Tuesday, September 30, 2008

(bad news, updated at the end with much better news)

New Washington Post/ABC poll:

...Negativity about the country's financial prospects continues to lift Obama, but he now has a narrower advantage over McCain in Post-ABC polling than he did last week. Overall, the senator from Illinois holds a slim lead in the new national poll, with likely voters dividing 50 percent for Obama and 46 percent for McCain.

In the last poll, Obama led by a nine-point margin....

Yup -- a 9-point lead drops to 4. More:

...[Independents] favored McCain by 10 points immediately after the Republican convention, swung to Obama last week and stand now at a close division between the two -- 48 percent for McCain, 45 percent for Obama in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll....

White women are [another] of the changeable groups.

Among likely voters they've gone from +7 for Obama before the party conventions to +11 for McCain afterward, then to about an even split last week (+2 Obama) -- but back to +11 for McCain in this poll....

I don't know what's going on. A solid plurality of these poll respondents think Obama won the first debate, and more of them now think Obama would be a "safe" choice for president than feel that way about McCain -- but "McCain has now nudged ahead as the candidate better able to handle international affairs, the war in Iraq, terrorism and an unexpected major crisis." (Obama was ahead on all three in the last poll.)

I think what's happened is that changeable voters saw Republican Warrior Daddy at the debate and went "Oooh! Ahhhh!" They think Obama's the "safe" choice, but now they don't want the "safe" choice -- they want the dangerous choice. These people are a freaking Maureen Dowd column made flesh.

Beyond that, I think last week gave Obama a financial-meltdown bounce -- and now we're getting used to financial meltdown, so the bounce is dissipating. (According to the PDFs of last week's poll and this week's, Obama's advantage on the question of whom respondents would trust more to handle the economy has slipped from 53%-39% to 50%-43%.)

Some of Obama's recent gain does seem to be lingering, but I think a lot of Obama supporters thought he was just going to keep going up and up in the polls -- whereas it seems to me that he's in the process of slipping a bit. I'm not saying there can't be another bounce, but I think this one is over. And I'm getting nervous again.


And you know what else? I'm going to utter a heresy and say that I suspect Sarah Palin doesn't look as much like an idiot to Joe and Jane Average, at least this week, as she does to us.

I know she can't name a single newspaper she reads in the latest Katie Couric interview -- so what? There was no evidence that our last two two-term Republican presidents ever read a newspaper, and did the public give a crap?

As for the rest: yeah, she dodges the question of whether she believes in prosecuting those who perform abortions on rape and incest victims, and she dances around the question of what causes climate change, and she slithers out of answering questions about the morning-after pill and the attempt by a church she's attended to convert gay people through prayer -- but she dodges all the questions artfully, slickly, and without the word salad we've found so entertaining of late.

She BS'd her way through this interview, and that makes me worry that she can BS her way through the debate with Biden. (She certainly had prime BS skills debating in Alaska.) So, yeah, I'm concerned.


ON THE OTHER HAND: Quinnipiac's swing-state polls are pretty terrific:

* Florida: Obama up 49 - 43 percent pre-debate and 51 - 43 percent post-debate;
* Ohio: Obama up 49 - 42 percent pre-debate and 50 - 42 percent post-debate;
* Pennsylvania: Obama ahead 49 - 43 percent pre-debate and 54 - 39 percent post-debate.

I want to believe....

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