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ZetaTalk: McCain's Chances
written August 2, 2008.

Gallup Daily: August 2, 2008
McCain, Obama Remain Tied. Each receives 44% of vote in latest update.

What are McCain's chances? He will lose, and lose big, though until the general electorate get involved in September and October the polls won't show this. There is a gap on undecideds, and when they choose at the last minute, that will make the difference. Nothing will change with the candidates but their basic profiles will get more extreme and obvious as time passes and the stress of campaigning continues. There are several reasons for this:

The well known thesis that a president and an economy in the toilet will cause a shift in what party is in the White House will hold true. Both Bush's unpopularity and the worsening economy will only help Obama as the date of the general election nears. Nothing will change for the current White House between now and then, and there is nothing they can do to force a change for the better in either the US economy or the war in Iraq.
Obama as Black
Obama as part black is not a problem as he does not pander to blacks and instead lectures them. In fact, many with a prejudice against blacks actually like Obama because of this. He wins all around on this matter.
Planning and Organization
Obama has energy and can campaign endlessly, where McCain gets fatigued. This can be seen in his lack of presence in the Senate, and his need to take weekends off. The pace will increase now that Obama is done with his trip overseas. Obama has laid the groundwork for the big push into swing and red states and will now focus on campaigning and getting into local newspapers. In this he will outdo McCain. As with the primary campaign, Obama laid the groundwork early, giving it first focus, so the base for his operations and subsequent success was present when the final push came. McCain is a poor organizer and has done none of this but instead has focused on his comfortable townhall meetings where he meets only enthusiasts.
Negative Ads
The McCain camp is worried, as can be seen from their negative advertising and desperate posturing to get attention from the press. They have gone overboard, being pressed forward rather than being held back by McCain himself as his anger and adolescent streak were triggered by Obama's oversea trip. In the heat of debate over the "Celebrity" ad McCain released "The One" ad, showing that his entire approach is to ridicule Obama for nothing more than his popularity. The world has seen that McCain is not honorable but jealous and petulant - neither good qualities in a president.
The McCain camp has been trying to get Obama to enter into a fray, distracting from the issues and focusing attention on trivia, and has been trying to make it seem that Obama started the fray. But the opposite will occur. Regardless of what the pundits or campaigns say, it is obvious to the public who it was that started all of these non-issue discussions. It was the "Celebrity" and "The One" ads along with other nonsensical negative ads. Finger pointing by the McCain camp does not change this perception, as the smoking gun is in their hands.
McCain Temper
As Obama remains cool and keeps pointing to the issues, McCain will get increasingly frustrated. In his past he has exploded in temper and even attacked people when angry, but knows that during the campaign this behavior would be fatal. Thus he will explode behind closed doors and continue to attack Obama, trying to get the satisfaction he desires which is a fight. Where he may not explode on camera for all the world to see, his basic personality will become obvious as he will make statements during his townhall meetings, all of which will be recorded on video. Will the US, even sober Republicans, want someone who is by nature sporting for a brawl in the White House? Many will stay home rather than vote for McCain, feeling uneasy about this.
VP Picks
Both Obama and McCain are holding off hoping the other goes first. McCain is so desperate, seeing the state of the polls in key states, that he is tempted to select a woman in an attempt to get the disgruntled Hilary supporters to swing his way. Any percentage point in a storm. Since his selection must be done within days of the Democratic convention any last minute change will cause problems within his campaign, and choosing a woman will cause problems with the ultraconservatives. This is not a win for McCain, as any vote among woman he would gain would be countered by a loss among conservatives. It is a myth that the selection process is secret, though the press has little they can report on as no one will go on record nor even talk to the press anonymously. But the campaigns have their own reports and use this information for their own VP selections. Obama has already announced his preference for Sebelius but is holding off as there is no reason to announce early and lots of reasons to announce at the last minute. In order to bring out the Republican base, McCain needs to pick a conservative white man, and unless in complete rebellion and furious at Obama's success will likely do so. Any other move would hurt him.