Wanna Win This Election?

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/94721536/94720418" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Closer than either candidate might like.

Closer than either candidate might like. Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

It's amazing to watch these polls go back and forth... Obama's up... McCain's up... no wait, they're tied. And at this point, the candidates seem to have little control over any of it. The news of the day drives many of these swings. Namely: the economy, hurricanes, even the announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate. So, what's a candidate to do? With 7 weeks left before we all head to the polls, what's it going to take to win this election?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

My Bachelors was in Advertising and Public Relations. We spent quite a bit of time on research. A lot of these polls are conducted by landline phones.
Who has those anymore?
Older people.
I am getting the feeling this race isn't as close as the polls portray it.

Sent by Thomas | 2:18 PM | 9-17-2008

Wouldn't it be advantageous for Obama to remind folks of McCain's hairbreadth escape from oblivion as an active member of the Keating 5?

Sent by Gene Dieken | 2:19 PM | 9-17-2008

Has anyone on the stage read any of the Troopergate memos available on the Anchorage Daily News website? I have and am wondering why they're not discussed or published in the news.

Sent by Margaret | 2:20 PM | 9-17-2008

I'd surely like to know why the Democrats keep referring to lame-duck White-House blunders, when the REAL problem is with the party that put the screwups there.

If they'd just show a picture of Cheney with the Enron Building, Rumsfeld with the returning coffins, Ashcroft and Gonzales with the frontpage spreads about the illegal wiretaps, etc, the GOP would have no counterpunch. All they need to top it off is a few snips of George-II giving speeches.

The emphasis should be on avoiding the personnel and policies that the GOP promotes, regardless of the indentity of the individuals. That's where the "culture of corruption" comes from.

Sent by Richard Erlacher | 2:28 PM | 9-17-2008

I keep hearing Sarah Palin is a "normal" mom!What is more normal about her than Hilary? I hope women have better brains and vote for the candidate with experience (no, not McCain!)

Sent by rk | 2:32 PM | 9-17-2008

Neal, please make it clear that republicans started the mud war (surprise surprise!) and Obama is only responding. So it's unfair to criticize Obama. If he doesn't respond and be the decent guy he is, McCain's lies will continue to be perpetuated!!! Unfortunately it's a dirty game that republicans have always played, and democrats have to join in the mud sling.

Sent by rk | 2:34 PM | 9-17-2008

Sarah Palin is running on the "Mommie" ticket. Hopefully, even women with children are looking further than this for some depth and thought. I can't believe people want the country managed like one would manage school children and their problems / activities. I'm not a Republican, but Condie Rice is much more my ideal of a woman who has what it takes to actually be in charge than Sarah Palin. I was and am totally turned off by Sarah Palin.

Sent by Rita | 2:37 PM | 9-17-2008

Your host and guest Vin Weber did a serious disservice to the listener who called to inquire about the propriety of a party contacting a voter who previously lived in a swing state at the voter's current address in a non-swing state, urging the voter to cast an absentee ballot in the state where they formerly resided. To cast such a vote would be criminal voter fraud--a felony in almost all states.

Sent by Richard Kaspari, atty | 2:38 PM | 9-17-2008

Given the financial follies, my choice for President is the candidate who denounces corporate greed, testified before Congress about Freddie and Fannie's problems back in 2000, has taken no Wall Street campaign contributions, and has amassed a list of legislation as a citizen that puts anyone on the Hill to shame. Nader/Gonzalez is on the ballot in 45 states.

Sent by Nate | 2:44 PM | 9-17-2008

Off the topic at hand, I am concerned about a caller who moved from Colorado to Illinois. The issue is this person is registered to vote in two states and could potentially vote in two states based on what I heard. This issue needs to be addressed nationwide so that one person, one vote!


Sent by Conant Smith | 2:46 PM | 9-17-2008

I wish the Obama and McCain campaign would use some of the money they are raising to aid our country, weather it be a big PR photo shoot as they help relief efforts for disaster victims or donating money and time to wounded vets and there families - there are so many people besides the networks that could benefit from the millions donated to there campaigns! If they want us to "relate" to them how about they show us they care about us as us citizens.

