November 1, 2008
Obama Is Up, and Fans Fear That Jinxes It
By MICHAEL POWELL
In the den of his home in New Hope, Pa., a liberal Democrat sits tap-tapping at his computer.
Jon Downs, 53, works the electoral vote maps on Yahoo like a spiritualist shaking his Ouija board. He calibrates and recalibrates: Give Senator John McCain Ohio, Missouri, even Florida. But Virginia and Pennsylvania, those go to Senator Barack Obama. And Vermont, Democrats can count on Vermont, right?
Almost always, Mr. Downs ends with Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, ahead, which should please this confirmed liberal and profound Obama fan. But just as often he feels worried.
“Look, I have this sense of impending doom; we’ve had a couple of elections stolen already,” Mr. Downs said. “The only thing worse than losing is to think that you’re going to win and then lose.”
He considers that prospect and mutters, almost involuntarily, “Oh, God.”
To talk with left-leaning Democrats in New Hope, San Francisco or Miami Beach, to drill deep into their id, is to stand at the intersection of Liberal and High Anxiety.
Right now, more than a few are having a these-polls-are-too-good-to-be-true, we-still-could-lose-this-election moment. Their consuming and possibly over-caffeinated worry is that their prayers and nightly phone calls to undecided voters in Toledo, Ohio, notwithstanding, Mr. Obama might fall short on Election Day.