How Obama Might Lose The US Presidential Election

In nearly every poll, Obama is leading by several points. From the economic crisis to the Bush administration, to McCain’s voting record, to Sarah Palin as the heartbeat-away President, it seems like everyday something new emerges from the US presidential campaign that points to a universe where all the stars are aligning for Obama. And the reality of it is, if you are an African-American running for President, you better have the universe backing you up (as well as karma, the cosmos, and the gods of politics). When it comes to the undecideds, where all the votes up for grab are, the economy is what matters, and even there, Obama is generally seen as doing better perception-wise. Obama even seems to be worshiped by mainstream American media, as far as worshiping allows, and that’s not an easy get.

With so much going in his favor, this has become a really unique election that has me wondering what could possibly go wrong for Obama.

My reluctance to get on the Obama bandwagon has mostly been due to the fact that he has this seemingly cult-like following. He is seen as this messiah of change, and is described and depicted as almost prophet-like. I have a problem with anyone who puts that much faith in a single politician, especially an American president. If the on-going history of America has shown the world anything, it’s that change (in the positive sense of the word) is not a big factor in a US presidency. So I am constantly astonished by any Arab who is entranced by Obama and have to constantly remind myself that most of the fan base in this part of the world comes from a particular more-westernized demographic and have been swallowed up by the wave of US election culture that is dominated by Obama. Everyone is entitled to their own perceptions but I remain realistic to the degree of change that is expected with either candidate in the Oval Office.

But back to the winning/losing theme of this post.

By now, I think everyone has heard of the so-called Bradley-effect given the fact that it’s been talked about to death throughout this election. The African-American who ran for governor in California in the early 80’s and showed a strong lead over his opponent before losing on election day. The effect essentially refers to the margin of voters who tell pollsters they’ll vote for a black candidate, only to end up voting for a white candidate once safely inside the poll booth. White voters wanting to appear politically correct were the endgame.

The Bradley effect has been talked about to death during this election and the fact that it has generated that much discussion in the media is indicative enough of just how much race plays a factor in this election. The effect has been grappled with and debated endlessly, with many debunking it and pointing out that times have changed since the 80’s, that this election is different, that inaccuracy in polls exist, that racist tendencies are not what caused Bradley’s initial run.

But putting the pseudo-scientific debate of the Bradley effect aside, it is safe to say that race has never played this big a factor in a US election. From subtle statements to outright racist ones, Obama’s skin color is most definitely an active card in this deck.

Looking at the electoral college, we see a system where the more rural states with mostly white conservative, Republicans are given around three times the weight of the more (arguably) diverse and Democrat states. Moreover, most potential black voters live in the south where the electoral college advantage comes in to play for the Republicans, and debates as to the likelihood of black voter turnout has also been a centerpiece of the election recently.

There is also the argument that many of Obama’s white supporters (wherever they may be), will change their minds once inside the booth.

Suffice to say, in this race of all races, polls are not to be trusted.

Skin color probably wont be the determining factor (voters are probably more concerned with their money right now), but it has potential to play a big enough factor that lowers the margins enough for a McCain win. And I’m interested to see how this will play out in the swing states.

Either way, I suppose we’ll all find out in a few days from now.


  • I was at a CNN conference last week called “Politics 2008”, and it just amazed me how almost everyone took it as a given that Obama was winning. They were talking about him like he was the next president… and that kind of discourse alone was enough to make you think that something somewhere is bound to happen to shake things up and perhaps shift the balance…

    With the undecided voters I think it won’t be how much they’re willing to vote for Obama, but how much they wouldn’t want McCain. A few more slips and contradicting statements and sneers might prove fatal. It’s interesting how Sarah Palin seems to be keeping a lower profile than a month ago.

    A point you overlooked is the difference in campaign funding and spending. It’s mind-blowing how much money Obama has to play with and how he is spending it. He’s ahead of McCain on that 4 to 1. Personally I think that’s what slightly disturbs me about him. Nonetheless, I want him to win 🙂 and I want to be in Harlem when that happens. It’s a fun time to be a journalist.

