Powell backs Obama

Profile of Colin Powell click on photo

Profile of Colin Powell click on photo

The moderate Republican backs Obama; and states that one clear defining reason was the choice of Sarah Palin as Vice President; someone without the experience for the White House and the nature of the Republican negative personal campaign against Obama. Obama stood out as the transformational candidate needed for the next four years, with a plan for the economy:

I found that [McCain] was a little unsure of how to deal with the economic problems that we were having. Almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me.
I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She is a very distinguished person and a she is to be admired. But at the same time, now that we’ve had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she is ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made. …

I watched Mr. Obama… he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this, and picking a vice president that I think is ready to be president on day one. And also not just jumping in and changing every day but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well. [source]

By gaining the right of the party it is conceivable that McCain lost the moderates – the question is how many of them in the key battleground states?

My earlier predictions – back in March – was that the lead Obama had would start to fall from mid October onwards. The danger of that is that the opinion polls exaggerate Obama’s lead as well. It means the gap he has on McCain is not what it appears. Sure enough from the 13th to 19th October Obama’ lead has dropped from 8% to 5% (on average in the polls).

However, that matters only in so far as it impacts on the electoral college – that is the value of the states (by population roughly) given to the winning candidate with the total 270 getting you to the White House. According to RealClearPolitics Obama/Biden have 286 without taking the toss up seats into consideration; with only Colorado at 6% lead for Obama being the most marginal state of that 286 with 9 electoral votes. Take it away leaves room to spare at 277.

McCain would have to come back and take Virginia (13 votes) which is Obama’s with a 8.1% lead. Now I have said that the margin for error will be 3-6% nationally skewed in favour of Obama. Even allowing for the top end and evenly in all states that means McCain needs a 4% bounce back.

You have to consider this: that 286 count does not include Florida (27) and Ohio (20) which are too close to call. The good news for McCain is that Florida is moving away from Obama. Bad news is that Obama still leads by over 3.2%.

Here then is something for you to ponder. Some right wing Republicans were saying that they would stay at home as McCain was not the right sort of Republican. With Colin Powell supporting Obama this may give them cover to say that they need to support McCain. It may well be a testament to how far McCain pandered to them that Powell has endorsed Obama. Powell will shore up Obama’s already committed supporters – it may however not dragged anymore Republicans. It could be a warning shot across the bows that they will loss the White House for 4 years. Maybe even 8 years, to a transforming President. Which must sound like a liberal nightmare to them.

It will be interesting to see how the polls react. It gives Obama some cover from the lack of experience charge. It may however make the Republicans realise that loosing Michigan is the least of their problems when loosing Colorado means the jig is up in an every increasing long odds on McCain making a big enough come back.

His only hope is that the polls are seriously wrong. Or students do not vote. But when economists start doubting you then it may well be that the battle is all but lost till the rout at the ballot box. The odds are lengthening, McCain needs not just a bounce back but polls to be wrong, and people hiding their true intentions at the ballot box.

Two weeks and a day to go to find out.

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