Obama ahead in polls.

Obama’s had a significant uptick in polling numbers in the past week, and is at or above 50% according to both Gallup and Rasmussen. All of the major polling houses have Obama on top, anywhere from 3 to 9%. We’re presumably seeing Obama’s bounce from the convention. It’ll be interesting to see if McCain gets a post-convention bounce, or if he drops. I’d put my money on the latter.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

30 replies on “Obama ahead in polls.”

  1. From Time Magazine’s Swampland blog:

    Another week, another Frank Luntz/AARP focus group of undecided voters–this one in Minneapolis and with some bad news for John McCain: they don’t like the choice of Sarah Palin for vice president. Only one person said Palin made him more likely to vote for McCain; about half the 25-member group raised their hands when asked if Palin made them less likely to vote for McCain. They had a negative impression of Palin by a 2-1 margin …there’s more

  2. Speaking of Minnesota voters – I wonder if anyone has asked them about what they think of Sarah Palin, Poacher. I know that the right is tossing around the whole cited for fishing without a license thing as ridiculous, but all the hunters and fishers I know (which are mostly from Minnesota) taking poaching *very* seriously. As in Significant Moral Issue. I think that it could do some damage in some communities that McCain needs (say, Minnesota).

  3. McCain, as we used to say in the Navy, has really screwed the pooch, this time!

    Better to let Obooboo have his four years of failure than to let scitzoid Palin anywhere near the White House. She has that Tammy Faye Baker quality that should be sending up red flags and sounding alarm bells in everyone’s heads.

    The saddest part of this debacle is having to watch so many of the Republicans parrot the talking points about how, “Wow” and “Exciting” this singular act of stupidity is, when they surely must know what a snotty, vindictive, airhead, Palin really is.

    When I lived and worked in Sitka, Seward, Homer and Anchorage, I never met anyone in the Party who trusted Palin, or even liked her.

    Seeing members of the Party act like they like Palin now, reminds me of the Bathists groveling for Saddam’s approval back when he was in power.

    If Palin does not withdraw, congratulations in advance to the Democrats. America has withstood some pretty lousy presidents (“W” has been the worst in the modern era, with perhaps Carter as a close second) but America seems to be resilient enough to bounce back. Let’s all hope that we still have plenty of bounce; we will need it.

  4. Starters, J. Tyler Ballance has proven he despises Palin and women in general in comments left on other sites, so please take his comments with a grain of salt.

    Seconds, I think that while McCain will see a bump it won’t nearly be on the level of Obama’s. Part of it is competing news (hurricanes), part of it is less hype (even the media was building up Obama’s speech to be the best political oration in generations), and a good part of it will simply be the man speaking (Obama’s speeches market better than McCain’s). There will be the up tick that comes with increased coverage at the expense of the other guy, but not by as large a margin as Obama has seen.

  5. What I like about making short-term predictions like this (such as mine that McCain will drop after the convention versus yours that he’ll climb, but not much) is that we only need to wait a few days to see who was right. Unlike going back and forth about the long-term future of the Virginia Republicans (for example), we get quick satisfaction here.

  6. Watching the convention tonight, I feel like I’m witnessing a party in the day room of a nursing home. Many honorable people are featured, but their time is over.

    And when a cheer arises in the crowd, close-ups reveal expressions that are absolutely deadpan — people just going through the motions. The contrast with the youth and energy and hope of the Democratic convention is painful to watch.

  7. You try to deflect the discussion from the truth, Jason, by making false claims about the motives of those making comments.

    I do not “despise” Tammy Faye Palin. I despise politicians who, as soon as they gain power, abuse that power to visit harm on their fellow citizens, the way Palin did in a vindictive maneuver against her ex-brother-in-law who serves Alaska as a State Trooper.

    Any man or woman in America who has had to endure the misery of divorce can easily imagine the added insult and injury that Palin added to an already miserable situation.

    As for your other whine, it never ceases to amuse, the way some who read a legitimate criticism of, for example, Obama, and then will retort with something like, “You said “X” about Democrats…” when the post was clearly about a difference in political position with a particular individual. In the case of Palin, pointing out her exponentially growing sleaze factor, is just a reflection of reality. Spare us that slop about how writing about Palin’s unsuitability is like attacking motherhood, womankind and apple pie.

    Anyone who follows my posts knows that issues, ideas and occasional satire are my regular topics. Crappy governance is the enemy, not any particular personality. Palin is a lousy choice for VP who has enough baggage to fill the blogs all the way through the election. Had she used her power as Governor, constructively, she would be getting more support. However, her notoriety as snotty and vindictive makes her wholly unsuitable to occupy public office, let alone to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

  8. Let me put a finer point on JTB’s assessment of Palin, because I think we have convergence on the issue of better government. The vetting and selection of McCain’s VP pick was incompetent and illustrates how judgments get made in John McCain’s Republican Party. It appears that the only people dealing with that reality are on the outside of the Republican Party. So while the Repub faithful circle the wagons and sing their hymns to push back the fear, a bunch of us are stacking larger canister and preparing to disassemble the theme. There never was any way to save this thing, it just has to die. And it will.

