Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Amazing news this morning: Barack Obama has a 9-point lead -- 52%-43% -- in the latest Washington Post-ABC poll.

The economy is the big reason, of course. But I want to point this out, from ABC's write-up of the poll results:

White Women Back to Even Support for McCain, Obama

Then there are white women.

They've been a changeable group this year, shifting, for example, from +7 Obama to +11 McCain among likely voters from late August (before the conventions) to early September.

They're back to a dead heat now, precisely where they were in mid-July....

In fact, that understates the turnaround. If you check the PDF of the poll results, you see that McCain had a 16-point lead among white women in mid-June, just after Hillary Clinton ended her campaign; Obama is now up by 2.

But the story we keep hearing is about results such as the notorious 20-point swing to McCain among white female registered voters just after the Republican convention. That became the story all the journalists liked.

And so we had the Today show's Matt Lauer on Monday asking Obama this:

LAUER: Prior to the conventions, according to a lot of polls, you had about, between an 8- and 10-point lead among white women.

OBAMA: Right.

LAUER: After the conventions, according to one of the latest polls, that lead now stands with John McCain by about 8 percent.

How can you not sit around in a room with your top advisers and rethink the idea of putting Hillary Clinton on this ticket?

Lauer, of course, couldn't have known about today's poll -- but he had every opportunity to look at the CBS/New York Times poll that was released last Wednesday, which showed a 21-point swing in Obama's favor among white women.

But, just like Maureen Dowd on Sunday, he went with the story he likes, not the story that was clearly developing -- the end of McCain's bounce and the end of his temporarily Palin-driven advantage with white female voters. (The Post notes today that Palin's favorable rating among independent women has dropped 22 points since the last poll.) And by the way, aren't women the voters who are usually said to care about the "checkbook issues" that now seem to be driving this race?


OH, AND: Just another reminder that John Kerry lost white women by 11 points in 2004, though he lost the overall popular vote by only 3%. (Kerry did win among women of all races by 3%; he lost among men by a much larger margin.)

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