Saturday, August 16, 2008

McCain Weaknesses: Social Security and Roe v. Wade

Yesterday we posted an entry dealing with the negative ads that the Obama campaign is running against McCain in several states, including Ohio. These ads are focused on the economy, which is the single biggest issue on voters' minds. There are two other issues, though, on which McCain is vulnerable and which could hurt him with two distinct groups of voters.

The first is Social Security. McCain has referred to Social Security as a "disgrace". This could be a big problem for McCain down the road. One of the turning points in the political fortunes of the Bush Administration was when it tried to "privatize" Social Security. The backlash against that move took a lot of the wind out of The Decider's sails. Indeed, his Social Security plans combined with the utter incompetence displayed by his response to Hurrican Katrina helped set up the Dems' victories in 2006.

An ad featuring McCain's comments about Social Security being a disgrace would be very powerful. It would also help move the over 65 group of voters in Obama's direction. If Obama was pulling the same percentage of over 65 voters than Kerry got, he would probably have about a 10 point lead in the polls, and this race wouldn't be seen as close at all.

The second issue is Roe v. Wade. In 2000 and 2004 Rove was careful to have Bush speak in coded language about the Roe decision and the right to an abortion. Indeed, when asked directly if he wanted Roe reversed, he avoided giving a direct answers. (As an aside, I always thought that Kerry's failure to call him out on the fact that he didn't answer that question directly was a big mistake.)

Recent polls show that white women who lean toward McCain are much less likely to vote for him once they realize his position on Roe. A lot of women who are personally pro-life don't want the right to an abortion taken away for other women. Getting the word out about McCain's position on this issue will important for the Obama campaign.

Incidentally, there is more than one way to take the attack to McCain. Direct mail will be a very big weapon for both political parties in the November election. Already the AFL-CIO has dropped one mailer, and possibly two, against McCain in Ohio. Direct mail tends to fly below the radar of the media. Don't think that just because you aren't seeing negative television ads that an anti-McCain message isn't being delivered.

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