Which events could turn the tide this late in the game?
On Thursday night, I recorded another 10-minute slot for ‘Inside City Hall’ on NY1 (the Time Warner Cable news channel for New York). To the astonishment of the host, Dominic Carter, I mentioned an InTrade market that assesses the likelihood of an Israeli or US attack on Iran. Though I don’t play this market myself (I actually find it in rather poor taste), I suggested that such a significant event might be what it would take to push the economic crisis off the front pages, and make military and foreign affairs the centre-point of the final few weeks of campaigning. Such an occurrance would, I suggested, play into the hands of John McCain.
The more I have dwelt on this issue, the more convinced I am that it will take a significant event for the Republican candidate to overcome such a substantial Obama lead. Indeed, only yesterday Politico.com carried a story which cited a Democratic pollster and strategist as saying that only a terrorist attack could revive McCain’s chances.
Whilst this is a little crass, there is some truth in the underlying claim. John McCain needs a significant ‘event’ to regain the momentum and the front pages of the papers. Beyond a terrorist attack, or an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, I cannot imagine that anything other than a major personal scandal could bring this election back to level-pegging in the betting markets. Maybe PB.com’s punters are more imaginative than I am, but there seem to me to be very few scenarios that plausibly suggest that John McCain could win this Presidential election.
To compound his worries, the Troopergate report was published yesterday – it found indications of abuse of power, but no illegal activity. Also, Harry Brighouse at Crooked Timber is running with rumours along a theme that has been oft-mentioned on PB.com – that the RNC might give up on McCain (given his polling defecit) and focus instead on trying to save some of its Congressmen and US Senators from the Democratic tide.
Unless there is a major gaffe by Obama-Biden, possibly during the final Presidential Debate, there seems little that will stop the Democratic Party contender, once priced at 50/1, from becoming the next President of the United States.