We obviously still have a few days to go before any pollsters can claim vindication of their work. Still, I was struck by the differing methodologies employed by (Democrat) Stan Greenberg and (Republican) Bill McInturff in their recent debate over the state of the presidential race.
A small taste of Greenberg's exhaustive, 1,800-word memo:
The only way to get to “functionally tied” is to narrow the competitive battleground to those few states where Obama’s lead is less than 3 points and where Obama’s vote is at 48 percent or less, like Indiana, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and North Carolina. Since the memo assumes Obama will only get his tracking number, the two candidates are “functionally tied” in this battleground, which we agree could be carried by McCain. Unfortunately, McCain could win them all and not come close to winning the Electoral College. The memo is silent on Pennsylvania where Obama has a double- digit lead and where Obama is polling 52 percent, enough to win the state and the presidency under McInturff rules.
This, by contrast, is the flavor of McInturff's response:
[H]aving had the great good fortune of working for John McCain on three Senate campaigns and now two presidential campaigns, here are two things I ALSO know for sure: 1) John McCain is a hard man to kill and I am the least surprised guy in the country that with even the smallest window of opportunity--as the focus on the financial crisis faded a bit--that he could make up ground and 2) the difference between these two candidates in terms of their preparation and capacity to serve as Commander-in-Chief is profound, to McCain's considerable advantage, and that matters to the remaining voters here in the last few days of this election.
In other words: numbers, schmumbers.