News from the Votemaster
The Washington Post conducted a poll about all kinds of taboo stuff, like race and age. Three out of 10 Americans admit to racial prejudice yet nine out of 10 are at least open to the idea of a black President. However only two third of Americans are entirely comfortable with the idea. Clearly Barack Obama has a problem here.
On the other hand, the comfort level with geezers is even worse. Less than a third would be entirely comfortable with a 72-year-old President, something they will get if John McCain is inaugurated on Jan. 20. What the poll didn't do is break down these numbers by political affiliation and geography. If the third of the people who are not comfortable with blacks are rednecks from the South, it doesn't matter because they vote Republican anyway. If they are Reagan Democrats in Ohio, it matters a lot.
It is inevitable that both parties, especially the 527s aligned with them, will try to exploit these fears to the hilt. The Democratic 527s have a slight advantage here because overt racism is really taboo. You can't have a TV commercial with some macho guy in a pickup truck saying "I ain't a votin' for no black guy." The backlash would be horrific. On the other hand, imagine a commercial with a friendly, absent-minded old man sitting on a park bench with a grandchild on his lap asking: "Grandpa, could you be President?" and having grandpa reply: "When I was young, I dreamed of being President, but at my age it's impossible. It's the toughest job in the world and I need my naps" It is probably acceptable if done with humor. Exploiting these fears of blacks and old people will call on all the creative powers of the advertising producers, but if these factors are going to be more important than the candidates respective health plans, you can bet they are going to try. The trick is to throw the mud but not have any of it get on you.
Chinese hackers have broken into the computers of several congressmen, including Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Mark Kirk (R-IL). They also hit other congressmen whose names have not been released. Data was removed from these computers. The hackers did not announce whether they were targeting Republicans, whether Republicans have worse security than Democrats, or this is just the luck of the draw. It is doubtful that many computer security experts are surprised by this. Few people armor their computers well and congressmen are no more sophisticated in this area than the average user. As an aside, the attack this site experiencd last week was a "denial of service attack" in which the attacker had vast numbers of compromised computers (in the trade called "zombies") making thousands of perfectly legitimate requests per second for the main page, swamping the server's capacity to respond. Nobody broke in and changed or stole data as happened with the representatives' computers.
No new polls today, but the beta test version of the electoral college graph (see the menu under the map) is now up there.
-- The Votemaster