Biden hurts Obama lead

October 23, 2008 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, October 23 – Remarks by Democratic presidential running mate Joe Biden of a possible international crisis if Barack Obama won the White House race may cost the Democrats some votes according to an internationally renowned political scientist.

Professor Ronald Walters told Capital News on Thursday that this was not the right time for Biden to make such a statement regardless of how minimal the damage could be.

Mr Biden had made the remarks over the weekend where he said it will not be six months before the world tests the Democratic candidate through a generated crisis.

“I am not sure that Joe Biden is correct when he says that this will happen deliberately. I think it might happen accidentally but either way I don’t think we should give a lot of credit to what he says,” Professor Walters said.

“But the Obama campaign team has to be judicious because John McCain really jumped on that comment suggesting that if he was elected then you wouldn’t have someone who is ‘on the job training’ being tested,” he said.

The statement has raised controversy with the Republicans saying it raises a question of experience while Senator Obama sought to clarify that such a crisis would be because of the poor policies of the past eight years.

He also expressed confidence that his administration would deal with such a test if it occurred.

Professor Walters noted that the Republican campaign team could use this statement as a campaign tool for the remaining period like they have with their socialist attacks.

With less than two weeks to the elections, such statements could be detrimental to gaining the seven percent undecided voters although Mr Obama has maintained a steady lead throughout the race.

However Professor Walters pointed out that it was possible a number of the undecided voters actually know whom they will vote for but fail to tell the pollsters.

 “Many people have suggested that this is to Barack Obama’s detriment because some would rather tell the pollster they are undecided than say they will not vote for an African American candidate,” he opined.

He at the same time said the fluctuation in the opinion counts gap between the Democratic candidate and his Republican rival is not a major concern.

Professor Walters said the variability could be due to the number of organisations conducting the opinion polls on a daily basis.

Last week opinion counts by CNN indicated that Obama was ahead by five points but on Wednesday the margin was up to eight points to reach 51 percent for Mr Obama and 42 percent for Mr McCain.

“So if you look at the tracking polls and associate it with some events that are happening on the campaign trail then you can take that seriously.  “For example, Barack Obama was contacted recently by many of his supporters in Pennsylvania where he had a double digit lead but it had shrunk to a single digit. That is what I mean by an event.”

Professor Walters said the Bradley effect, where White Americans say they will vote for an African American but fail is unlikely this time round.

This happened in 1982 where African American Tom Bradley who was running for governor of California was leading throughout the campaigns but lost in the elections.

“The so called Bradley effect has been debated a lot and there are some people who think it doesn’t exist anymore but I think it exists only that it may be overwhelmed this time,” he concluded.


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