election Day 2008.

Update Okay, maybe they’re a little worried. Biden is going to Pennsylvania.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com