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Jun 9 08 7:12 AM
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Jun 10 08 1:41 PM
Jun 12 08 3:17 PM
Jul 2 08 5:48 AM
Sep 2 08 10:08 AM
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, finds Barack Obama
leading the race for president with his highest share of support to date. Fully half of national registered voters now favor Obama for president, while 42%
back John McCain.
Prior to now, no more than 49% of registered voters supported Obama for president in Gallup Poll Daily tracking. Still, Obama's eight percentage point
lead over McCain in the new poll falls one point shy of the lead he attained
in late July after returning from a well-publicized trip to Europe and parts of the Middle East. At that time, Obama led by nine points, 49% to 40%.
Sep 3 08 5:56 AM
Overall, this analysis shows that Obama's gains over the last week among white men are fairly straightforward. They occurred among both independent and
Democratic men. There has been no change among Republican white men.
On the other hand, Obama's gains among independent and Democratic women appear to have been mostly offset by McCain's gains among Republican
Previous Gallup analysis has suggested that
McCain's selection of a woman as his vice-presidential running mate might have the most impact on independent white women, who before the Democratic
Convention were essentially split down the middle in terms of candidate support.
These data show, however, that at least initially, McCain has lost ground among both white independent women and white independent men (and among Democrats
of both genders) since the convention and his vice-presidential selection.
Instead, the data suggest that McCain has in essence fought a rear-guard action of sorts among white women of his own GOP base, building their support to a
degree even as he was losing support among independents and Democrats of both genders.
It is possible, but not provable with these data, that McCain's selection of a woman, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, as his vice-presidential running mate
may have had the effect of solidifying support among women of his own party.
The Republicans no doubt hope that this week's convention, and in particular Palin's address on Wednesday, will help them make inroads not only
among white Republican women, but also among independent (and perhaps Democratic) women.
Sep 8 08 6:20 AM
McCain leads Obama 48 percent to 45 percent among registered voters, by Gallup's measure. McCain has so far earned the same convention bounce as Obama,
though at a more rapid pace.
Obama peaked at a 5-point convention bounce in polling published last Tuesday. He was ahead 49 percent to 43 percent in the Gallup poll conducted before the Republican convention. He then soared to 50
percent for the first time of the election, by Gallup's measure, while McCain fell to 42 percent.
"Don't ever cry over someone who wouldn't cry over you." - Lauren Conrad
Sep 8 08 11:35 AM
The CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll showed McCain and Obama were tied at 48
percent each. Three percent of the voters were undecided, CNN said.
The CNN poll didn't indicate the traditional bounce a candidate
receives after the party nominating convention, said CNN polling director Keating Holland.
"Other polls are showing 'convention bounces' for McCain, but
ours does not," Holland said. "The reason is probably due to the fact that the CNN poll has had a very low number of respondents who say they are
undecided for several months."
Regarding Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin being the Republican vice presidential candidate, Holland found women may still favor with Obama.
"Although Sarah Palin is the first woman on a GOP ticket, women
nationwide are sticking with Obama -- 52 percent of women are planning to vote Democratic, while 51 percent of men are in the GOP column," Holland
The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. telephone poll questioned 1,022 registered Friday through Sunday. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
Sep 8 08 3:05 PM
Dead Heat: McCain, Obama even in post convention poll
Washington Post-ABC News Poll
3. (ASKED OF REGISTERED VOTERS) If the 2008 presidential election were being held today and the candidates were (Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the Democrats)
and (John McCain and Sarah Palin, the Republicans), for whom would you vote?
NET LEANED VOTE - REGISTERED VOTERS
Other Neither Would not No
Obama McCain (vol.) (vol.) vote (vol.) opinion
9/7/08 47 46 1 1 1 4
8/22/08 49 43 * 3 2 3
7/13/08 50 42 1 3 1 2
6/15/08 49 45 1 3 1 3
5/11/08 51 44 * 2 1 1
4/13/08 49 44 * 3 3 2
3/2/08 53 40 * 2 1 3
2/1/08 47 48 1 1 1 2
1/19/07 47 45 * 3 1 4
NET LEANED VOTE - LIKELY VOTERS
Other Neither Would not No
Obama McCain (vol.) (vol.) vote (vol.) opinion
9/7/08 47 49 1 1 0 3
8/22/08 49 45 * 2 0 4
7/13/08 49 46 1 2 0 2
6/15/08 47 48 1 2 0 2
Sep 8 08 3:17 PM
Santa's Little Helper
Sep 8 08 3:45 PM
Congrations, Sen. John McCain: The race is no longer solely about Sen. Barack Obama. (Which is not the same as saying it's about you.)
There, on the cover of Time, Newsweek, and People -- and US Weekly and the National Enquirer -- is the woman McCain vaulted from obscurity to celebrity
without a pass through the stages of political curiosity (not that the press corps isn't curious).
