Obama press release in NYT

In my media class I often complain about the Press as Stenographer.  I’m really not sure about the value of simply having Obama’s chief strategist, David Plouffe, sound off on what he thinks about the debate, etc., in the NYT.  Actually, I found it quite interesting, but I really question the news value of having a clear partisan the opportunity to make a clear partisan argument in the news pages.  What I hate about the TV coverage is all the time they waste on a bunch of Democratic strategists giving the Democratic line while Republican strategists give the Republican line.  That does nothing.  That said, Plouffe actually give an analysis that I think is not all that partisan and pretty accurate:

Polls in September that showed Mr. Obama with a lead of eight or more percentage points in Ohio and elsewhere were a “fantasy,” he said. The president’s margin of victory in battleground states was going to be “one, two, three, four points at most.”

“In those states, if the election were held today, I’m as confident as anything I’ve been in my life, that we would win the election,” Mr. Plouffe said. “I assume tonight’s debate performance will strengthen that a little bit. I think it will provide some more excitement for Democrats and our supporters as Romney got additional enthusiasm off his debate.”

“But the structure of the race is pretty established,” he added.

Maybe it’s spin, but it’s also not all that different from what I and others have been arguing.  Still, I want my analysis from analysts, not campaign strategists.

Photo of the day

The debate, what else.  Via N&O:

(Photo by Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images)


The AP scam

I don’t know if AP classes are necessarily a “scam” but I really don’t think they are anywhere near the equivalent of the college classes they can give you credit for.  Okay, maybe that means they are a scam.  John Tierney:

  • AP courses are not, in fact, remotely equivalent to the college-level courses they are said to approximate. Before teaching in a high school, I taught for almost 25 years at the college level, and almost every one of those years my responsibilities included some equivalent of an introductory American government course. The high-school AP course didn’t begin to hold a candle to any of my college courses. My colleagues said the same was true in their subjects.
  • The traditional monetary argument for AP courses — that they can enable an ambitious and hardworking student to avoid a semester or even a year of college tuition through the early accumulation of credits — often no longer holds. Increasingly, students don’t receive college credit for high scores on AP courses; they simply are allowed to opt out of the introductory sequence in a major. And more and more students say that’s a bad idea, and that they’re better off taking their department’s courses.

Yep.  One of the great regrets of my own college education is that I had placed out of Intro to American Government at Duke by virtue of my 5 on the AP Test (did you expect anything less 🙂 ). I had a good class in high school, but I would have been so much better off with the level of complexity and challenge in one of my typical college courses than what I had in high school.

The debate loser: Planet Earth

Saw a few comments about this on twitter last night, here’s Kevin Drum:

By the way, the big loser tonight was climate change. Neither candidate mentioned it, but they practically fell all over each other to declare their love for coal and fracking and drilling for oil on federal land. Yuck.

Yep– pretty notable to have a long and extensive exchange about energy production and not a single word about climate.  To be expected from Romney, but the fact that Obama clearly feels to mention it would be a risky play is a sad thing.  Apparently worrying about the consequences of an over-heating planet is a luxury for an economy with and low unemployment.

I also found one particular chart I showed in my guest lecture yesterday to be fairly telling on the issue.  It’s from here:

Whatever Americans think about global warming, they don’t think it’s their problem– not going to affect them or their family personally.  1) Wrong.  2) Selfish bastards.

What to expect in the polls

I think this Nate Cohn post-debate analysis sounds about right:

But if Romney’s gains were a product of a genuine shift in perceptions of Romney’s character, as suggested by several polls showing Romney with improved favorability ratings after the first debate, then Obama might not make many gains at all. If someone thought Romney was a good enough guy after the last debate, they probably still feel that way. Romney appeared capable of handling the presidency and an undecided voter who was previously open to supporting him would probably still be open to him tomorrow morning. Indeed, the CNN poll showed that an equal share of voters said they were more likely to support Romney and Obama after tonight’s debate.

As a result, it wouldn’t be wise to expect a big shift in the polls. After all, Romney’s September standing was deflated after months of attacks, the DNC and the 47 percent comments and Romney surged to just over 47 percent of the vote–just about the share of voters who disapprove of the president’s performance. Realistically, Romney won’t lose many of these voters from this point out and he would probably win them back by the election if he did.

Like I said last night, I still think it reasonably likely for Obama to get at least a small bump out of this.  And at this, point small is big.

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