All credit to a Democratic blogger for this extremely important insight so brilliant that I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself: Current polling is quite possibly invalid because many voters don’t yet realize that Hillary Clinton won’t be Barack Obama’s running mate.
Big Tent Democrat — an erstwhile Hillary supporter, but not a PUMA — lays it out:
The new Quinnipiac polls for Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are mostly encouraging for John McCain. How can that be? you might ask. McCain trails in all 3 states . . .
First of all, I do not believe Obama is leading in Florida. In fact, since he is not going to pick Hillary Clinton, I do not think he has a chance in Florida. The crosstabs tell the tale in my opinion. Two key numbers – Obama leads with women NOW 47-42 (not enough, McCain will win men by more than the 47-45 the Q poll is showing.) He will lose women, especially in South Florida, when he does not pick Hillary. McCain leads with white voters 53-39. He will lead by more than that come November, especially if he does not pick Hillary. Obama will not win Florida.
Brilliant, and inarguably true. A large percentage of voters who now say they support Obama haven’t been paying close enough attention to notice the clear indications that he’s not even seriously considering Hillary as his running mate.
These voters quite naturally assume that, after such a close-fought contest, Hillary has earned the right to be on the ticket. They haven’t noticed Obama’s comments and furious vetting efforts that show he’s seeking an ABC (“Anyone But Clinton”) running mate, with most speculation centering on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. And when it is finally announced that Hillary won’t be on the ticket, it’s going to be a huge jolt, one that many will perceive as a purposeful insult to the former First Lady.
So look at Obama’s 3-point RCP average lead and try to estimate how many points he will lose when he gives Hillary the Cagney-with-a-grapefruit treatment: