Within the margin of error, just three days after Obama led by six. We’ll see if Gallup corroborates it later, but in a sense they already have: Rasmussen samples likely voters, not registereds, and it’s among likelies that Maverick already enjoys a four-point lead according to yesterday’s snapshot. The data on Obama’s trip doesn’t bode especially well either. 65 percent either had no opinion or a negative opinion, while independents viewed the trip positively by a margin of just three points. The poll’s margin of error? Three points. “The odds of us winning are very good,” saith The One at a fundraiser last night. Are they?
Obama earns the vote from 78% of Democrats, McCain is supported by 86% of Republicans, and unaffiliated voters are evenly divided. McCain leads 50% to 44% among White voters and 51% to 43% among men. Obama leads 51% to 42% among women and 92% to 5% among African-Americans…
I don’t know how to explain Republican support for a guy who allegedly almost left the party a few years ago being stronger than Democratic support for Obama. Hard feelings on the left among Hillary supporters? The persistent appeal of Maverick’s centrist maverick-y brand to moderate Democrats? Or just an artifact of the national trend in party identification, with erstwhile independents who now call themselves Dems unwilling to take a chance on a true blue liberal? As for the gender breakdown, there’s your best argument for McCain picking Palin (and Obama picking someone with military cred). A McCain/Pawlenty versus Obama/Kaine contest doesn’t seem to move the needle in either direction.
Ace wrote a smart post yesterday about why, between the upward pressure of Obamamania (assuming it still exists) and the downward pressure of the Bradley effect, it’s especially foolish this year to care much about early polls. Too many X factors. But here’s another X factor worth considering. I’ve seen several people in the past month compare this campaign to 1980, where Reagan and Carter were neck and neck until the debates. That’s where Reagan proved he knew his stuff, which calmed voters nervous about him being not ready for primetime and vaulted him to a lead from which he never looked back. Supposedly the “Reagan effect” is going to propel Obama to the same sort of victory, but is he really in the same position? Between the massive media coverage (of his trip and otherwise) and the fact that he had 22 debates against a political rock star during an epic primary, how unknown a quantity is he at this point?