24 September 2008

How's McCain Polling Tonight Among Those 18%?

All the polls have been big news pretty much since the conventions. With Obama pulling steadily ahead in a number of key states and perceived nationwide as a clear leader during economic crisis, it makes sense that McCain would want to derail that steady, effective messaging of the Obama campaign. How better to do so than to trump the conversation about the economy with the only thing going right now that's just as hot: the campaign itself. Suspend the campaign? Delay the debate? Bump the October 2 VP debate? Man alive. There hasn't been this much inane chatter since the Palin announcement last month.

Which is exactly the point. Since about 2:00 today (mountain time) nobody's been talking about the economy (except the president in prime time, but I'm not sure anybody was listening). Bad as all this is probably bound to play out for McCain in the long run, tonight has got to be a welcome break for the beleaguered campaign staff. Rick Davis? Who's Rick Davis? Nobody could quit talking about Rick Davis all morning, and nobody's talking about Rick Davis tonight, so something might just have worked as hoped today for Camp McCain. Granted, tomorrow presents a whole new host of challenges, suspended campaign or no, but the president just called both candidates in off the trail for a meeting of the minds on the credit meltdown, and I don't see how that's not going to throw Obama's crew off just a little, even if only by annoying them to death with the blatant triviality of the thing.

Back to the polls, though. Here's the only question that probably matters tonight: How is the McCain campaign stunt playing to that 18% of undecideds out there who will push this thing one way or the other on November 4? Are they seeing the media play on all this and wondering "WTF?" just like the rest of us? Or is there a sentiment out there that McCain really is putting country first, putting the campaign aside for the greater good, and making a genuine effort to solve this thing before we're all out of work? Are undecided voters sitting back, waiting to see decisive action on the economic crisis, and saying "Thank God somebody's finally doing something! He's got my vote."

I don't think it's likely, but it's a screwy scene out there and I'm not ready to rule it out. For every undecided who bites, however, I think there's a thoughtful conservative or two trying like hell to find reasons to vote Republican and coming up shy. And today's antics sure aren't helping the cause.