Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More close polls and slanted news coverage?

More polls show a tightening race - Gallup Traditional shows Obama regaining 5 point lead

Today the AP-GfK released its latest poll.  It shows John McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch, with Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, well within the margin of error. Just three weeks ago, this survey found that Obama had surged to a seven-point lead over McCain.

The IBD/TIPP Poll shows Obama's lead is down to 3.7 from 6.0. McCain gained ground in the West and with independents, married women, as well as gaining momentum in the suburbs, where he's gone from even a week ago to a 20-point lead. Obama added gains in urban areas and with lower-class households, but he slipped 4 points with parents. (IBD's polling partner, TIPP, was the most accurate pollster of the campaign season for the 2004 election.)

The latest Gallup Traditional Poll shows Obama stretching his lead back to 5 points from a recent low of 2.7%, while the Real Clear Politics average has moved back up to about 7% from a low of just over 5% on Monday. 

It is clear that McCain made some gains in the period after the third debate, though it is less clear how much he has gained, and if the increase has already peaked.  I still have some questions about how late-breaking voters will go - Obama is still running at just 52% 'ready to be President' compared to McCain's 80%, so it may be that late-breaking undecideds will ultimately decide that he is ready, or it may be that they won't reach that tipping point and will go for McCain based on his experience.  It is one reason that you'll see Obama exhorting crowds to vote early in his current stump speech. 

MEDIA Coverage Comparison - McCain stories overwhelmingly negative, according to Project for Excellence in Journalism study

The media coverage of the race for president has not so much cast Barack Obama in a favorable light as it has portrayed John McCain in a substantially negative one, according to a new study of the media since the two national political conventions ended.

Press treatment of Obama has been somewhat more positive than negative, but not markedly so. 

But coverage of McCain has been heavily unfavorable—and has become more so over time. In the six weeks following the conventions through the final debate, unfavorable stories about McCain outweighed favorable ones by a factor of more than three to one—the most unfavorable of all four candidates—according to the study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

For Obama during this period, just over a third of the stories were clearly positive in tone (36%), while a similar number (35%) were neutral or mixed. A smaller number (29%) were negative.

For McCain, by comparison, nearly six in ten of the stories studied were decidedly negative in nature (57%), while fewer than two in ten (14%) were positive.

All of this makes me wonder if the media that seems to be favoring Obama in how he is reported are somehow tweaking the sense of fairness among viewers/readers with the overwhelmingly negative coverage? 

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