Tracking Poll Update: The Race Begins to Tighten

Here are today's numbers:

Gallup (Trad)4947
Gallup (Exp)5046
Rasmussen Reports5045
Research 2000/dKos5043

With two thirds of the day's polling in the field after Wednesday night's presidential debate, we're getting a clearer picture of where the race stands a little over two weeks from election day, and from te looks of it the race may be tightening a bit -- not a lot, but a bit. Barack Obama's average lead, which had been about 7 percentage points ahead of the debate, now stands at closer to 5.5 percentage points.

A few things to note about these overall numbers. First, Obama's lead is still significant, and John McCain is still having real difficulty climbing about 45 percent in national numbers. What's more, the electoral college actually looks worse for McCain than the popular vote spread. Second, it's been nearly a month since McCain has led in national polling. Finally, it's worth pointing out that although Gallup's likely voter numbers are tight, its polling among registered voters actually shows a larger lead for Obama than yesterday, with little movement over the last five days (Obama at 50 percent, plus or minus a point, and McCain at 42 percent or 43 percent).

One last note, along with a picture: 100,000 in St. Louis is a lot.

Tags: Tracking Poll Update, White House 2008 (all tags)



Let's just get this out of the way up front:

Oh God, we're all doomed! Doomed, I tell you! Dooooooooomed!

by johnny longtorso 2008-10-18 10:20AM | 0 recs
Steady As We Go

As many other comments have correctly observed there would appear to be a credible rationale which would expect, indeed anticipate, exactly these results:

As we head into the home stretch, it is going to be important for those analyzing the election not to confuse McCain gaining a few points with him once again having the opportunity to win the election.


In these next few weeks he will in all likelihood regain ground he should have been occupying all along but lost due to his disappointing campaign. So in many ways, McCain's likely uptick is more a sign of his current weakness than any newfound strength.

Getting back up to 46, 47, 48 is not the same as winning. My guess is there will be a lot of confusion about this in the chattering classes in the next few weeks.

Simon Rosenberg - Expect McCain to Gain Ground These Final Weeks Huffington Post 17 Oct 08

Rosenberg's analysis makes a lot of sense and in some respects it is to our benefit to see a perception of the race tightening in the final two weeks.  It is time to redouble our efforts, keep the energy levels high and look to down-ticket races to deliver a Congressional majority which will facilitate the political renewal which this election hopefully represents.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-10-18 04:01PM | 0 recs
Too Close for Comfort

Now is the time not to be complacent.

by Zzyzzy 2008-10-18 10:24AM | 0 recs
Sorry Portland...

My city just did me proud.

To my Oregonian friends... we St. Louisans now have the proud distinction of having hosted the largest Obama Rally ever in the US.

We can make Missouri blue.  And I'm proud to help.

by Obamaphile 2008-10-18 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Saint Louis

I'm worried about turnout and enthusiasm in places like Missouri. Why can't he seal the deal?

by QTG 2008-10-18 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Saint Louis

The snark: It burns.

by lojasmo 2008-10-18 10:53AM | 0 recs
St. Louis is the "real" Missouri...

That is an amazing shot!  Wow.  Missouri's 11 electoral votes are looking good for Obama.

by nzubechukwu 2008-10-18 10:40AM | 0 recs

That's a lot of people.

by Obamaphile 2008-10-18 10:46AM | 0 recs
Why is it tightening?

The question is why is the race tightening?  Are people moving toward McCain or away from Obama?

Are the McCain attacks having some effect?

Or, as the undecideds decide, do they distribute themselves at a more even rate than the previously decideds?

Or, is it inevitable that a race tightens as we approach election day?

Or, is it pre-election day Bradley effect?

Or, is it possible that some people, after watching the last debate, actually believe that McCain should be president?

I would really like to know.  Is there anything in the polling that indicates what is going on?

