Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Did the Wall Street Meltdown Change the Election?
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According to James Campbell, the mid-September financial crisis hit the 2008 presidential election like a bolt out of the blue, transforming it from a horserace in which John McCain had a real chance of victory into a one-sided contest in which Barack Obama enjoyed a decisive advantage. Campbell’s claim is another version of the Wall Street meltdown theory that has been advanced by a number of conservative commentators since the November election. It is easy to understand why this explanation appeals to conservatives: it implies that Barack Obama’s victory did not result from any long-standing, deep-seated disillusionment with the Bush Administration or the Republican Party, but was simply an emotional reaction to an unforeseen crisis. Moreover, the Wall Street meltdown theory has a particular attraction for Professor Campbell–it provides him with a convenient explanation for the failure of his own forecasting model which, based largely on the results of a single trial heat poll taken a few days after the Republican convention, predicted a decisive victory for John McCain…
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