The Best of Palin

Josh Marshall has put together the Governor's greatest YouTube hits. 

Watch it here

It is a good prep for tomorrow night's debate.

New Time/CNN polls have Obama leading in FL, MO, MN, NV, VA

New polls out this pm provide further evidence of how much the race has shifted in recent weeks: 

Polls in five crucial battleground states in the race for the White
House released Wednesday suggest that Sen. Barack Obama is making some
major gains.

Clearly if these numbers hold Obama will win handily on election day. 

815pm Update - New CBS/NYTimes poll has it 49-40 Obama.  The cascade of very bad polling data for McCain these last few days is going to create a new media narrative - that McCain is in danger of losing the election, that his campaign is troubled and failing, that Senator Obama has had a very very good couple of weeks and goes into these final weeks with momentum.

Thurs 8am Update - DemFromCT reviews the polls, and the news sure isn't good for McCain Palin. 

NDN’s Analysis of Hispanic Voters in Florida Increasingly Relevant

In 2000, Cuban-Americans represented 70 percent of Florida's Hispanic electorate. Today they make up less than half of the Latino electorate in that state, largely attributable to a large influx of new voters originally from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela and other Central and South American countries. The result: Florida's Hispanic demographic is increasingly reflective of the transformation the Hispanic community has undergone across the country - increasingly diverse and not as party-loyal. As a result, both political parties are working to win over what Newsweek called the "Latino mix" in a piece today by Arian Campo-Flores. NDN has analyzed the trend of Florida's Hispanic population becoming more diverse and less affiliated with the Republican party for years, and conducted a major poll in Florida in 2006.

It is Hispanics who make Florida increasingly relevant this year. By all accounts, U.S. Sen. John McCain would not have won the Florida primary - and thus would probably not have been his party's presidential nominee - had he not won the 54% of the Hispanic vote that he won in the Republican primary election, while he only won 33% of the white vote and took that election with 36% of the vote overall. Thus, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is fighting in Florida, just today President Bill Clinton - loved by Hispanic Democrats and many overall - was campaigning for him in the state. As explained in Newsweek by our friend and collaborator, Sergio Bendixen:

"Now they need to have a domestic message"-terrain that favors Democrats these days. If he manages to capitalize on the opportunity, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama could outdo John Kerry's performance in 2004, when the Massachusetts senator captured 44 percent of Florida's Latino vote. "If [Obama] gets 55 percent, then he would pretty much ensure winning the state," says Sergio Bendixen, a pollster for the New Democratic Network (NDN) and expert in Hispanic public opinion."

And that is the relevance of the Latino Mix. As NDN explains at length in Hispanics Rising II, party ID among Hispanics can change very quickly, and this election in particular does not favor the party in the White House. Republican anti-immigrant campaigns have been perceived as anti-Hispanic, Latinos have the highest rate of unemployment as a result of this economic crisis, and the latest - now minorities are being blamed by right-wing conservatives for the housing crisis. 2008 primary exit polls showed a 66% increase in Hispanic turnout in Democratic primaries and Hispanic party ID became 72% Democrat, while in 2004 it was closer to 60%. Our latest polling data shows that the Presidential race among Hispanics in Florida is in a dead heat - 42% favoring McCain and 42% favoring Obama.

The question remains - as Florida's Hispanic electorate grows and becomes more complex, who benefits? I would say Hispanics do. The reality of a more complex demographic is that to win Florida, John McCain and Barack Obama will have to do so based on the strength of non-Cuban Hispanic support.

Hey Buddy, Spare a Trillion?

A trillion here, a trillion there... A new ad from Barack Obama  critiques John McCain for his profligate spending plan. Obama wonders: Can we afford John McCain?

The Presidential Race is Stablizing with Obama Firmly In The Lead

After a period of significant movement to Obama over the last couple of weeks, the major nightly tracks seem to be settling down.  The major tracks have the race anywhere from 4 to 10 points now. The Real Clear Politics poll aggregate now has the race 49% - 44.2% Obama.  Their Electoral College map now has the race at 348 EVs for Obama, with Virginia, North Carolina and Florida now in the Lean Obama category. 

