A number of various polls out there– Newsweek has Obama up by 3 (down from the absurd +15 last month with a notable change in sampling), Gallup has him up by 6, CNN by eight.
I will say this once, and then move on- I don’t care about any polling until after the convention, and any poll that has Obama up by over six seems wildly unrealistic. While this is a bad year for the Republicans, the fundamentals of the electorate have not changed that much, in my view. Look at the GOP response to date- they hate McCain, but are rallied around beating Obama. There is a significant portion of the electorate who may hate Bush, but who will never vote for Obama under any circumstance.
Long story short- don’t trust any polls right now. Things will change.
*** Update ***
I should probably also note- anyone stating that the move from +15 in the Newsweek poll in June to +3 now is a sign of anything is engaging in pure wankery, and has no understanding of the concept “outliers.”
But TZ says Obama will win by 20 or something like that!
Spot on, polls are meaningless at this point, but my prediction is that this election will be close enough (say no more then 10 points with BO winning) that it will show how large of a chunk of the US really is hard core right. The Republicans are proven epic failures, and McCain is going to be a worse candidate then a corpse (with BO likely not doing anything really particular dumb) and yet he will likely get at least 45 – 48%.
PS, John, finish Nixonland yet?
Obama needs to not let anything more happen as dumb as what he did at the Hillary fundraiser event. That was pretty bad.
Main importance of the polls right now is to observe the trends within the same polls. Lately it appears that Obama is showing a gradual widening of his margin and after the week that McSame had we can expect it to widen
In the presidential polling the most important ones are always the state polls that show the trending of the electoral vote count, national population polls are relatively unimportant since the race is determined by the electoral college. Again Obama is currently ahead slightly in all of these polls but there are many states that are still too close to project
Only one thing for Obama to do now: shift rightward, abandoning the message and supporters that got him here by playing a cautious, standard-issue candidate message. That will fix everything.
Their aggregate polling trends are meaningful. If Obama is down by six in every poll next week then he has something to worry about. There is plenty of time to fix whatever the problem might be but it is still concerning.
National polls don’ t interest me, but I’m watching the state polls even this early. That’s where the fight will be won or lost.
Prediction: Obama, after a few weeks of vetting Sibelius, Dodd et al. turns around and picks HRC as his running mate, which was the plan all along. Stadium event with the Rockies in the backdrop buries McSame, as poll margins rocket to 20+. A la Gordon Smith, purple state Republican candidates start advertising how much they’ve “reached across the aisle” to work with Clinton and Obama
I’m pretty sure Kerry was way ahead of Bush in the national polls (and state-by-state, electoral polls) around this same time in the last presidential election. We all know how that worked out.
I still say it’s Obama’s to lose, although the mind-numbing stupidity of the press has been discouraging. McCain had a ridiculously bad week (switching the Packers and Steelers in his POW story – Jesus!), and you’d barely know it from the MSM.
I won’t re-engage in this stuff until the conventions, and to all you whiners (yeah, I said it) about Obama moving to the center, go read his books and realize he was always the center-pragmatist you never thought he was.
Actually, the bet I made with DougJ is that McCain will not get 35% of the total popular vote. I think that’s a decent bet, and even I lose the hundred, narrowly losing it will not ruin my day.
I started out with DougJ by asserting that McCain would break Goldwater’s record, which was 39%, and I had to go to 35 to get him to take the bet.
I’m going to email a prediction to our mailing list every month or so up until the election and then after the election we’ll see how I did.
My estimates so far are based really on two pillars of fact: One, Obama is an exceptionally good candidate, and two, McCain is an exceptionally bad candidate. Factor in the forces pushing voters to the Dems and you get a double-digit win for Obama. After that, it’s all speculation. Actual poll spreads today mean nothing. Watch the trend lines. Pollster.com shows the effect of the Mister Magoo campaign’s ineptitude: McCain’s trend lines are all down, in nearly every state. The country has tuned him out. He’s toast.
I think you are wildly over optimistic. I think we are much more likely to see Obama holding a mid-single digit lead for most of the summer (with a brief post-convention bounce into the low double digits), and then the election will tighten dramatically in late October with Obama squeaking out a 1-2% win in the popular vote (= about 290 EVs or so).
Evidence: massive media bias in favor of McCain, and a deeply polarized electorate who will wake up in November to discover that George W Bush is not on the ballot and 40+% of them suddenly remember that they hate Democrats and have always voted for the GOP in the past. McCain will get the benefit of the doubt as a generic Republican with late undecided voters who will mostly break for McCain.
Nate at 538 dissects the cross-tabs in the latest Newsweek poll to show an 11 point gap in favor of Obama amongst “hard support” voters, but 57% of the polled voters are either undecided or “soft support”. I’m guessing that McCain will get more than 50% of that group thanks to a BBQ luvin MSM, and GOPers returning to their roots (SCOTUS, etc.) in the end.
I like your scenario a lot better than mine, so let’s hope I’m wrong.
You are being charitable, Its not stupidity as much as it is willful ignorance, lying and deceit
And don’t forget that, as usual, the election will probably be decided by people who currently can’t make up their minds. This always just drives me crazy, but it’s a fact.
I predict McCain wins a narrow victory by carrying all diebold states by 40 points. Then the revolution. :p
I’ve been predicting a 5-10% lead for Obama throughout the summer, which should shift a bit at convention time. So far that’s been the case. At the moment I believe that the Democratic convention will give Obama a bigger boost than McCain will get from his, so I’m guessing that Obama’s lead in the middle of September will be about 52-42%
I keep thinking of the 1980 election, where Reagan was tied with Carter until the last couple of weeks when voters broke strongly for the Republicans. If that happens this time, it will be a late development as well. The debates ought to do the trick.