  • You know what I also find ironic about the local Jordanian ‘Obama bandwagon’? It is made up of jordanians who, when it comes to jordanian politics, are coservative , traditional and right wing. they are the mccains and pallins of our country.
    Yet, astonishingly, when it comes to foreign elections , they support the more democratic/liberal/left-leaning candidate … i am at loss as to how to interpret their behaviour logically!
    but yeah … i am not joining the obama bandwagon either …

  • Nas – GREAT post buddy.

    I fully agree about political correctness in public being irrelevant to the way people feel and act in private.

    That scares me, in fact. If polls on November 3 are at 70-30 for Obama, and he loses 80-20, I would lose ALL faith in this country for good!

    It’s just disgusting. The ideal we preach and advertise and how widespread the LACK of it is in *practice*. The fact that his campaign had to reject that he is a Muslim as an “accusation” and “smear” is disgusting! I love Nancy of CNN – she was the one to say “wait, why is this even a developing story? What IF he was a Black Muslim? Last I checked, we live in America!”

    Anyway – we can bitch and moan and it won’t change the retarded mindsets that still live in the 20’s around here!

    My friend even told me that he guarantees, and will bet on, Obama getting assasinated within 2 years of the presidency if he wins. And require those bullet-proof glass boxes to conduct public speeches and a new budget for secret service security beyond all past measures.

    He said, being from west virginia, he personally knows crowds of people who WILL try to kill him…

    Can you believe it?

  • If there is anybody that will screw it up for Obama it will be Joe Biden thanks to his latest stupid statements at rallies and on live us media.

    I believe that Joe Biden is a smart politician but he talks to much, almost as much as Sarah Palin.

    check the latest video on him on youtube..

  • I think that obama are going to win not because he is a black man but because he look at the people future.And he also has a lot plan for the future.If i vote for anybody it would be obana

  • This is a shot in the dark nas. I think of voters in the USA as grasping for the only straw that has the potential to rescue them from all the turmoil they’re laden with. It is true that many voters will be politically correct when polled, but think of that Iowa primary. Iowa is a 95%+ white. However, people were more inclined to vote for Obama than for Hillary, who is obviously white. Then, we have to think of the surge in voter registration within the democrats, the overwhelming push by younger voters, and the dissatisfied independents with the current economical situation and McCain’s failure to present a convincing agenda. All that put together will trump what ever discrepancy brought about by the politically correct crowd, or should I say Cowards.

    Go Obama min hoan la Bukra!!

  • mab300s … the surge in democratic voter registration can be attributed to ‘operation chaos’ where vast numbers of republicans registered as democrats for the primaries only to switch back after they were done. There was also a high number of defections after the primaries , im sure you didnt hear about that in the media.

    Im not believing the hype in the polls. Considering where the polling locations are located. Obama is outspending mcain close to 4:1 and the media is in the tank for obama… yet obama is only ahead by a pretty slim margin. That speaks volumes of his campaing. He should be cleaning the floor with mcain. I remember hearing the same thing in 04 and in the 00 election. Im not so sure obama will win. It sure has been an interesting election , but I cant wait for it to be over. I will be voting against obama.

  • As-salamu Alaykum,
    I don’t think people are attracted to Obama because they believe he is going to rescue the nation or solve all of the (numerous) problems in America. People are realistic and know that one man cannot do it alone. The reason people like him is because he brings back some dignity back to the office, motivates people, and speaks intelligently. People are sick to death of meaningless slogans/sound-bites and are starving for a leader who can inspire a new mood in the country. Don’t be surprised if many conservatives vote for Obama, too, even if they won’t admit it publicly to family, friends, and media.

  • I’m with MommaBean. Just vote, holding nose if need be.

    There is actually an ‘opposite Bradley effect’ going on as well that has nothing to do with race. Many Christian Republicans are sick enough of their party they will be voting Dem privately, but don’t want to risk the wrath of fellow constituents (as A just mentioned). I was appalled to learn last week two of my best friends weren’t planning on voting.

