Election Predictions around the Campfire

Rock Creek   Put a bunch of community, labor, and political organizers along with retired political science profs around a roaring campfire in Montana, lubricate well, and I’ll guarantee you there will be political discussions and fiercely expressed predictions around the upcoming elections.

First on tap was the local race with national impact, the re-election of Senator John Tester, Democrat from Montana essential to continuing control.  There were divided opinions here with some lamenting about the failure of  Testor to create a field program similar to the work that has been essential to Max Baccus success in the state, while others were impressed with the campaign finances and the air war that is in excellent shape.  Organizers were hopeful, but professors were confident that anything and everything would be done, and instructions had been clear from Washington to Helena to do make sure there is a “win” here.

Nevada:  called a win for Obama on a close race, but a loss for the Demo-Senate candidate.

Missouri:  feeling that Claire McCassell has successfully “picked” her Tea Party-ish Republican opposition, and is now in good shape to win.

Probably worth disclosing that Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, is from Montana and personally well known around the campfire, so there’s a bias here that would not be so obvious elsewhere in the country.   A lot of admiration expressed for the targeting and use of data in the Obama campaign.  A lot of feelings that Messina is very, very comfortable and might actually prefer a campaign that goes negative early and often, but all of that is campfire talk as well.

A lot of relief expressed that polls are calling Wisconsin for Obama this week after indicating Pennsylvania was strongly Obama last week.  Colorado seems to be a toss-up, but many of the other battleground states still looked good around the campfire for Obama.

Being a worrier and getting confirmation that I was “right to worry” in a brief note the other day from Celinda Lake, super pollster for progressives for years, all of this was the most positive news I had heard about the Obama prospects in months, so it was reassuring, even if it didn’t make me sleep all that much better.   One organizer may have summarized it best by saying that “intellectually I’m troubled about the campaign, but emotionally, I have a strong feeling that Obama is going to win.”

So says the Rock Creek Campfire Caucus with four months counting!

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