by Benjamin J. Kirby
Great stuff on Science Friday today from Nate Silver and Sam Wang on polling and handicapping political races.
For the record, per Silver's Five Thirty Eight blog, the polls seem to be headed back in the right direction and all is well in the world. I'll probably offer a better prediction soon, but it's looking to me like the president gets re-elected with something around 300 Electoral Votes.
It was interesting to hear Mr. Silver say he thought Nevada was more important than Florida this time around. I hate to say it -- you know, living in Florida and all -- but he's probably right about that. I'd like to see Obama win it again, of course, but right now it's looking like it'll go for Romney -- a 63% chance, actually.
...but it won't be decisive, which is the point.
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And speaking of the vote in Florida, the Orlando Sentinel endorsed Romney today -- they endorsed Obama in '08 (and Hillary Clinton in the primary, FYI). I wouldn't make too much of it, except that it may help seal up Florida for Romney at this point.
Aside from that, it's kind of a bizarre endorsement.
I’m surprised, frankly, to see a Florida newspaper talking so favorably about “entitlement spending”. Why don’t they just come out and say it: eff you, old people. Also, it’s just not true that Democrats had “strong” majorities in the House and Senate in the first two years. They had a majority in the Senate, and it was narrow, and it was backed by very conservative Democrats.
And at any rate, those “strong” majorities got health reform passed. That’s not insignificant. I’m surprised there was no mention of that in the piece.
Finally, “Romney has a steep learning curve” on international affairs? Obama ended the Iraq war and is drawing down in Afghanistan. He also gave the "go" order to have Osama bin Laden killed. No mention of any of that in the piece, which quite frankly, is borderline-negligence not just because we're a state with a whole lot of veterans.
Both health care and military issues should play more prominently in a major newspaper endorsement. This is pretty terrible.
In better news, the Tampa Bay Times -- a better newspaper, for sure -- endorsed Obama today. For all the right reasons.
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So the candidates joked around at the Al Smith Dinner -- kind of like the correspondent's dinner they do.
They had some funny lines, all for a charitable cause (it's actually a fundraiser for Catholic charities). For that reason, I'm glad they did it.
Of course, I'd feel a lot better about it if this wasn't already so nasty a campaign. In Gulfport, I've seen neighbor pitted against neighbor with dueling yard-signs. I have seen people quit Facebook and social media because the vitriol is just too much.
I have my own opinions about what to do about all of this, and I'll write more about it later. But for now, I must tell you that I think things like this do more harm to an already broken process rather than shore it up. Which is too bad, because it should realy have the opposite effect.
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Congratulations to Mustang Bobby's beloved Detroit Tigers who are going to the World Series.
At this point, though, I'm going to have to start rooting for the Cardinals, as they are my de-facto boyhood home-town team (St. Louis, yes, but we don't have much else in Arkansas, so you go with the closest thing...)
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It's finally Friday.