Post-St. Paul speech polling: Obama gets big bounce
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows Barack Obama’s bounce growing to an eight-point lead over John McCain. Obama now attracts 48% of the vote while McCain earns 40%.
When "leaners" are included in the data, it's a seven-point gap of 50-43. By itself this would be significant, but when placed in context it's indicative of major momentum. Three reasons:
* Obama's tied with or ahead of McCain in most polls despite the rough Democratic primary campaign, which has allowed McCain to avoid media scrutiny while all the negative campaigning has focused on Obama. McCain's already had his "I'm-the-nominee" bounce;
* According to Rasmussen, 81 percent of Democrats "say they will vote for Obama over McCain. That’s the highest level of party support ever enjoyed by Obama." And this is during a time when you'd most expect disappointed Hillary backers to shy away for making such a declaration;
* McCain's already gone back-and-forth on his own strategy, first trying to establish evangelical bona fides by embracing nutjobs like John Hagee and Rod Parsley -- and is now trying to run as the candidate of independent, bipartisan change, a laughable tack that shows the Obama message is killing them in internal polling.
This leaves aside that the more people get to know Barack Obama, the more they seem to like him, the fact that he's 10 times the orator on his worst day than McCain can hope to be on his best, and that in my view a Republican presidential candidate simply cannot win by appealing to the middle. Oh, and he's also likely to have an overwhelming fundraising advantage.
CNN's latest poll has Obama up by three or four points, depending on whether third parties come into play. The excellent poll analysis site fivethirtyeight.com notes that the Gallup Poll also shows a "unity bounce for Obama," and author Nate Silver suggests that the Democratic candidate might "gain several points over the next couple of weeks and essentially never give them back."
If Obama were behind by three to five percent at this stage of the game, he should still feel good about his chances. As it stands, well, John McCain's looking like Bob Dole v. 2.0.