McCain pulls into a lead among likely voters


Quick, somebody point out that polls this far from Election Day are meaningless.


McCain pulls into a lead among likely voters

  1. Well, they are meaningless except to us political anoraks who obsessively pay attention to these polls and try to figure out what it all means.

    Also, I thought polls of ‘likely’ voters were less accurate than polls of ‘registered’ voters but I am not certain.

    I watched a bunch of the U.S. political Sunday shows yesterday and a few journos commented that both candidates are doing worse than their parties are. Obama doesn’t poll as well as the Democratic party does and McCain does not poll as well as the Republican party does. So both parties have picked a nominee that does not really excite the ‘base’ all that much.

    Not sure what my point is but I thought it was an interesting fact.

  2. Interesting to see how much McCain has gained over the last month among likely voters. I think as the Munk Debate in Toronto about ‘Is world is a safer place with a Republican in the White House’ proved, the Democrats will have a hard time defeating McCain’s Republicans on the issue of national security.


    FiveThirtyEight seems to think that Obama’s July downtrend might of flattened out.

    “The downtrend in Obama’s numbers since the July 4 holiday has now completely flattened out, though we will need a lot more information to determine whether it has reversed itself.”

  3. If I was an american I would not vote for Obama. John McCain would be my default vote.

    American democrats shot themselves in the foot with tha Obama nomination.
    Hillary deserved the nomination. Whether she would have won the presidency is a moot point. It was time for a woman to run for presidency of the US of A,

  4. Hey Blues : finally someone else who watches the Munck debates. I like them except her emphasis on certain words drives me nuts. Almost as bad as BBBBRRRROOOOAADDcast!

  5. It is nonetheless rather astonishing that McCain is in the lead in spite of basically all the money and all the press coverage (most of it positive) going to his opponent.

  6. Andrew E’s point is mine, basically, but I should emphasize that this is only among near-mythical “likely voters”. By almost any measure Obama leads on almost every poll. Still…

  7. Polls this far out aren’t meaningless — if they were, the campaigns wouldn’t spend money having them done. They just don’t tell you for sure who will win in November.

    In this case, the ‘likely voter’ thing is even more interesting for political junkies than usual, because it is exceedingly likely that the profile of people who vote in November will be significantly different than in 2000 & 2004, making likely voter screens even harder to do well than usual. Typically, ‘likely voter’ weights heavily in favour of old, affluent, white, and has-voted-before; but it’s widely expected that other demos will come out in much greater force this year than previous, and these enthused new voters are overwhelmingly not going to be McCain supporters.

  8. Obama would be doing better if he wasn’t a socialist or if the citizens of the world got a vote.

    Why do Dems continue to nominate these champagne socialists who have nothing in common with blue collar people who make up a significant part of their base? It’s like they want to grab defeat from the jaws of victory every four years.

  9. All his income except for the Senate salary is in his wifes name. Way to go John – Thank you for the link Paul I had no idea that his wifes fortune was from a brewery well done – she’s easy on the eyes as well!

  10. I’d note that with voter preferences so entrenched in the U.S., nobody’s ever going to have a lead of more than a few points. In the U.S., there used to be a lot more conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans than there are now, and their preferences changed with every election. (Hence “Reagan Democrats.”) Now conservatives vote Republican, liberals vote Democratic, and with that base of support, no one can fall much below 40% in a poll.

    On a side note, there’s a new study that argues that the media is biased against Obama. I don’t endorse the study, but let’s face it, nothing is weirder than John McCain claiming the U.S. media is against him.

  11. Welcome to Ottawa’s press gallery. Where stories like this are never mentioned.

    I’ve never understood why the press think it’s their job to keep public figures responsible but not each other.



    Why won’t either of these stories make the nightly news tonight? Why haven’t they received any mention on your blog today?

    Oh wait, ignore elephant in room. Dismiss any complaints as conservative paranoia.