  9. I would say that McCain had a 35% chance of winning this election last week. Following his selection of Sarah Palin and her attendant problems, I think those odds have dropped to around 15%.

    Palin’s selection had the effect of dramatically recasting this race. Once upon a time this was a contest between John McCain (the steady hand) and a guy who nobody knew anything about. Now it’s the other way around. Everyone suddenly realized that they’ve been watching Obama for a long time now and he’s been a steady guy. He doesn’t screw up and you generally know what he’s going to do.

    Like after the Palin announcements, did anyone really doubt what Barack Obama would have to say about her or her daughter’s pregnancy? Of course not. He congratulated her on winning and didn’t make it backhanded. Then he said that her family is off-limits in this campaign and that he’d fire any campaign staff that go after Palin’s family.

    Obama was a gentleman and he did the morally correct thing. And afterwards I realized that the remarkable thing about this was how totally predictable it was. America has gotten comfortable with Barack Obama and we know what we’re getting from him. Obama has closed the deal, which is why he’s finally hit 50% and even higher in national polls.

    Contrast this with John McCain, who now comes across as hotheaded, impulsive and unpredictable. His selection of Palin without a serious vetting process drove that point home with the American electorate. So in this sense, the choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate has literally been the final straw that reversed the previous images of Obama and McCain.

    McCain is now ruined and essentially handed the race to Obama during what should have been his campaign’s most shining week.

  10. This maverick thing veers in and out of McCain’s narrative. When he was an inside fixer for the S&L bribery scandal (Charlie Keating) he wasn’t much of a maverick. Then he came back as the corruption crusader against Bush. When Karl Rove destroyed him in South Carolina in 2000 he learned to lick the boots of the Republican elite and hired Karl to show he learned his lessons. Now he’s back rolling the dice like America is Deadwood and being all “mavericky” with Sarah Snow Bunny. So much for the “steady hand on the trigger” cowboy theme. He’s more like Festus on Gunsmoke.

  11. I have read so many comments on these issues. Among the most interesting and insightful ones comes from Mr. Landers. Talk I hear also suggests that Obama has become predictable, and given the particular way in which his actions are expected, it is entirely positive for him and for the country. If I may add to Mr. Lander’s comments, the tens of millions who watched the Obama speech last week did so out of comfort, not any longer curiousity, as they know him. It might seem that that post racialism is finally here, which was first suggested in the manner Colin Powell is respected. From my perspective as a scholar these are very, very interesting times, as what happens in the US has deep impact all over the world.

  12. Speaking of Minnesota voters – I wonder if anyone has asked them about what they think of Sarah Palin, Poacher

    HAHA! And first I thought you were referring to her poaching the VP spot from TPaw!

  13. The vetting and selection of McCain’s VP pick was incompetent and illustrates how judgments get made in John McCain’s Republican Party.

    What? You don’t want someone picking the next Secretary of Defense, Attorney General or Supreme Court nominee based on a 70 question survey and a brief phone interview with a lackey? Why ever not?

  14. I think it’s obvious that many at the RNC are putting on a charade for the camera with happy faces and the scripted words of choice to describe Palin.

    Palin was picked to rile up the evangelical base. Plain and simple. It’s a move to keep the electorate divided on wedge issues. Abortion was hardly near the top of the list in issues at the primary debates. (I welcome a debate between Palin and Biden!)

    The things is, Palin is also riling up the progressive base. I see Palin as just another standard Repub facet for people to rally against and make them unite against politics of the last few years. People are just tired of this divisive crap (sans the evangelicals who love it). Even after the RNC Con, we should see yet another uptick for Obama.

  15. By picking Palin (who, by the way, gave a masterful speech), McCain went a LONG way in winning the last and biggest unclaimed prize: middle class white women. Think about all those soccer (and hockey) moms who can relate with Sarah Palin. There are lots and lots of such women.

    Regarding the polls… don’t forget about the Wilder effect. Obama had better be up 5-7 points in swing states, or he’s going to lose them.

  16. Regarding I.Publius statement about the Wilder effect:

    A lot of data as already surfaced showing Obama’s polling to be a reverse Bradley effect. In many primaries, he actually received 3-5 % points higher than was polled. We shall see what the general election has in store, but there is little evidence of the Bradley effect in Obama’s poll numbers so far.

  17. For the guy who posts as “Bubby” please note that all Republicans and all Democrats do not always regurgitate Party talking points. Just one example: Inside the Republican Party of Virginia, there are thousands of men and women who are repulsed by the shallow pandering represented by the “anointing” of “Tammy Faye” Palin as McCain’s VP running mate.

    Especially here in Virginia, Republicans and Democrats find common ground on myriad issues. Virginians, as they say, like our politics blended.

    It is not helpful to those of us who regularly work in cooperation across party lines for you and a few others to try and paint all of the members of either Party as irrational automatons.

    The best response to those within either Party who disagree with the currently held key points, or whole areas of their Party’s position, is to get more involved and fight for change from within your ranks. Quiting, just allows the most extreme, cult-like personalities (like Tammy Fay Palin) to use their fifteen percent of the Party to have their way.

