A while back, I took a bet. I bet Michael Reynolds a bottle of our respective favorite scotches on the outcome of the Presidential election. (Now, I know that gambling on the outcome of an election is illegal in the United States. But Reynolds lives in Italy, so it's okay.)
I took McCain and the points.
If Obama wins, and gets more than a 5% advantage over McCain in the popular vote, I owe Reynolds a bottle of really good scotch. If not, I get the booze. And either way, the postal services of at least two countries get to pretend they don't know what's in that box that's being shipped across international boundaries, although I expect the Italians won't be quite as uptight about that sort of thing as the Americans will be.
I probably wouldn't have taken McCain on a straight-up bet, and I still wouldn't today. But I'm feeling at least justified in my bet today. Despite a post-primary bounce, Obama is still only leading McCain within the 5% margin of error in the just-released poll of registered voters. This is a slight gain for McCain over the last such poll, which was also within the margin of error, but was taken just before Obama had wrapped things up against Senator Clinton.
Of course, the whole thing is really a gamble. The campaign proper is only something like nine weeks long. And it doesn't really start until September. A lot can happen, in political terms, between now and September. Even then, both politicians have significant strengths and vulnerabilities and I think it's going to be a closer match than a lot of Obamaites are anticipating. Not because of Republican attack dogs but because the country is just plain equally split between the two polarized camps.
I still think Obama will beat McCain in November. But I'm glad I took the points, too.
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