  12. I hate to put a damper in our conservative colleagues here, but let’s see what other polls released today say:

    Research 2000 – Obama up nationally by 12.

    And at Talking Points Memo:

    The regular Gallup tracking poll – Obama up by 8, and Rasmussen has him up by 3.

    So.. I wouldnt get too carried away over the so-called lead of MCcain.

    Besides, national polls are a bit misleading anyhow.. its the state polls and their electoral votes they give to a candidate that counts more, and if you look at every site who tracks those – including Election Projection.com – an outfit that has a couple of Republican supporters running it – Obama is decisively beating McCain.

  13. Mr. Wells says Andrew E’s point is his as well. But has all the coverage of Obama been positive? And I thought the Republicans still had the money advantage.

  14. Hey Scott why would support for Obama put a damper on us Canadians who are Conservatives? I hope Obama wins and I am a Canadian Conservative. I have a strange feeling that my boy Stevie will get along just fine with Ol Obie after all (1) Both believe in more troops for Afghanistan = good starting point (2) Both have problems with some of the media (3) Obama very impressed with our performance in Afghanistan … hey I could go on but why bother.

  15. Ah yes, here is what I read about Obama’s money advantage.

    “…the Obama campaign ended the month of June with a combined total of nearly $72 million in the bank. When combined with the Democratic National Committee’s funds, the Democrats have about $92 million total. While he called it “a healthy number,” Mr. Plouffe noted that Mr. McCain and the Republican National Committee finished June with nearly $100 million on hand.”
    New York Times

  16. Well Wayne, hopefully Harper wont have to worry about it by then if Obama gets elected, because he’ll be hopefully relegated back to Official opposition by then, and I know Dion will get along very well with a leader who believes that the environment is a high priority.

  17. About the money, I’m not following it too closely but McCain is still in the public financing system, whereas Obama’s not … the only reason to pull out would be to avoid the mandatory spending caps.

  18. Hey Scott : your’e a little fast off the draw here (1) first there has to be an election in the fall (2) Dion has to win leadership review in December(3) then Dion if he is still around has to win the election – which is about as likely as my boy Stevie growing a moustache. (3) Last but not least = if you seriously believe that Obama will do anything to hurt the economy of the USA within the first few years of his mandate you must be incredibly politically naive.

  19. To twist an earlier point: I’m not sure the fact that the lion’s share of recent media attention has gone to Obama is, for McCain, a bad thing. Would McCain really have wanted more to notice his cavalcade of gaffes last week? His Pakistan/Iran border ignorance? His attempt to hold a presser on an oil rig in the middle of a hurricane?

    Plus, to twist an iron-clad Wells political axiom, vaguely recalled, about politicians who act like the opposition usually becoming them: I can’t see how McCain, a former press darling, whining about the new guy’s attentions serve him well (unless he’s just pandering to a yet-to-be-won-over Republican base.)

  20. Blues Clair I have googled around a bit and can’t find anything specific so pardon me if I am wrong.

    I think the difference is that Obama has $72 million in the bank that he can use on his campaign. The Dem party has $20 million to help out Obama but also all the people who are running for House, Senate and Governor positions.

    McCain does not have nearly that much to spend on his campaign but Repub party has an awful lot to spend trying to help McCain and other people running for various positions.

    I think it’s better to be in Obama’s position because he gets to decide how money is spent. McCain has to look for help and does not get a say in how the money is spent, which could be a problem for him because he often disagrees with how his party thinks. I think it illustrates that Repub base not impressed with McCain – they are giving money to the party but not the candidate.

  21. JWL, I can’t remember where I read it but… since the Republicans already have $100M and could be expected to raise another 100M, add that to McCain’s $84.1M he gets from public financing, Obama and Democrats then need to raise close to 300M to compete with McCain and the Republicans. Then again, I might not know what i’m talking about as well.


