Thursday, July 10, 2008

Poll Watch

The Fourth of July weekend appears to have occasioned a polling holiday. Looking at Real Clear Politics, nobody but Rasmussen and Gallup seems to have released any important polls in the past week.

Stu Rothenberg doesn't like Rasmussen's methodology, a caveat I feel compelled to mention in regard to Rasmussen's poll showing Obama barely leading (47%-44%) in New Jersey. I remember a period in fall 2004 when Bush appeared competitive in some New Jersey polls, only to lose on Election Day by 7 points. Maybe there's some unknown factor (racism?) that would cause Obama to underperform Kerry in New Jersey, but I'm still skeptical. On the other hand, since South Jersey gets Philadelphia TV, and Pennsylvania may yet be competitive, so there's a good two-birds-with-one-stone argument for the McCain campaign to target the Philly market.

More credible than the New Jersey poll is Rasmussen's Missouri poll, with McCain leading 50%-45% -- corroborated by a partisan Democratic poll showing McCain up by 3 points there. Having reached the magic 50% mark there is very encouraging for the Republican. Given that most polls also show him leading Florida, this could mean that two major Bush states where the GOP might have had to play defense will be off the battleground map in November. That would allow Team McCain to concentrate more efforts on defending Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia.

Meanwhile, Obama is just two weeks away from campaigning for votes in Europe, a move that I predict will be seen as one of the biggest political follies of the year.

Will update if any further polls results are reported today.

UPDATE: The latest Gallup daily has Obama by 3 points, as does the latest Rasmussen tracking poll. The very narrow margins in these polls -- since June 17, Gallup has only shown four days with Obama ahead by more than 4 points -- are a stark contrast to the media portrayal of the campaign as an inevitable triumph for Obama.

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