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I'm Brendan Loy, a 26-year-old graduate of USC and Notre Dame now living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee. My wife Becky and I are brand-new parents of a beautiful baby girl, born on New Year's Eve.

I'm a big-time sports fan, a politics, media & law junkie, an astronomy buff, a weather nerd, an Apple aficionado, a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fanatic, and an all-around dork. My blog is best-known for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but I blog about anything and everything that interests me.

You can contact me at irishtrojan [at] gmail.com, or donate to my "tip jar" by clicking the link below:

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Obama gaining ground in Pennsylvania

Something strange is happening en route to Hillary Clinton's presumed Reverend Wright-fueled romp in Ed Rendell's not-ready-to-vote-for-a-black-guy Keystone State: Barack Obama is gaining ground, again.

Yesterday, a new Rasmussen poll showed Hillary's lead in Pennsylvania down to 5 points, from 10% a week ago in the same poll. I held off posting anything, because one shouldn't put too much stock in a single poll. But later yesterday, SurveyUSA showed Hillary's lead shrinking from 19% three weeks ago to 12% now. Today, Quinnipiac has her lead at 9%, down from 12% two weeks ago.

And then, of course, there's a one labeled by Drudge as a "SHOCK POLL," the Public Policy Polling survey that shows Obama ahead by 2%. The same poll had Hillary leading by 26 points just over two weeks ago -- a 28-point swing in 16 days!

According to TPM, PPP "has had a solid record this year." Still, TPM says, and I agree, that this Obama-by-2 poll "has to be seen as an outlier, though it is important to note that [it] is the most recent survey." It should also be noted that the RCP average now has Clinton up just 6%.

Relatedly, Mark Halperin looks at What Hillary Clinton Has to Do to Really “Win” Pennsylvania.

Oh, and here are some interesting Electoral College maps, again showing Hillary and Obama having very different strengths (and weaknesses). They appear to confirm something my dad said, way back before Super Tuesday, which I initially questioned but now whole-heartedly agree with: that Obama, electorally, has "both more upside and more downside potential."

Finally, on a totally unrelated note, it looks like Washington state is headed for another Gregoire-Rossi barnburner.

UPDATE: Commenter "yea" writes:

who could have predicted this would happen? obama is trailing by a huge amount in a state he's never been to. he shows up in the state and the margin starts to decrease slowly. all of a sudden he surges and even takes the lead in a few polls. things stabilze as the election gets closer, and then there is a natural drift back to hillary that allows her to win the state. she wins the state be a smaller margin than anyone thought possible 4-5 weeks ago, yet by a bigger margin than most of the late polls indicated. hillary then claims the momentum.

Heh. Indeed.

I'm not sure, though, if the Clintons will be able to get the media to buy that load of bull this time around. I'm not totally putting it past them (or rather, past the media to be that dumb, again), but at some point, the reality of, well, reality, as opposed to spin-based unreality, has to take hold, doesn't it?

Look, the following is a fact: whatever barely plausible case Hillary might currently, arguably have that she can still catch up and win the nomination, she will have no such case when April 23 dawns, unless she won Pennsylvania the previous day in a massive blowout (like 15+ points) and thus earns a huge delegate edge there. The delegates to make up Obama's lead have to come from somewhere -- they can't all be uncommitted superdelegates, there aren't enough of those -- and she's running out of chances. She can't beat Obama by running out the clock with a series of delegate draws and claiming "momentum." Momentum is meaningless unless, at some point, it gets her delegates.

I think this is a case of fool me once (New Hampshire), shame on me; fool me twice (Super Tuesday), shame on me; fool me thrice (Texas & Ohio), shame on me; but I'll be damned if you're going to fool me a fourth time. :)

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Maybe the people who aren't ready to vote for a black guy are less likely to vote for a lying, ranting, crazed-looking bitch.

who could have predicted this would happen? obama is trailing by a huge amount in a state he's never been to. he shows up in the state and the margin starts to decrease slowly. all of a sudden he surges and even takes the lead in a few polls. things stabilze as the election gets closer, and then there is a natural drift back to hillary that allows her to win the state. she wins the state be a smaller margin than anyone thought possible 4-5 weeks ago, yet by a bigger margin than most of the late polls indicated. hillary then claims the momentum.

