Tuesday, October 7, 2008

McCain Favorables High Amid Record Public Dissatisfaction

Gallup's data on record low public satisfaction include surprisingly upbeat findings on John McCain's favorability ratings.

Although public satisfaction with the way thing are going has hit a record low of just 9 percent, McCain's favorables remain as high as at earlier points in the campaign:

Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are set to meet for the second presidential debate in Nashville Tuesday night at a time when only 9% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States -- the lowest such reading in Gallup Poll history.

The previous low point for Gallup's measure of satisfaction had been 12%, recorded back in 1979, in the midst of rising prices and gas shortages when Jimmy Carter was president.
The economic turmoil explains the trend, but the findings on McCain are remarkable:

Despite the fact that Obama has led McCain by a significant margin in Gallup's tracking of presidential preferences for 10 days now, the two presidential candidates continue to have positive images, with McCain's a little less positive than Obama's.

McCain's 40% unfavorable rating is slightly higher than he has been recorded so far this year, but his 55% favorable rating is no worse than it was in late August (after the Democratic National Convention) and earlier in the year. Similarly, Obama's favorable and unfavorable ratings are neither better nor worse than they have been at previous points over the last several months.
More about Obama though: The Wall Street Journal reports today on the Chicago Democrat's high negatives among all voters — and 40 percent of white voters - on Obama's ties to Jeremiah Wright and other controversial black leaders.

Does this mean McCain's still got a chance? Could be, according to
Roger Simon of the Politico:

Greg Mueller was a senior adviser to Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes in their presidential campaigns and is an expert on conservative politics.

“McCain can definitely win the race,” Mueller said. “McCain needs to change the discussion back to a referendum on Obama. He needs to define Obama’s agenda as dangerous to America.

“It is dangerous to the economy. Obama is calling for higher taxes, historical spending and a huge increase in regulation that will hamper American business. Contrast that with McCain’s message of lower taxes and freezing spending. On foreign policy and national security, Obama is a risky bet in a hostile world.

“McCain needs to keep banging those themes over and over again, so on Election Day voters think Obama is just not ready for this. The McCain campaign needs to feed the doubt people have about Barack Obama. There is a lot of doubt out there. I don’t care what the polls say.
Well, McCain/Palin have already started pounding hard on Obama's liabilities, and if the poll findings hold up, we may see some tightening in the numbers between now and the election.

Four weeks is a long time in politics. Much remains to be seen.