  22. I seem to recall an old adage about people getting the elected officials they deserve.

  23. Still,

    the GOP is doomed in the House and will lose ground in the Senate. It would therefore be very easy for a Republican voter to boot em out there but keep a fellow GOPer in the Whitehouse. Especially if you don’t want to vote for a Black but don’t want to tell the pollsters that. Obama must beware The Wilder Effect. And The Dems know it. That’s why there’s so much anxiety over the fact he’s only 6% or 8% up in the average of polls. They know some of that is going to evaporate when people actually vote.

  24. Well, I hate to be Captain Obvious, but they really don’t matter — especially considering the Obamadvertising Campaign hasn’t even really started.

    e.g., this $5m Olympics ad buy

  25. Look for Obama, festooned in the red white and blue, making Olympian three pointers over opponents looking like aged GOP senators.

    Looking for an aged GOP sideline coach, red vested, revealing the dark side in his body language? Apparently, he still haunts us.

  26. :)

  27. JWL,

    If I’m not mistaken the comments were made by George Will on ABC’s This Week. He went on to suggest that Obama trails his party because the American people are not yet comfortable with him. Why? Will’s explanation is that they typically take a long time to get comfortable with anyone but possibly even longer with Obama because he has “the thinnest resume since Wendell Willkie”.

    Stephen Harper knows a thing or two about how long it takes for people to get comfortable with you. They do have much in common Wayne.

  28. JWL:

    I saw the same shows (I’m thinking ‘This Week’ specifically) this weekend, and I had the same reaction really.

    What I find interesting is that this poll has a fairly small sample size, and it doesn’t take into account that the national polls are (almost) meaningless. What matters are the battleground states. Look what national polls said about Howard Dean before the scream. You have to look at individual states to see whether this will really be a race (and I think it will be).

  29. Likely voter polls did better in ’04 than registered voter polls, didn’t they?

    Anyway, whatever — when Gallup manages in one day to say that Obama’s up by eight and down by four, you know that things are still in flux and that it’s early.

  30. McCain is kind of the Keith Richards of Presidential candidates – you have no idea how he keeps going, but he does.

    Here’s a thought — in a perverse way, might Obama be suffering from the strong support people are giving Democrats in Congressional polls? Everyone acknowledges that the Democrats are likely to make significant gains in both the House and Senate this Fall. Is it possible that people might be deliberately looking to split their ballot? That’s certainly easier to do with McCain, a well known politician who has clearly been at odds with Bush for some time, and on several issues. With his maverick credentials, McCain can make the case that a vote for him is a vote for keeping Congress in check. It’s a lot harder for Obama to make that case, what with strong Democratic majorities certain to form in both the House and Senate.

  31. American voters have done that before — in ’72, ’84, and ’88, Republican presidents saw their party lose ground in the congress while they were elected or re-elected decisively.

    But it hasn’t happened for a while. (Well, Republicans made gains in the Senate in ’96, I guess…)

  32. All well and good, but aren’t polls this far from the election kind of meaningless?

  33. If Obama loses his halo he will lose the election. It’s close – again. The safest thing for Obama is to stop talking. Otherwise he risks exposing his ordinaryness.

  34. The numbers seem a little counterintuitive to me.

    I’m not an American, so maybe I’m missing something, but my assumption was that being greeted by adoring throngs of well-wishers all over the planet would be a positive for Obama.

    I’m not sure the horserace numbers are telling the whole story. I’d be interested to see whether people’s opinion of Obama and McCain is improving or not – regardless of whether they plan to vote for him. I’d be interested to see Obama’s numbers on foreign policy.

  35. I’m kind of astounded that the impressions of Obama’s trip break down evenly.

    The horserace numbers really haven’t moved that much – which doesn’t surprise me that much. Pollsters always say they’re the last thing to move.

    What amazes me is that Obama toured the world looking like a President, McCain hung out at a weinerschntizel hut and looked like a doddering old man, and a significant number of people thought that made Obama look bad.

Sign in to comment.