Sent by Bridget | 2:46 PM | 9-17-2008

The reason the Dems arn't higher in the polls is what no one is willing to talk about: Race, Race, Race. Lot's of people are casting about for any reason not to vote for OBama, even though he clearly is the best candidate in the race.

Sent by Susanne | 2:51 PM | 9-17-2008

I was a 20+ year Republican who held my nose and switched to Democrat after seeing W get re-elected. I'm ashamed to say I voted for him the first time.

I gave money to the Obama campaign and looked forward to voting for him as I percieved him as an outsider who might actually help this country. Then, he chose Biden as his VP. Biden is an Insider through and through, and despite claims he's liberal (in the good sense) he is anti-gun. How can I trust a guy who won't admit that "the People" means the same thing in all of the Bill of Rights, not just the one's it's politically expedient to favor?

When Obama picked Biden, he lost my mindshare. I'll be voting Green again I guess as a protest vote.

Sent by Robert | 2:52 PM | 9-17-2008

It's still the economy stupid. Obama should be hitting the lack of oversight that has allowed these greedy bankers to ruin the nation's financial markets. McCain can't have it both ways, you can't favor de-regulation for decades and then call for less regulation when the banking industry fails us.

Sent by Rory O'Farrell | 2:54 PM | 9-17-2008

McCain's campaign was clearly going on the offensive by calling Obama sexist after the "lipstick on a pig" comment. It seemed like an open invitation for the Obama campaign to bring up McCain's past sexist comments. Though I understand the Obama campaign is refraining from personal attacks, I was somewhat disappointed they didn't take McCain up on this invitation. Sure it was 16 years ago, but I am still eager to hear McCain attempt to defend calling his wife a "cu*t" in front of reporters. As the conversation continues to hinge upon Palin and the historic precedent she would set for women, I think McCain's past is increasingly relevant.

Sent by Lindsey | 3:08 PM | 9-17-2008

Crisis? What crisis? There was such an astonishing 'Pleasantville' tone and focus to today's political junkie conversations about this year's Presidential election - a care-free and rarely critical commentary tone being totally matched, I might add, by the rest of the mainstream American media. Yet rarely has an election had more at stake! As a result of the Republicans' corrupt and deceitful abuse of power, not only is the economy in total disarray & crisis, but just about everything else in life that matters - healthcare, social security, affordable education, an impartial justice system, effective free speech, an ethical & public interest mass media, fair & honest elections ... the list literally goes on forever, even to the point where the cumulative effect is actually threatening the foundations of American democracy. Where is the sense of journalistic conscience? Will we ever start to hear campaign coverage and commentary that with some sense of genuine reality and urgency actually reflects the extremities and seriousness of this crisis? Or will it just be more of the same - an unthinking & basically uncritical 'medium cool' approach that seems to imply we should once again (in relation to McCain's campaign) treat at face value their adoption of the near IDENTICAL Republican lies and manipulations that previously saw George Bush twice deceitfully 'elected' to power. Perish the thought of exposing these techniques for what they really are ... and even remotely suggesting that electing Obama as a genuine agent of change & hope might be critical to America's future recovery. It pays to understand that with regard to the media's so called even-handed campaign coverage, if Obama's team had ever been guilty of even a fraction of the stunts and deceits pulled by McCain so far, we would never have heard the last of it. He would have effectively been crucified by them and left for dead, with a McCain win being a certainty.

Sent by M Revesby | 3:43 PM | 9-17-2008

More oil is not the answer. It's the problem, the axis of evil. Where is Al Gore? There should be more talk about the environment. I lived in AK for 7 years. The pfd checks alaskans recieve every year from oil revenues make them bias and greedy. Environmentalists are hard to find up there! During my 7/08 vacation there I was shocked to find they still DO NOT recycle.

Sent by Terri | 9:30 PM | 9-17-2008

When the demise of the neo-cons is analyzed won't it be ironic when it's written that the nail in the coffin came from the banking industry! Here it appeared that war, the attack on civil rights, or the environment would prove their undoing....but the grey suits at the most conservative institutions? Who'd have predicted the bankers would bring down movement conservatism?

