Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I was a bit worried about this, even though it's part of a poll that shows only a little tightening (Obama +8 last week, +6 now):

"Joe the Plumber" may be paying off for John McCain.

The Arizona senator scored sharp gains on the pivotal issue of jobs and the economy in the past week, helping him gain a bit on front-runner Barack Obama and narrow the presidential race as it heads into the final week, according to an Ipsos/McClatchy Poll released Tuesday.

The poll found Obama's margin over McCain on who's stronger on jobs and the economy -- by far the top issue in the country -- down from 16 points to 7 points in one week....

And similar things are happening in the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll:

For the first time since late September McCain has cracked Obama's double-digit margin in trust to handle the economy, now a 9-point Obama lead in this ABC News/Washington Post tracking poll, down from 18 points last week....

The single biggest change in trust to handle the economy, as noted in yesterday's tracking report, is among movable voters, the 11 percent who haven't definitely made up their minds -- from a 29-point advantage on the economy for Obama last week to a 7-point McCain edge this week....

But Obama still has a 7-point lead in the ABC/WaPo poll.

So what's going on?

Well, McCain's economic message is connecting with his own base, as ABC's poll analyst explains:

Last week conservatives preferred McCain on the economy by a 40-point margin; now it's 61 points; evangelical white Protestants preferred him on the economy by 46 points, compared with 65 points now.

So people who were never going to vote for Obama are now really, really never going to vote for Obama. Meanwhile, people in the middle are going in the other direction:

McCain's at or near his best support to date among conservatives and evangelical white Protestants, core Republican groups. But the 52-41 percent division among independents is Obama's best since Sept. 22, and his lead among middle-class voters is his best to date.

I'm exaggerating somewhat -- these polls are tightening a bit. (And there's noticeable tightinmg in the latest Rasmussen poll.) It's possible that Obama could have picked off some of the conservative and evagelical voters, but now they're going home to the GOP, perhaps because of this new economic message (which, for all we know, ADHD McCain might abandon tomorrow). Then again, these voters might have drifted home no matter what.

Whatever's going on, yes, it's true that if the "real America" were the real America, the McCain/Palin/Plumber ticket would be winning in a landslide on raw votes and, now, possibly even voter enthusiasm. But that's not the case, and Obama still has a lead.

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