It’s possible, of course, that there won’t be much movement to Obama after September, expecially if McCain and the RNC are able to match Obama in the money department. In which case Obama is looking at 280-300 electoral votes. Gotta watch Ohio in that case.
Yep. All the published polling data is pseudo-information (another example are the weekly film box office results). It is at best insider stuff that lets the presidential campaigns know about possible trends, but it is absolutely nothing that has value to anyone else, including bloggers.
As an aside, with the increasing use of cell phones and polling fatigue on the part of people whose opinions are solicited about everything from products to politics, I think that pollsters are having a harder time getting good samples. Another quick aside, a recent poll about the presidential preferences of pet owners was a great example of bad sampling and bad analysis (married dog owners preferred McCain, but because married people skew older than other groups, the more general preference of older, more conservative people for McCain over Obama may have been over-emphasized).
Actually, I think that the fundamentals have greatly changed in ways that pundits and commentators just refuse to recognize. Bush had assembled a winning coalition of corporate conservatives, neo-cons, libertarians, and religious fundamentalists. None of these people, with good reason, trust McCain. The tilting of some voters toward Ron Paul and Bob Barr, and even Mike Huckabee, is evidence of a significant split that the Democrats could exploit if they have half a brain.
And the wild card, previously dismissed by Hillary Clinton, and still under-estimated by everyone else, are previously disenchanted voters, younger voters, independent voters, and people who don’t have a strong ideological or religious bias who previously may have voted for Bush out of national security concerns, but who now see how incompetent the Bush administration has been in this area, and are willing to try something different.
Bloggers and pundits keep writing crap about how Obama’s move toward the center is worrying to some progressives, but hard core progressives, like libertarians, are a tiny and largely irrelevant segment of the general electorate.
This election is not going to bring ponies and unicorns to everyone, but a Republican defeat could also see a seismic change in the distribution of power and influence in this country.
Shorter version: How many people are like you, John, who previously voted Republican but now can’t stand them?
I’ll say this, and then hopefully start studying before I head off to work: I think Obama is going to win, but not necessarily in a big way. Could he? Sure, but if he does, I don’t think we’ll see many signs of it until the very end, unless McCain’s campaign implodes by the beginning of August.
I think the most apt comparison is to the 1980 election. People are frustrated with their current plight and want change, but they are unsure of the option presented. In other words, they like the ideas that Obama represents, but they are unsure of him personally. McCain, for all of his faults, is a solid option for many. The same could be said during the 1980 election. Carter appeared to have a decent chance until the final two weeks or so, when Reagan proved himself at one of the debates. People then bought into the idea that Reagan was an acceptable choice, so he went on to win a huge victory.*
Even if Obama doesn’t stay in the lead throughout the race, it might not matter. As long the polls show he has a chance against McCain and if enough people who are now skeptical but willing to give him a chance vote for him, I think he’ll win, and very possibly win big. Right now, there are certain signs of an understated level of support, like Obama’s voters being more enthusiastic than McCain’s, that could translate into more votes, but we probably won’t see more signs until the election nears.
*I’ve heard this idea floated around before, so if there are obvious problems with it, please let me know.
Maybe. But you probably don’t get what I am actually saying.
My main thrust was that McCain would break Goldwater’s record. He does that if he gets 38% of the vote, which I think is more than he will get, but I will stipulate 38.
If he does that, and Barr and Nader take a total of 8%, then Obama will be left with 54%. I think that is pretty realistic, and very doable.
However, in my optimistic moments, I see McCain 35%, Barr and Nader 7% and Obama 58%, along with a massive congressional sweep.
I think the latter is very doable. I am not ready to declare it likely, but that may change as we go on. I am pretty sure we see McCain below 40%. He is the worst candidate I have seen in my lifetime. Obama, Nader and Barr split the rest.
If nobody gets an electoral victory, then the Dem congress picks the new president, right? So no problem there.
Sigh. I guess there is a strong possibility that Obama may select Hillary as his VP choice. I was listening to a Friday interview with some die-hard Hillary supporters who are insisting that Obama choose Hillary to atone for the sins of the country and the Democratic party in not fighting the sexist attacks against Hillary.
And while I think it possible that Obama might capitulate to these people and select Hillary, I would prefer to see him call their bluff. I think that the bulk of these people clearly understand that McCain (or not voting) is simply not a viable alternative.
On the other hand, a Hillary VP selection would see droves of independents abandon Obama, not because they hate Hillary because she is a woman, but because they vigorously oppose any return to power of the Clinton regime.
Totally true. I personally would not vote for McCain unless he were running against his father, Satan, but the idea of those awful Clintons hanging around Pennsylvania Avenue is not something I can stomach very easily.
What really ticked me off about Hillary’s VP hints is the idea that her base was set to vote McCain if Obama dared pick another woman such as Sebelius.
Saying that shows that it’s not feminism driving many of these people.
Talk of HRC as VP seems to omit a piece of information that nobody has, outside of her immediate circle:
Does she want the VP slot? We don’t even know if she wants it. If I were in her position, I would not want it. Why play second fiddle to a guy who will be the star, good or bad, for at least 4 years? She can be her own star in the Senate.
Aye, there is the rub. Without the massive congressional sweep, there is not much point in wasting an Obama term. The judiciary is already pretty much of a lost cause.
15+ for Obama is not absurd. This election is going to be landslide. 15+ seems just about appropriate.
Saying he has to pick a woman or else means it isn’t about feminism. Feminism means equality of opportunity for both men and women and that they will be judged on their merits, not the fact that men have a penis. Feminism doesn’t mean arbitrarily picking women “just cuz.’
Interesting story on Kos – the two Newsweek polls used vastly different voter splits. The first one had self-identified Democrats 10% higher than Republicans in the partisan split, while the second had them equal. Similar differences in age, race, and income.