Time poll: Virtual dead heat

posted at 9:26 am on June 27, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Those Newsweek and LA Times polls look more and more like outliers or worse.  With both Gallup and Rasmussen showing either outright or virtual ties in their presidential tracking polls, Time offers even more evidence that Barack Obama has failed to pull away from John McCain after clinching the nomination.  Even more troubling, McCain holds his own among a sample of registered voters as opposed to likely voters, a sample that should favor Obama:

Illinois Senator Barack Obama enters the General Election with a tight lead, 43% to 38%, over Arizona Senator John McCain, according to a new TIME Magazine poll of registered voters. The poll shows Obama gaining only a slight bounce from Hillary Clinton’s departure from the campaign early this month.

When undecided voters leaning towards Obama and McCain are accounted for, the race narrows to a mere 4 percentage points, barely above the poll’s 3.5% margin of error. Thirty percent of those who remain undecided said they lean towards McCain, 20% said they were leaning toward Obama with 46% citing no preference. Overall, 28% said they could still change their minds in the four months left before the November election.

After five months of bruising primaries, Obama’s lead now is narrower than the one he held over McCain in TIME’s poll this past February: 48% to 41%, including leaners. The bright spot for Obama is with Latino voters, a group he overwhelmingly lost to Clinton in the primaries, but now leads 51% to 34% over McCain. Among Catholics, another group Obama struggled with in Democratic primaries, McCain leads Obama 57% to 43%.

Time did not include a breakdown of its sample or its methodology, which is a big red flag.  Newsweek and the LA Times oversampled Democrats substantially in reaching their conclusions, and the lack of this data makes it difficult to determine whether the Time poll has the same problem.  Most media outlets include their raw data, and Time’s failure to do so should at least raise eyebrows.

The results should raise eyebrows anyway.  Obama has actually lost ground since February, which dovetails with his collapse in the final months of the Democratic primary.  This tends to underscore the shakiness of the Obama phenomenon; it hasn’t translated into general-election enthusiasm, and the trends are going in the wrong direction.  Among the wider and less-predictive sample of registered voters, that has to cause a great deal of concern among Democrats who thought Obama would sail to victory on the puffery of “hope and change”.

That’s not the only bad news here for Obama either, although Time tries to minimize it:

McCain, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, edged out Obama on national security issues. When asked who “would best protect the U.S. against terrorism,” 53% of respondents chose McCain to just 33% for Obama.

So McCain “edged out” Obama — by twenty points?  That’s better than the lead Time has for Obama among Latinos, which they avoid describing as “edged out”.   Voters trust McCain more than Obama on Iraq by ten points, which shows that the momentum of the Left on Iraq has ebbed significantly since the surge began showing results.  It helps when McCain had it right and Obama’s defeatism has been proven wrong, and as the news continues to improve, that gap will widen further.

Some will say that the voters haven’t paid much attention to the race, and that Obama has plenty of time to put distance between himself and McCain.  However, that ignores the attention Obama has received all throughout this campaign, especially in 2008.  He has graced magazine covers across a wide spectrum of interests and the significance of his candidac has been widely discussed for months, while McCain has had relatively little time in the spotlight.  Obama will receive more scrutiny and less celebration in the coming four months, while McCain’s profile will rise rapidly.  Obama needed to have a big lead before then, a head start to ride out the coming storm.

The more people see of Obama, the less they seem to like him.


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Proof that Obama has jumped the possum.

NeighborhoodCatLady on June 27, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Even more troubling

Who’s side are you on, Ed?
sarc–I know you meant troubling for BO.

jgapinoy on June 27, 2008 at 9:31 AM

That’s not the 45% I used to know.

profitsbeard on June 27, 2008 at 9:35 AM

The more people see of Obama, the less they seem to like him.

Like these Prominent Dems – Who ‘re going to welcome Obama & Clinton’s unity? :-)

Anita on June 27, 2008 at 9:35 AM

I can see the November headline now: “McCain barely edges out Obama by 82 electoral votes, in an election critized as being fraught with irregularities, and covert racism”.

