According to the latest Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, Barack Obama has lost ten points in the last two months since clinching the nomination. In the second major poll to show a catastrophic drop in that period, the LAT survey shows registered voters registering only a 2-point lead for Obama over John McCain in a head-to-head contest, and only one point when Ralph Nader and Bob Barr get considered. McCain has overcome the enthusiasm gap and has defined the central issue as experience and leadership:
When last we had a L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll to peruse, the result that stood out (aside from Barack Obama’s 12-percentage point lead over John McCain in a head-to-head matchup) was what we termed the “passion gap” that favored the Democrat back in the June survey.
The new, just-released poll not only shows the race between the two dramatically tightening — into a virtual dead heat, with Obama leading in the head-to-head by only 2 percentage points — but it also identifies a distinct McCain asset: a huge advantage on the question of experience.
The survey of almost 1,250 registered voters showed that the vast majority have no doubt McCain is qualified for the White House. Asked if the Republican had the right experience to be president, 80% said yes (with only 14% saying no).
By contrast, close to a majority — 48% — said Obama lacks the experience for the job (with 44% saying yes).
Today, Obama tried talking patriotism with the VFW and attacking McCain, but he didn’t convince too many of the attendees. Small wonder; only 55% of registered voters think of Obama as “strongly patriotic”, as compared to 89% for McCain, and 35% question Obama’s patriotism. That’s actually unfair; Obama may be a hard-Left ideologue as shown by his track record and associations, but nothing he’s personally done has indicated a lack of love for his country. Perhaps that impression comes from statements like this, though:
“America is …, uh, is no longer, uh … what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I don’t want that future for my children.”
Mostly, though, McCain has made experience and leadership the main focus of the campaign. He has turned the contest into a referendum on Obama’s resume, and the result has been a collapse in support. Even while Obama raises tons of money, McCain has raised even more questions about Obama’s judgment, grasp of the issues, and track record. Meanwhile, Obama keeps reversing himself on all of the qualities he claims made experience irrelevant; he’s reneged on public financing, started raising money from PACs and lobbyists, and when an international crisis unexpectedly emerged, Obama wouldn’t come out of seclusion to answer questions from the media about it.
Democrats have to wonder what it will take to elect Obama. The more money they raise, the worse he seems to perform. The more he’s seen, the more ammunition he provides for Republicans. After winning the nomination, Obama should have shored up support and extended his lead from the post-Hillary bounce. Instead, he’s flailing in the water, and looks in over his head.
And this poll surveyed registered voters. Imagine what the numbers look like for likely voters.
Update: Jammie Wearing Fool has a laugh at the credit given McCain for his success:
Daily onslaught of attacks? I guess they’ll ignore the daily onslaught of attacks on McCain from 98% of the media and blogosphere. … That’s called exposing Obama’s record, or lack thereof.
I guess they missed Obama’s continual smearing of McCain and the GOP as racists ….