Just about by herself -- with her record still a mystery, and almost without answering a single question -- Gov. Sarah Palin has deposited the ticket in the
Already -- and most importantly -- she has shaken the stubborn narrative of the race. (Could it be that a country that wants a fresh approach was really
waiting for a fresh face to promise it?)
"McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by 50%-46% among registered voters, the Republican's biggest advantage since January and a turnaround from the
USA TODAY poll taken just before the convention opened in St. Paul. Then, he lagged by 7 percentage points," per USA Today's Susan Page.
The lead stretches to 10 points among likely voters. And this is supposed to be Obama's trump card: "Before the convention, Republicans by 47%-39%
were less enthusiastic than usual about voting," Page writes. "Now, they are more enthusiastic by 60%-24%, a sweeping change that narrows a key
Democratic advantage. Democrats report being more enthusiastic by 67%-19%."
The Real Clear
Politics polling average reads "McCain +1.0" -- anyone remember the last time those letters were red?
Team McCain starts the week trying to take Obama's "change." New
ad out Monday morning (a fact-checker's delight): "The original mavericks. He fights pork barrel spending. She stopped the Bridge to Nowhere. He
took on the drug industry. She took on big oil. He battled Republicans and reformed Washington. She battled Republicans and reformed Alaska. They'll make
history. They'll change Washington. McCain. Palin. Real change."
Palin, R-Alaska, has done many things for McCain in the 10 days since she announced her presence with a rifle shot across red-and-purple America: energize
the base, prime the pump of GOP fundraising, inject youth into a tired party, challenge the mainstream media to understand precisely what her candidacy
What it means is something real: "Palin's debut has invigorated the Republican base here in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, a battleground
area in a top swing state, and one where GOP turnout depends heavily on evangelical Christians such as the Goodes, along with the many military families
clustered around the Norfolk and Portsmouth bases," Alec MacGillis writes in The Washington Post.
"The reaction has been remarkably instantaneous, with socially conservative voters who had barely heard of Palin electrified by the few facts they
quickly learned. . . . But the question facing Republicans here is whether their organization can match, and fully capitalize on, the enthusiasm provided by
Palin with just two months left until Election Day."
We still can't be sure which way and how deeply Palin cuts, not yet. (And as Oprah declines the honor -- Palin will sit down for a full-length interview with an actual reporter before the week is out:
ABC's Charlie Gibson grabs the scoop the McCain campaign
said it would not dole out until Palin was good and ready.)
Obama, D-Ill., wants desperately to turn the focus to the economy -- and the government's help for Fannie and Freddie may help him get there. (But
forgetting Sarah Palin is hard.)
Also coming to Obama's aid: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, hitting the trail solo for Obama in Florida on Monday (but don't look for her to take it directly to Palin).
(And lunch is on for Thursday -- 9/11: Bill and Barack are set to break bread in New York City, per ABC's Kate Snow.)
Obama is taking on Palin himself (isn't this what you're veep's supposed to do?): "He chose somebody who may be even more aligned with
George Bush -- or Dick Cheney, or the politics we've seen over the last eight years -- than John McCain himself is," Obama said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
(He called her a "skilled politician" -- but would not say she is prepared to be president.)
Behold Palin's impact: In giving Republicans something to be happy about again, she's constructing a new storyline, complete with its own savior who
is the center of all the action. (A few more polls like the one from USA Today/Gallup, and that action will be where everyone wants to be.)
It starts with curiosity: "McCain's resurgence in the polls comes as Nielsen Media Research reported that the Republican convention earned more
television viewers than the Democratic convention. Republicans earned an average audience of 34.5 million, while Democrats earned an average viewership of 30.2
million," per Politico's David Paul Kuhn.
They appear to have liked what they saw: "John McCain may have swapped one enthusiasm gap for another," Politico's Jonathan Martin reports. "Palin, with her out-of-nowhere
debut, compelling personal story and first-rate convention speech, has injected new life into the GOP and piqued the curiosity of voters who are only mildly
interested in politics."
This is why she's not back in Alaska yet: "It was clear from raucous postconvention rallies in four battleground states -- each drawing thousands
of cheering fans -- that Gov. Palin has brought an enthusiasm to the Republican ticket that wasn't there before her selection," Laura Meckler writes in The Wall Street Journal. "In
interviews, voters seemed drawn to Gov. Palin's persona, not necessarily her experience or views."
"He is a feistier candidate with Palin at his side. With his blue shirt sleeves rolled up, he punches out his lines with gusto, railing against the
'old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd,' stabbing the air with his Sharpie marker and thumping the lectern with his
fist," Maeve Reston writes in the Los
Angeles Times. "Aides acknowledge that Palin's presence has turned McCain into a sharper campaigner, and that is perhaps why she abandoned her
plans to return to Alaska this weekend. Instead, she will accompany him for two more days than planned this week."
