The Element of Surprise

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Andrew Kohut

10/30/2008 - The last surprise in a surprising election campaign seems to be that there may be no surprises come Election Day. As recently as a month ago, this analyst and the American public itself were throwing up our hands and saying we can't figure this one out—too many intangibles.

Well things have changed. Barack Obama leads John McCain by a 52%-to-36% margin in Pew's latest survey, and while uncertainties about the final outcome remain, Americans are no longer deadlocked over who's going to win the election. Regardless of their own preferences, they pick Obama by a wide margin.

What happened during the last month to change the polls and the American public's assessment of who is going to win? In part, the answer is simple: the campaign happened and it mattered. But the Wall Street meltdown happened and it mattered, too.

Read the full commentary The Element of Surprise on The New York Times Web site.

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