Rasmussen: Race within margin of error

posted at 11:40 am on October 29, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Rasmussen’s tracking poll shows a significant narrowing of the race with just six days to go before Election Day.  John McCain has closed to within three points of Barack Obama nationwide, within the tracking poll’s margin of error.  This comes as Gallup also shows it a margin-of-error race as of yesterday in its traditional turnout model:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 47%. This is the first time McCain has been within three points of Obama in more than a month and the first time his support has topped 46% since September 24….

Prior to today’s update, Obama had been ahead by four-to-eight points every single day for 33 straight days. During that 33-day stretch, Obama’s voter support had stayed between 50% and 52% every day while McCain was in the 44% to 46% range. It will take another day or so to determine whether today’s numbers reflect a lasting change or statistical noise. Two of the last three nights of polling show a closer race than was found in the previous month.

We talked quite a bit about polling at last night’s Talk the Vote event.  All three hosts reminded people that Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan with eight days left in the race in 1980 outside the margin of error.  Furthermore, the rising number of refusals — those who refuse to participate in telephone polling — make the predictive value of electoral polling more questionable than ever before.  Michael Medved said that some pollsters report refusal levels as high as 80%.

Given Rasmussen’s consistent methodology and calculations, it gives a reliable trendline for the election.  The gap that had opened after the financial meltdown at the end of September appears to have almost disappeared.  As people begin considering the future, they have to ask themselves: which candidate has the experience and the proven mettle of crisis management?  John McCain has a long record of handling tough problems; Barack Obama wrote a letter and gave a speech.

Today, I’ll talk to IBD’s Terry Jones on the Ed Morrissey Show about their TIPP daily tracking poll, which also shows a margin-of-error race.  We’ll talk at length about polling and its challenges, and what Jones sees as the overall direction of the race.  This isn’t over yet, and it may just be getting interesting now.

Update: Terry Jones was in a serious car accident last night.  He’ll be OK, but he’s obviously in no shape to do a half hour of radio today.  Instead, we’ll talk with IBD’s Monica Showalter on other topics, and wish Terry the best in his recovery.


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Now I know we’re cooked. Ed was also telling us in 2006 that all was well. We know how that worked out.

paul006 on October 29, 2008 at 12:42 PM

ManlyRash on October 29, 2008 at 12:39 PM

I’ve got the same. As an agnostic I’m not used to it, but it’s there.

DarkCurrent on October 29, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Now I know we’re cooked. Ed was also telling us in 2006 that all was well. We know how that worked out.

paul006 on October 29, 2008 at 12:42

EXACTLY — and that was the SAME thing being said on THIS site in 2006… until the returns came in…. :-(

Republican on October 29, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Then share the factual data — Republican on October 29, 2008 at 12:42 PM

Okay. Here is the factual data: McCain will be elected president of the U.S. on November 4 by a sizable margin of votes.

ManlyRash on October 29, 2008 at 12:52 PM

I’ve got the same. As an agnostic I’m not used to it, but it’s there. – DarkCurrent on October 29, 2008 at 12:44 PM

Then you understand what I am trying to say. Thank you. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one around here that this happened to.

ManlyRash on October 29, 2008 at 12:53 PM

McCain paid his dues as a POW for five years. Let’s show him our gratitude and pay him back by volunteering for his campaign in these last 5 days (1 day for each year as a POW).

We all have our disagreements with him and we oppose some of his policy positions, but regardless of whether he wins or loses, conservatives are already planning to regroup after the election to plan a strategy to ensure that our principles again take hold with the majority of Americans. It would be far better if we had the ear of a socialist-lite administration than a Marxist-socialist one, that much I know.

CliffHanger on October 29, 2008 at 12:54 PM

No offence, but what the heck do you expect him to say: “You know Greta, we’re on track to lose Pennsylvania”. Come on. This is spin. They all do it.

Republican on October 29, 2008 at 12:18 PM

No offense taken.

For some reason I put more faith in Rudy than I do Obama.

I’m just weird that way.

fogw on October 29, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Barry’s 30 minute infomercial is going to backfire.

Bank on it!

FiveWays on October 29, 2008 at 12:21 PM

I gotta ask an obvious question here. How many Americans will sit there and listen to a 30 minute political ad? Even for something like this, that clicker is going to be in use.

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 1:12 PM

All this is hurting Obama, at the wrong PERFECT time.

