Tags: election | gop | mccain | obama

What Can the GOP Do to Win?

Thursday, 19 Jun 2008 08:36 AM

By John LeBoutillier

The new spate of Quinnipiac polls from Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania have rocked the GOP political establishment.

Here is the brief overview from Quinnipiac:

This is the first time Sen. Obama has led in all three states. No one has been elected president since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the Electoral College.

  • Florida: Obama edges McCain 47 percent-43 percent

  • Ohio: Obama tops McCain 48 percent-42 percent

  • Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain 52 percent-40 percent

    In the three states, Obama leads McCain 10 to 23 percentage points among women, while men are too close to call. The Democrat trails among white voters in Florida and Ohio, but gets more than 90 percent of black voters in each state. He also has double-digit leads among young voters in each state.

    Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute says, "Finally getting Senator Hillary Clinton out of the race has been a big boost for Senator Barack Obama. He now leads in all three of the major swing states, although his margins in Florida and Ohio are small."

    These results, especially in Florida (thought to be secure for McCain) and Ohio (very winnable for the GOP, especially with Gov. Ted Strickland stating he would not accept the veep slot from Obama), have shaken the McCain campaign and renewed the fear that an anti-GOP, anti-Bush tsunami is rolling in this fall. It may take not only McCain along with it but dozens of GOP House and Senate hopefuls, as well.

    Now, some questions need to be raised:

  • What can McCain do to reverse this pro-Obama trend?

  • Is it more anti-GOP — or anti-McCain? Or, to put it another way, could a different GOP candidate do better than McCain?

  • McCain seems mired at 42 percent in these state-by-state polls and in the recent ABC and Gallup national polls. Why can’t he grow above that?

  • There are still 4 1/2 months to go before Election Day. What events can shake up this race?

    John McCain is, technically in the TV era, a disastrous, boring candidate. Period. Plus, he doesn’t want to run the kind of campaign necessary to destroy and thus to defeat Obama. (Witness Mccain’s prohibition of even mentioning Obama’s middle name Hussein.)

    McCain as a former POW is a valuable political biography. But his conflicted personality and inside-the-Beltway contradictions (he is surrounded by lobbyists after decrying government pork) undermine what could have been a pristine personal story: POW hero comes to D.C. and takes on the establishment.

    McCain’s overall campaign strategist, Charlie Black, is a smart guy who will maximize all that is possible with such a weak candidate. But he does not have much to work with.

    There is a built-in resistence to Obama that will still help McCain or another GOP nominee should McCain not be nominated in September (still a possibility). Obama is at the mid-to-high 40s; a moderate, non-leftist Democrat would today be in the mid-50s and be virtually unbeatable in November.

    The GOP must show the American voter that Obama is too risky and too radical to be entrusted with the Oval Office.

    The problem is that McCain is tied to Bush’s hip, is bad on TV and doesn’t connect with voters.

    And McCain’s base, the so-called mainstream media, is already abandoning him for their real love: Obama.

    Do you know what is needed? A real conservative GOP candidate to emerge and to challenge not only McCain but also the fact that the media chose our nominee for us.

    The American people distrust the media.

    It is too bad both nominees are creations of that media.

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