John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Despite Everything, McCain Still Has a Shot

Posted on October 27, 2008



            As the McCain campaign seems to disintegrate before our eyes, it appears that John McCain still has a pretty decent shot to be President.  It is always very comforting in a Presidential campaign, when the Presidential nominee's staff starts taking shots at the Vice Presidential nominee.  

  But despite that huge blunder (among many others) McCain is still alive in this election. 


            A quick look at the polls in key battleground states shows that Barack Obama has not exactly run away with this thing, despite the best efforts of the national media to award the race to Obama.


            In fact, in the top 17 battleground states, Obama is either not cracking 50% or just barely above it, according to RealClear politics.  And as my good friend Bill Greener points out in an article in Salon Magazine, if you aren’t cracking above 50%, you should be nervous, especially if you are an African-American candidate.


            As Greener puts it, “If you're a black candidate running against a white candidate, what you see is what you get. And it doesn't matter whether you're an incumbent or a challenger. If you're not polling above 50 percent, you should be worried. As of this writing, Barack Obama is not polling consistently above 50 percent in a number of electoral-vote-rich swing states, including Ohio and Florida. He should be worried.” 


Greener points out in four races over the last two years, pitting a black candidate vs. a white candidate, in each race the undecideds broke heavily for the white candidate.


The fact that there are a lot of undecided voters still out there is amazing.  What Greener says is that these undecided voters are not actually undecided at all.  Instead, they simply don’t want to tell pollsters how they will vote, so instead of lying, they just say they are undecided. 


The more those so-called undecided voters hear from Barack Obama and his plans to redistribute wealth from those who make it to those who don’t (ala Robin Hood), the more they will stay undecided until they pull the lever for McCain in voting booth.


We don’t know how effective the Joe the Plumber campaign has been.  We haven’t seen too much movement thus far, although the polls are tightening.  But at least it is a campaign that makes some sense.


The McCain team has made some unbelievable mistakes.  Not bringing up the famous Rev. Wright is one of them.  Mishandling Sarah Palin was another.  Letting the press see how much the RNC spent in clothes is another. 


And some other things have made this campaign even tougher for the senior Senator from Arizona.  The greatest fiscal crisis in the last 50 years is of course the top problem facing the good Senator.


            Despite all of that bad news, don’t follow the poll spreads.  Follow the undecideds.  Assume that McCain will get most of them.  If he does, he wins most of the battleground states, and pulls close in the others.  This race ain’t over yet.  Sorry to all of my friends in the media.

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