TheHat on October 29, 2008 at 12:34 PM

(FIXED!)

Rovin on October 29, 2008 at 1:14 PM

For some reason I put more faith in Rudy than I do Obama.

I’m just weird that way.

fogw on October 29, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Republican has a point though. In the last week before the elections all the candidates and their surrogates are out there predicting landmark wins. It’s just part of the game- Even Bob Dole was claiming sure victory all the way up until election night 1996 and we ALL knew that it was an absurd claim.

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 1:15 PM

I find it amusing that people are perpetually surprised when a guy literally often called “the comeback kid” manages to comeback again and again.

This was predictable six months ago. Of course its going to be close.

Win or lose, the one quality McCain has always had is perseverance. Great big mountains of the stuff, more in one gray hair than you’d find in an entire Obama-organized community.

McCain should lose. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he wins. He has a history of beating the odds.

Professor Blather on October 29, 2008 at 1:16 PM

EXACTLY — and that was the SAME thing being said on THIS site in 2006… until the returns came in…. :-(

Republican on October 29, 2008

First of all, mid-term elections and the polling around them have very different characteristics. I remember those awful days in 2006 and many of the statements made leading up to the vote on Captains Quarters and Hugh Hewitt, et al. For the most part everyone had ‘hope’ and thought they ‘felt’ an undercurrent or groundswell of support for the Republicans in the final days. But those thoughts and feelings were contradictory to the polling figures.

I don’t know if the polls are accurate at all this go around but they ALL clearly show a trend since the last debate of McCain catching up and if it continues through election day he stands a good chance of winning. That’s not hope and feelings, just the basic dynamics of this race.

JonPrichard on October 29, 2008 at 1:17 PM

How sweet of you. Ever thought of changing your name to Isis? As I recall, Sekhmet is a pretty nasty Egyptian goddess.

ManlyRash on October 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM

She’s mean, but She’s good in a fight. And when you are in the fight of your life, She is a powerful ally.

Sekhmet on October 29, 2008 at 1:22 PM

What I have noticed is that it is mostly, almost exclusively, the MSM that, with their pseudo polls with skewing and slanting, have been suggesting that Barack Obama might win.

However, much to the contrary, and given that of the 12% Blacks in America — an estimated less than 5% will vote for Obama (less than 14 million Black adult voters in a country of more than 305 million!) — McCain has a better than most chance to win big time on next Tuesday.

Over the last several months, we have learned that Obama is a radical, repugnant, and incessant liar. Obama is a thug much like the many, many “friends” and “mentors” he hangs with — Rezko, Farrakhan, Rev. Wright, Khalidi, communist Frank Marshall David and others. Now we learn that Obama is definitively a socialist and extremist leftist. Obama gets upset when TV hosts point this out — why? — because it’s the truth. Barack Hussein Obama is a loser.

The tens of millions, and more, voters that have learned the ugly truths about Barack Obama are NOT going to vote for him. They will defeat Obama.

The best hope we have for our economy, our military, our health, and our freedom is to vote for John McCain — honorable, with integrity, and a true patriot.

God Bless America.

AdrianS on October 29, 2008 at 1:23 PM

I don’t know if the polls are accurate at all this go around but they ALL clearly show a trend since the last debate of McCain catching up and if it continues through election day he stands a good chance of winning. That’s not hope and feelings, just the basic dynamics of this race.

JonPrichard on October 29, 2008 at 1:17 PM

The polls are what they are but it just seems as if there are undercurrents that are suddenly turning this election toward McCain. I can’t quantify it beyond the fact that McCain is suddenly looking and acting more like a winner and Obama is coming off as more than a little desperate. I honestly think that the Dems running around with color swatches for the Oval Office and statements about veto-proof majorities are doing so to bolster their supporters.

That being said, I’ll repeat what I posted earlier. Polls and feelings only apply to actual votes and voters. ACORN and the DNC have already tainted the election with thousands if not millions of bogus voters and votes. You can’t quantify that either and fraud is definitely afoot in this election complete with corrupt officials setting it up (like that harpie in Ohio who should be hounded out of office).

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 1:25 PM

Of course it’s not over…I mean it’s over for Team Messiah, they just aren’t yet aware of it.

Forget the polls, concentrate on voting and betting on Intrade.com against Obama and for McCain.

Bishop on October 29, 2008 at 11:43 AM (revised)

You still have time to wire money ($65.00 flat fee) to Intrade and make some money.

