Poll Update

12Sep08

All polls from the last couple of days show McCain leading a bit, but the numbers are small enough so you should think about this as a tied race.

Rasmussen Tracking 09/09 – 09/11 3000 LV 48 45 McCain +3
Gallup Tracking 09/08 – 09/10 2718 RV 48 44 McCain +4
Hotline/FD Tracking 09/08 – 09/10 902 RV 46 44 McCain +2
FOX News 09/08 – 09/09 900 RV 45 42 McCain +3

The Sarah Palin effect has been enormous. It has 1) tied the race, 2) swung the cameras off of Barack and onto the McCain/Palin ticket, 3) energized Republicans, and 4) made affiliating with the GOP seem more desirable.

In recent months, polls have shown that voters prefer Democrats over Republicans this election year by 10 to 15%. That has changed.

A potential shift in fortunes for the Republicans in Congress is seen in the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, with the Democrats now leading the Republicans by just 3 percentage points, 48% to 45%, in voters’ “generic ballot” preferences for Congress. This is down from consistent double-digit Democratic leads seen on this measure over the past year.

We have all been expecting that Democrats will assume strong control of Congress even if Barack loses the presidential election, as I expect he will. What if the anti-GOP feeling has run its course already?

Democratic voters are nearly uniform in their support for the Democratic candidate in their congressional districts (92%), Republican voters are nearly uniform in their support for the Republican candidate (94%), and independents are closely split, with 44% backing the Democrat and 40% the Republican.

One caveat to keep in mind – it is too soon after the conventions for reality to have set back into the numbers. Take these indications with a larger grain of salt than usual.

Republicans, who are now much more enthused about the 2008 election than they were prior to the convention, show heightened interest in voting, and thus outscore Democrats in apparent likelihood to vote in November. As a result, Republican candidates now lead Democratic candidates among likely voters by 5 percentage points, 50% to 45%.

That, my friend, is an incredible turn of events.

The sustainability of all of these findings is an open question that polling will answer over the next few weeks.



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