Today, we had a few more interesting sessions before tomorrow's trip to the first battleground, Missouri. Mark Penn, an advisor and polling analyst to major corporations, heads of state and several presidential candidates including Al Gore and Tony Blair.
On the presidential campaign strategy, what did "The Guru of Small Things" said? Same like other earlier speakers, Penn thought the US financial crisis has tilted the advantage towards Barack Obama. Current predictions of Obama leading with huge margins are damning for McCain.
What made economy McCain's Achilles heel? George W. Bush! Most of the people who said they are voting on the economy do not regard Bush's ability highly. As a result, he is one of the least popular president since Truman in the midst of the Korean War.
To the younger generation of Americans who grew up during the Clinton era have only Bush as the other president to do a comparison. Naturally, Clinton's economic record was far better than Bush. According to Obama, under Clinton household income has increase by USD7k a year but has contracted during Bush administration.
McCain is affected by Bush. In a recent CNN interview, McCain admitted he was hurt by Obama camp attempts to link McCain to Bush especially on the economy and tax. However, McCain's new buzzword, "Joe the Plumber", is resonating quite well with white blue collar voters. McCain has closed the gap to 5.9%.
According to Penn, Obama has successfully projected himself as a face for the new generation and a knowledgeable 21st century leader. Obama has managed to collect over 500 million email addresses and courted over 3 million internet voters.
Obama's ability to engage the voters through the internet and generate tremendous amount of funds over the net is set to create a benchmark and a case study for future candidates and political parties on internet funding.
What is the weightage of three key issues? Economy = 50%, Values = 25% and Security = 25% but the economy may have grown in weightage in the last few days. Both McCain and Palin provide strong credentials on security and values.
Unfortunate for McCain, the main issue in the US presidential election is the big E.
Penn opines that Americans need a highly communicate leadership and this is Obama's key strength.
Looking at their key support base;
- Obama - African Americans, upper income, upper education, liberals, democrats and young voters.
- McCain - whites, conservatives, traditional Rep., national security and values voters and most religious voters
- Key swing voters - independents, senior citizens and white women.
Can McCain overturn the 6%?