The Campaign Spot

McCain Camp Thinks Electorate Will Be 3 to 5 Percent More Democrat Than Republican

We will not know until probably after Election Day as to what the makeup of the electorate was, but Bill McInturff of the McCain campaign thinks we will see a much smaller Democratic advantage than many pollsters have been telling us for much of this year.

Now in the modern year, ‘84 on, every cycle, the worst possible cycle, 1992, among people who went to vote, they were by five points Democrat. So what we’re seeing in that last week or ten days is intensity increasing with some of the core Republican coalition, so that they are finally kicking in and going up, and as that happens we’re seeing a closing in party identification. And I believe that party ID on election day in the exit polls, and then of course incorporate early voters is going to be in that kind of historic norm of minus three to minus five. And when that happens, John McCain and our stuff always run ah ead of party ID. And so this kind of rising intensity with our coalition, the consolidating of party identification is helping create a very, very close result.

“Now, as you all look at multiple polls, we had a strange day yesterday as CBS, big Obama lead, FOX race closing. Well yeah, CBS has got minus eight on party ID. FOX has got two points. Or my friend Andy Kohut at Pew has got a fifteen point party identification spread. Well yeah that was 1976 after Watergate, so as you look at polls the most important thing to look at is party, and the most important thing to look at is twenty to thirty years of history in this country about the composition of the electorate.

“I think the second thing that’s happening is that Jimmy Carter got 50.1, Bill Clinton got 49 twice. It is very hard in what is a center right country for a Democrat to get above that number. And what we’re seeing in Missouri and Pennsylvania and in other states is that the Barack Obama number is dropping and John McCain is gradually coming up, and I think he is dropping because of that kind of structural barrier in terms of the historic vote in this country once you start getting down to voters and then third, is there’s no question this turnout’s going to be huge. There’s no question I think that of course there’s going to be increased African American turnout. There’s going to be a turnout with younger voters.

“But, as well, we’re seeing levels of interest that we have never, never recorded before. We’ve been doing this interest scale 1 to 10, and the percent 10’s they are approaching 80%. That’s literally thirty points higher than the 2000 election. So I think we’re heading towards a 130 135 million people. It’s good to remember that quote only 104 million people voted in 2000. So we’re talking, I believe, about literally 25 million voters, and those 25 million voters are diverse, and they’re diverse in a way that keeps the overall composition of the electorate, by demographic group, I think, pretty similar. But, as I said, they make this race difficult to predict, but overall for the reasons I mentioned, I think very, very close, compared to I think a lot of how, a lot of how, again, very well respected pollsters, but I don’t see how you have a poll showing party ID at minus 8, 12, 15, that’s just not America, that’s not America anywhere in the last ge neration and a half.”

I would note that for much of the year, I had figured the electorate would be 4 to 7 percent more Democrats than Republicans. Michael Barone said he could not rule out 8 or 9 percent. One of my most pessimistic buddies was putting it at 15 percent.

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