All that excitement means bodies: ""Fresh from the Republican convention, Senator John McCain's campaign sees evidence that his choice of Gov.
Sarah Palin as his running mate is energizing conservatives in the battleground of Ohio while improving its chances in Pennsylvania and several Western states
that Senator Barack Obama has been counting on," Patrick
Healy and Michael Cooper write in the Sunday New York Times.
"While fortified turnout from this base is probably not enough to assure victory for Mr. McCain, strategists said, it would be very difficult for him
to win without it," they continue. "In that sense, Ms. Palin's presence on the ticket -- depending on how her candidacy fares under the scrutiny
it is receiving -- could be vital."
But how much rides on that first round of questions? "McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate galvanized the Republican base that has been
wary of McCain because of his clashes with religious leaders he once termed 'agents of intolerance' and his sponsorship of a campaign-finance law. Her
Sept. 3 acceptance speech drew raves from Republicans," Bloomberg's Michael Tackett writes. "Still, the Palin selection may give Democrats an opening to question McCain's
decision-making because the Alaska governor, 44, has been in office for just 20 months."
Who's happy to see Congress back? "The 2008 presidential campaign shifts to Capitol Hill this week, where lawmakers are girding for fights over
energy and the economy to score points on behalf of their anointed candidates," Greg Hitt writes in The Wall Street Journal. "With the final push toward Election Day, few expect much substantial legislation to
pass in the three-week session ahead. Instead, watch for sharp debates and votes on issues fundamental to the 2008 campaign."
This is why it's fun to see senators run for president: "Fresh off the two parties' national conventions, Republicans and Democrats are headed
for a collision on Capitol Hill with just three weeks left to decide the fate of the ban on offshore drilling, the federal budget, tax-cut extensions and
another stimulus package," Steven T.
Dennis writes for Roll Call.
No tough votes for Palin, of course. And for all the scandals and disclosures and unanswered questions, Palin is in control of her image to a remarkable
degree at this moment in the race. She's at that special stage in politics where even potential liabilities become assets -- and her decision to fuse
motherhood and politics is paying off.
"Trig Paxson Van Palin, still only 143 days old, has had an unexpected effect on his mother's political fortunes. Before her son was born, Ms.
Palin went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that his arrival would not compromise her work. She hid the pregnancy," per Jodi Kantor, Kate Zernike and Catrin Einhorn of The New York
"But with Trig in her arms, Ms. Palin has risen higher than ever," they continue. "Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee for president,
says he selected her as his running mate because of her image as a reformer, but she is also making motherhood an explicit part of her appeal, running as a
self-proclaimed hockey mom. In just a few months, she has gone from hiding her pregnancy from those closest to her to toting her infant on stage at the
Republican National Convention."
She knows her political imagery: "Of the many striking images of Palin -- sportswoman, beauty queen, populist -- in Alaska the most iconic is working
mother, a perfectly coifed professional woman balancing public duties and child-rearing in a charismatic blur of multitasking," Karl Vick and James V. Grimaldi write in The
Washington Post Sunday. "Long before she burst onto the national scene last month, Palin made politics a family affair in Alaska."
And Trig, who has Down syndrome, is his own rallying point: "The attention lavished on Trig, who can often be seen on TV being cradled by a family
member, and who was on the covers of People and OK magazines, has helped the Republican ticket focus on an issue no one can debate: the need to help children
with disabilities," Dan Morain writes in
the Los Angeles Times. "The campaign almost surely will retell the story in commercials and appearances from now through election day, particularly as
Democrats seek to portray McCain and Palin as conservatives who are out of touch with middle America."
That may or may not be context for this: "Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for vice president, departed Sunday from party doctrine
on abortion rights, declaring that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception," Kate Phillips writes in The New York Times.
Staying on topic, Obama conceded on "This
Week" Why Hillary's out there: "Palin's potential appeal to women voters is no laughing matter to the Democrats," ABC's Jake
Tapper reported on "Good Morning America" Monday. "Obama hit her for having been a strong proponent of pork barrel projects -- or earmarks --
despite her current positioning as an anti-pork reformer."
Willie Brown is worried: "The Democrats are in trouble. Sarah Palin has totally changed the dynamics of this campaign. Period," Brown writes in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed.
"Palin's speech to the GOP National Convention on Wednesday has set it up so that the Republicans are now on offense and Democrats are on defense. And
we don't do well on defense."
Here's why: "McCain didn't just pick a politician who could appeal to Wal-Mart Moms. He picked a Wal-Mart Mom," William Kristol writes in his New York Times column. "Indeed, he
picked someone who, in 1999, as Wasilla mayor, presided over a wedding of two Wal-Mart associates at the local Wal-Mart."