Think_b4_speaking on June 27, 2008 at 9:37 AM

With the 2nd amendment ruling yesterday and the Time poll today, I hold out a little more hope for the sanity of my country. I celebrated yesterday buy purchasing a new shotgun, well at least started the 10 day wait.

TroubledMonkey on June 27, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Let’s see, a leftist, an empty suit, a liar, an opportunist, “oh…did I mention that he’s black?”

What’s not to like?

Jaibones on June 27, 2008 at 9:38 AM

The more people see learn about of Obama, the less they seem to like him.

More accurate Ed.
He is so darned cute that people love to see him.

carbon_footprint on June 27, 2008 at 9:39 AM

So McCain “edged out” Obama — by twenty points?

I think the word they were looking for was “pummeled” or “trounced” or “soundly defeated” … no, wait. A liberal at Time Magazine is interpreting the poll results to favor Obama? Yeah, ‘edged out.’ What a *damned laugh.

wise_man on June 27, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Whenever I read a poll I just think back to election day 2000 or 2004 when even sometime in the early evening election day nobody knew who the hell won or how people voted.

Marcus on June 27, 2008 at 9:41 AM

Racist bastards!

Numbers mean nothing to a lightweight Lightworker.

wccawa on June 27, 2008 at 9:43 AM

“Drive Less, Drill Never, Pay More” is probably not the winning slogan this year.

RBMN on June 27, 2008 at 9:43 AM

I thought that, according to the Boston Globe, Obama was trouncing McCain. These poll takers aren’t getting the memo, obviously.

/sarc

crazy_legs on June 27, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Ed, I think these polls answer the question you asked in the other thread. People in this country ARE noticing that we are winning in Iraq, and they are less and less enamored of a candidate whose entire campaign was launched on a platform of losing the war. Obama lost his footing exactly at the time it became apparent that the surge was working. He really has nothing to say now, and it shows. His embarrassing flip-flopping and shape-shifting is proof that he has no underlying principles on which he stands. Americans see through people like that pretty easily. Yes, they may be tired of Republican rule, but they won’t necessarily turn to someone so new and unknown unless they decide they can trust him. Obama isn’t giving them much reason right now to trust him on anything.

rockmom on June 27, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Look for Obama losing some of the far left nuts since he is flip-flopping on issues to appear more moderate. McCain and Obama are on opposite ends of the spectrum; Obama has a dwindling following while McCain’s is growing.
Hey, McCain is not my first or second pick for the republican nominee; however, seeing how the SCOTUS gun vote was decided by one vote, those SCOTUS appointments trump everything in the upcoming administration.

carbon_footprint on June 27, 2008 at 9:49 AM

Wouldn’t the poll numbers be more accurate,
if the Time poll had just picked up the phone
ans ask Slick Willy to step outside,lick his
finger,stick it in the air,and report back!
(Sarc.)

canopfor on June 27, 2008 at 9:52 AM

I thought that, according to the Boston Globe, Obama was trouncing McCain

Keeef Olbermann claims “the press” are creating these “close polls” because an obvious landslide for Obama (50 states I’d bet he’d predict) would reduce sales and ratings. So they have to sell you how “close” things are – heaven forbid McCain close up shop even before the convention he’s in reality so far behind.
I’m pretty sure whoever he was talking to on that segment last night agreed with him.

Marcus on June 27, 2008 at 9:53 AM

oops,that should be and,not ans :).

canopfor on June 27, 2008 at 9:53 AM

McCain isn’t even working the weekends, he’s got a fraction of the media coverage, he hasn’t started running ads, and he’s even in the race.

I will be very proud to vote for John McCain and call him President.

indythinker on June 27, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Our corrupt news media caught red handed.

Travis1 on June 27, 2008 at 9:55 AM

McCain, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, edged out Obama on national security issues. When asked who “would best protect the U.S. against terrorism,” 53% of respondents chose McCain to just 33% for Obama.
So McCain “edged out” Obama — by twenty points?

I guess this is a tacit admission by Time that Republicans *usually* beat the Democrat on this kind of issue by around 10-15 points so that, when someone like McCain is leading by *another* 5 points or so, it looks like a “slight edge” on the norm.

