Let's not put the cart before the horse here, but this next two months is going to fly by. [And I thought after Labor Day, it was going to take forever to get to UGA's fall break the weekend before the election.] Think about it. Next week will be silly season in the polls as they readjust to the post-convention state of play. And then you have just two weeks until the first debate on September 26. A week ago that seemed far off, but all of a sudden, it's just three weeks away.
This really has been an unusual presidential election cycle from a timing standpoint. Primary season kicked off just three days into the new year and all the talk then was about how 2008 would be the longest general election campaign in history. It just didn't work out that way with the Democratic contest stretching into June. But now that we have been into general election mode since June, things don't look like they did in January. People are just now starting to really tune into the race and now it's not about how long the general election campaign will be, but how compressed it will be. From Tuesday at the Democratic convention to November 4 is just ten weeks.
How is that 10 weeks divided?
Democratic convention = 1 week
Republican convention/VP announcement = 1 week
Debates = 2.5 weeks (September 26-October 15)
That leaves just 5.5 weeks of actual campaigning. Now, I understand that the debates don't cause the campaign to shut down completely, but preparation time will factor in and the media's focus will shift just as quickly. [Hey, isn't this post titled, "On to the Debates!"? Who is shifting the focus here?] There are these next three weeks, the debates and then that leaves just under three weeks until election day. The span is not that different from four years ago, but with the VP announcements and conventions happening so close together it has only fed the perception of compression.*
So what will we be hearing these next three weeks? I'd imagine refined versions of what we have heard over the last two weeks. The Democrats will attempt to keep things focused on the economy and the GOP will make the case for their version of change with reminders of the importance of having the right person in charge in regard to the wars in Iraq and against terrorism. These next three weeks will be crucial to both campaigns as they hone their campaign themes heading into the conventions.
A few other things:
What was the general impression of McCain's speech last night? Sure the consensus seems to have formed around the idea that it was solid if unspectacular. Anyone differ with that assessment?
Did anyone catch Obama with Bill O'Reilly last night? I'm without FOX News Channel and haven't read too much about it today.
Also -- and this I'm sure is a shocker if not a teaser -- the Ivan Moore poll out of Alaska has shifted the Last Frontier into McCain lean territory. I think we'll continue to see it inch closer and closer to McCain/Palin as we approach election day. I'll have more Sunday when the updated Electoral College Map is up.
*Yes, this is very similar to the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine turn five more days in Florida with Jerry's parents into half a day once sleeping, trips to the airport, etc. are taken into account. Perhaps not as extreme, but similar.
Presidential Primary Reform: Still Alive with the GOP?
Why Attack the Community Organizer?
The Electoral College Map (9/3/08)