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Thread: Obama v. McCain

  1. #1
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    Default Obama v. McCain

    A huge political pet peeve of mine: national polls showing Presidential Candidate X against Presidential Candidate Y. Obama 46, McCain 44, that sort of thing.

    Those polls are meaningless in the general election. Rather, if you want to report something meaningful (although even this is debatable given the recent validity of polls), it makes more sense to project electoral votes using state by state polls. Fortunately, www.electoral-vote.com does exactly that.

    Here's the latest version of the stat that the TV news programs should show: Obama 304, McCain 221, tied 13.

    The attached chart examines the electoral vote projections over time on the x-axis. The y-axis shows total electoral votes (538). The horizontal dotted line shows the 270 needed to win.

    If blue shows above the dotted line, Obama is leading. If red shows below the dotted line, McCain is leading. States that are tied are indicated by yellow. Darker blue or red represents stronger support.

    Any questions, please ask.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
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    Default Obama and FICA

    Jeff,

    I read recently (somewhere) that Obama was talking about lifting the cap on the FICA tax. Right now its 7% up to the first $100K. He talked about actually removing that cap and making it unlimited.

    So if the median income in Wayland is $110K then the median family is paying $7K on the first $100K. With an infinite cap then the median out have to shell out another $700 / yr on that other $10K and the other half of Wayland making above $100K would start to see 7% on the overage. So a $200K family would be paying $14K as opposed to $7K.

    From my observations, one of the things that prop up Wayland's support for its consistent support for frequent overrides its due (in a major part) to its upper median half. This, of course, doesn't diminish any willingness for the lower median half to continue to be enthusiastic about frequent overrides but affluence does figure heavily into the equation.

    Anyway, my point here is that if the FICA cap is eliminated then that extra income would now be siphoned away to social security taxes that bring no incremental benefit to the local economy.... this could have an impact on the local willingness to continue to want to increase real estate taxes.

    So, in determining which candidate to choose there are many factors... war, age, experience, vision and yes taxes. If in fact, Obama is talking about removing the FICA cap then that can't be good for local taxation and hence not good for the school system.

    Any thoughts from you or anybody on this?

    Alan

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    Hi Alan,

    I may have it wrong here, but it seems to me that the FICA cap is applied against an individual's salary, not a household's -- many of the 100k+ households are dual income, and would not necessarily be affected by the removal of the cap. (That is, two 100k earners would pay no more FICA taxes without the cap than they do now, so that 200k household would see no additional taxes).

    In any event, are you sure you have the details right (you can't count on Rush for accuracy these days :-) From what I understand, Obama has not suggested eliminating the cap, but rather that he would consider a "donut hole" that would exempt income immediately above the current $102,000 cap from Social Security taxes, then resume taxes above a higher amount, such as $200,000 or $250,000. So, your $110k earner would have no incremental impact.

    There are a variety of social and economic reasons to dislike McCain, but for me he completely blew it when he changed his stance on torture, and gave away all rights to the principle card.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 06-13-2008 at 06:57 AM. Reason: hit "Submit" too quickly. added last two paragraphs.

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    Alan, it sounds as if you're suggesting that the best presidential candidate for the Wayland Public Schools is the one whose economic policies most benefit the affluent. That's an interesting perspective.

    If I'm going to choose a presidential candidate based on his/her impact on the WPS, I guess I'd have to weigh his/her positions overall, not just on FICA. Then, I'd need to factor in the likelihood of his/her proposals being approved. Finally, I'd have to evaluate how those initiatives would trickle down to Wayland. Is impact on the WPS a factor in who I vote for? Perhaps a small one, but there's so much more to the decision than local school impact.

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    Default Presidential Tracking Polls

    Jeff, I agree with you about polls. The national polls have almost nothing to do with who will win in November. It gives a glimpse of trends, but that's about it. I suggest to look over at Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll. www.rasmussenreports.com

    This I happen to believe is the gold standard in tracking who is really ahead and not. Today, they show Barack Obama with 47% of the vote while John McCain gets 40%. They also have a Balance of Power Calculator which shows Obama leading with 200 Electoral College votes while McCain leads in states with 174 votes. When leaners are included, it’s Obama 284, McCain 240. So the race is very much up for grabs and I suspect will get a lot closer. Gore and Kerry were both ahead similar until they lost. My feeling is Obama's numbers will start to go down as soon as more folks know about his socialist economic plans. That's just my guess.

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    That's quite interesting, I had not heard that Mr. Obama was advocating for government ownership of industry and commerce. (grin)
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 06-23-2008 at 07:55 AM. Reason: brief addition

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    Default Is Obama a Socialist?

