Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Polls

From here on out, just assume that each post I do on recent polling data regarding the presidential race is prefaced with a "for what it's worth" or "don't read too much into this." That being said, the polls continue to look good for Obama. This Pew Research poll reveals that Obama has increased his lead over McCain among registered voters, is trusted more on the economy, and that more voters now have a negative opinion of VP pick Sarah Palin. This poll by Quinnipiac University finds similar trends in crucial swing states. Members of the GOP who are rightly concerned about these numbers are pressing McCain to go negative (or more accurately, more negative, running ads linking Obama to the tired old standbys of Wright, Ayers and Rezko that have already failed to sink his campaign) but Nate Silver at 538 says such a strategy isn't likely to help McCain as Obama's favorability ratings among his softer supporters are hardening. The first debate apparently has done little to change the underlying dynamic in the race.

UPDATE: David Wiegel at Hin & Run provides with an interesting historical backdrop for these numbers. In short, Carter provides a precedent for an in-a-month meltdown, but circumstances were vastly different in 1980.

UPDATE II: So now the McCain camps strategy when it comes to Palin is to send her out to connect with voters via right-wing radio:

"We're going to be continue to put her in settings where she has an opportunity to shine, to be on offense," the adviser said. "We've gotten very good feedback from the public from Hugh Hewitt interview."

The adviser suggested that the campaign's efforts at damage control following Palin's interview with Katie Couric may have been hampered by the fact that the governor wasn't doing more friendly interviews to counter her flubs on Russia and the congressional bailout bill, which have reverberated throughout the blogosphere and even turned Palin into a punchline on Saturday Night Live.

"We acknowledge that perhaps she should have been out there doing more," said the adviser, who argued that "it's not fair to judge her off one or two sound bites" from the network interviews.

So if we are to believe this, she's going to connect with voters by going into settings where the only people who are likely to hear her are the ones who already adore her. Perhaps I'm missing something, but this seems largely to me like an effort to keep Palin from increasingly turning off voters who have legitimate questions about her views and her experience, and play up her primary asset instead, which is the adoration with which the right-wing regards her. It just seems rather obvious to me that McCain and his advisors thought they could pick someone who would simultaneously fire up the base and whose views, experience (or lack thereof) and questionable acts as both mayor and governor could be largely downplayed and minimized in the minds of voters. That strategy appears to have failed; Palin has fired up the voters McCain should expect to already have on his side, and has largely failed to impress the voters he desperately needs to win, and now her media appearances in non-controlled settings are to be curtailed.

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