  • I’m hoping (against you Kinz, my dear), that many people on that side of the fence will stay home. I know that they did studies on polling biases and found that if a black person asks about a black candidate people are much more likely to say they will be voting for them. Same with a woman pollster and a woman candidate. But I also wonder if there aren’t those who say they’ll vote for McCain in conservative areas simply because they don’t want to admit that they’re jumping ship. It will be very interesting to see…

  • The truth is, I have never seen so much schtick on BOTH finalists before. I mean, flaws are getting pointed everywhere. TIME magazine has been doing these double-sided cover stories of why we’re screwed with EITHER ONE.

    THAT is what makes voters not want to vote! I mean, I see the non-voter’s point of view; “they’re both not good enough for me, I won’t take part in putting one in office – NOT MY FAULT!”


  • I voted democrat for 25 years, and this is the first time I cast a vote for a republican. I now consider myself an independent. My decision is largely due to digust in how biased the coverage of this election has been, coupled with the lack of judgment, leadership, integrity, and honesty of Obama. I do no trust him, and so I can not cast my vote for him. I have lost friends over this election because of the switch in my vote to a republican. These supposed, peace loving democratic friends, send me nasty emails, insist I need to debate them on the candidates, and constantly berate me for my choice. I am so turned off by the manipulation, which honestly is occuring on both sides. However, the Obama side has gotten such a free ride from the press, that it is increasingly difficult to feel there has been any fairness to this election. Bascially, the press has selected Obama for us, then served him up with sugar and spice.

  • I am just writing this to agree with Kyle!

    I just moved to Chicago, IL after living for two years in Columbia, SC. For anyone who understands the American history and the civil war it would really make a lot of sense to expect what might happen to Obama after being elected as a president. I have seen and met some people in SC who are still referring to slavery as their honor; they talk about it in a very prideful way!

    On other note, and assuming McCain – Palin won, we will see very interesting fall of the U.S. legends, whether for democracy in its elite forms or either for Capitalism as a solution for any economical crises of any kind.

    It’s very entertaining to hear Palin talking international affairs, and I seriously do not see any difference between her and “W” when he talks international politics. If the Americans do elect those two for the office they would have elected an extended period of suffering, which might help democrats on the long run, by showing the true colors of the republicans.

    The world is changing and the republicans do not want to admit this and unfortunately the majority of the American people are clueless about the world changes as well, they still believe that the mentality that fixed the great depression, or won WWI, WWII, is going to be the same solution for other present issues.

    I wish Americans were aware enough to understand that democrats, not only Obama, are what really needed to fix some of the issues the whole world is facing right now!!

  • Obama, Nancy, Harry, Rev. Wright, Bill, etc. Who is anyone kidding? If Obama wins, we will get change for sure. We will forever loose our stand in the world as a democracy. Ya just simply can’t have this much power on one side and still call your country a democracy, it will be the first in a long line of dictators, if Obama ever steps down. Oh they will spoon feed the lambs some money here and there and keep them thinking their lives are better for the extra $500.00 a year they get for not working, but soon they will find their lives are just as stagnet as before Obama. Obama is for Obama and his left wing radical Chicago machine buddies. He won’t even look back at your poor patethic faces as they turn from a victory smile to sadness that really the only thing that changed is that you lost your freedoms and in the process an opportunity to better yourself. Be sure and frame that check you get it afer he spreads the wealth around. It may go on e-bay for a lot of money when history writes the first dictatorship in America and all the lazy lambs that were so foolish to really believe this guy. For heaven sakes, do the math. If you can’t add, go to a university and have someone that can show you that there is no way on earth this man can deliver. Castro must be laughing out loud right about now. I’m voting for someone that is a true American, has serviced his country, has no left wing radical buddies, and has a proven record of showing up for work and doing his job. I won’t tell you who that is but if a vision comes into your mind, you should vote for him too because the other guy doesn’t fit that definition.

