Isaac Chotiner

The new ABC News/WaPo poll has some interesting nuggets. Obama beats McCain by twelve, and Clinton beats McCain by six. What accounts for Obama's bigger margin? Well, men prefer him by three points to McCain, and prefer McCain by seven points to Clinton.

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Everyone should read John Judis' analysis of the exit polls, but I want to quibble with a point he makes about race. Here's John: The exit polls ask voters whether the "race of the candidates" was "important" in deciding their vote. If one looks at the percentage of Clinton (and earlier Edwards) voters who said it was "important," that is a fair estimate of the overall percentage of primary voters who were not inclined to vote for Obama because he was black.

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Texas...whoa

CNN is giving the results of almost 750,000 Texas votes and Obama leads by over 100,000. Is this the early voting? If so, that's very good news for Obama.  --Isaac Chotiner 

A week ago, according to Intrade, Obama was an 80% favorite to win Texas. An hour ago it was 50-50. Now it's back up to 80-20 for, as far as I can tell, no reason. Theories welcome! --Isaac Chotiner 

The New York Times today has a brilliant front page piece on young Iraqis who have become fed up with their religious leaders, not to mention the religion-inspired violence consuming their society. Here's the key graf, late in the story: Violent struggle against the United States was easy to romanticize at a distance. “I used to love Osama bin Laden,” proclaimed a 24-year-old Iraqi college student. She was referring to how she felt before the war took hold in her native Baghdad.

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In a front page interview with the Wall Street Journal on Monday, John McCain talked taxes: On taxes, Sen. McCain is walking a fine line between courting keep-taxes-low Republicans while insisting he is the candidate of fiscal discipline. Two weeks ago, ABC's George Stephanopoulos asked him on "This Week" if he were a " 'read my lips' candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?" referring to a pledge made by President George H.W. Bush, which he later broke. "No new taxes," Sen. McCain responded. "But under circumstances would you increase taxes?" Mr. Stephanopoulos continued. "No," Sen.

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Jack Nicholson has cut what must surely be the strangest ad of the campaign season. It's a big mix of many of Jack's finest film moments, edited so they appear as if he is talking about the junior senator from New York. Most bizarre of all is the clip from A Few Good Men where Nicholson, trying to humiliate Demi Moore, says, "There is nothing on this earth sexier than a woman that you have to salute in the morning." Enjoy! --Isaac Chotiner

The good news--society is becoming more open and honest: Money used to be a taboo subject. Not anymore, thanks to Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace, which have created a generation willing to talk about anything and everything online. Several new sites are incorporating that impulse into the world of money, blending social networking with personal finance. The bad news--guys like this:  Brian Zacharias, 23, a senior economics major at the University of Virginia, was very aware of how he was doing and wanted others to know it.

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Everyone should read Ronald Brownstein's fascinating cover story in National Journal. Here's the crux of his argument:  From New Hampshire to California, and from Arizona to Wisconsin, exit polls from this year's contests show the Democratic coalition evolving in clear and consistent ways since the 2004 primaries that nominated John Kerry. The party is growing younger, more affluent, more liberal, and more heavily tilted toward women, Latinos, and African-Americans.

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Ann Friedman has an excellent and much needed piece on identity politics, which she argues have been played for a very long time: But just because our front-running candidates are a woman and a black man, it does not mean that this is the first election to hinge on candidates' identities. All those other election years, when only white guys were vying for the nomination, well, those were "identity politics" races, too. Why weren't they framed that way?

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