#1 Autumn Angst: Dems fret about Obama09-11-2008, 12:48 AM
Autumn Angst: Dems fret about Obama
Polls showing John McCain tied or even ahead of Barack Obama are stirring angst and second-guessing among some of the Democratic Party’s most experienced operatives, who worry that Obama squandered opportunities over the summer and may still be underestimating his challenges this fall.
“It’s more than an increased anxiety,” said Doug Schoen, who worked as one of Bill Clinton’s lead pollsters during his 1996 reelection and has worked for both Democrats and independents in recent years. “It’s a palpable frustration. Deep-seated unease in the sense that the message has gotten away from them.”That shift in the public’s perception of the issues, in Democratic pollster Celinda Lake’s words, “tremendously concerns meThe thing voters likely remember most from the period is Obama’s July trip to Europe — a trip that prompted the McCain campaign’s focus on the issue of elitism and celebrity and that some Obama campaign officials now privately acknowledge was a mistake.
“Their 50-state strategy is insanity,” said Schoen. “If they don’t use their financial advantage where they need it most,” he said, citing states from Ohio to Nevada, “and put every thing there and blow it out, they are at deep risk of losing.”“A lot of Democratic elites thought this was a slam-dunk. And I thought, no it’s not,” said Lake, the pollster. “People in this town were already measuring drapes. And I was thinking, have you been in the real world lately?
“If you have been involved in campaigns, you thought it was going to be close for a year,” she added. “And I think a lot of Democratic elites are waking up to that.”
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