Stephen F. Hayes, in The Weekly
Standard: "McCain advisers believe that the overwhelming media coverage over her first week has made her quite a draw and that average Americans will
flock to someone who represents their sensibilities and their views. She grew up with them."
We're even coining words for her now (wasn't that once the exclusive province of Obamathans?).
Newsweek seeks to define "Palintology": "Palin's personal story
taps one of the great American myths --the hardy woman of the frontier, God-fearing and determined to succeed against the odds. Her story could be a Capra
film, or a chick flick. But as with most political biographies (or Hollywood films), the rougher edges have been burnished. To her critics, she's also
shallow, opportunistic and even corrupt herself."
And a flash of temper, on the Internet rumors that her son is really her grandson: "An aide, speaking anonymously because the matter is sensitive, says
that Palin and her husband grew angry about the allegations. 'Do I have to show them my stretch marks?' she asked one campaign official."
So much still to learn (and so many reporters up in Alaska trying to learn it). We know she's given birth five times -- what else has she done?
"Legislators and political observers say Palin has not pushed or signed major bills in other areas such as education, healthcare, and alternative
energy, leaving her with no substantive record on issues she has begun to address forcefully on the campaign trail," Michael Levenson writes in the Sunday
"Legislators said Palin's first 20 months in office reflect the priorities of a woman whose campaign emphasized trust in government and increasing
state revenues from oil and gas concerns rather than bread-and-butter issues like schools and healthcare. While many praise Palin for making good on some of
those promises, they say she has not shown much interest in developing a detailed or broad agenda," Levenson writes.
More of what she hasn't done: "Gov. Sarah Palin is about as anti-abortion as a politician can be, and crusaders on the issue say they can't
imagine a better candidate," Lisa Demer reports in the Sunday Anchorage
Daily News. "Yet she has not pushed that agenda in her nearly two years as governor. She backed a couple of anti-abortion bills that died in the state
Legislature during the regular session, but didn't add them to the agenda during special sessions this summer."
Observations on leadership, from the Anchorage Daily News' editorial
board: "Palin racked up her legislative victories even though her allies in the Legislature criticized her lobbying effort. Here at the Daily News, we
repeatedly heard the complaint: The governor is missing in action; her staffers aren't working the halls the way they should be. Palin dislikes the
give-and-take that usually helps smooth the way for political decisions. She states her case and expects legislators to base their actions on the merits of the
A nick, on what wasn't done on ethics reform: "Yet a strange thing happened on the ethics issue once Palin became governor: She appeared to lose
interest in completing the task of legislating comprehensive reform, some who supported the cleanup say," Tom Hamburger and Kim Murphy write in the Los Angeles
Times. "The ethics bill she offered was so incomplete that its supporters had to undertake a significant rewrite. Moreover, when it came to building
support for the bill, politicians in both parties say the new governor was often unaccountably absent from the fray."
What she might have done (and the campaign doesn't want you to know too much about): "Key Alaska allies of John McCain are trying to derail a
politically charged investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner in order to prevent a so-called 'October
surprise' that would produce embarrassing information about the vice presidential candidate on the eve of the election," per Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball.
"In a move endorsed by the McCain campaign Friday, John Coghill, the GOP chairman of the state House Rules Committee, wrote a letter seeking a meeting
of Alaska's bipartisan Legislative Council in order to remove the Democratic state senator in charge of the so-called 'troopergate'
investigation," they report.
What her church is doing: "Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power
of prayer," the AP's Rachel D'Oro reports. "
'You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,' according to the
insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years."
A turn to the economy -- but on whose terms? "The back-to-back Democratic and Republican National Conventions sketched wildly different pictures of
America, its challenges and the qualities it needs in its next president," Jim Tankersley and Christi Parsons write in
the Chicago Tribune. "Now the visions will collide for the two-month homestretch of the general election campaign, and the outcome could depend on
which version rings truer with voters."
The Biden-McCain smackdown: " 'Hey John,' said Biden when he encountered a life-size cardboard cut-out of the Republican nominee late in his
flight from Wilmington, Del., to Kalispell, Mont.," per ABC's Matthew Jaffe. "Biden then grabbed the McCain cut-out by the shoulder and threw it down face-first so he could prop his
foot up on the previously occupied seat and address reporters onboard the flight. McCain did not fight back."
Who's been in Washington too long? "When I got to the Senate some 400 years ago, it was a Democratic state, and it's gonna be a Democratic
state again," Biden said Sunday in Montana, per the Daily Inter Lake's John Stang.
An unfortunate slip: "My Muslim faith," Obama said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "The three words - immediately corrected - were
uttered during an exchange with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on 'This Week,' when Mr. Obama was trying to criticize the quiet smear campaign
suggesting that he is a Muslim," per the Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni. "Within one hour of the interview, anti-Obama groups had edited it out of context
and were sending it around via e-mail. They also were blogging about it."
