See? Nobody cared about bittergate or pastorgate. Obama has a big national lead and hasn’t moved in PA.
I think the reality is that people only look at things like that when they haven’t decided. I think most people have decided to throw the bums out, and will vote that way barring a major game changing event. This doesn’t mean Obama can continue to gaffe–it just means that gaffes have to be judged in terms of their empirical effect, not the number of dumb headlines they generate.
Here the data supports the contention that this had no effect.
And, in tribute to the self-centeredness of Americans, I think that if the economy continues to worsen, even capturing bin Laden won’t do much good for McCain. It’s the economy, stupid, when it’s bad. When most voters are doing ok, then there’s time to kill or oppress people. Until then, gimme gimme gimme.
I also don’t think that $4 gas is a priori unreasonable. But the reality is, you can’t go so quickly to that price level without causing major shocks to the economy. Especially in commuter areas, this is bound to be very destructive. The macro effect may be good for the economy and the evnironment long term, but until then, people are going to hurt, and, really, just for oil company profits, since the cost of extraction and exploration is no different than it was in 2004.