:-D

RD on June 27, 2008 at 9:56 AM

How the hell am I going to stay relevant if all this optimism keeps getting spread around? Ed, you are giving us whoa-is-me folks a bad name.

Seriously, I can’t put any faith in these early polls. All any pollster has to do to keep his job is get the poll closest to the election right. They can push and pull the polls to suit whatever business deal they have at the time.

Limerick on June 27, 2008 at 9:57 AM

polling what a science. when you oversample aren’t you supposed to take into account the number of GOP vs Dem vs Ind? You would not want the same amount of each when there are a lot more Dems out there.

But in any case one scenario always repeats with you Captain and your readers … polls basically suck … unless they agree with you. But isn’t it weird that we see none of these national polls with McCain leading by 4-5 points? Says a lot when the right wing leaning readership gets excited when a poll shows the old confused guy with a tie!

Monkei on June 27, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Me thinks, as the election gets closer to November,
MSM lefty’s will jack the poll numbers up a tad,
just remember,

MSM propaganda,Obama “Yes we can” jack up the poll
numbers,or

Obama,we will hope and change the poll numbers!

canopfor on June 27, 2008 at 9:59 AM

Prediction: Hussein’s convention bounce will consist entirely of the moonbat riots there making the Democrats look mainstream.

Akzed on June 27, 2008 at 9:59 AM

just 33% for Obama.

“All we are saaaaaaaaying, is give peace a chance.”
Bobama Code Pink ’08

maverick muse on June 27, 2008 at 10:01 AM

HEADLINE: DNC House Organ Reluctantly Announces Bad News. Publishers Vow “It Won’t Happen Again.”

whitetop on June 27, 2008 at 10:01 AM

seeing how the SCOTUS gun vote was decided by one vote, those SCOTUS appointments trump everything in the upcoming administration.

While that’s true, what sort of judges do you think this Senate will approve? So far, the signs point to larger democrat majorities, make sure you support congressional candidates.

I R A Darth Aggie on June 27, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Obama will receive more scrutiny and less celebration in the coming four months, while McCain’s profile will rise rapidly.

If we’re talking MSM, that assumption regarding coverage takes the audacity of hope. But if we’re talking conservative blogs and talk radio, McCain should thank his survivor star to be so fortunate.

maverick muse on June 27, 2008 at 10:04 AM

The Messiah will be hoping for change he can live with.

shaken on June 27, 2008 at 10:05 AM

make sure you support congressional candidates.

Great, great point.

carbon_footprint on June 27, 2008 at 10:05 AM

The Messiah will be hoping for change he can live with.

shaken on June 27, 2008 at 10:05 AM

haha
And don’t forget that when he alters himself he’s only Barack-tracking*

(via Gateway Pundit)

maverick muse on June 27, 2008 at 10:08 AM

polling what a science. when you oversample aren’t you supposed to take into account the number of GOP vs Dem vs Ind? You would not want the same amount of each when there are a lot more Dems out there.

But in any case one scenario always repeats with you Captain and your readers … polls basically suck … unless they agree with you. But isn’t it weird that we see none of these national polls with McCain leading by 4-5 points? Says a lot when the right wing leaning readership gets excited when a poll shows the old confused guy with a tie!

Monkei on June 27, 2008 at 9:59 AM

A couple of those polls oversampled Dems by 14 or 15 points. Election results show Dems outnumbering Repubs by only half that amount.

As for polling “favoring” McCain, the daily Gallup trial heats have showed him basically tied with Barry for ages. In May, he was ahead of Obama for almost half of the month, and actually led O’Bama by as much as 6 points (early May).

But that was never reported since it didn’t fit the media’s pro-Obama template.

Del Dolemonte on June 27, 2008 at 10:10 AM

I’m surprised Time didn’t provide its polling sample breakdowns with this, since Obama’s supporters certainly would want to see if there was an oversampling of Republicans, in the same way the Newsweek poll far oversampled Democrats to get Barack his 15-point lead.

