Polls Tightening – Movement Towards McCain

by Sal on October 8, 2008

in Election 2008,Politics

There is reason for optimism for McCain supporters.  The last couple of days of polling show movement towards McCain.  This is especially interesting in regards to the tracking polls, as they take a multi-day rolling sample.  As is my standard policy, I am ignoring polls that track only registered voters, such as the Gallup tracking poll (which is different from the normal Gallup poll of Likely voters that is taken occasionally).  Let’s take a look at each poll of likely voters that is listed at RealClearPolitics

Rasmussen Tracking:  Scott Rasmussen has Obama’s lead dropping two points today, to a +6 advantage.  He is over 50%, but it is his lowest in about 5 days.  Rasmussen was the most accurate pollster in 2004, but his methodology has changed somewhat since then, relying now on a 6-week rolling average for party identification.  Rasmussen’s poll numbers also tend to move more gradually and lag behind other polls sometimes wild swings.  A 2-point drop in one day, although small, may be significant if the trend continues over the next couple of days. 

C-Span/Reuters/Zogby Tracking:  The poll just started on Thursday evening, so trends are not easily recognizable, but the poll has Obama with only a +3 advantagen

Hotline/FD Tracking:  I know very little about this poll or it’s methodology.  It has the party identification at +5 Democrat, and is a tracking poll of likely voters that has seemed to favor Obama over the course of the campaign.  Today, however, it has McCain within one point, up from a 2-point spread yesterday, and a 6-point spread on Monday. 

GW/Battleground Tracking:  Historically, one of the better polls.  This is a bi-partisan poll, and has a good track record over time.  It now shows a +4 advantage for Obama, after being a +7-point advantage yesterday. 

While movement in any single poll one way or the other can be attributed to many things (statistical noise, bad sampling, etc.), movement in all polls of likely voters most likely indicate a trend.  It remains to be seen in the days ahead if this trend is maintained or grows, but it appears recent events have moved things slightly back in McCain’s direction.  Consider that in the last 5 days:

  • Sarah Palin creamed Joe Biden in the Vice Presidential Debate
  • Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Tony Rezko have been brought to the forefront of the news cycle
  • McCain attacked Democrats for the Fannie/Freddy Mess

Again, only the days ahead will tell the true story, but for those of us (including myself) who are a bit dispirited by last night’s debate, this does show that the race is far from over, and America may begin to have second thoughts on Obama, despite what the Drive-By Media claims.

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Gallup The Shark | Axis of Right
October 8, 2008 at 9:25 pm

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Mike October 8, 2008 at 4:01 pm

I’ll follow-up on this with a post of my own later tonight, but I’ll chime in here too. I’m encouraged by these polls but there are two points that warrant us not getting overexcited.

First, the polls showing the race tightening all seem to show McCain gaining without Obama losing ground. The purpose of the Ayres/Wright stuff is to drive up Zero’s negatives to pull down his poll numbers. The facts that McCain is rising and Obama is holding steady tells me the trend is more Republicans coming home than Ayres sticking. I’m not saying it won’t, but it hasn’t yet.

Second, these polls are all pre-debate. Debates can affect short-term poll numbers so we need to wait and see.

For now, this is just a trend and we need to see more. Also, pray it continues.


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