Obama's appears to be looking for McCain
credit: Christine Baker, Of The Patriot-News
It’s way too early to read much into poll numbers and polls will change several times between now and the election, especially after the conventions, but polls released today are interesting.
According to the Reuters/Zogby poll released today here McCain has a 5 point lead, 46% to 41%, over Obama. There are several reasons why this is significant.
It is the first time McCain has led Obama in this poll and erases a 7 point lead for Obama in July.
Also it is outside the margin of error of 3 percent.
Finally the poll is among likely voters. A lot of the polls showing Obama with a large lead are among registered voters. This difference is important. First, likely voters are obviously a better predictor of how the vote will go than measuring registered voters, some of which won’t vote. Second Democrats have a greater tendency to be among the non-voters in the registered voter count than Republicans. What this means in short is that when registered voters are counted, the Democrat has a tendency to poll higher than the actual vote will be.
There are other things in this poll that should make the Obama team a little nervous.
McCain is polling higher on the economy than Obama, 49% to 40%. This is quite significant not only because the economy tends to be a Democratic strong point but also is listed as the number one issue for voters this year. Again this is a reversal from a 4 point Obama lead last month.
Obama lost 9 points from July on his support among Democrats to 74% while McCain has the support of 81% of Republicans. Further, more Democrats, 10%, are undecided than Republicans, 9%. This is interesting in that the media has depicted Obama as the darling of the Democratic party while portraying the Republican party as running away screaming from McCain.
Possibly the most worrisome for Obama is his support among young voters, slipping 12 points from 64% to 52% giving him only a 12% lead over McCain. This was supposed to be the group to carry Obama to the White House.
Now we do have to keep in mind that these poll numbers will change, sometimes in favor of McCain and sometimes for Obama. If I’m Obama though, I would be worried about these numbers. This is supposed to be a banner year for Democrats and Obama at best has been managing to just barely stay ahead of McCain and now is trailing. This has to give Obama and the rest of the Democratic party some sleepless nights.