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Dick Morris: Election is Still Undecided

Tuesday, 04 Nov 2008 10:23 AM

By Phil Brennan

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Dick Morris: Election is Still Undecided

Phil Brennan

“Nobody has any idea how this election is going to go — not a pollster, not a candidate, not a political consultant,” veteran political guru Dick Morris proclaimed on the “Hannity and Colmes” Fox news show Monday night.

The former top Clinton adviser and pollster insists that it’s impossible to conduct accurate polls because of the vast changes in the electorate.

“There are 310 million Americans, and 220 million of them are of voting age,” Morris said. “120 million of the 220 voted in 2004, so 100 million didn't. Basically, about 30 million of that hundred million are probably going to vote — we have no idea — it might be 40 or 50, it might be 10 or 20, but some portion will and some portion won't.

“Because we've never had a turnout in modern times of more than 120 million, we have no idea how to model it. So you don't know who those new voters are. And in a race in which one candidate is very attractive to minority voters and younger voters, and the other candidate is much more attractive to white voters and middle-aged and older voters, you just have no way to model this.

“Apart from that, I believe that the undecided will go to McCain. But goodness knows what the undecided is, or what the head-to-head is. That's why you have some polls that have a 2-point margin — you have McCain carrying Florida in the polls and Florida always is the absolute central zero state, ground zero where if it goes one way by one point the country is going that way — we just can't tell. That's the blunt fact of it: Nobody has the faintest idea.”

Show co-host Alan Colmes said he had heard that Obama was ahead among early voters, and newer voters are registering Democratic. And the Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll found there no longer were enough undecided voters to make a difference, he said.

The persuasion phase of the campaign was over, Colmes said.

Morris disputed that idea, saying “They have no idea, because you have no idea who is really going to vote. The one thing a poll can never do is to predict turnout. You got somebody and you say, ‘Are you really going to vote?’ and they say, ‘Absolutely I'm dead certain to vote,’ and then they don't. You simply can't tell. The basic point that I have about this election is, if you force me right now to bet, I would say that Obama is more likely to win than McCain.

“I don't think that anybody knows, and the other thing you have to focus on is that all of these polls are two-day moving averages and that this electorate is in flux and in transition. With this new Reverend Wright ad and with the revelation about the coal thing and on the other hand, the sympathy factor about Obama's grandmother dying — you've just can't tell.”

Co-host Sean Hannity chimed in, noting, “All of these battleground polls either McCain is ahead or we have two states dead even or within the margin of error and these are the things that matter. At the end of the day, it's going to be Florida, it's going to be Missouri, it's gonna be North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio. These are the states and not one of them, according to the latest polls, shows that this is not close.

“Why do you think that it is this close at this late hour and at this point in the race?” Hannity said

Morris responded: “I don't think Obama's closed the sale. If you look at what's going on in the Senate and House races throughout the country, Obama should be 20 points ahead right now. This should be 1984 all over again or 1972 or 1964. This should be a massacre, but the polling, to whatever extent you can believe it, suggests that it's not. I think he basically hasn't closed the deal.”

Commenting on the race in Pennsylvania and the controversial ads about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Obama's famous remarks about Pennsylvanians’ being bitter and clinging to their guns, Morris said he thinks they will have an impact on the race.

“I think the Reverend Wright issue is a completely legitimate shot. The point of the matter is that I think it is completely beyond the realm of possibility that this man sat in that congregation for 20 years and never heard Reverend Wright speak. His sermons were on sale in the lobby of the church. I think that what he did was he joined the church, because it was a way to make it with Chicago politics. He was close to William Ayers because Ayers was a power in politics, because his father was the head of the utility company. And he got close to [Tony] Rezko because he needed money to get started politically. These are a heck of associations for a president. He probably couldn't get security clearance.”

Turning to the energy issue and Obama's disparagement of coal, Morris said the single most important alternative energy advance is the plug-in electric car.

“That's going to require 30 percent more electric power generation, which, until we develop more nuclear plants, is going to mean coal,” Morris said. “If you're not for coal. You're not for energy, period.”

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