Obama Will Get Just 45% to 50% of Votes

From time to time in The Kelly Letter, I like to take a stab at sane commentary on frenzied political stories. The mainstream media gets so frothy when it comes to politics. An investor’s cool head helps.

For example, I wrote to subscribers in March:

The idea that Clinton and Obama are neck-and-neck in the race for the Democratic nomination is a media driven fiction. It makes for great edge-of-the-seat reading, but is wrong.

Clinton has almost no chance of winning.

Even her own campaign says she can’t win more pledged delegates at this point, and any calculator will tell you the same thing. Even if she wins every single contest remaining with 60% of the vote — a margin of victory she’s attained only three times so far — she would still trail Obama in the delegate count.

That was helpful in getting back to focusing on issues that actually meant something. We knew way back then that Obama would take the nomination.

However, we didn’t buy for a moment that he would win the general election in a landslide, as was the consensus earlier in the year. Remember that? People couldn’t believe the GOP would nominate a dud like McCain who was by all counts just “George Bush’s third term.”

Funny, I remember hearing similar confidence that John Kerry would win in a landslide against a candidate who was even more like George Bush than McCain: Bush himself!

No, investors look at trends and one that is darned hard to miss is how amazingly bad Democrats are at presidential campaigns these days. By these days, I mean the last 40 years. Democrats hardly ever win the presidency and, when they do, it’s never by a landslide. The high water mark was Jimmy Carter’s victory in 1976, with 51% of the vote. That’s no landslide.

Beyond Carter’s anemic walk to the White House for one term, there was Clinton. He never even got half of the electorate behind him. You can thank Ross Perot for splitting the conservative vote and allowing Clinton to not really win, but rather to lose by less than his opponent and to therefore swagger off to D.C.

Those who were calling for a landslide election for Obama just haven’t been paying attention for the past 40 years. I mentioned that to subscribers in June:

Despite the cold fact that Clinton could not win, the media kept the drama hot for three months after the evidence showed it to be a dishonest angle. They will say that they were just covering the fact that Clinton stayed in the race, but they did so with far more gusto and hint of possibility than was warranted by the facts.

There’s a chance to see through the media’s cloudy coverage even now. Excitement over Obama’s nomination has led to an overwhelming amount of pro-Obama coverage, and polls are showing that the election will be a landslide in his favor. Don’t buy it. The election will be close.

Indeed it looks like it will be. For all the talk of Obama being a savior to the nation, expect him to draw somewhere between 45% and 50% of the vote.

People sure put a lot of energy into watching a coin flip.

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