Natural Disaster

Of Margins And Landslides
November 03, 2008

With the final national polls settling around Obama +7, I realized that I lacked a good sense of historical context for that number. Turns out it's about the margin of George H.W. Bush's 1988 win against Michael Dukakis: 53.4% to 45.6%. That's certainly impressive. It doesn't, however, really compare to Ronald Reagan's 1984 landslide against Walter Mondale. That sucker was 18 points -- 58.8% to 40.6%. Incredible. (Reagan beat Carter in 1980 by nearly 10 points.) And it turns out that both LBJ and Richard Nixon (in '72) won by roughly 23 points. Times have changed, eh?

Today's Polls: Tick, Tick, Tick
October 22, 2008

While there are plenty of individual results for Matt Drudge to get excited about (or for that matter the Huffington Post), the fact is that the overall trend in this election is roughly flat, and has been for about a week or so. That is bad news for the candidate trailing in the race, which in this case is John McCain.Five of the eight tracking polls moved toward Barack Obama today; the other three moved toward McCain.

The End Of Nixonland
October 18, 2008

Rick Perlstein's Nixonland brilliantly covers a period that is finally coming to an end. Perlstein's book focuses on Richard Nixon's runs for the White House, beginning in 1966.  Democrats, facing a voter backlash over rioting, crime, and the Vietnam War lost 47 House seats in 1966.  Nixon rode that revolt into the White House two years later and exploited it while in office to win re-election in a landslide in 1972.  Perlstein correctly states that Nixon came "to power by using the anger, anxieties, and resentments produced by the cultural chaos of the 1960s," and defines Nixonland as the st

Gop Unhappier About House Loss Than Mccain Loss?
October 06, 2008

That's what John Harwood's interesting piece in the New York Times suggests: Nor do [Republicans] fear Mr. McCain’s defeat. His “maverick” stance has long left Republican regulars ambivalent. As Republicans in Congress learned under Bill Clinton, and Democrats under Mr. Bush, opposing a president of the other party can help legislative minorities refocus message and agenda. “They are resigned to a probable Obama victory,” observed Jim L. Brulte, a prominent California Republican who once led his party’s caucus in both the state Assembly and Senate.

Were We Wrong To Fret About Peak Oil?
September 16, 2008

Remember when $200-per-barrel oil looked inevitable? Or, at the very least, a $100-per-barrel plateau looked certain? Plenty of oil analysts thought that was just over the horizon (yes, I was also guilty of this). But now crude futures are hovering down around $90, despite the succession of brutal hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico—mainly due to fears that the crisis on Wall Street will knock more wind out of the U.S. economy and further dampen demand.

Today's Polls: Obama's Post-convention Doldrums Continue
September 12, 2008

Another fairly strong polling day for John McCain:The University of Cincinnati's highly-rated Ohio Poll has John McCain leading by 4 points in the Buckeye State. There are no particular demographic quirks in these results; Barack Obama is simply a little behind where he needs to be across the board. The U. of C. (no, not the real U.

Today's Polls: Palin's A Hit Everywhere -- But The Electoral College
September 11, 2008

 An avalanche of polling today, but a consistent theme emerges:And what is that theme? Well, it's that the popular vote and the Electoral College are significantly diverging. Although the Republicans seem to be polling stronger than they were in the pre-convention period almost everywhere, the differences are much larger in traditionally red states, particularly in the South and the rural West (Colorado and Nevada, by the way, are not rural states).

And In Other Apocalpyse News...
September 10, 2008

Well, this is confusing: If Thomas Fingar's bleak speech in Orlando yesterday was any indication, none of the U.S. intelligence agencies seem to understand that "lipstick on a pig" is the most pressing issue facing the country. Instead, their forthcoming Global Trends 2025 report just prattles on about how the United States and institutions like the U.N.

Hurricanes Vs. Energy Independence
September 08, 2008

Climatologists still go back and forth on whether global warming will make the annual hurricane season more violent, though a recent paper in Nature offers up new evidence for a link. But if it's true, and storms in the North Atlantic are getting stronger as the ocean heats up, what does that mean for U.S. oil production in the Gulf of Mexico? Keith Johnson passes along a forecast from Jeff Rubin of CIBC—the analyst who has predicted oil would hit $200-per-barrel by 2010. His verdict? Not good.

Switching Back Into Convention Mode
September 02, 2008

Alan Brinkley--who is the provost and a professor of history at Columbia University, as well as a National Book Award-winning author--will be writing for us throughout the Republican convention. Last night's session of the Republican convention was as bizarre as any I've ever seen--and having grown up as a convention junkie, I've seen (and attended) a great many. It was jarring to flip around the networks and cable channels and find all the important broadcast journalists in storm gear somewhere on the Gulf Coast, hardly mentioning the campaign or the convention.

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