Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Shape of the Race, 10-16-08

I noted earlier, in my "Shape of the Race" essay from October 1, that "Republicans are getting worried and are urging McCain to go on the offensive against Obama."

Since then, with all due respect, it seems the sky is falling for a number of conservatives, who are throwing up their hands, crying, "well, darn, we should at least save the filibuster" (
here and here, for example).

To be fair, I've been tempted to join in the pre-election mourning, but I can't: I simply don't believe the game's up, that the self-identified Democratic socialist Barack Obama has things all sewn up.

And, well, he doesn't, frankly.

Investor's Business Daily, widely respected as running one of the most accurate polling operations in recent elections, has
Obama up by just three points in its most recent survey, 45 to 42 percent:

McCain clung to a three-point margin behind Obama entering their last debate. The race remains a virtual dead heat among Independents, with 24% still undecided. Investors are also dead- locked, while non-investors favor Obama. So far, McCain is not doing as well as Bush did in 2004 with key GOP support groups, including those who call themselves conservatives and married women.
Plus, Rasmussen has McCain within four points of Obama, 50 to 46 percent (as of 10-16):

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote while John McCain earns 46%. It’s the first time since September 25 that McCain’s support has reached 46%, but Obama has now enjoyed a four-to-eight point advantage for twenty-one straight days...
Finally, the race has tightened dramatically in Gallup's daily tracking poll, which just recently began reporting the findings on "likely voters," rather than "register voters" (and was thus showing larger trends for Obama), and now we see a true dead-heat, 49-47 percent!

Gallup 49-47 Percent!

The "traditional" likely voter model, which Gallup has employed for past elections, factors in prior voting behavior as well as current voting intention. This has generally shown a closer contest, reflecting the fact that Republicans have typically been more likely to vote than Democrats in previous elections. Today's results show Obama with a two-point advantage over McCain using this likely voter model, 49% to 47%, this is within the poll's margin of error.
Imagine that ... a "two-point advantage..."

Keep in mind that Barack Obama also has
the highest unfavorables of any presidential candidate since Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Barack Obama just can't put John McCain away.

We'll see the full impact of last night's debate by the end of the weekend, but I'm not expecting the dynamics to change all that much. Obama's had the headway for weeks, and the while economic crisis remains the driving issue in the electorate, there's a large sense of uncertainty floating around.

Never surrender!

Graphic Credit: Gallup Poll