And a reminder of how wacky it's been: "Anyone who predicts with any certainty what will happen in the next eight weeks ought to explain how well
they forecast what would happen in the past eight days," Bloomberg's Al Hunt writes.
Obama plans to take his daughters to their first day of school Monday morning in Chicago, before flying to Michigan for events in Flint and Farmington Hills.
Obama does MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" at 8 pm ET.
Biden campaigns Monday in
Green Bay, Wis., and at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, and overnights in Missouri.
McCain and Palin campaign together Monday in suburban Kansas City. "Winning the suburban vote in places such as Lee's Summit is seen as key to
winning Missouri in November," per the Kansas City Star's Steve
The marquee events may be the ones surrounded Hillary, who stumps in Orlando and Tampa for Obama on Monday. Per Politico: "Clinton's key symbolic role is in reminding her
supporters that she's with Obama, not Palin, but Clintonites say not to expect harsh attacks on the Alaska governor. . . . Her aides say she'll cast
the choice as one between change and more of the same."
Also in the news:
The New York Post is out
with its endorsement: "McCain's lifelong record of service to America, his battle-tested courage, unshakeable devotion to principle and clear
grasp of the dangers and opportunities now facing the nation stand in dramatic contrast to the tissue-paper-thin résumé of his Democratic opponent, freshman
Sen. Barack Obama."
A new anti-Obama 527: "Republican political strategists in California are setting up a new political organization which hopes to run television
commercials undermining the central themes of Senator Obama's presidential campaign while underscoring the strengths of his Republican opponent,"
Josh Gerstein writes in the
New York Sun. "Leadership for America's Future was formally created on Thursday by a Sacramento, Calif.-based attorney, Thomas Hiltachk, according
to a form registering the so-called 527 group with the Internal Revenue Service. The organization's slick Web site includes a 30-second video (click on
'MEDIA') that shows images of war and misery around the world as an announcer gravely warns of the dangers of putting America in untested
Another nugget from Obama's
"This Week" interview: "I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and you know, honorable option," Obama said.
It's been a while since we had a good, meaty lobbying story: "A top adviser to John McCain's campaign, former lobbyist Charlie Black,
previously represented a Moscow think tank run by former Russian Telecommunications Minister Leonid Reiman," Glenn R. Simpson writes in The Wall Street Journal. "Mr. Reiman, who
has long been a close associate of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is now an adviser to President Dmitry Medvedev."
Ted isn't ready for work yet: "Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who has brain cancer, will not be on Capitol Hill this week when Congress returns from
its summer break," per the AP's Andrew Miga. "He intends to work from his Massachusetts home this fall and return to the Senate in January. A
Kennedy aide said yesterday that the Democratic lawmaker's doctors are pleased with his progress, but want him to keep working from home through the
"The announcement marked a change in plans for Kennedy; his aides and colleagues had said throughout the summer that he would return this week as
Congress reconvened after a five-week recess and headed into a final legislative sprint before the November elections," The Washington Post's Paul Kane
Big changes on big nights on MSNBC: Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews are out of the anchor chairs. "After months of accusations of political bias and
simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory
would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage," per The New York Times' Brian Stelter. "The change --
which comes in the home stretch of the long election cycle -- is a direct result of tensions associated with the channel's perceived shift to the political
Surrogate silliness: Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., makes his views known: "Do you really want to have a guy as commander in chief of this country when
you can question whether or not he really loves his country?" said Inhofe, per the Tulsa World's Jim Myers.
"That's the big question.''
Howard Gutman, an original member of Obama's national finance committee, makes his views known, on the subject of the Palins' parenting skills:
"This wasn't a working mother issue, this was a parent issue," he told radio host Laura Ingraham, per ABC's Jake Tapper. "The proper attack is not
that a woman shouldn't run for vice president with five kids, it's that a parent, when they have a family in need, a Down's baby who needs them ---
mother or father. . . . They put their family above their career. . . Your responsibility is to put your family first."
Coming Thursday: McCain and Obama plan to take a pause from the campaign to appear together at Ground Zero, on the seventh anniversary of 9/11. Per ABC: "The Senators are both scheduled to appear
later that evening at the 'ServiceNation Presidential Candidate Forum' at Columbia University," moderated by Judy Woodruff and Richard
"She looks like she's got some game. . . . On the basketball court, I think I'd stand up pretty well." -- Barack Obama, saying he'd accept a challenge to play
Sarah Palin in HORSE -- but making clear he wants to keep his shooting to baskets.
"It's an honor to follow in the footsteps of a great American." -- John McCain, told that he was surpassing Bob
Dole's record with his 65th appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation." (Sarah Palin is only 65 appearances back.)