It’s comical to me to read the stories today from reporters who are stunned and puzzled by the sudden leap in the Dow yesterday.

It happened right after the Gallup Poll came out showing McCain within the margin of error.

It’s the elephant in the room that the media will not talk about.

rockmom on October 29, 2008 at 12:00 PM

And yet the McCain Intrade contract prices are still hovering around 14.5 – 15.5 cents on the dollar

What’s so funny is that we get a story that someone bought a lot of McCain contracts, which is why, according to them, they spiked up the other day…..

….well… the real story is that “Soros, et al” are selling McCain contracts at these current prices to keep them at a deflated low price!!!!!

Which costs him a bunch of margin call money to do (the upside difference, or margin call, between 15.0 cents and $1.00 is 85 cents, on one position for example).

You have to be a member to see the trades take place in real time, but when watching them fly in and out at light speed, it is obvious that there is a whole lot more action going on, on the McCain selling and buying trades then anything on the Obama trades.

The thing is, that, during the daytime when the action on this side of the pond is high, McCain contract prices will spike up veraciously, but then after hours or by the trading day’s closing, the price will be lower again..

…..which simply put, means somebody sold a lot again to keep the price down.

And that difference is where you can make money off “Soro’s et al” effort to suppress McCain contract prices.

It is going to cost the sellers of McCain contracts a whole bunch of money on the loss of Obama.

You can also bet against Obama by selling those contracts at approx. 85.0 cents on the dollar and your profit then will be 85 cents for every 15 cents you invested on the downside difference when Obama loses.

So if you buy McCain at 15.0 cents on the dollar and sell Obama at 85.0 cents on the dollar (or whatever the market price is, they usually run equal price opposites) you can make money both ways.

There is still time do this. Wire in money, buy contracts (each has 10 positions) as illustrated above, always click on “how much will this cost” after you click on “buy” or “sell” the first time!! :)

And then click on the final “buy” McCain and or “sell” Obama” and voila…. you are set baby!!!!

Mcguyver on October 29, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Barry is in a tough place … he needs to pick it up but that would show that he doesn’t have the landslide numbers that he and his MSM friends keep propagandizing.

The moonbats won’t get out of bed to vote if they don’t have the pre-ordained winner.

VOTE VOTE VOTE!

Forward anti-Obama emails to ALL your friends and families … hell, tell ‘em to vote McCain but tell everyone they voted for the marxist if they have to.

Send them this link if you need something:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeBK80YuOUA

LET’s ROLL!

ex-Democrat on October 29, 2008 at 1:27 PM

Nowhere else to poast this.

I want to thank RUSH for bringing up the recent Hawaii trip Obama took. We’ve hear nothing of is Grandmother, who he claims might not make it to election day. The only thing thats happened with his having been in Hawaii is his records got sealed. wow. good timing huh?

johnnyU on October 29, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Ooh. Is it time for predictions?

My prediction: It will be incredibly close in the Electoral College — so close, that sending Todd Palin to lock up that one floating electoral vote in Maine could be looks smart. Final tally: Obama 263, McCain 275.

Also, note that even a slight defeat for Obama is a resounding defeat for his wing of the party — with a 3-1 spending advantage; all of the mainstream media farther in the tank than ever before; a historically unpopular incumbent; and a massive economic crisis wiping all thoughts of foreign policy out of voters’ minds, “generic Democrat #3″ ought to be up 15% without breaking a sweat. Evan Bayh (not that the Dems would ever have shown sense enough to nominate him) would be winning Reagan-over-Dukakis big. Hillary, even with all of her baggage, would have this thing locked up. Edwards, even with the affair, would be running two points up, like Obama.

ClintACK on October 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM

johnnyU on October 29, 2008 at 1:33 PM

The whole trip to visit Granny thing comes off as odd.

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 1:36 PM

My prediction: It will be incredibly close in the Electoral College — so close, that sending Todd Palin to lock up that one floating electoral vote in Maine could be looks smart. Final tally: Obama 263, McCain 275.

Maine? Do you mean Alaska, that other state where the moose outnumber the electorate? I guess he could do that as Governor Palin in her last act before stepping down and becoming VP appoints hubby to Ted Steven’s Senate seat!

Seriously though, the nation and particularly the economy can’t afford a nailbiter that prolongs the outcome for weeks.

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 1:40 PM

While we’re talking polls…

Anyone else notice that the Dow rebounded massively on news that McCain was within the margin of error in Gallup’s traditional?

