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Tied Again!

Ummm. I admit to being tied up this morning and just getting to this late, but did nobody notice that since yesterday (!) when Obama seemed to have a 6-9 point edge in national polls, it’s now back to a tie? If everything seems to be going in Obama’s favor, as seems to be the view in the Lawler threads, why can’t he gain any traction? I agree that on the face of it, he ought to be helped by these events. And yet he’s not.

Meanwhile, another Clinton emerges . . . I guess to help Obama?

Discussions - 10 Comments

i admit to being puzzled by the studies, but julie is right. still, obama does lead., if only slightly.

I think you will find the answer in his press conference yesterday when he said, in effect, "talk to my people" as if it were beneath him (or, possibly, "above his pay grade" or capacities) to address the matter head-on. He may be leading in respect to the polls (though by a very thin margin, indeed) but he has shown that he cannot, has not, and will not lead in the true sense. He is not getting traction because a good number of voters do not believe that they can trust him. They are skeptical about trusting McCain too . . . but this movement indicates to me that they are desperate to find things in him that they can trust because they so distrust Obama. This is why McCain's "narrative" campaign emphasizing his character has helped him so far and why his "campaign suspension" talk seems to have helped him. Pete Wehner argues that he needs to shift into the Obama as "too liberal" meme. I agree that this would be useful. But not even that is going to seal the deal. For these folks on the fence, talk won't be enough. He has to do something ("lately" and not years ago) that looks strong and competent and is, thus, reassuring to those who are not sure if they can trust him and who are not yet comfortable with that uncertainty given the alternative. This might be it. But, then again, it may not be enough. We will see. For now, however, I think it is a tie and I think it is likely to remain a tie for at least a while longer.

This Gallup poll, like many of them, number registered voters. This is a highly risky poll with which to make an assessment because registered voters are less likely to vote--they are unreliable. These polls also generally skew to the Democrats.

All that said, what to make of this specific poll?

Peter is right. And Rasmussen is the poll that helps make his case. See that here. Rasmussen's poll interviews likely voters, and as such it appears it is a more reliable poll than the Gallup.

To put a positive light on this (for Republicans) this is a Democrat year and McCain is not that far behind. He remains in a decent position to win; it also helps him and other Republicans, that the Democratically controlled Congress has the lowest approval rating ever--17%. Obama may be ahead, but it's still anybody's game.

The above was for Peter. This is for Erik:

Yes. Rass is more reliable than Gallup because of the likely voters v. registered voters. True. But I wasn't just looking at the Gallup poll. There are 4 other national polls listed at RCP and two show McCain up and two show Obama up (Rass being one of them). All show the thinnest of margins in either direction. All I'm saying is that it doesn't seem to be breaking in either direction . . . yet.


It is possible it is a tie, but Jay Cost is probably correct that given there are so many undecided voters, the election is anybody's game. I do think there is a slight Obama advantage, but, what you say prompted me to think:

McCain's apparent risky move, is perhaps not all that risky. NOW Obama has followed his lead and it looks like that McCain will remove a potential election busting problem from his path. His FDR-like move to appear to do something about the "crisis" has made him a man of action--something that plays to his strength not Obama's.

If a deal is reached, or close to an agreement, and he attends the debate, McCain will be seen as setting the terms of the election, again and doing so in a positive not negative way (this is why Wehner's position is a limited one). Obama is on defense; McCain is on offense more than his opponent. Offensive drives win games, and elections.

We were cross-posting, Erik, when I posted #5. I agree with what you say in 4 but I only think that it could favor McCain. He has to work to make sure it is played that way (not by the media which will never give him a break now, but in the minds of those voters he's trying to reach) and that, given the obvious tilt of the media, will be a job. He needs to keep going over the heads of the media and appealing to voters directly. And he has to avoid saying crazy, cranky things like "Fire him!" unless he can back it up on the spot.

In the interest of poking some holes in my own argument, while also bolstering my point that McCain's move was not risky, Contentions.

Julie, Obama can't hold leads.

And it's not the economic news which is driving his numbers. It's the wave of negative ads his campaign is unleashing.

I said as much several days ago, and now there are stories referencing poll results that corroborated my early assessment.

And PETER, recent polling should provide you ample ballast for the rest of the campaign season.

The despair you've given vent to of late has been wholly premature.

There's no need to go jumping ship yet. And there's no need to be carrying around your life-preserver.

Be mindful of Obama's weakness down the homestretch against Hillary.

I was watching some meeting in Washington on CNN as I ate lunch. The sound was too low to hear but Obama looked like a little man sitting on the edge of the action while McCain seemed to be a player.

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