Sep 8 08 3:52 PM
Sep 8 08 4:02 PM
I think she's rejuvenated McCain's dirty little mind. He looks so happy and giggly like a school boy, or
maybe I should say old fool, when he is with her.
Sep 8 08 4:31 PM
Sep 8 08 4:58 PM
The current Real Clear Politics electoral map; reflects
the latest polls and is not a prediction of the outcome
Forget my conversation with the sardonic, Southern-fried Fred Thompson. Forget my coverage of the gassy St. Paul protests. And forget my behind-the-scenes profile of the man who's
prepping Sarah Palin for the spotlight. When I returned to New York from Minnesota last week, I discovered over the course of dozens of conversations with
actual human beings that there's only one question on the minds of people who aren't paid to obsess over Election 2008: So who's going to win
Never mind that my business card says "reporter" and not "Nostradamus." When I gave an honest answer--"I have no idea"*--people
pounced. "What do you mean you have no idea?" they said. "You've been covering this stuff for, like, a year." They had a point. So
instead of avoiding the question, I've decided to launch Stumper's postconvention coverage with an in-depth look at where the race stands right now.
Because while polls are terrible at predicting what will happen two months hence, they're actually pretty good at showing how people would vote if the
election were held today. (After all, that is the question pollsters ask their victims.) And judging by the latest stats, the race has reached its
most interesting and perplexing point since... well, ever.
From the end of the primary season on June 3 until the shortly before the start of the Democratic Convention late last month, the Real Clear Politics average--a blend
of the most recent half dozen or so national match-ups between Barack Obama and John McCain--told an essentially static story: despite never breaking the
magical 50 percent mark, Obama led McCain by a steady three to six points for months. But two back-to-back conventions--which typically mark the point when the
public begins to pay attention--have scrambled those jets. After arriving in Denver tied with McCain for the first time since late May--45.1 percent for Obama
to 43.9 percent for McCain--Obama appeared to depart with a five-point boost. By Sept. 2, in fact, he was ahead of McCain 49.2 to 42.8--his largest share of
the vote to date and his widest average lead (at 6.4 percent) since late June. Now, however, that lead has been neutralized. With the festivities in St. Paul
finally finished, the race has reverted to a tie--46.7 to 45.5. Only this time it's McCain who has the advantage in the RCP average--his first since
Hillary Clinton hung up her spurs.
In other words, McCain--yes, that McCain--is winning, at least on a national level.
Should Obamans be worried? Absolutely. But that's not because the latest polls have revealed something shocking about the election. Instead, the new
numbers simply confirm what expert observers knew all along--that the race would get really, really close once the public finally tuned in. And before you
Democrats start shopping for cyanide--and/or before you Republicans start booking rooms for Mac's inaugural bash--there are three caveats to consider.
First, while McCain's convention bump is real, it's far too early to tell whether he's actually ahead of Obama. That's because the Real Clear
Politics average includes one poll--the new USA Today/Gallup--that shows something dramatically different from the rest of the post-convention surveys: McCain
leading 54 percent to 44 percent, the largest edge for either candidate since Obama mounted a few double-digit margins in mid-June. Given that the two other
soundings taken over the same time period resulted in a dead heat--Rasmussen, 48-47; CNN/ORC, 48-48--it's prudent, for now, to assume that Gallup is a bit
of an outlier until other polls confirm its 10-point split.
The second caveat relates to the reason why Gallup shows such a wide margin. While most polling outfits at this stage focus solely on registered voters (i.e.,
anyone who answers the phone and is registered to vote), Gallup has also turned its attention to likely voters (i.e., respondents most likely to show up on
Election Day, according to "how much thought [they] have given to the election, how often they say they vote and whether they plan to vote in the election
in November"). Screening for likely voters is tricky business, especially this year. For starters, the old screening models--which tend to favor
tried-and-true Republican demographics--may not apply to an election in which Team Obama is investing massive resources in turning out subgroups (young people,
African-Americans) traditionally underrepresented at the polls. But the more important thing to remember is that shifts in the likely voter pool correspond to
fluctuation in voter enthusiasm--and thus, according to statistical studies, vastly "exaggerate the volatility of voter
Here's the deal. Thanks to Sarah Palin and the party in St. Paul, "there has been a very substantial jump in the
percentage of Republicans saying they are more enthusiastic about voting in this election, from 42% a week ago (after the Democratic convention, but before the
Republican convention) to 60% today," according to Gallup--a leap that has narrowed the "enthusiasm gap" between the parties from "19 points in the Democrats' favor
a week ago to only seven points today." Gallup credits McCain's newfound national lead to this burst of enthusiasm. But the problem is that while the
GOP's joviality is an important development--it means that McCain will have an easier time turning out his base in November--revved-up Republicans only
account for about 45 percent of the electorate. That's not nearly enough people to boost McCain to an actual 10-point lead. What a group that size can do,
however--especially when they get excited--is skew Gallup's assessment of who's likely to vote further to the right than usual. And that, according to polling expert Nate Silver, is exactly what
they've done: "Republicans, especially evangelical conservatives, are pumped now, after having been indifferent toward John McCain for most of the
election cycle. They may be picking up the phone when a pollster calls [where] they had been screening out the call before, perhaps to the extent that they are
biasing the sample." Case in point: the same Gallup poll shows McCain ahead 50 percent to 46 percent among registered voters--i.e., everyone Gallup
called, as opposed to only the ones who expressed extreme enthusiasm. That's probably the more accurate result.
