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Is it 1976 all over again?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 21, 2008

I know quite a few readers, they weren't around to remember the 1976 presidential campaign or the aftermath. But Michael Barone, who I consider one of the more astute political observers, thinks this is pretty darn close to what we had then:
Looking back over the last 40 years, the presidential campaign that most closely resembles this year's is the contest between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter in 1976. The Republicans were the incumbent presidential party that year, as they are now, but the Democrats had a big advantage in party identification — on the order of 49 percent to 26 percent then, far more than today.

The Republican president who had been elected and re-elected in the last two campaigns, Richard Nixon, had dismal favorability ratings, far lower than George W. Bush's. His name could scarcely be mentioned at the Republican National Convention. The Democratic nominee was a little-known outsider, with an appeal that was based on the idea that he could transcend the nation's racial divisions. Jimmy Carter, a governor from the Deep South, had placed a portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. in the state Capitol in Atlanta.
Barone goes on to point out further similarities, but to also say that while the situation is very much the same, the numbers - which are really Barone's forte - don't line up as badly for the Reps this time (July) as they did in '76. And he further notes that by November the numbers had narrowed up and Ford lost by 2 points (50 - 48) mostly, I'm convinced, due to a couple of tumbles down the stairs and the pardon of Nixon.

That's not to say the Reps should take heart and that everything will work out in McCain's favor by November. I have full confidence that McCain or his campaign can find a way to blow any advantage they might accrue.

However as Barone points out, it may not be as bleak as the right thinks.

Trailing 62 to 29 in the summer, Ford managed to close the gap enough that it was a very small number of votes, and two states, that put Carter in the White House:
Yet by November, the race was about even. Ford ended up losing by just 50 percent to 48 percent. A switch of 5,559 votes in Ohio and 3,687 in Hawaii — 9,247 votes out of 81 million — would have made Ford president for four more years.
But of course it didn't and you at least know the history of what we suffered with Carter.

Baron tells the story of how the Ford campaign almost overcame the numbers, and it's an interesting story. It might behoove the McCain campaign to consider something similar in the coming months.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
But of course it didn’t and you at least know the history of what we suffered with Carter.
Suffered? Pashaw you say. I read Scott Erb on these very pages and he explained in detail that Jimmuh was GREAT. And, it may come as a surprise to you, he still is GREAT!
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Of course, that Great Man, Jimmy Carter, paved the way for the dunce Ronald Reagan (although Carter tried to get Soviet help to defeat Reagan . . . ) so perhaps an Obama victory wouldn’t be all bad . . .

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Trailing 62 to 29 in the summer, Ford managed to close the gap enough that it was a very small number of votes, and two states, that put Carter in the White House:
I think some of the 1980 polls of Reagan v. Carter made it seem like Carter still had a chance. I don’t put a lot of faith in the poll numbers from the no-blog, no-talk radio, fairness doctrine era. Chances are Ford’s position in the summer was better than portrayed and his actual gains were smaller as a consequence.

"Biased" media is not a new invention.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I think the world of Michael Barone, but he is wrong on this one. This campaign is a mix of several. However, this one is a standout for many reasons. In a time of war, no party nominates someone with little or no military and/or foreign policy experience; as well, in a downturn economy, no party nominates someone with no business and/or governmental experience. On all sides of that coin, Obama has nothing, nada, zilch. He has three short years in the US Senate in which he has done nothing of any substance.

This is why Obama cannot seem to get the votes of more than 50% of Hillary Clinton supporters, or a majority of Independents, or a majority of blue-collar Reagan Democrats. Why? Because he has no experience to back up his alleged plans. In every election, voters choose the person they are comfortable with. The fact that in this atmosphere McCain is tied with Obama tells me that people are just uncomfortable with Obama. And no presidential election was ever won by someone whom the voters were uncomfortable with. Just ask Al Gore, John Kerry, or Bob Dole.
 
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
All I really fear about the future is places are gonna burn in November of this year if we don’t get hopey changitude come January of next year.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

 
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