    The insidious thing about Obama and his handlers is the stealthness of their/his message. They will not come out and say he is a socialist, but his words - if you listen carefully are clear.
    From the Wall Street Journal: "Globalization and technology and automation all weaken the position of workers, and a strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably."
    Wealth distribution? Strong government hand? Well, comrade Obama wants to re-distribute wealth. So much for hard-work, self-reliance and the American way. Anyone making over 75K (maybe even less) should be afraid of Obama's true policies. His socialist beliefs and connections are well documented but not well exposed - yet.

    BTW, the electoral count site you suggest seems like it is being run by a liberal in a room over a garage. I suggest sticking to mainstream companies/sites that have a track record. Just a suggestion. (insert sinister laugh here).

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    Default

    For the record, I'm not taking sides on this discussion board thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    The insidious thing about Obama and his handlers is the stealthness of their/his message. They will not come out and say he is a socialist, but his words - if you listen carefully are clear.
    No, I suspect that you are correct that Obama will steer clear of the word "socialist" in their messaging. Similarly, McCain will probably avoid "right wing Republican." Both of these fine men are aware that victory lies in the middle.

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    From the Wall Street Journal: "Globalization and technology and automation all weaken the position of workers, and a strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably."
    The WSJ is hardly the most unbiased of sources, being a much more well-funded version of your "liberal in a room over a garage." Obama's more equitable distribution of wealth" might not be a socialist plunge, but rather a moderate response to the Bush tax cuts for the elite.

    And as for a strong government hand, I think that it's fair to say that Bush's Iraq war, his attacks on domestic privacy, and his opposition to gay marriage all represent exactly that. Again, I'm not arguing in favor of any particular position here, just pointing out what I think are indisputable facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    BTW, the electoral count site you suggest seems like it is being run by a liberal in a room over a garage. I suggest sticking to mainstream companies/sites that have a track record. Just a suggestion. (insert sinister laugh here).
    I have no objection to Rasmussen Reports. As to the political leaning of sites such as Rasmussen and Electoral Vote, I can't say. It would be great if others would weigh in with other electoral vote tracking sites, differences in their methodologies, and thoughts on their political leanings.

    FYI, according to the site that I started with, Obama's lead now stands at 317 to 194 with 27 ties (up from 304-221 with 13 ties when I first posted on 6/12). I don't have the time to dig into Rasmussen--do they track their tally over time?

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    Default Obama is a Socialist?

    Obama has said he would pay for large government programs like mandatory health insurance, by imposing higher taxes on "the wealthy".
    He has said, "What we have had right now is a situation where we've cut taxes for people who don't need them."
    The real question is: Should government determine how much money people "need"? This is Marxist philosophy: "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need." Obama’s socialist economic plans are the antithesis of the American dream. He wants to re-distribute wealth. Well, that isn’t the job of the government. The “Wealthy” already have their hard-earned dollars taxed and re-distributed.

    Jeff stated: “And as for a strong government hand, I think that it's fair to say that Bush's Iraq war, his attacks on domestic privacy, and his opposition to gay marriage all represent exactly that. Again, I'm not arguing in favor of any particular position here, just pointing out what I think are indisputable facts.”
    I would disagree with that statement. The war is important to America’s interest and the world’s in that region and the war is being won. I am satisfied and relieved that the Patriot Act is law. It keeps America safe and has for the past 7 years. Opposition to gay marriage? I don’t get that example as a “heavy hand of government” but I would indicate that the radical gay agenda motivated folks to vote for Bush and get him elected.

    As to your electoral vote site reference again. That amateur site uses numerous polls to compile the best case scenario for Obama. Again, I suggest a reputable polling company such as Rasmussen with its rolling electoral count. See info here:

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Barack Obama attracting 46% of the vote while John McCain earns 40%. When "leaners" are included, Obama leads 49% to 45%. Also, Barack Obama is leading in states with 200 Electoral College votes while John McCain leads in states with 174 votes. When leaners are included, Obama leads 284-240. These are trustworthy numbers as Rasmussen is known to have and been proven in past elections.

  10. #10
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    Default McCain and Obama tied at 45% in NEW Gallup Poll

    FYI: The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update on the presidential election finds John McCain and Barack Obama exactly tied at 45% among registered voters nationwide.
    And about the Democrat-controlled Congress: Gallup's annual update on confidence in institutions finds just 12% of Americans expressing confidence in Congress, the lowest of the 16 institutions tested this year, and the worst rating Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35-year history of this question.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    Obama has said he would pay for large government programs like mandatory health insurance, by imposing higher taxes on "the wealthy".
    He has said, "What we have had right now is a situation where we've cut taxes for people who don't need them."
    The real question is: Should government determine how much money people "need"? This is Marxist philosophy: "from each according to his ability; to each according to his need." Obama’s socialist economic plans are the antithesis of the American dream. He wants to re-distribute wealth. Well, that isn’t the job of the government. The “Wealthy” already have their hard-earned dollars taxed and re-distributed.
    John, do you really think that Obama is a socialist or Marxist? His use of "need" as you cite above (source?) doesn't quite rise to the level of Marx's. I'd argue that it's possible to be liberal--even Ralph Nader liberal--without coming close to crossing those lines. Redistribution of wealth certainly doesn't trigger those associations.

