Poll Parsing - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Poll Parsing

I just spent some time analyzing the results of the latest WSJ/NBC poll, and thought a few things were worth noting.

While Obama has enjoyed a post-nomination bounce, it’s more like the type of bounce you’d get from a rusty pogo stick that’s been sitting in the garage for ten years. Obama now leads McCain by 6 points, 47-41, which is just a three-point swing from the previous poll. To put this in better context, the public favors a generic Democrat over a generic Republican by a much higher 51-35 spread, so Obama is underperforming and McCain is outperforming.

Obama continues to have a problem with white males — McCain holds a 20-point lead among this group. On the other hand, Obama holds a 34-point lead among Hispanics, a group that he had trouble with during the primaries and that Bush made significant headway with in 2004. Obama also enjoys a 19-point lead among women — perhaps that’s another argument in favor of tapping Sarah Palin as a VP.

Some more notes:

–In one of the most troubling signs for McCain, the poll shows that by a 60-38 margin, more Americans who say they are voting for McCain see their vote as a vote against Obama and the Democratic Party rather than for McCain. But Obama voters by a 50-48 margin, are actually voting for Obama. The candidate who wins typically gives people a reason to vote for him rather than just against his opponent. We saw this in 2004, as Democratic voters weren’t that crazy about John Kerry, but they supported him because they hated President Bush so much. Anti-Bush sentiment alone wasn’t enough for Kerry, and I don’t think McCain will win on anti-Obama feeling.

–However, public attitudes on the Iraq War are trending in John McCain’s direction, as Americans favor withdrawing troops by the beginning of 2009 over remaining until the situation is stable by a mere 49 to 45 margin. As recently as this April, the margin was 55 to 40. So that’s an 11-point swing to McCain’s position in just two months.

–Despite all the talk about how unpopular Hillary Clinton is, Obama would stretch his lead over McCain to 9 points in a hypothetical Obama-Clinton vs. McCain-Romney ticket. My guess is that has to do more with Romney’s unpopularity than positive sentiment for Clinton.

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