Newsweek Poll: Obama drops like a rock

posted at 6:53 pm on July 11, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Last month, Newsweek’s poll surprised many by showing a huge gap between Barack Obama and John McCain, with the Democratic nominee-apparent enjoying a 15-point lead over the Republican.  One month later, Obama has lost all of the momentum and has dropped into a virtual tie with McCain.  The latest Newsweek poll shows Obama up 44-41, within the margin of error:

A month after emerging victorious from the bruising Democratic nominating contest, some of Barack Obama‘s glow may be fading. In the latest NEWSWEEK Poll, the Illinois senator leads Republican nominee John McCain by just 3 percentage points, 44 percent to 41 percent. The statistical dead heat is a marked change from last month’s NEWSWEEK Poll, where Obama led McCain by 15 points, 51 percent to 36 percent.

Obama’s rapid drop comes at a strategically challenging moment for the Democratic candidate. Having vanquished Hillary Clinton in early June, Obama quickly went about repositioning himself for a general-election audience–an unpleasant task for any nominee emerging from the pander-heavy primary contests and particularly for a candidate who’d slogged through a vigorous primary challenge in most every contest from January until June. Obama’s reversal on FISA legislation, his support of faith-based initiatives and his decision to opt out of the campaign public-financing system left him open to charges he was a flip-flopper. In the new poll, 53 percent of voters (and 50 percent of former Hillary Clinton supporters) believe that Obama has changed his position on key issues in order to gain political advantage.

More seriously, some Obama supporters worry that the spectacle of their candidate eagerly embracing his old rival, Hillary Clinton, and traveling the country courting big donors at lavish fund-raisers, may have done lasting damage to his image as an arbiter of a new kind of politics. This is a major concern since Obama’s outsider credentials, have, in the past, played a large part in his appeal to moderate, swing voters. In the new poll, McCain leads Obama among independents 41 percent to 34 percent, with 25 percent favoring neither candidate. In June’s NEWSWEEK Poll, Obama bested McCain among independent voters, 48 percent to 36 percent.

The sample probably provides the quickest analysis of why Newsweek got such a wide variance in their polling [see update below].  The June sample had 324 Democrats to only 231 Republicans, and the overall sample size was smaller.  In July, they may have swung a little too far the other way, with  324 Democrats again but 315 Republicans.  The actual difference in registration figures are wider than that, but not nearly as wide as June’s sample.

But there is a definite momentum away from Obama, especially within the independents.  June’s poll, taken only three weeks ago, had Obama ahead by 12 points, 48-36.   Obama has lost a whopping 14 points among independents and now trails McCain, 34-41.  “Undecided/Other” rose among independents from 16% in June to 25% in July, which likely shows flirtation with third-party candidates such as Ralph Nader and Bob Barr — but some went to McCain as well.

The Hillary Clinton supporters didn’t show any real movement at all.  They went 70/17 in the new poll, and in June went 69/18.  Despite Obama’s suggestion that he attracts Republicans in large numbers, the crossover vote is almost identical, just as it was last month.

Newsweek speculates that Obama’s embrace of Hillary has damaged his brand of New Politics.  That did a lot less damage than Barack Obama’s series of policy reversals and gaffes over that three-week period.  He has revealed himself as an empty suit and a pandering rookie, and he certainly didn’t need Hillary to point that out.

Update: A reader points out that the last page of the polling data shows a R/D/I split of 28/35/33, which doesn’t match the raw sample numbers.  The report states that Newsweek weighted the data in accordance with demographic information from the Census Bureau.  If they weighted the sample to this degree, then Obama’s in much bigger trouble than I first thought.

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Given his situation, and that we see it for what it is, makes noting his MSM maintainance crew’s work interesting and a bit fun to deride.

“And this is where Obama comes out ahead once all the dust settles. By publicly accepting Jackson’s apology, Obama floated above the whole sordid mess. For everyone watching – especially those blue-collar white voters who were so elusive for him in the primary – this is a powerful reminder that Obama is not cut from the same cloth as the militant race-baiter Jesse Jackson and his ilk.” Charles Hurt is The Post’s Washington Bureau chief.

Hurt’s premise is that Jackson MEANT his whisper to be caught on microphone. I’ll go one further. It was all MEANT to happen so as to queerly bring both Jackson and Obama what they want out of voters. Jackson gets to spew his venom. Obama FOR THE FIRST TIME gets to act as though he accepts an apology. And finally, this gives “journalists” fertile BS from which to enrich their own wholecloth crop of articles fabricating their messiah Obamarx’s virtues.

Asinus asinum fricat. The donkey scratches the donkey. (Stupid and conceited people flatter each other about qualities they do not possess. Mrs. Gump taught stupid is as stupid does.)

maverick muse on July 12, 2008 at 8:43 AM

Wethal on July 11, 2008 at 8:46 PM

Imagine that!

maverick muse on July 12, 2008 at 8:51 AM

How can any poll be worthwhile when the sample can be whatever you want it to be.
How hard is it to go state by state, registered likely voters, party affilation in said state,average out for national result.
Or would that not promote an agenda or sell crummy magazines?

jjshaka on July 12, 2008 at 8:58 AM

Don’t forget audacity. Or did that get thrown under the bus along with Rev. Wright?

phronesis on July 11, 2008 at 8:34 PM

You’re right. We haven’t heard that utterance for a while. He was probably told to give it a rest while he works on polishing his Newspeek 2nd language in time for the Convention. BTW, Someone’s great comment that Obamarx should get an impromptu question in Spanish (ANY foreign language) was taken up by Newt on the Hannity Show next day! The audacity to point out Obamarx’s failings!