Personally I think the Bosnia lie was the defining moment for Hillary's campaign. It was bad enough that she lied - repeatedly - but then she had the nerve to dismiss it like telling a lie is nothing. It's not so much that Americans don't expect politicians to lie. It is that they expect their politicians to be smart enough to lie well and then, if caught, come up with something better than "get a life" or whatever she came up with.

"I'm not sure, though, if the Clintons will be able to get the media to buy that load of bull this time around. I'm not totally putting it past them (or rather, past the media to be that dumb, again)," - BL

It's not a matter of the media being "dumb," Brendan. It is a matter of them being complicit.

How does it feel to finally experience/witness/feel the frustration of an agenda-driven media? Welcome to the GOP
and fundamentalist Christian world.

FTR, I am neither.

It will be fascinating to watch as BHO is given much the same pass as regards Rezko and Wright. Just as HRC was given every benefit of every doubt as to "truthiness,", so too, will BHO be given a near-pass by the drive-by media. This despite decades worth of behavior as to Wright, and years of denial as to Rezko.

I look forward to your more skeptical and traditional journalistic take in the coming months.

Ed,

We've had 7 years of the most corrupt government in our nations history with lie after lie after lie that they were caught in over and over again, and the government continute to OPENLY violate the constitution on a daily basis and they continue to get a pass. But you're upset about a pastor. Give me an F'n break.

Ed, I'm well aware of the media's biases, and have been for many years, so you don't need to "welcome" me to the world that recognizes them. At the same time, I reject any "welcome" to a world that sees everything objectionable in the MSM as a symptom of bias or "agenda," rather than recognizing the many other unfortunate factors that influence media coverage, some of which are often far more important than bias, including: the obsession with sensationalism; the strong preference for simplicity over nuance; reportorial and analytical laziness; the inability or unwillingness to see any political story as anything but a binary conflict; the concomitant insistence on molding and twisting everything into a binary conflict of some sort; the obsession that many journalists have with the appearance of objectivity, which can lead to overcorrection of obvious apparent bias, even as much more significant yet subtle biases go totally unacknowledged; the complex love-hate relationship that many journalists have with power and authority figures; self-interest; incompetence; etc.

The media is an extremely complex organism made up of millions of moving parts. Trying to simplify its actions into a single "agenda" is a fool's errand.

Moreover, quite frankly, the idea that the particular phenomenon I'm describing is somehow driven by a pro-Hillary bias vis a vis Obama is laughable. It's perfectly obvious that most reporters prefer Obama to Hillary, just as most high-information, well-educated, doctrinaire liberals (especially male liberals) do.* So there's no way they're intentionally pimping for her against him.

*This doesn't necessarily mean Obama is the better candidate. But it's an accurate description, in broad outlines at least, of the demographic reality.


Brendan - getting a tad defensive, are we ?

The MSM has exhibited the iridescent feathers and the waddle and the swimming for many years - you can pretend it's a Mallard, and that people only call it a duck because of the webbed feet, but the MSM still sounds like quacks ...

"*This doesn't necessarily mean Obama is the better candidate. But it's an accurate description, in broad outlines at least, of the demographic reality." - and it's also an accurate description of bias and bigotry ...

Oh - before I forget - why the oxymoronic statement ? "just as most high-information, well-educated, doctrinaire liberals (especially male liberals) do" - the high-information, well-informed liberal (if he exists) isn't doctrinaire precisely because the doctrinaire part doesn't survive him becoming well-informed ...

It's all about emphases, Brendan.

To this day, I have yet to read of any reporter demanding of BHO his appointment calendar that would indicate his attendance at Trinity. BHO directly denies that he was present for Wright's racist remarks from the pulpit. Not once, per BHO, did he witness such. Where is the emphasis on checking out the story?

