CAMPAIGN SCORECARD [This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine.]ROUND 1 2 3 4 ISSUE Momentum Party Unity Enthusiasm Money ACTION National and key-state polls show the selection of Sarah Palin and a post--St. Paul bounce gave John McCain a turbocharge (and squelched any positive thrust the Democrats might have had after Denver). Barack Obama seems thrown off by his change in fortune, and Democrats have not been able so far to curb the Republicans' forward motion. Thanks to deft handling of Hurricane Gustav, finessing of the popular-with-the-base/unpopular-with-the-nation President Bush, the crossover appeal of Palin, ample media-bashing and a convention punctuated by chants of "U.S.A.!" and "Drill, baby, drill," Republicans have united around McCain--challenging Democrats with the partisan energy essential to win. The alchemy of mixing a fun-loving but prickly 72-year-old Washington fixture with a sassy fortysomething mother of five whose backstory is part Northern Exposure and part Wizard of Oz obliterated the enthusiasm gap in the media and among voters. The "Yes we can" excitement that Democrats have enjoyed all election season is getting a run for its money. Palin--by prompting a flood of donations (see Momentum, Party Unity and Enthusiasm) and hitting the fund-raising circuit--has helped diminish what was expected to be a major Democratic cash advantage. But the controversial Alaska governor inspired substantial giving to her opposition as well.
RESULTS [This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine.]REPUBLICANS X X X DEMOCRATS TIE X
WINNER OF THE WEEK: REPUBLICANS
In choosing Palin, McCain excited conservatives, bolstered his standing in red states, put Democrats on the defensive and revolutionized the campaign narrative. For now, cherchez la femme trumps "change you can believe in."
NOT ALL ROUNDS ARE CREATED EQUAL
The week's winner is based on the relative importance of each fight and by how much the winner takes each round.
WEEK BY WEEK [This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine.]JUNE JULY AUG. SEPT. OCT. TOTAL WEEKS WON REPUBLICANS TIE X TIE X TIE X X TIE X X 6 DEMOCRATS X X X X X X 6
TIME/CNN Poll. Taking stock of the swing states
Obama leads in two key states but trails McCain in two others--similar to George W. Bush and John Kerry's split in 2004.
MICHIGAN TIME/CNN poll: OBAMA 49, MCCAIN 45 2004 election results: KERRY 51, BUSH 48
MISSOURI TIME/CNN poll: MCCAIN 50, OBAMA 45 2004 election results: BUSH 53, KERRY 46
NEW HAMPSHIRE TIME/CNN poll: OBAMA 51, MCCAIN 45 2004 election results: KERRY 50, BUSH 49
VIRGINIA TIME/CNN poll: MCCAIN 50, OBAMA 46 2004 election results: BUSH 54, KERRY 45
All interviews were conducted via telephone by Opinion Research Corp. Sept. 7-9, 2008. The Michigan, Missouri and Virginia surveys have an error margin of 3 percentage points, while New Hampshire's is 3.5 percentage points
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