If McCain actually takes a 1 point lead in that poll today or tomorrow, watch for the Dow to break 10,000 again.

ClintACK on October 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM

ClintACK on October 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM

I was playing around on RCP and a 269-269 seems pretty plausible. Obama picks up Iowa, NV and NM and McCain holds NC, VA and OH. That 1 vote in Maine could be crucial.

BadgerHawk on October 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Is that what you see, with McCain picking up the 1 in Maine and Holding Nevade to end up with 275?

BadgerHawk on October 29, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Johnny MAC, Johnny MAC, Johnny MAC, Johnny MAC!!!!!

marklmail on October 29, 2008 at 1:45 PM

That trip to Granny’s was a total farce- I’m telling you Axelrod has all kinds of “chicago-style” crap up his sleeve. They thought they could run out the clock and wrap all this up with their stupid fireside infomercial tonite. Not to mention Bambi had to seal up the birth certificate.

On the polling- We get at least 5 calls a night, all “unknown callers”, we never pick up, some leave computer messages, and I have to think that dopey Dem’s probably pick up every call and spend hours answering all the questions. So I think there’s probably a good bit of truth to the % of people who don’t respond.

anniekc on October 29, 2008 at 1:45 PM

I want to thank RUSH for bringing up the recent Hawaii trip Obama took. We’ve hear nothing of is Grandmother, who he claims might not make it to election day. The only thing thats happened with his having been in Hawaii is his records got sealed. wow. good timing huh?

johnnyU on October 29, 2008 at 1:33 PM

Be grateful for small favors. I worried for Granny’s health when Obi was there. She knows things.

JiangxiDad on October 29, 2008 at 1:46 PM

Can we expect a USof KKKA speech from Rev Wright at the Grant Park desolation on November 4-5, after Obama loses?
Maybe a friendly hug by Khalidi and Ayers?

eaglewingz08 on October 29, 2008 at 1:50 PM

Can’t McCain sandwich Obama’s infomercial with 2 minutes spots explaining that Obama’s 1/2 hour was paid by a lie (Obama’s broken promise to finance his campaign publically?)

How bout simply explaining to the viewers that the following infomercial was purchased in part by illegal anonymous credit card donations?

mylegsareswollen on October 29, 2008 at 1:55 PM

The polls are what they are but it just seems as if there are undercurrents that are suddenly turning this election toward McCain.

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 1:25 PM

A very Rudy-like perspective you have there. But he was spinning, right, based on no analysis of trends?

cheers

fogw on October 29, 2008 at 1:59 PM

I was playing around on RCP and a 269-269 seems pretty plausible. Obama picks up Iowa, NV and NM and McCain holds NC, VA and OH. That 1 vote in Maine could be crucial.

BadgerHawk on October 29, 2008 at 1:43 PM

Now THAT would be a nightmare…. good grief, I hope that doesn’t happen……

Republican on October 29, 2008 at 2:00 PM

A very Rudy-like perspective you have there. But he was spinning, right, based on no analysis of trends?

cheers

fogw on October 29, 2008 at 1:59 PM

Spin happens fogw… no national politician, regardless of campaign, wants to be out there saying how they think the ticket is going to lose.

Republican on October 29, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Shouldn’t refusals be counted like undecideds? I mean, if you are only getting 20% of the sample to answer, wouldn’t your poll look like 10% Obama, 9.8% McCain?
Anything else is just being misleading.

Count to 10 on October 29, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Perhaps……refusals should be counted as the Bradley affect….

I’m just saying…

Mcguyver on October 29, 2008 at 2:03 PM

highhopes at 1:40

ClintACK does indeed mean Maine, especially if this poll tidbit is to be believed (second paragraph of the quoted section). I’m aware that it’s hearsay but it’s very, very interesting hearsay from a few days ago.

Edouard on October 29, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Republican on October 29, 2008 at 2:02 PM

I thought I already responded to you.

Do you think I was born yesterday?

fogw on October 29, 2008 at 2:05 PM

It’s happening.

O-man’s marxism is leaking out. Stock market rebounded. Palin is firing up the base, and reasonable people are finally getting to understand who Obama is: Hugo Chavez with pretty wrapping.

Mac is going to take him. He may lose Iowa and New Mexico, but that is all, and he may take Pennsylvania.

I see an upset in the making and most of the polls are WAY favoring Obama.