Obama is definitely not running out the clock; his half-hour show is his attempt at that fourth quarter touchdown that effectively ends the game.  

by James Earl 2008-10-18 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Howard Fineman

Rafter, Howard is asking the most ignorant question in that blog.  We know why it's close.  The only answer is race.  

by nzubechukwu 2008-10-18 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is it tightening?

to answer your questions:

1. According to hotline, Republicans are coming home to McCain, OBama is holding steady

2.  Unknown... the Acorn stuff may be having an effect.

3.  Per Chuck Todd, both campaigns believe that the last minute deciders are expected to go 70% towards McCain.

4.  Historically, that would be the case... also, historically, the challenger (in this case, Obama) gets a little uptick just before election day...

5.  Why would people stop lying now if they were lying before?

6.  I think that some people were in the tank for McCain, but holding out to see McCain perform semi-decently before "deciding"... he managed to do that on Wednesday.

Gallup released polling today saying that consumers are feeling better about the economy.  That hurts us.  Why do they feel better? Perhaps gas prices going down?

by LordMike 2008-10-18 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Why is it tightening?

As much as I hate to take anything away from Lord Mike's answer, which is far more thorough, just think about this logically. John McCain was at 40%, now he's at 45%. Obama was at 50%, now he's at 50%.

What happened? The people who could not possibly bring themselves to vote for Obama, the people who went from saying they would vote McCain a month ago to saying they wouldn't vote for anybody, are now saying they can vote for McCain.

It is a tightening in the sense that McCain is no longer pulling an unrealistic amount of support. The polls were always going to tighten in this regard. What is important is that Obama is not going to let it even get one point closer without a fight.

by vcalzone 2008-10-18 12:36PM | 0 recs
Update: The Race Begins to Tighten

It's only tightening if you believed the 7+ margins made a fleck of sense. They did not. Obama is fine.

I'd be thrilled at a 5 point win. Look at it this way, allotting 1% to third party candidates, a 5 point Obama win would equate to 52-47. No Democrat has busted 50% since Jimmy Carter, barely, in 1976. Of course, Perot played a part in regulating Clinton in '92 and '96.

The 7-8 point margins or higher required Obama to reach 53% or 54%, simply not logical. And I still think it will be closer than 5 points on election day.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-10-18 12:43PM | 0 recs
Rasmussen and Zogby's movement

is due to women (by Rasmussen movement, I don't mean from yesterday but over the course of a week).  Obama no longer has the Bill Clinton lead among women, but closer to the Al Gore lead but much greater than the John Kerry lead.  Obama still performing great among men

According to Kos (a poll that is only worth its salt if the advantage among dems over pubs really is 9%), the tigheting is due to dudes drifting over to McCain.  Obama is still performing at Bill Clinton levels among women.

As for Hotline, who knows with that poll?  I'm expecting McCain to tie Obama in Hotline by Wednesday and for Obama to jump back to a 10 point lead by the end of next weekend.

by Blazers Edge 2008-10-18 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Tracking Poll Update

This race was bound to tighten, but there is a hidden vote out there.  That is those who see the ugly nature of the hate filled rhetoric of the McCain/Palin crowd and finally reject it.  there are reasonable republicans, even conservatives who have the courage to come out and support Obama.  then there is the hidden vote, people who will not say that they will vote for Obama but actually do on election day.  We always knew there were haters and bigots that would never ever vote for Obama.  There will be those who will look for any reason to not vote for Obama, but there are a lot of new voters, younger voters, and those who will reject the hate that will in the end vote for Obama.  If he is really at 50% now, then he only needs 1% to win.  So even if most of the undecided go for McCain/Palin and their hate rhetoric, there will be at least 1% that will vote for Obama.  This is the hope of our entire nation.  We cannot be ruled by hate and lies, like the trash that is coming from McCain/Palin.  Sure there is the Rush Limpball crowd, but then those people were never going to vote for Obama anyway.  Keep the faith, work for Obama, get the vote out and pray that we can finally get rid of this republican philosophy that has so damaged our economy.  Remember that even Bill Clinton only got 38% of the "white" vote and won the White House.  Of course, he had help from Perot, but I still have faith that there will be a youth vote and a larger than expected AA vote to compensate for the haters and the bigots and those who chose to believe the lies promoted by McCain/Palin.