You want context or nuance or complexity? How's this: BHO, in the last month, was made to retract his version of the degree to which Rezko was involved with his domicile. Just this week, a denial was made in his name, as to his response to a standard questionnaire regarding his political/public stances on myriad issues. Ooops....he hand wrote a revision that he sent to the inquisator.

He memory has been proven to be faulty. So, where is the intellectual and journalistic vigor in following up a blanket assertion critical to BHO's political future? Please consider, Brendan, that if not a single entity is aggressively pursuing such a thing, it follows that there is an agenda.

You want to argue that the Wright story is "sensationalistic'" feel free. So was the Paula Jones story, until a Federal judge sanctioned WJC for perjurious behavior. Ask Tricky Dick about covering up.

We have little upon which to judge BHO. He conveniently avoided votes on many matters in the Illinois and the U.S. Senate. Therefore, his judgment and his character are the only things left us. If he is lying about Rezko and Wright, he is not fit to be a Senator, let alone a president. So far, there is a ton of smoke that indicates he lacks a superior character.

Where is the natural curiosity of any reporter worth a darn? Why is the default standard in both Rezko and Wright/Trinity benign in ALL major journalistic citadels?

These are the precise pleadings of most conservatives throughout the 90s. Where was the curiosity? Ask Chris Hitchens about the conspiracy of silence and the complicity of nearly the entire media as regards the genocide in Bosnia.

It happened. I say it is being repeated in the "lazy" and disinterested reportage of BHO today. The clarity provided by the newfound interest in HRC's "ethical lapses" is stunning. The contrast in the current coverage is damning.

Alisdair, I was thinking the same thing about Republicans. Well-informed would make them a liberal by definition, that's why NASCAR trash and Evangelicals are the idiot base that gave us a permanent Republican Majority for the last 6 years.

Ed, if BHO conveniently missed votes in the Illinois and US senate then he must not feel that strongly about what was being voted on. Again it's hysterical watching a group of jabronies try to desparage BHO when you have a president that you support breaking multiple laws as we speak. How about cleaning up your own house before trying to clean up the homes of law-abiding Americans.

The media isn't biased as much as it is lazy. It is lazy in the fact that it will take what is spoon-fed to it by the President, Congress and campaigns. It is lazy because it doesn't ask the questions average Americans would. It is lazy because it is more interested in reported mind-numbing "candy" like Obama bowling a 37 or Hillary saying she is "Rocky" instead of reporting on the issues.

The MSM has exhibited the iridescent feathers and the waddle and the swimming for many years - you can pretend it's a Mallard, and that people only call it a duck because of the webbed feet, but the MSM still sounds like quacks ...

Only to the slavishly partisan folks like you Alasdair. You have demonstrated time and again any ounce of rational objectivity when it comes to anything even REMOTELY touching on politics. The bias that may or may not exist in the "MSM" is the result of numerous factors all of which are true of any human, the media is however more guilty by far of sensationalism and such than of any intentional political bent. The same can not be true of the conservative answers to the imaginary left-wing media conspiracy who intentionally and actively engage in biased reporting.

Furthermore the assumption that in order for the media to be telling the truth what it reports must somehow straddle some arbitrary line between liberals and conservatives is ludicrous. The fact that this line changes over time is more than proof enough that objective reality is not bound by your partisan ideology and when your party continues to dispute objective realities such as human impact on global warming, or tries to tout "intelligent design" as science it shows a distinct and utter lack of willingness to be objective if it means changing even one inch your world view.

Simply put Alasdair, what you are seeing as a duck may in fact be somewhat birdlike at times, but the only reason you think its a duck is because you ignore the parts that aren't ducklike and latch on like a leech to those that might be kinda sorta duck like. Its a self fullfiling prophecy. You see bias wherever you look because its what you WANT to see. If you didn't see it you'd actually have to stop letting Rush think for you and think for yourself instead.

