By Ben Smith
Obama pollster Joel Benenson has some pointed observations in Time about how wrong the press was and how wrong McCain was to believe the press:
This [McCain] is a guy who said, "The press corps is my base," and I think it was. He didn't get that he wasn't defined. You gotta be consistent. You gotta reinforce what you stand for. But through his campaign policies, McCain was reinforcing that he was more of the same. That "Miss Congeniality" line — what did that mean to voters? It didn't mean that he fundamentally disagreed with the ideology of George Bush.
The second piece of conventional wisdom that was completely wrong was which groups we would be strong with. The notion that voters who supported Senator Clinton would vote Republican in the general election was never supported by what we saw in our polling. At the beginning of June, going into the general election, Obama had a double-digit lead in our battleground poll against McCain among women. He was competitive among Catholics and led 2-to-1 among Latinos.
The press corps had focused on all these groups in the last three months of the primary and was convinced that they would pose problems for us in the general. But that just wasn't true, and we recognized that early on. As a result, we were able to focus on swing voters instead of worrying about parts of the base that were already with us. We looked at groups where Obama could make gains and at places where he could broaden the map.