    Would you have no redistribution of wealth? Or just some? If the latter, how much redistribution becomes too much redistribution. Rolling back the Bush tax cuts wouldn't return us to the era of Jimmy Carter, but rather the era of Bill Clinton. If I recall correctly, the economy fared reasonably well under the latter.

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    Jeff stated: “And as for a strong government hand, I think that it's fair to say that Bush's Iraq war, his attacks on domestic privacy, and his opposition to gay marriage all represent exactly that. Again, I'm not arguing in favor of any particular position here, just pointing out what I think are indisputable facts.”
    I would disagree with that statement. The war is important to America’s interest and the world’s in that region and the war is being won.
    I'm not sure that I agree that our interest is sufficient grounds for taking us to war. And as for the world's interest, I'm reminded of a Jon Stewart bit where he comments on the then-current "coalition" by saying, "Poland? Your third country's Poland?!"

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    I am satisfied and relieved that the Patriot Act is law. It keeps America safe and has for the past 7 years.
    We'll of course never know how safe we would have been without the Patriot Act, or for that matter the war in Iraq. What's certain is that over 4,000 Americans have now paid the ultimate price, with nearly 30,000 more wounded. Perhaps attacks on the United States would have equaled those horrible numbers. I happen to think that they wouldn't have.

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    As to your electoral vote site reference again. That amateur site uses numerous polls to compile the best case scenario for Obama. Again, I suggest a reputable polling company such as Rasmussen with its rolling electoral count.
    As I said before, I have no objection to Rasmussen other than that they don't provide access to prior numbers. I'll start posting them here, so that we can see how they change.

    6/25: Obama 284, McCain 240, tied 14

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    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    FYI: The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking update on the presidential election finds John McCain and Barack Obama exactly tied at 45% among registered voters nationwide.
    As a reminder, I started this thread by pointing out that comparisons of this sort are useless in that the vote isn't tallied this way. While Rasmussen, Electoral Vote, and others are still subject to the vagaries of polling, they at least attempt to measure something meaningful.

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHN TOTO View Post
    And about the Democrat-controlled Congress: Gallup's annual update on confidence in institutions finds just 12% of Americans expressing confidence in Congress, the lowest of the 16 institutions tested this year, and the worst rating Gallup has measured for any institution in the 35-year history of this question.
    It's fair to point out, however, that part of this unhappiness might be due to the fact that the Democrats don't quite have the numbers to get past the GOP in the Senate or a veto by Bush. It would be interesting to see polling information that looks into how people assign blame--by party--for Congress' performance.

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    Here are a few more sources for electoral vote projections:

    FiveThirtyEight
    http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/
    Obama 345, McCain 193

    Mile High Delphi
    http://milehighdelphi.blogspot.com/
    Obama 322, McCain 216

    And this (left-leaning) "meta-site" summarizes many projections, including Electoral Vote, Rasmussen, FiveThirtyEight, and Mile Hile Delphi.
    http://3bluedudes.com/ProjectDatabase.htm

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    Today's Boston Globe (Sat 6/28) included an article by Augustine Faucher of Moody's Economy.com detailing that organization's electoral vote projections based on state-by-state consideration of inflation and unemployment.

    Unfortunately, gaining access to the report requires at least a free 14-day trial subscription to Moody's (a full year costs $525).

    Moody's categorizes states into 4 groupings: >5% lead for GOP, 0-5% lead for GOP, 0-5% lead for Dems, and >5% lead for Dems. They project Obama with 380 electoral votes and McCain with 158.

    Note that 3bluedudes.com does not include Moody's in their comparison, but if they did, Moody's would have the second largest margin (the largest being "lindsay politics" at 393-145). To put these two outliers in perspective, the third largest margin is electionprojection.com's 338-200, and the average is 287-222-29.

    A map of Moody's state-by-state projection is attached. Of the often-cited "swing states" (FL, MI, OH, and PA), Moody's gives them all to Obama, with MI and PA in the >5% category and FL and OH in the 0%-5% category.
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    The Moody's site makes mention of the Iowa Electronic Markets: "These markets are small-scale, real-money futures markets where contract payoffs depend on economic and political events such as elections."

    While I'm not a fan of this national approach, I do find their projection interesting since actual money is in play (Obama 61.6%, McCain 40.9%, numbers likely don't add to 100% for arcane technical reasons).

    To see the IEM projection over time, look here.

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