Look, I don't have time to respond in detail, beyond reiterating what I've already said, which is clearly right. I am NOT denying the existence of media biases, or even occasionally of full-fledged "agendas." All I'm saying -- and it's got nothing to do with being "defensive," it is simply the truth, and it's something I've been saying for ages, not just re: Obama and Hillary -- is that the media is a complex organism with multifarious motivations which cannot be boiled down into a single, straightforward, all-encompassing explanation. Sometimes the media behaves the way it does because of bias; sometimes, because of overcorrection for perceived bias; sometimes, because of laziness; sometimes, because of sensationalism; sometimes, because of one of the other factors I mentioned; and sometimes (indeed, most of the time, I'd say), because of some combination of multiple factors, plus some legitimate factors like honest-to-goodness news judgment. It's a very complex and nuanced thing. You can deny that till you're blue in the face, and pretend the whole damn thing is some giant conspiracy, but the certitude with which you repeat that nonsense won't make it right, any more than 9/11 Truthers are right just because they believe really strongly in their chosen conspiracy. Individual elements of the media have agendas, and the media as a whole has overarching biases, but there is not a single, monolithic, conspiratorial media "agenda," and neither agendas nor biases are the only thing that influence media coverage.

P.S. Alasdair's simplistic "walk like a duck" analogy notwithstanding, we here in grownup-land understand that sometimes, things aren't what they seem. The reality of the world we live in can't generally be reduced to cartoonish slogans. Ergo, that which appears to be caused by an "agenda" may sometimes -- often, even -- be caused by other factors (including, but not limited to, subconscious or half-conscious bias) combining together to produce a similar effect to the one that an "agenda" would produce.

Now, that said, sometimes there's no plausible, non-agenda-based explanation for a given set of events, in which case, the "agenda" theory may carry the day. But it's generally wise to assume that something isn't a conspiracy unless the existence of a conspiracy has been pretty clearly proven. Barring very strong, direct evidence to the contrary, conspiracies should only be assumed in the absence of a plausible, non-conspiratorial explanation for the events in question -- and in my experience, with most accusations of broad-based media "agendas," such an explanation usually exists, due to all the factors I've already mentioned.

(And in case there's any doubt: yes, claiming that broad swaths of the media, or even large media organizations -- as opposed to individual reporters or small news organizations -- have an "agenda," is arguing that a "conspiracy" exists. That's just definitionally true. The media as a whole cannot be accurately described acting on an "agenda" unless there's a "conspiracy" to bring about that agenda. Otherwise, it's not an agenda, it's just a bunch of similar individual unconscious or half-conscious biases manifesting themselves through objectively unconnected events.)

David K - even though it is no longer April 1, it seems that you and I agree on one thing ... the LA Times is indeed for the birds ... best-used for lining their cages ...

MSM bias is well-documented at this point, and not just by looking at the daily examples ...

Practising and experienced scientists in climate-related fields of study and expertise debate anthropogenic global warming - and the rational ones who are willing to allow others to see their data dispute the Cult of Global Warming and its Arch-Prelate Gore ...

I gotta ask ... just what is this pre-occupation that *you* have with Rush ? You keep mentioning him - are you one of his Dittoheads, yourself ?

We've had 7 years of the most corrupt government in our nations history with lie after lie after lie that they were caught in over and over again

Dude, that was the most hilarious sentence I've read, oh wait, that's not a joke?? You're serious. Now that's hilarious.


Brendan @ 8:31 - I *think* you just raised a straw family (or at least a set of straw conjoined-siblings) ...

Personally, I do not believe that the MSM has an organised agenda, nor do I believe that there is a conspiracy amongst them to act in concerted bias ... (if for no other reason that I just don't see any of 'em as "organised" - if they were, they wouldn't have gotten caught by Rather or things like the very recent LA Times idiocy about Tupac Shakur) ...

