Yeah, I Know It’s Over. And It’s Just Beginning.

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

I’m sure by now everyone knows it’s over.  So what can I blog about?

The historic significance of the first African-American presidential candidate?  Yeah, but you know that, too, unless you live under a rock.

Will the Democratic party unify?  Yes.

Will Hillary be VP?  I don’t know yet.

That said, now that we’re at a new starting line politically, it’s probably a good time to see where the two candidates stand.  Obama has the edge:

Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama holds a six point lead over his Republican counterpart John McCain, a new CBS News poll finds. Obama leads McCain 48 percent to 42 percent among registered voters, with 6 percent of respondents undecided.

The poll contains troubling signs for Obama as he looks to mobilize the Democratic Party behind him following his long and sometimes bitter battle with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, however.

Twelve percent of Democrats say they will support McCain in the general election. That’s higher than the 8 percent of Democrats who defected to President Bush in 2004. Nearly a quarter of Clinton supporters say they will back McCain instead of Obama in the general election.

Right now, Obama is ahead even though he has only one-quarter of the Clinton supporters.  That number will slowly but surely rise.

Other factors in the poll also portend bad news for McCain:

* Bush: The president’s approval rating is down to a stunning 25%, and “more than four in ten voters believe McCain would, indeed, generally continue Mr. Bush’s policies.”

* Favorability: Obama has a favorable/unfavorable rating of 41/31. McCain’s numbers are 34/37.

* Age: Nearly one-in-three voters believe McCain’s age (he’ll be 72 this year) will be an obstacle to his effectiveness as president.

* Caring about voters’ problems: While Obama and McCain are even on sharing voters’ values, poll respondents were also asked if the candidate care about voters’ problems. On this, Obama led McCain by 16 points.

* Age: Most Americans seem to reject McCain’s approach to Iraq altogether.

Sixty-one percent say Iraq will never become a stable democracy – the highest number since CBS News starting asking the question in December 2003. Just one third think Iraq will become a stable democracy, and most of them think that will take longer than two years.

Thirty-five percent of those surveyed say things are going well in Iraq, down from 40 percent in April. Sixty-two percent say things are going badly.

Americans would like U.S. troops to come home from Iraq sooner rather than later. 42 percent are willing to have U.S. troops remain in Iraq for only a year or less. 21 percent say troops should stay for one to two years more, while 30 percent are willing to keep troops in Iraq longer than two years.

So you gotta be happy with that.

UPDATE:  What Digby said, in a post entitled "Coda":

As to what happens next, you all know that I believe this is the Democrats’ year and I think that as soon as everyone licks their wounds and takes a little rest and, more importantly, sees what the Republicans are going to unleash on Obama and the Democratic party, we will all make our way back together. As I wrote the other night, I think both of the leaders need to do their part to make that happen, and I expect they will, for both personal and political reasons.

Finally, whoever you supported in this race and however your feel about the candidates, there still remains the problem of our sick, sick political media and that’s something that the blogosphere — as alternative media — need to sort through. I know that many of you have felt that this campaign’s coverage wasn’t as bad as I have painted it. But I think that when we look back on this we will see that it was yet another disgraceful performance on the part of our mainstream media (and, alas, our "liberal" media as well.) There is a lot to be written about that and I’m hopeful we can all look at this with clear eyes once we take a breather.

Clinton will officially end suspend the campaign on Friday, (which is perfectly in keeping with the usual timing of these things contrary to the gasbags’ ahistorical and overwrought blathering of last night.) We will see what the Republicans have in store for us. And maybe we can start behaving like ourselves again. Family fights are always painful, but they are usually easily healed as well. Here’s to the end of the Long March of 2008. It’s been real.