Following the Sarah Palin selection, which we in the Kremlin greeted with rapture, confusion set in. In the span of about 24 hours, I started hearing reports from the hinterland that Palin was a deal-maker for erstwhile Hillary voters (albeit very weak Dems, if Dems they be at all) and other assorted suspicious swing-voters. I have long lost any confidence in my ability to read the minds of the uneducated swing voters* who will decide the election: reports back are fragmentary, contradictory, and confused. We have no decent intel.
(As a corollary, I am equally suspicious of polls' ability to predict what will happen in November. That they even reflect what would happen in an election tomorrow, given that this great swath of uneducated swings has yet to tune in, is a dicey hypothesis. I regard Obama's post-convention bounce and other poll-watching as a parlor game. One, of course, that amuses me.)
(As a corollary to the corollary, we should mention this figure, 40 million, as another confounding data point. So many people watched Obama's speech that we don't actually know that the uneducated swings are so uneducated now. Maybe they have flipped, but who knows? Discuss.)
In any case, I do think the anecdotes can be taken too seriously. We all have relatives who have evinced to us, liberals from Portland, an open-mindedness toward, if not to Obama, rejection of the GOP. But eventually, the open-mindedness seems to calcify into the same old support for Republicans, if expressed with a greater wistfulness than in years past.
They seem to justify Obamajection with a "fact" (generally one generated in the darker fringes of the smear-o-sphere, but that's a different rant). Dispel that "fact" and another emerges. My guess is that these facts are really just fig leaves designed to justify a decision made long ago. I further suspect that any effort to strike down these rumors is a losing game of whack-a-mole; since the decision to vote McCain has already been made, the facts to justify it will just keep popping up.
Does this matter? Are these Dem voters who can't vote Obama for reasons that may or may not have to do with race? Are they the same old voters who always vote GOP? Are they not actually voters--confronted with the prospect of a super-dud GOP ticket or a black guy, will they stay at home and just watch "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader" instead?
Well, don't ask me. Both the fringe right and Portland Kremlinians agree that Palin was a beautiful choice, so you know someone's wrong.
*Politically uneducated; those whose entire critical apparatus depends on half-remembered truths passed on by family members who listen to Limbaugh and Hannity.