I like when political campaigns actually speak to the issues. I like when they are forced into tight corners and have to answer exactly how they would handle health care and Iraq and pollution etc. However, I don't think that happens nearly enough.
Mainstream media seems to just cover the horse race aspect of it all, and maybe that's because our campaigns in the States go on for months and months and months. They have shorter campaigns in places like Australia and the UK and the candidates have a much shorter time to get their ideas out there, so voters can determine the differences in ideas and approach between the candidates, and that's what tends to get covered.
Because our campaign cycle is so much longer, important topics like what the candidate wears (wasn't Hillary's yellow jacket the other day awful!? I actually think it was, but I know it has nothing to do with her ability to govern...), whether or not they smoked pot when they were young, whether or not they are patriotic based on whether or not they wear an American flag lapel pin are all put under intense scrutiny as it makes for easier reporting. Being catty is easier than being thoughtful.
Another big part of the horse race coverage is determining who is ahead in the polls. What do the poll numbers mean? Who's up, who's down?
I like certain polls. I've had a couple here at this blog. It's not a bad way to get a sense of how people are thinking. So, I am not against them in theory or on principle. I just don't like it when the limited information from them becomes the basis for all political discussion.
Having said all of this, guess what...I've got polls too!! Welcome to the first We Don't Buy It campaign poll coverage for 2008!!
I am not a major mainstream media outlet. I am a mom sitting here typing away with all of my fascinating ideas about the world and am sharing them with all of you. As such, I can be as biased as I want (wink, wink Fox news!). So, for my polling, I'm just going to not even cover the Republicans because they don't matter at all at this point. No offense Republican readers! You of course matter. I care about you, just not your candidates. Also, I'm only going to present polls from Illinois and New York, the respective home states of Obama and Clinton. Also, the polls are from Feb, 3rd, so not as current as it could be. All righty then!!
In our first poll here from Illinois, we see Obama kicking Clinton's butt without mercy. Obama is more of a gentleman than I am a lady, so I can speak about it all in those kinds of terms. I don't think he would use that language. He also is more serious than I am, which is why he is running for president and I am sitting here typing away on my blog. Also, I didn't go to Harvard, and wasn't the Law Review President. Also, I never helped disenfranchised people get registered to vote. But, I did protest against nuclear arms at Los Alamos in New Mexico in 1983 and got arrested and had to wear an orange jumper and sit alone in a cell and watch a tiny lizard scurry across the floor. Ah, those college days. Good times.
It's a little hard to read but it looks to me like the numbers show Obama leading Clinton 67% or so, to 30%. That's a 37% lead! At the beginning of 2007 there was only about a 7 point difference between them. Look how Clinton's numbers are shooting up sharply in the early part of 2008, but so are Obama's! Nice try Hillary--not so fast. Edwards didn't even rate around these parts. He doesn't even get a line.
Now let's turn our attention to New York, Clinton's home state. Edwards did rate enough in New York to get a line, but held a steady position hovering around 10%. Look at Obama's line. Wow. For the first three quarters of 2007 he was around 15%, and then in the fourth quarter he took off. Look at that final number--around 32% or so! He jumped 17 points. Nice. What a precipitous climb. Wait. What's this? Clinton's numbers went up too, to 52% or so. Huh. that's not much of a slope. Look at Obama's slope, then Hillary's. He might catch her, ya know? Also, Hillary is not as well liked in her own state as Obama is in his (not to be catty or anything.)
According to these polls, it looks really good for Obama. But, polls don't always show or predict what a crazy, uninformed electorate will do...
To look at more polls, accurate or not, go here.