Wednesday, September 17, 2008

National Polling Update: Static, Static, Static!

Now that the most condensed two weeks of Presidential campaign action have passed, I think it’s worth revisiting, briefly, the state of the race.

* Obama did get a bounce from his convention. However, it was obviously shortened and truncated by the Palin announcement on Friday and the GOP convention the following week, which made some uninformed “journalists” write nonsense stories.

* McCain did get a bounce, and a good one (there is an inherent advantage to having your convention last, as both 2000 and 2004 show). There’s no denying that, but…it has receded the last few days.

* In fact, as I have stated numerous times, that race seems…well, static. McCain’s national numbers have come back to earth and are basically were they were before Senator Obama picked Joe Biden. The Rasmussen and Gallup tracks are basically where they were at three weeks ago, and the new Diageo/Hotline and R2K/Kos tracks have the race reverting back to a four point Obama advantage, and the trendline in all four polls has shown a three or four point swing to Obama in the last few days.

* While it’s too soon to tell what the impending economic crisis will mean to the campaign, Obama has shown strength in poll samples the last couple nights. But most importantly, in the Hotline tracking poll, Obama has gone from a two point advantage on the issue of the economy last Friday to an eleven point advantage today. He also now enjoys a 57-33% lead on the question of which candidate “better understands people like you?” Also in the Hotline poll is the nugget that Obama has opened up a twelve point lead on energy, up from just four a few days ago.

* Palin’s favorable rating has collapsed: Last week, Hotline’s fav/unfav rating for her was a robust 48-24%, now it’s merely a 47-36%. Whereas the R2K/Kos poll has her rating down to 45-44%, a net swing of 13% since Friday.

* John Sidney McCain III’s has too: His ridiculous and discredited attacks have brought his favorability rating from 56-43% on Friday to today’s 49-45%. Whereas Obama’s has stayed stable from a 57-41% to 54-37%. John McCain’s strengths have always relied on his character and personal “integrity;” and once that is gone, he’s just another generic Republican candidate.

Since state polling often lags behind (mostly due to the low volume of it compared to national polls) it’s still hard to tell how they have been affected. But there is some anecdotal evidence (such as Virginia going back into a tie or a small Obama lead) that Obama has bounced back in many swing states. But let there be no question, the race is where it was, and where it’s always been. A tight race but one whose fundamental dynamics and state favors Barack Obama.

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