by democrat voter 2008-10-18 12:55PM | 0 recs
B.C. didn't get help from Perot

Exit polls, if you believe them, showed Perot voters had Clinton as just as much a second choice as Bush. ml?res=9E0CE0DB1F3FF936A35752C1A96495826 0

Obama doesn't need a hidden vote; he has enough support right now with non-hidden voters, though the pubs from Zogby and Kos show McCain at over 90% in support from the party, which isn't a surprise given the zombie-aspects of that party.

by Blazers Edge 2008-10-18 01:08PM | 0 recs
thanks so much

for helping to work to end this bullshit myth of Perot "helping" Bill Clinton, which he clearly did not. I am sick and tired of people like "democrat voter" who peddle this myth, and who can't accept that Bill Clinton, unlike Al Gore, John Kerry, and other avowed "liberals," WON. HE fucking WON.

by Lakrosse 2008-10-18 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: thanks so much

Perot did help Clinton, because he was a second front on Bush.  He also helped give Clinton's policy idea more legitimacy with the public.  

I am not trying to claim that Perot stole more GOP votes than Democratic votes, I just think that 1992 would have been a much closer election if Perot had not been involved in the campaign and in the debates.  Clinton would still have won, but it would have been a very narrow 1976 or 2004 style victory.

by gavoter 2008-10-18 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: thanks so much

he was also a second front on Clinton with character attacks, and the independent voice which would have more effect. How did perot give Clinton policy more "legitimacy?" They were very similar on issues. If you like spin, I'll give you spin. Saying someone "helped" someone win means that they caused it, because you either win or lose, and there is no middle ground. A win is a win, a loss is a loss. Even if Clinton woulda won narrower, which I don't believe would have happened if you look at Bush I's approvals in 1992, you say he still would have won, and being that there is no middle ground, not even your situation counts as "helping" him win. When Republicans say "helped" him win, they mean "he only won because." I won't allow such horseshittery.

by Lakrosse 2008-10-18 08:19PM | 0 recs
More GOP enthusiasm?

That's what Poblano thinks.  This tightening is probably a combination of the factors listed above, which have increased Republican enthusiasm.

Also, McCain isn't all negative all the time anymore; he's running positive spots on his economic plan.

by esconded 2008-10-18 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: and the fact

Nah... McCain is running as a democrat mostly... he just trims it around the edges, so that the benefit goes to his wealthy friends instead of the people, but it sounds like progressive stuff!

by LordMike 2008-10-18 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: How do you run

Perhaps we should ask Hillary.

by vcalzone 2008-10-18 05:52PM | 0 recs
The Senate

What is hurting Obama is that 60 Senate votes now looks possible.  People are going to fear that much power in one party, especially independents.   I have a feeling a lot more might party split by voting for Dems downticket.

I believe that if the Congress numbers were much closer, Obama would be further ahead.

by gavoter 2008-10-18 03:09PM | 0 recs
Re: The Senate

With respect, I doubt this.

Voters who are "undecideds" are very low information voters.  This is a polite way of saying that such voters probably do not know that 60 is more than half of the senate.

by James Earl 2008-10-18 03:18PM | 0 recs

There's some pity for McCain, which may tighten the polls. The pity will not help as much in the voting booth, though.

by QTG 2008-10-18 06:52PM | 0 recs
Nate is right

It's the conservative Republicans who abandoned McCain for awhile because of his bizarre mortgage plans. But when McCain started talking about "socialists" they perked up again.

Note that the favorables/unfavorables haven't changed at all.  And the movement is among Republicans, not Independents or Democrats.

by elrod 2008-10-18 07:17PM | 0 recs


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