But again, none of these polls for public consumption mean much because they’re not quantifiable this far out from Election Day. The internal polls the campaigns don’t release, and which strive for much more accuracy, are something to watch, as far as how the campaigns are behaving, and for that reason I suspect the Time poll is a lot closer to the truth than the Newsweek poll, because of how Obama has campaigned this week in reaction to the recent Supreme Court decisions. A Barack Obama who actually had a 15-point lead wouldn’t have thrown the left side of the Court under the bus on the gun rights and death penalty for child rapist rulings; instead he’s moving right at the same time McCain is also moving to the right on offshore oil drilling. That’s not the signs of a candidate who already has things on cruise control.

jon1979 on June 27, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Prediction.

Akzed on June 27,2008 at 9:59PM.

Akzed:Good point,moonbats riot,here are the headlines!

“Riots in Denver,Thugs force poll numbers up”!

canopfor on June 27, 2008 at 10:12 AM

The more people see of Obama, the less they seem to like him.

And just wait until after the first debate or two…Obama’s numbers will fall even more, and McCain’s will jump.

May has well start monogramming the White House towels “JSM”…

JetBoy on June 27, 2008 at 10:17 AM

“Edged out.”

Monkei on June 27, 2008 at 9:59 AM

misterpeasea on June 27, 2008 at 10:21 AM

indythinker –

McCain is running TV ads in Pennsylvania. I’ve seen them several times. He’s getting a lot of free media with his town hall meetings in the battleground states, too. I have only seen the Obama ad once.

rockmom on June 27, 2008 at 10:22 AM

canopfor on June 27, 2008 at 9:59 AM

That guy from Newsweek wolffe(?) who looks a bit like an extra-terrestrial was on olbermann the other night talking about how these ‘huge poll leads’ for Obama can create their ‘own dynamic’ and effect the race by depressing conservatives, lowering turn out, etc..

So basically they were spelling out a convenient way to help rig the election on top of the 10-1 air / media time they hand to Obama. I’m not sure of the details because I can’t watch olberman for more than 2 minute bursts.

saus on June 27, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Our corrupt news media caught red handed.
Travis1 on June 27, 2008 at 9:55 AM

Caught red handed, again. Just like before. And before that. And before that …

And they will get away with it again, and again, and again …

wise_man on June 27, 2008 at 10:29 AM

And just wait until after the first debate or two…Obama’s numbers will fall even more, and McCain’s will jump.

I don’t think that will be the case. but who knows.

I do think that the bumps each candidates will get out of their convention will not be comparable. Obama and his so called message of hope will work far better than McCain’s so called message of continue to be scared.

Monkei on June 27, 2008 at 10:35 AM

Don’t ever stop using that picture, Ed. Every time I see it I get a smile on my face.

“Hmmm. So I have a fake cardboard seal. Now I guess I should get some old clothes and newspaper and make my self a Cabinet.”

Chuck Schick on June 27, 2008 at 10:36 AM

And just wait until after the first debate or two…Obama’s numbers will fall even more, and McCain’s will jump.

This is my feeling as well. Obama is a great speaker and an okay debater — when he is debating someone who does not seriously challenge him and/or intimidate him. McCain intimidates Obama because McCain is a man while Obama has girl hands.

Now McCain, obviously, sucks at speeches but will get his points across during debates. I hope he gets his blood up and gets so testy with Obama that Obama wets his pants.

carbon_footprint on June 27, 2008 at 10:48 AM

McCain’s so called message of continue to be scared.

Who is scared? I was scared for our nation’s security for weeks after 9/11. However, I now feel safe and secure thanks to the GWOT and the fact that we have not had any terrorism on our soil in almost seven years. Seven years! I would not have predicted that after 9/11.

The only thing that scares me is Barack Obama becoming president.

carbon_footprint on June 27, 2008 at 10:51 AM

May has well start monogramming the White House towels “JSM”…

JetBoy on June 27, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Now, now – none of that talk… Got a long way to go, and the world’s a hazardous place. I loathe the Big O too much to trust my own low estimation of his skills and appeal. In the meantime people keep telling me that he’s the favorite.