Sent by Rory O'Farrell | 10:09 PM | 9-17-2008

I think the arguement about experience is one that the republicans can argue amongst themselves. I know that Barack Obama does not have experience running a country or a business, but none of the candidates have that experience. I support Barack Obama even though he does not have experience running a country. I think experience is overrated especially when Obama wants to run things in a new and more effective way than the last few decades. I have been supporting Barack Obama without the recently determined "required" experience. (remember Bushs' experience)The republicans arguement over experience didn't sway me 3 months ago and it won't now. I really could care less about Sarah Palin's experience or inexperience. Because I am voting for Barack Obama. I think knowledge, temperment,vision for the future and strength of character are much more important than experience. As a side note McCain does not have any executive experience either as Carly Fiorina so nicely reminded us. We really don't have a candidate for President with executive experience. So then judgement temperment and truthfullness become so much more important. So let the republicans decide if their candidate has the experience they require. Barack Obama has something more important; intelligence, even headed temperment and a vision for a better future. I for one am not voting based on experience(not that their is a experienced choice).
One last note; I think Barack Obama ought to stop starting his speaches by talking .about McCain because that puts the frame of reference on McCain and not on Barack. He should open his speaches with some news of the day that affects us all as citizens. Put the focus on Obama Obama Obama!

Sent by Marita Skeddle | 10:43 PM | 9-17-2008

I want to send a comment from my I phone, a letter I wrote to Chris Mathews at Hardball. I can only do that if I have your email address to type in. Can I please get that?

Sent by hope taylor | 1:10 AM | 9-18-2008

I wonder why Palin and the McCain camp are being so secretive about so many things about which the public have a right to know? Why is she exempt from probing questions, what have they got to hide? And does that mean that she can hide from the truth while in the White House, like Bush and Cheney did?

If this weren't such a flimsy and reckless VP pick, we probably wouldn't be so curious. Why are we being forced to handle Sarah Palin with kid gloves? Because she's a woman? I want to know what qualifies her to be VP and possibly president of the United States above all others who have far more global, economic, and practical experience globally and in politics!

Are we paying enough attention to Palin's record on Alaskan Natives? Are we paying enough attention to Palin-as-Hunter...not for food but for sport and "culling?" Barbaric!


Sent by JuliaH | 1:23 AM | 9-18-2008

Talking about major topics in technology
is not high on either presidential candidates list.A small bit of exposure
towards finding out how the U.S. can dominate the deeper advancement in atomic and mathematical sudies, will go a long way in helping the economy.BUT who care about this topic in election 2008.

Sent by jerry a. Myers | 3:50 AM | 9-18-2008

I'm in the middle of the political junkie podcast from Sept. 17. What on earth was going on at the newseum?

Sent by Ryan (Life-long Indiana Republican voting Obama-Biden '08) | 8:31 AM | 9-18-2008

The moderator, Neal Conan, is obviously afraid of getting the rap that NPR leans left. He very pointedly framed the discussion to be about Obama's problems and McCain's gains. Even the Political Junkie responded to Neal's discussion of Obama's campaign by pointing out that the republican ads are much more exagerated than Obama's. Sarah Palin's proven and multiple lies were mentioned only in passing.

Sent by JKB | 10:41 AM | 9-18-2008

I'm hopeful that Barack will win, but I worry that race could be a big factor. He's holding his own in most demographics, but poorly with fifty plus voters and working class males. In my view, these folks aren't ready for a minority, for whatever reasons. My biggest hope is our young people. They all seem to be Obama supporters. They could be the deciding factor!

Sent by Bob Jackson | 10:19 AM | 9-19-2008

I am a young woman and I really dislike Palin. I believe that you can tell if a person is a "good person" by looking at his or her children. Palin's children are, well lets just mention her 17 year old daughter that is pregnant. Palin also left her newborn child that has down syndrome to go back to work just after three days! I don't know, but that seems to be not very good parenting to me. If you look at Obama's children. They are polite and well mannered. Too me, I think that if Palin can't lead her children, how can she help lead the free world.

Sent by Missy | 11:01 AM | 9-19-2008

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from