Saturday, November 01, 2008

Obama Appears to be Consolidating the Lead

After seeing a number of polls move closer recently, including the Zogby single-day polling which had McCain actually leading, the single-day and trend polls today look to be telling a different story.  For the first time, the Gallup extended and traditional polls are indicating a similar margin - twelve points for Senator Obama.  The Gallup traditional was one of the first polls to set tongues wagging when it put Senator McCain within two percent of Obama last week.  Rasmussen continues to have Obama over fifty-one percent and today's Zogby poll, which puts Obama up five plus percent, with most of the other polls which reported trends today showing the race at least five percent apart. 

We have been speculating a great deal about how the late-breaking independent voters would move.  Would they ultimately be comfortable with Senator Obama, or would tax and terror concerns steer them toward the more experienced man?  Of course, we still won't know the answer for three or so days, but the sudden widening of the polls which had been showing a McCain surge may in fact be our early warning that independents are indeed choosing Obama.  In fact, since the Thursday version of Rasmussen, the Wednesday Gallup traditional and the Friday Zogby single-day and Opinion Dynamics polls were released, each subsequent poll has trended down for McCain.  Is November 1 the day the late breakers began to reach their tipping point and found themselves tipping toward Senator Obama?  Time will tell, and certainly many of the underlying possibilities discussed over the past few days in this blog are still possible factors.  But as of today, I don't see any data that suggests anything other than this:  Obama widened his poll lead today.  McCain lost ground.  His brief foray above 45% - which has been nearly a hard ceiling for him - ended with the Zogby single-day results, and in combination with a gentle uptick by Obama the race seems now to be contested in the 5-10% Obama lead range.  That's probably too large a number for McCain to overtake - especially in light of the number of early voters.  All of the interesting possibilities and trends below the candidate preference line are really only interesting if the race is at four percent or less.  Five at the outside.  Upsets have happened even when the leader went into the last weekend with an eight point lead.  But an eight-point lead in 1980 probably translates to a four or five point lead today, with instant information, many more polls and as many as a quarter of voters casting early ballots. 

We'll see what the numbers look like tomorrow, but if I were an accountant tonight, I'd advise McCain to return some of that Red Bull I suggested last night.  Chances are he'll be wanting some warm milk instead.  Stay tuned tomorrow to see if we must remake our impressions yet again! 

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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