So the race is settling down in a way that looks awfully bad for John McCain and Sarah Palin.  I still don't see an easy and clear path for how they turn this thing around absent a major stumble or scandal from the Obama camp.  A big stumble at this point while possible is unlikely - Senator Obama has proven himself again and again to be effective at this level of politics, and if anything his campaign is hitting its stride, finding its voice at the right time.  The latest round of direct-to-camera ads from the Obama camp have been the best media the campaign has produced in some time, and I am sure are contributing to the vastly improved position in the key battleground states.

230pm Update: DemFromCT has a great new polling update.

Rolling Stone Takes a Long and Deep Look at McCain

Just went on-line.  Will hit the stands Friday.  You can read it here.


Obama Sits Down to Talk to You About the Economy

The Obama campaign released yesterday the third in a series of long-form ads in which he sits down and talks to the camera about the economy.  This one is the most effective yet.  Barack is more natural than in the first, and provides more, clearer detail than in the second. He's very clear about the strengths of his tax plan-- particularly the benefits it offers to the middle class. It's a shame these longer spots so rarely make it to TV...

NYTimes Editorial Page Reacts to the Bailout Collapse

This is running on their site now:

After nearly eight years of voting in virtual lock step with President Bush on everything from tax cuts to torture, House Republicans decided on Monday to break ranks on the survival of the nation's financial system.

The rejected bailout bill that was on the floor after a weekend of hard negotiating was objectionable in many ways, but it was a Republican-generated bill and was improved from the administration's original version. Sixty percent of House Democrats voted for the bill, enough to easily pass the measure if the Republicans had not decided to put on their display of pique and disarray.

The question now is whether the stock-market plunge that followed the House's failure to lead - and a renewed credit freeze - will be enough to get the 133 Republicans who voted against the measure to change their minds. And, more important, whether the damage that the no vote has inflicted is readily reversible.

Republican no votes were rooted less in analysis or principle than in political posturing and ideological rigidity. The House minority leader, John Boehner, conceded as much: "While we were able to move the bill drastically to the right, it wasn't good enough for our members."

It's not clear what would be good enough for the Republicans since there was very little talk of substance on Monday after the bill died on the floor of the House. Instead, the Republicans tried to blame a speech before the vote by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who connected the current crisis to the fiscal and economic mismanagement of the Bush years. It may not have been the perfect moment to say that, but it was true.

Republicans were also upset that serial bailouts represent a rejection of free-market principles. They do. That's because the free market in finance, unregulated and unsupervised, has failed. And, in its failure, it is inflicting greater damage on an already weak economy.

No amount of amendments to the bailout package will change the administration's disastrous economic record or erase the manifest failure of the Republicans' free-markets-above-all ideology.

Since last week, this page has urged Congress to take the time to get the bailout right. Over all, lawmakers have given too little consideration, in public at least, to alternatives to the Treasury's plan to buy up the bad assets from various financial firms.

In the bill rejected on Monday, the unlimited powers that the Treasury Department had initially sought were curbed, and Congressional oversight was added. But judicial review of Treasury's purchases was not adequately ensured. The courthouse door was not closed entirely; lawyers could still seek effective remedies for actions that violate the Constitution. But that's a much higher hurdle than the already formidable barriers in place to discourage lawsuits against the government.

Homeowners were also given short shrift with provisions that mainly urged lenders and the Treasury to do more to help them. That's unconscionable. The financial crisis is as much a problem for homeowners as for Wall Street investment bankers. Appeals to lenders' better natures have not worked to bring lasting relief to homeowners. If they are still not working in the coming months, Congress will have to revisit the issue.

Taxpayer protections are also iffy, such as a requirement that in five years, the president must give Congress a plan for recouping any losses from financial firms. What will happen then is anyone's guess. Lawmakers could decide at that point that taxpayers are the only pit bottomless enough to absorb those losses.

Still, the imperfections in this bill are the result of a democratic process that can be rethought, revisited and reworked. It is better than nothing, which is what some backward-looking House Republicans gave Americans on Monday.

New Obama Ad Attacks Golden Parachutes

The Obama campaign put out a new ad this morning riffing on the main Democratic triumph in the bailout bill: caps on executive severance pay. The primary target is McCain campaign advisor Carly Fiorina, who walked away from HP with a $42 million goodbye gift. Barack Obama says that's got to change.

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