Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama Building Lead in Polls During Wall Street Crisis

There's nothing like bad economic news to help out the opposition party. In this case, Sen. Barack Obama has regained momentum (and the lead) in a variety of polls with less than six weeks from the presidential election.

For instance, an ABC News/Washington Post national poll released yesterday, has Obama with a 52-43 percentage-point lead among likely voters over Sen. John McCain.

More voters trust Obama to deal with the economy, and he currently has a big edge as the candidate who is more in tune with the economic problems Americans now face. He also has a double-digit advantage on handling the current problems on Wall Street, and as a result, there has been a rise in his overall support.

The McCain campaign pollsters told reporters on a quickly arranged conference call that the Post poll is an "outlier" not representative of other surveys and that they believe the national race is still neck and neck.

That could be true, but there are other signs that McCain is in deep trouble. And if the campaign truly believes this race is still neck and neck, then the Republicans have already lost. Obama has started to build substantial leads in a more significant polls from individual battleground states.

In Iowa (seven electoral votes), the Des Moines Register/Selzer & Co.’s poll, conducted from Sept. 8 to Sept. 10, showed Obama leading McCain by 12 percentage points (52 to 40) among the registered voters in Iowa. Marist has Obama leading by 10 in that state.

As of today, The InsiderAdvantage/Poll Position Survey in Colorado (nine electoral votes) has Obama leading by nine percentage points, (50 to 41). Yesterday, that same polling organization had Obama and McCain tied in Ohio (20 electoral votes.) That state had been leaning toward McCain.

In Florida, which has been seen as close but likely a McCain state, a NBC/Mason-Dixon Poll released yesterday has Obama up by two percentage points.

In Virginia, a traditionally red state, CNN reported today that McCain's advantage is slipping in that state, which has 13 electoral votes.

The latest round of polls could be a clear warning sign for McCain six weeks before Election Day that the Republican presidential nominee still has work to do to lock down certain states that previous GOP nominees had to spend little time or effort doing so.

In the latest poll of polls, the Arizona senator only holds a 1 point lead over Barack Obama (47-46 percent) while 7 percent remain undecided. The poll of polls is an average of three recent surveys of the state.

All this has produced a shift in Obama's strategy, Andrea D. Murphy of Forbes reports.

With less than 6 weeks until the general election, the Obama campaign’s 50 state strategy appears to have ended. The campaign has pulled out of Alaska and North Dakota, and it is poised to close offices in Georgia and Montana, states that Democrats feel they cannot win. George W. Bush won all four states, and their combined 24 electoral college votes, by a wide margin in 2004.

The Obama campaign is focusing on swing states. Today, Obama is in Florida while running mate Joe Biden is set to deliver a speech on foreign policy in Ohio. McCain currently leads in both states by 2 percentage points. The Republican team is in New York City, where McCain and Sarah Palin are meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

None of this is good news for McCain. The Republicans had some strong momentum on their side after the convention. But the relentless attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin and the distressing news from Wall Street are now starting to take their toll. The upcoming debate may be McCain's best shot at stopping the bleeding, as the nation watches the candidates together, it's his best opportunity for him to demonstrate how his leadership is best for America as the country fights through the current economic crisis. If he falters in the debate, the poll numbers are going to drop even farther, and there would be little time to make up ground.

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