Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's Official: Debates are No Substitute for Actual Contests

The consensus emerging today (and even last night as I came to the realization when MSNBC's online feed of the debate forced me to call it a night earlier than I had expected) is that last night's debate did little to change the course of the race for the Democratic nomination. Clinton did what folks who are not the frontrunner do: she attacked. Obama, on the other hand, filled the frontrunner role and played it safe, hovering above the attacks being levied against him. The movement toward Obama in the polls (via Real Clear Politics) in both Ohio and Texas back up that role assignment. In Texas the polls show a tie, if not a small Obama lead. Ohio's numbers show that what was once a double digit lead is now down to about six points. If that continues, then Tuesday night could provide some drama, especially after last night proved that a debate can only somewhat fill the void left by the absence of real contests. If only New Jersey has not switched primary dates a second time.

I'll keep it light for the rest of the post. There are some interesting links that have popped up recently that may be of some interest to the group.

1) If you have Google Earth installed on your PC, Mac or Linux box (Hey, the 1% of the population that uses Linux counts too!), be sure to check out the superdelegates layer that has been developed. Yes, the same thing is available on Google Maps, but you can't beat the animation that comes with Google Earth. Most of this can be linked to through (The .kml file that is necessary to run the script in GEarth there if you click on, "view the info on Google Maps and Google Earth" here or on that page.). The Monkey Cage (moderated by several of the faculty at George Washington University) has a link to the GMaps version.

2) It is a good day for The Monkey Cage here at FHQ. They also have a post linking to Thomas Holbrook's (of Do Campaigns Matter? fame) new Election08Data blog. There's some good stuff there already.

3) And while we're at it, and since they linked to my post on the Texas primary/caucus last week, here's the link to Election Updates, which lists Michael Alvarez, Paul Gronke, Thad Hall, Robert Krimmer and Melissa Slemin as contributors.


Robert said...

I agree that the contests are more meaningful, but the debates provide a context for discussion and evaluation. The subsequent debate between McCain and Obama sucked all the attention from Clinton. She may learn to appreciate press attention when she starts losing it. I am going to try to post another link. Did you see the article on whether John McCain is a natural-born citizen?

Robert said...

Sorry. I must just have been lucky the first time. That link is
but I can't seem to get into "pretty" format!

Josh Putnam said...

Busted! I guess the byline is a bit misleading. Of course, as you might imagine, my preferences is for the contests anyway. I will point out that when we were looking ahead to this gap between Wisconsin-Hawaii-Washington and Ohio-Texas-Rhode Island-Vermont, I was the first to bring the debates up as the "contest" of this week. However, to have gotten the fireworks that I wanted would have meant the complete collapse of the Clinton campaign. They're too disciplined for that. Oh well. That would have meant bad things for the continuation of the campaign anyway.

I did see the McCain story's headline this morning but I didn't get around to reading it. Another layer to this crazy campaign season. That's good stuff.

Yeah, I don't know what you're doing on the links. The last two that you have tried have had extra stuff added to the URL (both at the beginning. My rule of thumb on this is to right click on whatever takes you to the story, and then click on "copy link location" in the menu that comes up. Then you can simply paste the address in between the quotation marks. I've gotten way too good at adding these links over the last two plus months since we took the group online.

Robert said...

Thanks. I'll try again next time I see an appropriate link.

Josh Putnam said...

Sounds good, Rob. Keep 'em coming.