Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liveblog: The Obama Infomercial

8:33pm: Impressions? It was a commercial. Did it change any minds? I don't know. As I said, Obama didn't not look presidential and that may be the biggest thing about that 30 minutes. I'll be interested to see the Nielsen numbers when they are released. Other thoughts? The comments section is open for business.

8:30pm: And if that animated Obama logo with the sun rising didn't make you think of Reagan and "It's morning in America," I don't know what will. Let the record show that that was also a change election.

8:29pm: Unity. We always hear that in a change election. There's nothing wrong with that, but it is the reality. We heard some of the same stuff from George W. Bush 8 years ago. The difference? Congress. It will look a lot different on January 3, 2009 than it did on January 3, 2001.

8:27pm: This live event isn't going to be all that long.

...and here it is from Florida.

8:24pm: Back to Iraq and the sacrifice it takes to send military personnel into conflict. Well, Obama doesn't not look presidential here. [Yeah, that double negative was on purpose.]

8:22pm: Well, Kentucky isn't a swing state. They aren't just touting folks from competitive environs.

8:21pm: And here's Joe Biden. Oh, and Scranton, too.

8:19pm: A lot of family moments here. Is it just me or was there a Clinton special like this in 1992? I don't know that it was on the major networks or primetime, but it seems like there was something the Clinton camp did 16 years ago.

8:17pm: On to college affordability and health care costs. It all has an economic tinge to it.

8:15pm: "Live Obama Event Later in Program" We're halfway in, how long is allotted for that segment?

8:12pm: Iraq war money elsewhere? This scene with these intimate audiences is like a throw back to Obama's community organizer days.

8:09pm: Uh, but no nuclear on that energy plan. McCain is likely to bring that up. I don't think it'll change any minds, but I think he'll bring it up.

8:05pm: On the anniversary of the 1929 stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression, Obama is focused on the economy. [And he's narrating, too.]

8:01pm: Introducing us to ordinary Americans. Yeah, this was the most effective thing about the final night of the Democratic convention other than Obama's speech: When they brought out regular person after regular person relating to us why they were supporting Obama.

8:00pm: And we're off.

7:56pm: Well, I just turned the TV on and there is the DSCC trying to take down Saxby Chambliss. They're everywhere today. Radio, TV, you name it. That senate race must really be close.

But that's not why we're here tonight. I thought I'd dust off ye olde live blog concept just for nostalgia's sake for the primetime Obama buy. What to expect? Well, I'm told it is an infomercial. NPR even had the King of Informercials on about whether Obama would be able to make the case tonight. He said yes (Yeah, I'll check on that name for you.). It was Ron Popeil, and here is that segment from All Things Considered this evening.

Recent Posts:
Update(s): The Electoral College from a Different Angle

The Electoral College Map (10/29/08)

The Debate Last Night


Jack said...

Just watched the infomercial and went back to my computer. First thing I did was go on FiveThirtyEight (don't take it personally, sometimes I go to your site first) and was surprised to see a liveblog there. Then I go on your site, and what do I see but another liveblog.

Why are you using the double negative? Can't admit directly that Obama looks presidential?

Overall, it seemed pretty effective; focused on his core ideas and message pretty well. But as for how many votes it will swing, I'm pretty skeptical, and am almost certain the money could have been better spent some other way.

We'll see if it makes any significant impact in the polls the next few days. My guess is no.

Unknown said...

Umm...I just saw a 30 second McCain spot that followed it up on MSNBC.

They're now using the tag line:

"Not ready...yet."

Pardon my internet-ese, but wtf?

That's the best you can come up with? Like, "he's going to be a terrific President, but he's just not...quite...ready." Like he's a pie in the oven or something.

Whoops--even as I write this, Olbermann is commenting on it as well. I'll go see what he has to say...

Anonymous said...

Eh, FiveThirtyEight is a better site. I won't begrudge you that. I'll get over it.

...I guess. No time to worry about it now.

The same one ran on NBC. McCain was making the same case in Florida today. That really is all they have left. Well, that and a November surprise.

I'll have that up in the morning.

Jack said...


You're being too modest. Your site is excellent.


You're making me regret not watching Olbermann today. Thank goodness MSNBC puts clips from the show on their website, and they replay it at 10:00.

Jack said...

Here's that ad Scott mentioned.

And while looking for it, I found this ad, "Preconditions". Just as Nate Silver talked about 60-second ads, here's one. But to me it's a terrible ad. It's the kind of fearmongering ad that just hasn't worked this year. Trying to suggest that meeting with Iran without preconditions means accepting their proposal to "blow Israel off the map?" You have got to be kidding me.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I enjoy looking at your site's analysis; Prof. Ragan showed it to us in POLS 2000.
I saw that Real Clear Politics had moved GA into the toss-up category, but the new poll there today had McCain at +5. Does RCP know something the rest of us don't? Is this a result of early voting? Or does RCP have no clue what they're doing?

Anonymous said...

Excellent, Jack. Thanks linking those ads. And, as always, thanks for the kind words. FHQ is better now than it was, say a year ago, because of its many contributors.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by and contributing. I don't know that RCP knows something that the rest of us don't about Georgia. They just have a different way of arriving at that decision.

