Polls Analyzed

Various polls released Monday after the Republican convention show John McCain with a significant bounce. The USA Today/Gallup poll shows McCain/Palin up by 50-46 among ‘registered voters’, while the same poll had shown Obama up 7 points before the GOP conclave.

That’s a bump of a whopping 11 points in a convention that the media tried to cancel because of Hurricane Gustav.

And remember what the McCain camp said before the Denver Dem-fest? They said Obama would get a 15-point bounce. That was routinely dismissed by the media as McCain overestimation in order to make any lesser Obama gain seem like a defeat. Yet now McCain has gotten 11 points out of his convention, when nobody predicted it.

So obviously McCain is taking charge due in large part to Sarah Palin’s presence on the ticket.

Strikingly, however, among those ‘most likely to vote’, which is the more accurate poll, McCain led Obama by a full 10 points on Monday, September 8.’Likely voters’ are people who tell pollsters directly in their interview that they are likely to go out and vote. It is a more accurate predictor of outcome than ‘registered voters’.

USA Today/Gallup showed that McCain had closed the gap with Obama over the economy as well. Obama has blamed Bush for everything from gas prices to the cost of popcorn, and his lead on the economy previously was 19 points in USA Today/Gallup. After St. Paul, the gap was only 3 points in the same poll. Folded into the already commanding lead that McCain had in the areas of ‘fitness to be commander-in-chief’, these economy numbers are bad news for Obama.

Obviously polls change and we can expect a lot of back and forth, but Obama should be worried. He should be leading by 20 points at this stage with all the media hype and the years-long media assault on the Republican party. But no. Biden even called Palin the “lieutenant governor” of Alaska. Obviously this was supposed to be seen as a slip of the tongue, but it may have been a well-planned slight knowing how Dems have belittled women candidates this year.

The Zogby poll said post-convention that McCain/Palin leads by almost 4 points. This number was up from a McCain lead of 2.5 points after the Palin announcement but before the convention.

Said John Zogby: “Clearly Palin is helping the McCain ticket…. The striking thing here in this poll is that McCain has pulled ahead among Catholics by double-digits… “

So Obama’s obfuscation on the abortion question during the Saddleback debate (it’s “above my pay grade” to say when fetuses should be given human rights) and Democrat House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s statement on Meet the Press that the Catholic church has no doctrine on when life begins has hurt the Dems among Catholic voters who are notoriously liberal in some precincts.

Zogby says that McCain’s favorability rating increased from 50% to 57% after his St. Paul speech. 50% said they have a negative impression of Obama.

Zogby was the most accurate pollster in the last 3 presidential elections.

Meanwhile the Gallup Daily Tracking poll shows McCain up 48-45 among registered voters. This poll was taken on the last day of, and then two days following the GOP convention. This is McCain’s biggest lead ever in the Gallup daily poll. 2,765 people were interviewed.

What does all this mean? It is a significant bounce for McCain/Palin as voters are focusing on the election. During summer, voters tend to be more casual. Today, however, they are taking the candidates much more seriously.

And the media attacks on Sarah Palin produced a high curiosity factor among voters, leading more viewers than ever to focus on her vice presidential acceptance speech, more than even tuned in for Obama’s presidential speech. McCain’s acceptance speech then trumped both in number of viewers by almost 3 million (approximately 40 million).

Obviously these poll numbers will fluctuate. But in light of the media love affair with Obama and now the voters focusing in on the race, these numbers are good for McCain and may well ‘trickle down’ to senate and congressional races. Once voters get to see the actual words of each candidate rather than hearing them through the media filter, they are trending McCain/Palin.

Obama even made a major gaffe in an ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos when he referred to “my Muslim faith”. This is ricocheting around the internet on the same day the poll results are coming out. With Obama himself saying “my Muslim faith” on video, there may be tens of thousands of voters who may be swayed into believing he is a Muslim when they see that clip on the web because he said it so matter-of-factly. If you did not know who he was, you would believe he is Muslim. All in all very damaging, and another chink in Obama’s tattered armor.

The debates are coming and things can change quickly. The question is, who is more likely to make a major gaffe?

And the answer is Obama and Biden. Obama has said many things that would have been reverberating across the fruited plain had he been a Republican (“your kids should learn to speak Spanish”, he said, and I’ve campaigned in, “let’s see… 57 states”.) He will gaffe in the debates and there will be no media to filter it.

Meanwhile, the Palin/Biden debate will be the most watched vice-presidential debate ever, and Palin will chew Biden up. Political junkies and media types know Biden as a big-time gaffer and blowhard, and they are nervous about him now. The conventional wisdom was that Biden would cream Palin. Until she spoke at the convention, that is, some of it ad-libbed because of a faulty teleprompter.

We should not take these polls as definitive, but we can look at trends. And the trends show that Americans are losing confidence in Obama.

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