Monday, August 11, 2008

Poll Watch update

UPDATED & BUMPED: Matthew Yglesias holds his hands over his ears and shouts "Lalalalala! I can't hear you!" He tries to convince himself that recent movement in the Gallup tracking poll was just "statistical noise," although the chart he references makes the trend clear:
  • For five days -- July 24-28, corresponding with the media gush over his foreign trip -- Obama enjoyed an average Gallup lead of 7.2 points.
  • In a subsequent five-day period -- July 30-Aug. 3 -- Obama's Gallup lead dwindled to an average of exactly 1 point.
Why would Yglesias wish to ignore such a clear shift? Because it indicates that McCain's attack strategy was effective. He does not want to admit that Obama is vulnerable to such attacks.

Gallup: Obama 47%, McCain 42%
Rassmussen: Obama 48%, McCain 46%

In Virginia, Survey USA shows McCain barely leading -- encouraging news for the Republican, considering Obama led every Virginia poll in June. McCain maintains his lead in Missouri, and two polls show him still ahead in Florida.

In recent polls of several other potential swing states, Obama still leads, but is under 50% and McCain remains within striking distance -- Michigan (Obama 49%, McCain 45%), Oregon (Obama 48%, McCain 45%), Ohio (Obama 46%, McCain 44%), and Pennsylvania (Obama 49%, McCain 42%). The fact that McCain is spending two days campaigning in Pennsylvania this week shows Team Maverick still hasn't written off a state that no Republican presidential candidate has won since 1988.

Obama's "map-changer" strategy hasn't worked out, either: McCain leads the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado and Idaho, as well as in North Carolina, where Team Obama thought their Democratic primary win was such a harbinger of Change.

Democrats are starting to worry about the failure of Obama to establish a strong lead over McCain. Despite the rosy Electoral College projections of Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight (which I examined last week at the American Spectator), Team Obama's hopes of getting big "bounce" after eliminating Hillary in June were frustrated, and St. Hopey's much-hyped foreign trip was, at best, a non-factor poll-wise, while reinforcing the Democrat's image as arrogant.

Politico reports on the poll-driven concerns:
[Obama's] supporters are now suffering a pre-Denver panic attack, watching as John McCain draws incrementally closer in state and national polls – with Rasmussen's most recent daily national tracker showing a statistical dead heat.
Meanwhile, John Heileman speaks the unspeakable:
[I]n a year like this, why is the race so close? Why isn't Obama creaming his rival? Why is he, at best, just a few points ahead, and stubbornly stalled below 50 percent in every national poll? . . .
Call me crazy, but isn't it possible, just possible, that Obama's lead is being inhibited by the fact that he is, you know, black?
Well, Hillary tried to warn them, and her diehard supporters insist it's still not to late for super-delegates to change their minds. But that's not stopping Obama from enjoying his tropical vacation.

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