Maybe, just maybe, the fact that McCain appears in contention will settle the Republican ranks and reduce the motivation of pundits and bloggers to insult him and his campaign. If he peeked into the green in a poll or two at this stage of the race, that would help even more, and give the Obamanauts reason to move from worry to panic. Right now, that’s just a daydream.

CK MacLeod on June 27, 2008 at 10:52 AM

That guy from Newsweek wolffe.

saus on June,27,2008 at 10:22PM.

saus: Sounds about right from the desperate left,btw
love your site,and I’m pro Israel. :)

canopfor on June 27, 2008 at 11:06 AM

I hope McCain edges out Obama by twenty points come November.

tgharris on June 27, 2008 at 11:44 AM

It’s really cool when they include Republicans in the polls too.

drjohn on June 27, 2008 at 11:48 AM

It’s really cool when they include Republicans in the polls too.

drjohn on June 27, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Just wait till the NYT comes out with a poll that randomly samples 50 people seen leaving a party at Obama’s house.

Chuck Schick on June 27, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Obama consistently gets fewer votes than polls would indicate.
.
There is a segment of voters who do not want harrassment, so they claim to support Obama but actually vote for his opponent.

Right_of_Attila on June 27, 2008 at 12:06 PM

Obama consistently gets fewer votes than polls would indicate.
.
There is a segment of voters who do not want harrassment, so they claim to support Obama but actually vote for his opponent.

I think you’re on to something here. When people are asked whether they’re going to vote for Obama or not, they’re probably saying Obama because they think that if they say McCain that the next question they’re going to get asked is: “Are you not voting for Obama because of race?” But when those people are by themselves in the voting booth, many of them will like as not end up voting for McCain.

I have a feeling the pollsters and the media are going to be very surprised come election day.

Matt Helm on June 27, 2008 at 12:12 PM

I really, really, really want to see the messiah’s followers rip those bumper stickers off while crying.

SouthernGent on June 27, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Caption for that thread picture, which is absolutely amazingly telling

Emptiness staring at abyss

Entelechy on June 27, 2008 at 12:28 PM

McCain… edged out Obama on national security issues… 53% of respondents chose McCain to just 33% for Obama.

And in other news, MSM revenues soared by another negative 10 percent compared to last year, tracking well with their trustworthiness ratings, which are exceeding even those of the Pelosi – Reid Congress!!

drunyan8315 on June 27, 2008 at 12:48 PM

captain, it is very predictable that you would use the Time poll … because the old confused guy is tied with the black guy … but what about your love of the Rasmussen poll you have touted for years now because “they were the most reliable”. (based on the Bush approval ratings being higher I seem to remember) Are they tied in the daily Rasmussen poll?

Just wondering.

Mr Carbon Footprint feels safe … isn’t that special.

We worry about terrorists … in the meantime we continue our addiction to oil … oil is what is going to bring us down, we will be destroyed economically not by terrorist threats. So let’s all drill for more! Sorry, didn’t mean to get off topic, terror and polling is the thread.

Monkei on June 27, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Are they tied in the daily Rasmussen poll?

Monkei on June 27, 2008 at 12:49 PM

They are not. Obama is +4 with leaners in the Rasmussen daily tracking, and +4 with leaners in the Time poll.

The issue is not whether Obama is ahead in these two polls. He is. He is just not ahead very much (and not at all in the Gallup daily tracking), and that is historically not the case with Dem candidates at this point in the race. Even Dem losers have polled better than Obama: for example, Kerry led Bush all through July and look what happened to him.

Some folks seem to be banking on an Obama groundswell after the convention. But if he is such a fabulous amazing candidate and McCain is McBush/McSame/confused old guy and this race is the Democrats’ to lose, why isn’t Obama doing better in the polls NOW?

Missy on June 27, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Monkei on June 27, 2008 at 12:49 PM

What an apropos name for an obama supporter.

elduende on June 27, 2008 at 1:54 PM

I think something is going very wrong here

drunyan8315 on June 27, 2008 at 2:32 PM

McCain just might win this thing.

Terrye on June 27, 2008 at 5:01 PM

Yeah, McCain “edged” out Obama. Just like the casino has an “edge” at Keno.

viking999 on June 28, 2008 at 2:37 AM