  • I dont belive someone can predict who has to become president or who will be president, I want to give all my regards to Obama for a Change In America, Im not blaming Mccain, I belive he needs fair trial, I want america this year to make history, to Elect a nation where race, color wont be limitated as long as you can serve this country, I belive Obama Can make that change, So whoever has the feeling of voting for Mccain just for his acknowledgements and other views, STOP, and lets give a chance to Obama, and For America to change as a Positivity.


  • Maggie,

    Castro must be laughing out loud right about now. I’m voting for someone that is a true American, has serviced his country, has no left wing radical buddies

    That statement doesnt do justice, Why: Yes John Mccain served his country DEFENDING his country, Protecting Our Country, He says he did, and we know he did, but The real story nobody wants to know about it. True American? a True american is someone who keeps on struggling with counters that are in position to get a negativity of this country? Hasnt Obama served his country by solving peoples problems? John Mccain mentioned the word “Iran” more than 10 times, Full Stop. he was beating up Iran like it had blasted a country off the map, We MUST restore peace and protect our citizens and I dont see love for JOHN MCCAIN doing that, Infact I belive he will cause conflict in Iran saying other stupid accusations. Like Bush DECLARED war against Iraq. Rephrase: DECLARED, it has mentioned couple of times while Clinton was in office, but never DECLARED, But OUR DAMN PRESIDENT did alright.

    We dont need this Bullshit in REAL AMERICA. A REAL AMERICAN a true american Helping OUR people, Supporting OUR country and defending Terrorism, Not creating CONFLICT, a TRUE american who can serve this country FOR GOOD, Vote for Obama A True American.

  • Well Ozzie, you might want to remind Obama’s running mate of your thoughts. “Within six months of Obama becoming president he will be tested.” Doesn’t sound to me like he believes Obama will restore peace, but yet because of Obama’s lack of experience, we as a country will pay the price of his presidency with conflict.

    Character, not chrisima should be the forefunner of someone who leades the free world. Chrisima can be “mood” driven, where as character is a constant.

    Obama and Biden say “they are going to change America, they are going to change the world.” Well gee Ozzie, we have some real problems here that will require character. I really personally don’t care about the history books shinning a light on Obama as a world changer. I, as selfish as it may seem want someone that is focused on my country, not how they will go down in the history books as the “first this or the first that.” I don’t consider myself “selfish” because I don’t want more taxes on my back to support the 40 percent of the people who pay none. Some of this is unavoidable, but some as we all know is generational and nothing but being satisfied with the status quo of welfare and safety net programs. I’ve been working at something to make a dollar here or there since I was 12 years old. Strawberry picking, workng in a laundry mat, mowing lawns, etc. No complaining, I just happen to come from a poor family that did not believe other citizens had an obligation to make up the difference for us.

    With a 9th grad education I now have a home that is almost paid for and have been able to make some small investments and own my own small business. Now in the latter years of my productivity, looking forward to cashing out and living moderately without family assistance, I’m told that I’m selfish if I don’t want to pay double capital gains? Un patriotic I believe Mr. Biden called people like me.

    That has, in my opinion no character. Obama-Biden are indeed earmarking the results of my work for those who didn’t bother. He has some fine qualities, he appeals to the young, he has made his stance on the importance of fathers taking responsibility for the children they help produce, and he’s liked by many. I just simply do not believe in whatever you want to call his program that takes more from those who have worked to give to those have either not contributed at all or very little. Now if he wants to tell me that no one will receive a welfare check (or a tax rebate as he calls is) unless they have an assigned job, no matter how small the effort, then I would consider his ideas to have character. All the financial advisiors I have watch and those in my own arena who manage my tax returns and investment positions tell me that this country cannot sustain the tax program he is proposing, no matter how noble those who have little may consider it. Castro came out of the jungle promising to take care of everyone if they would put him in power and we see how those promises never came to pass, as a minimum, they should have got a good definition on being “taken caer of.”