Our final caveat? Presidential election are fought on a state-by-state basis--not in the national polls. Here, the picture doesn't look quite as rosy for
McCain. According to Real Clear Politics, Obama
currently leads in each of John Kerry's 2004 states, including top McCain targets Michigan (+4.3 percent), New Hampshire (+0.3 percent), Pennsylvania (+5.0
percent) and Wisconsin (+7.2 percent). He also leads by healthy margins in a pair of Bush states: New Mexico (+4.3 percent) and Iowa (+9.0 percent). If Obama
can hold these advantages until Election Day, he'll wind up with at least 263 electoral votes--seven shy of victory. That's where the red states of
Virginia and Colorado come in. At this point, Obama's leading in the latter (+0.4 percent) and tied in the former. Win either one and the White House is
his. At this point, RCP gives the Democrat 273 EVs (Colorado, no Virginia) to McCain's 265; the prediction whizzes at FiveThirtyEight.com are even more
optimistic, projecting additional Obama victories in Virginia and Ohio for a final score of 304 to 234. Which means that while McCain is "winning"
nationally, Obama is ahead in the electoral college.
That said, we should probably add one more caveat to the list: no battleground state polls have been released since the second day of the Republican
Convention. If the national surveys are right and McCain has in fact received a five-point post-St. Paul bounce, that
enthusiasm will almost certainly trickle down. That means that Obama's narrow leads in New Hampshire and Colorado could vanish, and that McCain could pull
ahead in Virginia. Palin has already taken Alaska and Georgia (evangelicals) off of Obama's wish list and put Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington--implausibly--on McCain's. If the post-convention state polls fluctuate
as much as their national counterparts have, we'll be right back where we began:
With no idea who's winning this thing.*
Check back on Nov. 4.
*These lines previously originally included the word "effing" as intensifier. After realizing that more than a few
readers were offended by my use of the bloggy adjective, I decided to edit it out. Personally, I'm no fan of gratuitous cursing--or near-cursing--and saw
no reason not to excise what was a spur-of-the-moment inclusion that doesn't really reflect the way I speak. Thanks for the feedback,
Sep 8 08 8:21 PM
Suddenly, it's Poll City around here today.
As The Ticket reported
earlier, the new Gallup/USA Today poll found a significant post-convention bounce for the John McCain-Sarah Palin ticket, a turnaround of 8 points to give the M-S ticket a
4-point lead over Barack Obama-Joe Biden.
But now this afternoon come two more national polls essentially confirming the same trends with some significant subterranean
-- the ABC News/Washington Post national poll of registered voters, which shows Obama's 6-point August lead has evaporated to
produce a 47-46 Obama-McCain statistical tie,
-- and a CNN/Opinion Research poll, which shows the race still tied at 48% apiece but McCain making significant gains in how voters
view his handling of the economy, Iraq and healthcare.
The most surprising results -- and surely the most disturbing for the freshman Illinois senator's camp -- are the immense gains
McCain has made among white women following the Republican National Convention and the well-received prime-time speech by Palin.
In barely three weeks since before the Democratic convention last month, that crucial group of female voters has moved from 50-42 in
Obama's favor to 53-41 for McCain now.
That's a huge 20-point shift in almost as many days, no doubt attributed in large part to the addition of a woman to the
Republican ticket, Alaskan Gov. Palin, for the first time in the party's 164-year history.
Sep 8 08 8:50 PM
A Gallup Poll to be released Tuesday shows that Mr. McCain's backing among independent voters jumped 12 percentage points in recent days,
providing welcome news for a Republican candidate who has been torn between nurturing his maverick appeal to independents and trying to appease the party's
He somehow satisfied both groups at the party convention last week in St. Paul, Minn., where he energized core Republican voters by naming
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, but also emphasized the ticket's commitment to changing Washington through bipartisanship.
"Clearly, he is moving on the independents," Gallup Poll editor-in-chief Frank Newport said of the new survey that helps explain
how Mr. McCain of Arizona gained ground.
The poll shows support for Mr. McCain among independents spiked from 40 percent to 52 percent, his largest share of the independent vote
since Gallup began tracking the race.
