I'm Rubber, You're Glue...

This, from the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, has got to cause concern at McCain campaign headquarters:

*** The negative turn: It's also worth pointing out that McCain's negatives have increased as he's gone on the attack against Obama. In March, his fav/unfav was 49%-27%; now it's 43%-39% (+4). By comparison, Obama has gone from 51%-28% in March to 52%-35% (+17). In addition, Obama's numbers among independents have shot up in the latest NBC/WSJ poll: Two weeks ago, McCain led him here, 51%-38%, and now it's Obama up four, 42%-38%. All this highlights a big problem for McCain: It's increasingly harder for him to go negative, even though he's now embarked on that path. And it might be hard for him to go negative at tonight's debate given its town hall format. McCain's tone and body language tonight might be more important than anything he says. It's a tough position McCain finds himself in: On one hand, the temptation to make Obama unelectable and drive home that point is going to be great tonight. But if McCain does it in a way that makes it easy for Obama to paint him as out of touch on the economy, he could have a hard time closing the gap. That said, what if McCain finds a big econ issue that paints Obama in a corner and forces a big idea debate on McCain's turf? That would be the ideal solution for McCain, the problem is finding that issue...The 90-minute debate begins at 9:00 pm ET from here at Belmont University. It's moderated by NBC's Tom Brokaw.

John McCain goes overwhelmingly negative, and his numbers drop precipitously -- a net negative of 18 points, in fact -- while the target of McCain's mudslinging, Barack Obama, sees his numbers move significantly less, just 6 points in the negative direction. What's more, while Obama's favorable number is above 50 percent, and his net favorable number of +17 is remarkably good for someone who has sustained such strident attacks, McCain is dangerously close to the point at which more voters view him unfavorably than favorably, with just a +4 net favorable rating.

This all brings up a difficult situation for McCain. On one hand, the sustained attack that it has leveled against Obama has not only not been a success, it has actually been a net negative, so there might be an inclination to call it off and rejigger strategy. The problem with such a move is that seldom is a candidate with such lower favorable ratings able to defeat a candidate with such higher favorable ratings, particularly in an open-seat election, particularly when the political environment is so troublesome for that candidate's party. McCain's only hope at this point is to bring Obama's numbers down closer to his own. And the only way to do this is to continue to go negative, a strategy that has been backfiring. A doozy of a pickle, no?

Tags: Barack Obama, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

Re: I'm Rubber, You're Glue...

I admit I'm a little concerned that three polls (Zogby, Hotline, and CBS) suddenly show the race very tight again.  Of course, most other polls still show a solid lead, but I'll be watching them closely.  I know the campaign will do a great job of getting those early votes registered.  But I'll sure be a lot more comfortable if we're sitting on a 6-7 point lead on November 4.  We're finally getting to the point of the campaign where the polls mean something.

by LanceS 2008-10-07 07:28AM | 0 recs
You should go to

fivethirtyeight.com.  You will start to feel better.

by GFORD 2008-10-07 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Rubber, You're Glue...

Hotline switched its party i.d. to Dems +2, which is far less of an advantage than any other pollster out there.  Add 5 points and you essentially have the same lead reflected in Gallup/Rasmussen.  Whose party i.d. rankings are more accurate is debatable, but much of the movement can be attributed to such weighting.

by rfahey22 2008-10-07 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: I'm Rubber, You're Glue...

Thanks!  I didn't know that Hotline switched its party IDs.  Kind of strange, since most surveys show party ID moving in favor of Democrats.  Pretty hard to justify a 2% difference, I would think.

by LanceS 2008-10-07 09:00AM | 0 recs
They have no choice

This is the last hail mary, because if there is ANY movement in the polls back to McCain, the chattering classes will buy into it, and start asking

"How can Obama stop his slide" and any conversation away from his dropping poll numbers is a win for McCain.

My problem is, some of those people Palin and McCain are working into a frenzy are seriously unhinged.

To them, the idea of a black man in the WH was already abhorrent, now their Goddess Palin is telling them he is a terrorist?

I hope Barack's Secret Service Team does not think this is a joke, some of those people are dangerous and totally capable of taking the matter into their own psychotic hands.

by WashStateBlue 2008-10-07 07:28AM | 0 recs
As I see it.

At McCain's age he should have gone for the 'elder statesman' image.  But it appears he doesn't realize he's not still that young fighter pilot, fresh from captivity.  A fiery young reformer image just can't be massaged to fit a 72-year-old man.  He just looks cranky.  Too bad noone seems to have told him that.

As for Palin, she is a relative stranger to most people.  Obama has been campaigning for over a year and a half.  He had 22 public debates before the GE even started.  People know a lot about him.  Palin should be trying to let people get to know her instead of attacking someone who is known and loved all over the country and the world.

by GFORD 2008-10-07 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: As I see it.

This is what really galls me.  They are running around claiming that we do not know who Obama is, therefore he must have a secret agenda.

Obama has been one of the most open politicians of the modern era.   He has been very straightforward and detailed with his plans and has laid them out online for everyone to read.

I am sick and tired of this coded racist message that the GOP keeps throwing out there.  I am really starting to get fearful for not only Obama, but his family.  And for Palin and McCain to whip up this frenzy is beyond reprehensible.

by gavoter 2008-10-07 08:35AM | 0 recs
I just hope that McSame and Moose-o-lini don't

accidentally find themselves in the leadership of a racist fanatical GOP voter lynch mob.  It's headed that way.

by lockewasright 2008-10-07 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: I just hope that McSame and Moose-o-lini don't

That worries me too - they seem to have concluded that they can't win without running on race.  So, I guess, cue the George Wallace campaign.

by auronrenouille 2008-10-07 09:04AM | 0 recs
Re: I just hope that McSame and Moose-o-lini don't


Well, that's the glass half empty view.  The other perspective is to see things like during the primary- let the crude sexism or racism come out into the light and rage there, where it slowly withers and dies.

Better to confront and deal with the previously latent bigotry now than suppress it and have it break out in the form of an assassination or riots after a seemingly successful election.

Politics is a kind of rage therapy for a lot of people.  It can't be helped, it is the way we deal with our hostility to each other, and it is generally preferable to the alternative- actual violence.

by killjoy 2008-10-07 10:17AM | 0 recs

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