I *do*, however, believe that way too much of the MSM shares a 'culture' of bias and blinkered prejudice (with accompanying elitist echo-chamber) whereby the result can be the NYTimes journalist saying, with complete honesty, "But I don't *know* anyone who would vote for the Chimp !" ...

I am more than willing to believe that "it's just a bunch of similar individual unconscious or half-conscious biases manifesting themselves through objectively unconnected events" ... ie they are a culture of ducks claiming to be "Mallards, and not ducks" ...


(grin) So we have changed our brand of Patronising Pills, have we ?

"we here in grownup-land"

Brendan, I'm new to this site, but your comments are well-written and spark comment, as a blog should. I would add that any perceived media bias is the result of hillary and her own mistakes. Even her humorous moments ( e.g., bowling challenge to Obama; SNL skit) are transparent attempts for visibility without having her campaign pay for it. Finally, I would suggest viewers/readers check out the renewed story of former House Judiciary Committee chief counsel, J. Zeifman, who told the media that he fired hillary (who was a staff attorney under him) for dishonesty, lying, and unethical conduct (his words). She has a very long history of deception....

Thanks, Lori.

Alasdair, I apologize for the "grownup-land" comment, it was uncalled for. Such personal attacks do not represent the kind of campaign Senator Obama has pledged to run, and so, I hereby resign from his campaign staff... what? Oh. Nevermind. :)

Brendan, going back to a previous post which I'm simply too lazy to look for, you made the argument (or cited others who made the argument) that HRC's best case was to win the "popular vote" and use that to try to make a case for why she should be the eventual nominee despite having less delegates, and that this should be argued in conjunction with an attack on the "democratic" legitimacy of caucuses vs. primaries. What is the status of those numbers -- what does she have to do over the remaining states to regain the lead in the popular vote?

Andrew, here's the post you're talking about. I don't have the time or inclination to run the numbers, but suffice it to say, a big win in Pennsylvania is essential to this effort as well. Michael Barone had a column recently projecting how Hillary could win the popular vote even without counting Michigan and Florida, and I think he showed her winning PA by something like 20%. Certainly she must win by double digits, or else her campaign's prolongation will become an utter farce.

Certainly she must win by double digits, or else her campaign's prolongation will become an utter farce.

"...So you're saying there's a chance!"

Here's the Barone column. Something's wrong with the column headings on his chart, I think, but bottom line, he has Hillary winning by 200,000-ish. But that assumes a 370,200-vote margin in PA, which is based on a 20% margin. (It also assumes a 300,000-vote margin in Puerto Rico, which is based on a 30% margin and an unprecedented 1,000,000-voter turnout.)

Barone is also assuming Hillary margins of 20% in Indiana, 40% in West Virginia, 30% in Kentucky, 20% in Montana and 20% in South Dakota. He has Obama winning by 10% in North Carolina and 10% in Oregon. Needless to say, if Hillary can't even win Pennsylvania by double digits in the wake of the Wright scandal, there's absolutely no reason to believe she can do that well in those states.

Heh.

I guess I did have the time and inclination, after all. Dammit. :)

Needless to say, if Hillary can't even win Pennsylvania by double digits in the wake of the Wright scandal, there's absolutely no reason to believe she can do that well in those states.

I just heard an old English teacher whisper in my ear: If it's needless to say, why are you saying it? [grin]

As for HRC's probabilities, see my previous comment. :-)

I'm definitely on the side of the media simply being lazy.

Al, yet again you don't address either point with anything to back it up. Where are these so called reports that prove the vast media conspiracy you are so sure exists? Do I believe the rantings of a right wing partisan such as yourself who has demonstrated zero amount of objectivity or say Brendans conclusions that a myriad of factors go in to the coverage of the media and that there is no vast cabal? I believe common sense, I believe Brendan. You however see conspiracies because its what you want to see. Like wise I ask should I believe you and others like you who can't back up your global warming doubts with established scientific research that has been vetted by the larger scientific community or do I believe report after report that has been reviewed and critiqued and made it through the journal process? Yeah again I choose the later over the former.

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