    The way the media has given Obama a free pass on his radical associations, the fact that Obama’s campaign say they can’t account for where their contributions came from, The fact that he broke his promise to take public financing, the fact that some people just don’t seem to care that the man and his family including two lovely very impressionable daughters sat in a church for 20 years led by a racist. Hang whatever name you want on it Black Theology? but it is without question devisive and racist. McCain nor any other person running for office would have ever got out of the gate with credentials like that. Although I am only part white, I don’t give a rats rear end for anyone that feels that way about other people, regaradless of their color.

    Obama wants us to believe in him and his promises for change, but duh- what change????. He changes his tax structure too often. 250k, 200k (both his own verbal changes) 150k – Biden , 120K Richardson. So tell me what promise to you hang your hat on? Maybe just maybe you are not 67 years old and have many years to recover from a depression or failed promises, I do not. I’m (according to Obama) selfish and according to Biden unpatriotic. I’d like to keep a reasonable amount of my money and take care of myself I think Obama is a perfect leader, just not for a country that relies on democracy.

    I’m too old to have a crush on any political figure. They are what they are and I have to vote according to what I feel is right. I’m sure you will do the same.

  • well. a nice thought provoking article. One day is left for the 4th November which will show the final result of this unique election. The fact remain that so far all the public poll by different agencies has shown that Obama is leading but ha gap is narrowing gradually. It is a fact no body shod depend on tis public poll result. American society as such is is having a non dependable public pole result per presidential
    election History. So any thing can happen even o n the day of election which can change the final result.
    So we must be prepared for that.

  • Early voting is being overlooked in the final outcome. Take a look at Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, and Nevada. Early voting and absentee turnout has passed 80% of the 2004 total vote in Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, and Colorado. It’s over 65% in Georgia. It’s near 60% in Florida. Of those numbers, there is a 1.8 to 1 advantage for Democrat vs Republican turnout. Independents stand at 19% average and most likely if they are turning out early they are inspired. So probably about the same level. In other words, almost impossible for McCain to overcome on election day even if Obama did something horrible the night of the election. Obama is too organized to do that.

    The only state that bothers me at this point is Ohio. But I believe the low turnout numbers have more to do with a decreased population. So many people like myself have moved away from Ohio since 2004. Some estimates put the numbers at 10,000 a month. Great migration.

    Finally, on the subject of race. I’m white. I think Obama’s racial background only adds to his appeal. I’ve never seen a politician like him. White or black. The fact that he is black just impresses me more. I don’t think people understand the sheer number of white people in America who aren’t racist.

  • Hopefully we have not broadened the definition of a racist to encompass those who would question the character or readiness of a person with the credentials ( or lack of) of Obama who is running for the highest office in the free world.

    I am part white, part Asain and I could really care less about the color of his skin. Absolutely no appeal or unappeal one way or the other. Nor am I clammering becauses Asians have barely been mentioned in this campaign and barely is being generous.

    I’m looking at where he has SAID he would take this country and if people would close their eyes and and listen and do the math, they would realize he cannot deliver on his promises, it is mathmathically impossible and his associates just plain turn me off. I wouldn’t be caught dead in his church, or in the home of Bill Ayers, or with a PLO spokesperson and I don’t think America is a “down right mean” country (compliments of his wife.) Nor would I vote for someone that practically has to be worshiped to say he feeling about American is now vindicated.

    Be careful what you wish for, you may get it and no whinning from the liberals for 4 years please. He’s told you about bankrupting coal enterprises, he’s told you he’s going to raise your taxes and Please don’t even go there if you think 95% of the people in this country are not going to see a tax increase. Please don’t tell me you think that we will ever see universal health care, at least not as the average citizen may think of “Health Care,” which by the way he has never defined. And please don’t think he will protect our borders. Remember his plan is to “change the world.” Buzy guy. Let’s get back toether in a couple of years and see how well Obama has done with his promises. He came out of the shoot breaking a promise to take public financing and when he saw it was not going to put him ahead of McCain, he changed his mind without a blink. He’s already proven he can control the media to be biased to him so where ya gonna go for any real journalism?

    Good luck to all of you who think you are voting for a positive historical change, I think you may feel as duped as you did with Bush given time for him to remind you that he told you right up front. You just heard what you wanted to.

Your Two Piasters: