For about the last month I, as well as many blogs and news orgs, have considered McCain as dead as a doornail in the GOP Presidential race. It is no secret that McCain has lost a ton of support due to the immigration debate, his continued backing of the President on Iraq (it seems he is viewed as the most like Bush), McCain-Feingold, and the fact he is now considered a ‘Washington insider” as opposed to the “Maverick” he once was. Here are links to what I and others have said about the McCain campaig:
Dry Fly Politics: “Another strong sign McCain is done”
Larry Sabato in Time: “This is a transfusion of cash, not blood, but the campaign is dying.” (Among others in this same article)
Politico: ” ‘He doesn’t have a convincing plan for survival, let alone a way to win’…the deck is now stacked against him.”
New York Sun, Latest Politics: “Spread some butter on this guy … he’s toast.”
The Virginian Federalist: “McCain will only continue to lose support from his ever dwindling race.” “McCain is irrelevant.”
LA Times Politics: “Many who saw him last year as the favorite for the GOP nod now view his White House bid as ‘flat-out dead’ “
Braden: “But at this point, John McCain has reached the beginning of the end of his campaign”
That should be enough of a sample to get an idea of what is being said about McCain’s candidacy. This rhetoric has increased in recent days as the Q2 fundraising reports were release. McCain did terribly and is in trouble because of it. However, despite all the bad news for McCain, I am now starting to think that there could be a chance that McCain could pull himself back in the race. It is not likely, but possible.
The reason I am not convinced anymore is because of three factors: 1. Recent polling, 2. McCain’s stubborness, 3. Empathy for the “downtrodden”
Let’s start with the last and go forward, or from least significant to most. Empathy; American’s are fans of the underdog and people they view as “victims,” I don’t think that it is out of the realm of possibility that many undecided voters will sort of feel bad for McCain, look into his policies a bit more, give him a pass on some, and then throw their support behind him.
Second, McCain is stubborn and known as a Maverick. He will likely not cower (very much) to GOP anger over his positions on immigration or campaign finance. Of the four top candidates in the GOP race McCain is the most consistent on his views (yes, even more than my horse in the race). This may reverberate with voters in the upcoming months, remember “time heals all.”
Finally, despite the terrible, and I mean terrible, month that just passed for John, his poll numbers in some key states actually rose. McCain may have hit bottom about a month ago, we’ll see. Check out these GOP charts at Daily Writ.
They show significant upward movement for McCain. Reason for optimism for him. It will be most interesting to see how these Q2 fundraising numbers affect the next polls. Will people be willing to continue to support a horse that looks like its dying? My take is no, but I no longer think McCain is dead in the water yet. He could still pull it out, but the odds are not in his favor.