Obama is not underperforming

So the MSM is so focused on Obama and so surprised that the race is close, there have been a good number of articles pondering: Why is Obama underperforming?

I don’t think he is. He is still relatively popular (53/34). He is still ahead in national polls.

The most recent head-to-head polls with Obama and non-McCain Republicans, show Obama crushing the Rs: Obama-Romney 49-41; Obama-Huckabee 50-39. And against the titular head of the GOP, Obama leads President Bush 54-34. Even more worrisome for Republicans, the party fav/unfav numbers are atrocious: GOP (39/53) to Dems (56/36). So the GOP is at -14 and the Dems are at +20. Non-partisan voters dislike the GOP and like the Dems right now.

Bottom Line: Obama would likely beat “generic R” easily and perhaps in a landslide despite his title as Most Liberal Senator.

But McCain is overperforming the “generic R.”

Among independent voters, McCain has earned admiration and a reputation for being pragmatic on policy while being principled on ethics. His anti-pork efforts allow him to avoid being tarred by Sen. Stevens-style corruption. And his bipartisan efforts that earned him the “maverick” title have also earned him credibility that “generic R” doesn’t have.

Independents ditched the GOP in big numbers in 2006. They are still very unhappy with President Bush and the GOP. But McCain has a longer rope among these swing voters.

If the MSM wasn’t so obsessed with their candidate, they might notice that not everything is about Obama. And in this case, it’s all about McCain overperforming.