The audacity of Obamarx to hope that he can get away with never producing his unaltered legal certificate of live birth to establish his legitimacy as POTUS candidate. Unacceptable record of birth = unproduced legal documentation on record as required by the Constitution. Obamarx’s intense irresponsibility in all things includes his adament disregard and disrespect to establishing his credible example to uphold the rule of law. The onus is Obamarx’s to produce his own record. However, because of the Constitution’s specification, the State of Hawaii has an obligation to provide the nation whatever LEGAL unaltered documentation certifying Obama’s birth. Hiding behind their policy or legislation does not pre-empt the Constitution of the United States. They could at least provide the unaltered legal document to the Supreme Court to verify legitimacy, settling this matter. Of course, the Supreme Court Justices have just proven their own practice of altering documents and records to reflect their own agenda. But there’s Scalia to specify the legality of anything; I would take his word.

maverick muse on July 12, 2008 at 9:10 AM

Or would that not promote an agenda or sell crummy magazines?

jjshaka on July 12, 2008 at 8:58 AM


Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.
False in one thing, false in all.

Remind me, who polled the results that the public distrusts polls? And yet, they continue. Trust/distrust aside, gossip sells like hot cakes. (O, memories of being a kid eating pancakes and then running to the playground with all the other kids…now it’s wake up and smell the coffee.)

maverick muse on July 12, 2008 at 9:20 AM

He’d drop quicker if more people knew that he is a Marxist. I don’t know why McCain isn’t hammering on this already…Matter of fact, the whole Democrat congress is Marxist….When did this stop being the United States???

adamsmith on July 12, 2008 at 9:36 AM

so let me get this straight … when Obama had a 15 point lead in Newsweek, it was poo pood by the wingnuts always present here. Now that it is a 4 point lead the same wingnuts embrace it?


Monkei on July 12, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Well this is certainly bad news for a couple of “conservative” posters.
Obviously we were right in poo pooing the poll, it was wrong…McCain is more then likely ahead.
Hardly a poll exists that isn’t slanted towards the liberals, and they still can’t win.
The only chance for the liberals to win, is to select Hillary, it is just going to get worse when (if) Obama goes one on one with McCain…However, I suspect he will do everything he can to dodge being on the same stage as McCain.

right2bright on July 12, 2008 at 11:37 AM

When did this stop being the United States???

adamsmith on July 12, 2008 at 9:36 AM

When they enacted the 16th and 17th Amendments. The 16th gave the feds the funding and the 17th removed the power of the states to object to how the feds would spend it.

platypus on July 12, 2008 at 11:39 AM

From the Newsweek story:

“Obama’s overall decline from the last NEWSWEEK Poll, published June 20, is hard to explain.”

It is?

I guess Newsweek doesn’t read the news. Given the number of stories reporting Obama’s shifts, ‘clarifications’, etc, what else would they expect? Presumably, they find it puzzling because they find it hard to believe that not everyone is quite so enamored of the eloquent Mr. Obama as they and therefore willing to overlook anything and everything he does.

JDPerren on July 12, 2008 at 12:19 PM


Monkei on July 12, 2008 at 11:26 AM

Feeling really secure there? I doubt it. :oP

DannoJyd on July 12, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Run some more Rev. Wright crap for everyone to see, that’ll help The Dali Bama…

DfDeportation on July 12, 2008 at 12:35 PM

All the gaffes are sure adding up.

nazo311 on July 12, 2008 at 1:39 PM

We still not ‘tarded enough that this zero can collect 51% of the electoral college. Yay.

Akzed on July 12, 2008 at 2:01 PM

All this poll really shows is that Newsweek’s polls are worthless.

Spolitics on July 12, 2008 at 3:49 PM

Newsweek Poll: Obama drops like a rock


As a rock can’t float on water, neither can this false messiah walk on it!

byteshredder on July 12, 2008 at 3:52 PM

Obama is a total loser. When the “political corrections crowd” say they will vote for Obama but then vote for McCain it will confound the media. Hillery might be able to win but not Obama. Thankfully, she is not the candidate (Maybe).

duff65 on July 12, 2008 at 6:00 PM

It’s a Newsweek poll that has a horrible track record. Ignore accordingly.

seanhackbarth on July 12, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Even if you don’t vote for him or agree with his politics you don’t need to call him names.

Terrye on July 11, 2008 at 7:59 PM

He called me names (’nativist’, ‘bigot’, …) first. If McShame wants civilized debate then he should try taking part in civilized debate. Instead, he tries to sneak a bill by, without debate, and then calls us names when we find out about his sneaky and stupid action. You do admit that the way McShame tried to shove the amnesty bill down our throats was sneaky and then stupid, right?

progressoverpeace on July 11, 2008 at 8:10 PM

You’re debating with Terrye, part of the pro-illegal alien echo chamber over at The Strata-Sphere.

smill1953 on July 12, 2008 at 8:17 PM

It’s a Newsweek poll that has a horrible track record. Ignore accordingly.

seanhackbarth on July 12, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Here’s another one. Plus the RCP map.

As a rock can’t float on water, neither can this false messiah walk on it!

byteshredder on July 12, 2008 at 3:52 PM

They heard him speak French this week and said merci beaucoup.

Entelechy on July 12, 2008 at 10:04 PM

Sorry about the link, above.

Entelechy on July 12, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Kralizec on July 11, 2008 at 10:43 PM

It’s amazing to me that my earlier comment didn’t draw any replies. The big picture, as presented at RealClearPolitics, is not at all one of Obama dropping like a rock or of his supporters abandoning ship.


Kralizec on July 14, 2008 at 12:59 AM