For starters their threshold for what makes a toss up is a little higher than what ours is here. It looks as if RCP sets its toss ups as any state below a five point margin. Our margin is three points and has been since just after the final debate. In our estimation, three points is approximately the most ground a campaign can hope to make up in two weeks worth of time. Still our average for Georgia is about three points higher than what RCP currently has for Georgia.


Well, as you see on RCP's Georgia page, they pick and choose which of the most recent polls they throw into their average. That's one thing they have caught some flak over on other sites (...basically for not revealing why they choose to go with the polls they include). I don't have a problem with that, but it does create some differences.

The difference here at FHQ is that we include in some way all the independent polls conducted in Georgia since Super Tuesday back in February. The reason I say "in some way" is because those old polls are discounted to where a poll in March counts for less than a poll in September.

The effect is that RCP's averages bounce around a little more than what you see on this site. It is my preference that there be a shift only when there is overwhelming evidence for one. Change for the sake of change, then, isn't really telling us anything. But when a state moves here, it really means something.

Take Virginia for example. The state just today moved into what we call the Obama lean category. That particular shift here lagged behind most other sites, but that it occurred at all tells us something about the lasting effect we've seen in recent polling in the state. It won't turn around very easily and such a sudden shift would likely require some event external to the campaign to move it.

And that's the situation in Georgia. While there has been some narrowing in the race here in the last week or so, there is an awful lot of evidence indicating a fairly strong Republican state.

Can Obama win Georgia? Yes, but there is likely too much ground for the Illinois senator to cover to do so.

I think a good question to ask is whether Obama has stepped up his efforts in the Peach state because he thinks he can win or because he is trying to ensure a filibuster-proof Senate. If Obama can up his game in Georgia does that help Democrats down the ballot in any noticeable way? At the margins, perhaps. And that means in a close race, like Chambliss/Martin.

Robert said...

I think it was a very effective piece. I'm not sure that Obama's goal here was to change minds. I think his main goal was to hold on to those who are teetering between the two candidates -- those voters who like Obama's message, but they are just not too sure about the man. I think the tone of the message last night will be effective with that group. We'll have to see how the polls go in the last few days.

MSS said...

Wasn't "morning in America" Reagan's 1984 theme? That was a 'consolidating' election, not a change one.

But in a sense, this 2008 is also a consolidating election. The 'change' party already controls Congress.

By that comment, I do not mean at to downplay Obama and 'change.' In fact, far from it. But when you include the whole picture of congress as well as president, there is something fundamentally different about a presidential election following on the heels of a midterm that saw a change in the party in control, compared to a 'change' that ushers in divided government (1980). Even 1992 was only partially change. At the time I saw it more as a 'restoration' election, given that Democrats had been in continuous control of the House for 38 years, but were being restored to unified government. I am pretty sure, from their behavior, that Democrats in Congress saw it that way, too--a restoration of the 'natural' governing party.

When you have a surge of one party to power over the course of one midterm and the following presidential election, I am not sure what to call it. I suppose 'revolutionary' is a bit too much.

MSS said...

Honestly, I like this site better than 538. And I love 538.

MSS said...

Regarding Georgia, while I have a hard time believing it myself, the trend shows something looking an awful lot like a tossup.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Morning in America was in 1984. Good catch, Matthew. Hopefully you won't use my "age and inexperience" against me. I wasn't quite three during the 1980 election. But I apparently have references to 1984 down. Ha!

I don't want to in any way diminish the compliments I received from anyone, but coming from an established political scientist, that 538 comparison comment means an awful lot to me. Thank you, Matthew.

That's a great graphic from Pollster, but I'm still very skeptical of Obama's chances here in Georgia. Unlike, say, North Carolina, the Peach state just hasn't shown any consistent lead for Obama. Is that a necessary condition for Obama to win the state? No, the poll you have to be ahead on is the one conducted on November 4.

I am looking forward to the now highly likely December runoff in the Senate race, though. If that seat is the one to get the Democratic majority to 60, the state will be inundated with ads/visits. A lot of potential national interest there.

MSS said...

'Age and inexperience.' Nice comeback!

I used the electoral college spectrum and maps in my Policy-Making Processes (Masters-level) class the week before last. Having the spectrum projected on the screen made it so straightforward to get students thinking about what it is that McCain needs to do if he is to pull things out. (The class would have been more interesting if we could have done it in August, but oh well.)

On Georgia, I agree. But for the Senate race, don't Dems really have to win a majority in Nov. 4? I assume a runoff will go to the Republican, as was the case in 1992.

Anonymous said...

Martin will probably need a majority on November 4 heading into the runoff. 1992 is certainly instructive here. First, the third party candidate is a libertarian. If those voters turn out for the runoff, they are more likely to opt for Chambliss than Martin. Having said that, turnout will be lower in the second election. But I would imagine that the Obama folks would put their ground game in Georgia to work again should that seat be the one to put the Democrats over 60 in the Senate. Then again, we'll have to see how well that ground game operates next Tuesday to have any inkling as to whether that could be a positive for Jim Martin.

MSS said...

Right, and the third candidate in 1992 was also a Libertarian, and it appeared (from aggregate numbers) that most of the Lib voters went Rep in the runoff. Or at least those that bothered to vote: the turnout was indeed much lower in the runoff, as I recall.

I agree that the runoff turnout could be quite different this time if that is "seat 60." In fact, you just gave me something to root for, as this would be supremely interesting!