We are going to win this guys and gals.

Get everybody you know out there voting for McCain/Palin.

Sapwolf on October 29, 2008 at 2:08 PM

I don’t think so, Manly.

The early voting lines in Texas were huge. My understanding is that it’s the same situation in other states that allow early voting. Probably close to 25% will have already voted (considering absentee and early voting) before next Tuesday. (And, no, Texas is not in play no matter what the MSM may say).

I ended up, BTW, voting for McCain/Palin which will likely shock you. Couldn’t see giving the keys to all three branches to one party.

My wife, however, voted straight Dem.

51%/48%/1%. We’ll see if I’m right next Wed.

jim m on October 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM

You know what’s odd, Obarfy never tried to get his Magical Power Half Hour aired on FOX.
He’s on Fox, just not FoxNews, the cable channel. He’s the reason Fox is delaying tonight’s World Series game.

OT: Fox and baseball have screwed up this series enough, and the weather hasn’t helped. Few people are watching. I might just skip it tonight as a protest for allowing Obama the right to interfere with something much more important than he is.

JiangxiDad on October 29, 2008 at 11:57 AM

I am so pissed that narcissistic punk is f’in with the World Series schedule. You don’t f with that.

He is Hugo Chavez, American version.

Prick.

Sapwolf on October 29, 2008 at 2:24 PM

I hate to tell you this, but most of the US doesn’t give a cr*p anymore about the World Series. Get over it.

(Now, if the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, or other household name teams were playing, it would be different).

jim m on October 29, 2008 at 2:31 PM

jim m on October 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM

Are you saying your wife’s beating you? Or you just expect a beating?

DarkCurrent on October 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Couldn’t the national poll numbers just mean that McCain does less worse in some blue states than Bush did, but still doesn’t win them?

Speedwagon82 on October 29, 2008 at 2:45 PM

51%/48%/1%. We’ll see if I’m right next Wed. – jim m on October 29, 2008 at 2:15 PM

It’s Wednesday of the week before and I can assure you you are wrong.

ManlyRash on October 29, 2008 at 2:45 PM

I hate to tell you this, but most of the US doesn’t give a cr*p anymore about the World Series. Get over it.

(Now, if the Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, or other household name teams were playing, it would be different).

jim m on October 29, 2008 at 2:31 PM

That’s not my point. My point is you don’t do something as arrogant as Obama is doing in delaying a major sports final event. It smacks of a HUGE ego and lack of humility.

By the way, the first thing I thought of from that Obama add on the other thread about McCain not having economics experience was that Mac has great humility in admitting he doesn’t. Obama would NEVER say something like that even though he knows very little on economics (other than redistribution).

O-man’s lack of humility will hurt him.

Sapwolf on October 29, 2008 at 2:54 PM

My wife, however, voted straight Dem.

Get a divorce.

Lincoln on October 29, 2008 at 2:59 PM

Sapwolf, if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear or see it, what does it matter? (Especially since he purchased the time before the Series started).

Nah, Dark. I told my wife Saturday who I voted for. She was a bit ticked, but whatever.

jim m on October 29, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Now I know we’re cooked. Ed was also telling us in 2006 that all was well. We know how that worked out.

paul006 on October 29, 2008 at 12:42 PM

Shut up and VOTE!

You are behaving EXACTLY like the Media and the DEMS want you to.

Elizabetty on October 29, 2008 at 3:29 PM

LET’s ROLL!

ex-Democrat on October 29, 2008 at 1:27 PM

If you’re yelling I like it.

Domino on October 29, 2008 at 5:46 PM

You know something? The old boy just might pull this off.

Terrye on October 29, 2008 at 6:26 PM

A very Rudy-like perspective you have there. But he was spinning, right, based on no analysis of trends?

cheers

fogw on October 29, 2008 at 1:59 PM

I WAS NOT spinning in front of a camera where any admission of weakness becomes front page news just expressing my sense of the situation.

Cheers back at ya!

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 7:21 PM

You know something? The old boy just might pull this off.

Terrye on October 29, 2008 at 6:26 PM

Hoping you mean McCain because using the term “boy” of whatever age will soon become a federal crime.

highhopes on October 29, 2008 at 7:22 PM

O’rielly says Rassmussen will report tomorrow that for the first time more people trust McCain on the economy than Obama!

GREAT NEWS!

Rovin on October 29, 2008 at 8:08 PM

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