Sen. John McCain is all smiles at a rally in Lee's Summit, Mo., as polls show him in the lead and gaining support among
independents and Democrats. (Associated Press)
Mr. McCain also gained five points among Democrats, from 9 percent to 14 percent.
Compounding Mr. Obama's challenges, about 29 percent of former rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's backers - more than 5 million
voters - say they will cast their ballots for Mr. McCain, according to pollster John Zogby.
"He's a good candidate and a resilient fellow. We've just got to see how resilient a guy he is," Mr. Zogby said.
Mr. McCain took a 49 percent to 44 percent lead Monday in the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll of registered voters, a six-point bounce for Mr.
McCain since before the convention. A USA Today/Gallup Poll published Monday showed him opening a 10-point lead over Mr. Obama of Illinois, 54 percent to 44
percent, among likely voters.
These are the largest advantages that Mr. McCain has scored in months. He had consistently trailed Mr. Obama in most polls throughout the
Sep 8 08 10:44 PM
Sep 9 08 10:10 PM
In that poll, Obama holds a narrow one-point lead over McCain (47-46 percent), which is down from his
three-point advantage in August (45-42 percent) and six-point edge in July (47-41 percent).
The findings from this survey - which was conducted of 860 registered voters from Sept. 6-8, and which has a
margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points - are consistent with other recent national polls showing the race to essentially be tied after the
conventions and vice presidential selections.
Looking inside the numbers, McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate appears to have not only
attracted female voters, but boosted McCain's association with changing the country's direction, and energized members of the Republican Party.
In fact, the number of GOP respondents who say they're excited about McCain's candidacy is nearly three times higher than it was last month.
The poll also shows that Obama has improved his standing on some key issues, including several publically-perceived shortcomings. They
include whether he would be a risky choice for president and whether he shares certain voters' values and backgrounds.
It's more evidence that this presidential contest keeps getting tighter.
"This is kind of the political equivalent of the tortoise and the hare," said Republican pollster
Neil Newhouse, who conducted this survey with Democrat Peter D. Hart. "McCain continues to gain as we get closer to Election Day."
One significant shift in the poll is among women. Back in August, Obama was leading McCain by 14 points. Now his lead is just four
And just a month ago, McCain trailed Obama by 20 points among women ages 18 to 49. Now the Arizona Republican
leads by three points.
'The Palin factor'
The pollsters attribute these shifts primarily to McCain's pick of the Alaska governor.
"The Palin factor is remarkable," said Newhouse. "She has clearly added an excitement factor.
There is no question about that."
Indeed, 34 percent of McCain voters say they're excited about his candidacy, which is up from 12 percent
But Republicans still face a significant enthusiasm gap in their contest with Democrats. The percentage of
Obama voters who say they're excited about his candidacy is now at 55, up nine points from last month.
Overall, 34 percent say the Palin selection makes them more likely to vote for McCain, versus 25 percent who
say the opposite. Forty percent believe it doesn't make a difference.
By comparison, 24 percent say that Obama's selection of Joe Biden to be his running mate makes them more
likely to vote for the Illinois Democrat in the fall, compared to 16 percent who say the pick makes them less likely to vote for him.
"Clearly, Sarah Palin has hit a gusher," said Hart. "All of these things say that her initial
introduction to American has been a very solid and positive introduction."
But Hart cautioned that her boost could be fleeting.
He recalled a similar bounce after Walter Mondale unveiled Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in 1984.
"The faster they rise, the steeper they descend."
White House connections
Aug. 20, 2008
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Jan. 30, 2006
Seventy-four percent believe McCain would closely follow Bush's programs and policies. That's
virtually unchanged from August, when 77 percent believed that about the GOP nominee.
"He hasn't shaken the perception that his programs and policies would be closely aligned with
President Bush's," explained Newhouse, the GOP pollster.
McCain, however, has made some progress in portraying himself as an agent of change.
According to the poll, 35 percent say that the Arizona senator is very likely or somewhat likely to bring
real change to the country. That's up considerably from June, when just 21 percent said that about McCain.
By comparison, 52 percent believe that Obama would bring change to the country, which is up four points since
Indeed, if it weren't for the bounce that McCain appears to have received after the Palin pick, the
attention would be on much of the progress Obama has made in this poll.
Sep 9 08 10:19 PM
Barack Obama holds a narrow one-point lead over John McCain
"Shoes make me happy"
Sep 9 08 10:33 PM
Barack Obama holds a narrow one-point lead over John McCain
I'm hoping that by the end of September we can be receiving poll updates on the hour, if not the half-hour.
And every 10 min by late Oct.
edited to correct Yankenstein's misuse of the quote function
Barack Obama holds a narrow one-point lead over John McCain
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