    No matter which Party best suits you, all of us, Democrats and Republicans together, must unite to demand that real issues be discussed and real solutions be identified by political candidates.

    So far, for this Republican, my Party has not made a case for its return to the White House with any visionary leadership or proposals. On the Democratic side, Senator Obama, has chanted, “CHANGE” a lot, but has failed to illuminate the voters with many details regarding what he has in mind.

    Americans deserve a thorough and thoughtful discussion of each side’s proposals for the future of America, but so far, it appears that both sides are completely out of ideas.

  18. J. Tyler Ballance,

    I agree with a lot of what you just wrote. However, I’d be happy to help you find public statements of Obama’s that detail his plans once in the White House, where such plans exist. No promises you’ll like them, of course.

  19. Shall we call these people “Good Republicans”? Look, I understand your point, but with a 72 y.o. McCain, and Sarah Snow Bunny in the VP slot 60 days out from V-day we really don’t have much room to negotiate here. The tipping point is at hand. I suggest that you adopt the Judy Peachy Ford model for reform. Now.

    Or you could do what many former Republicans have done: Walk. No offense, but if Jim Webb couldn’t fix the Republican Party, you aren’t likely too either. The soul is gone, the body continues to stumble about like a heart-shot buck. What is a Republican anyway? Fiscally conservative, anti-interventionist, personally accountable, libertarian – there’s nothing left. The command and control is stuffed full of crooks, con-men, fixers and whores. They’re not worth saving, and they won’t go easily.

    These are dangerous people – don’t turn your back, or trust them with your children. They have shown a willingness to sacrifice our servicemen, our treasure, and our good name – what makes you immune to their conceit? When the dust settles and the perpetrators have been rounded up you can build a respectable opposition party… and find yourself on the right side of history. But don’t stand in their midst.

  20. Thanks for the pages, JJ.

    I had stopped by the campaign website a few months ago. It looks like they have added more details to some of these areas. I realize that they are reluctant to cite specific laws targeted for repeal and bills that will be proposed, but many would really benefit from hearing a debate of real ideas, especially if either of the candidates can present a message of hope for a better future. It seems many Americans are barely hanging on, economically as well as spiritually.

    As to the post urging Republicans who work across Party lines to just bail-out, I think that you will enjoy a great deal of Republican crossover votes for Obama as long as a positive message including a constructive, motivating plan is offered. As for the rest of the political landscape, it is not healthy for either Party to fall into the hands of the most frothing-at-the-mouth extremists. Especially here in the Old Dominion.

    If we really want to contain, “…those dangerous people…” (Meaning, I assume, the Imperial Bush Presidency) Congress must repeal the War Powers Act (for starters) and replace it with a return to the requirement that only Congress has the power to declare war and therefore deploy our military to fight on foreign shores. Next, repeal the Patriot Act and fire Bush’s Goebbels (Michael Chertoff).

    As for me, don’t confuse my remaining with the local GOP Committee as a commitment to vote for the abomination that the McCain ticket has become. My work locally is to try and recruit and elect good citizens to local offices, most of which are non-partisan, anyway. As for the Delegates and State Senate races, I generally work for the folks who, like me, place good governance ahead of partisanship.

    Especially here in Virginia, today’s opponent may be tomorrow’s ally, so it is prudent for all of us who bother to advocate for responsible government to recognize that some citizens will be on the team 75% of the time, others 50% and some 25% of the time. Good coalitions may be built by anyone who wisely does not exacerbate differences while building the team on common ground.

    In these times, it is perhaps more crucial than ever that we can have people in both Parties who can maintain civil discourse and are willing to work in concert on issues for the common good.

  21. The War Powers Act is illegal and Un-Constitutional. The President HAS the full power and authority to send our men and women into conflict without the authorization of Congress. As President, this aged victim of Stockholm Syndrome, and his Snowbilly Miss VP have the full Constitutional authority to provoke conflict and commit our nation to War. THAT is why Sarah Palin, and John McCain’s judgment is an issue. People will die at their command.

  22. Section Eight of the Constitution reserves the responsibility to declare war only to the Congress.

    The 1973 War Powers Act, that was passed over the veto of Richard Nixon, sought to codify into law the reality that Presidents since Truman, had ignored the Congress and had engaged in war fighting without the required declaration of war by Congress.

    We must repeal the War Powers Act and replace it with very specific language that will stop future presidents from using and abusing our Armed Forces, and that any future deployment of our forces must be only after a declaration of war by the Congress. Such a clearly written limit on the power of the President would not preclude our forces from defending the US, or themselves while deployed.

    For more on the 1973 War Powers Act:


  23. “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

    – Hermann Goehring


    “Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”

    – Julius Caesar

  24. Uh, the Congress did authorize war in Iraq. See AUMF.

    All the President needs to do to circumvent ANY meddling by the legislature is declare,”a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces”, and the U.S. is off to war. Reference the Tonkin Gulf Incident.

    But maybe we should examine the course of our current war in Iraq? The Congress passed the Iraq Authorization to Use Military Force based on scant and colored intelligence provided by the President (not to mention a spectacular WH propaganda effort on the citizenry). It was a blank check for Bush to make war. It did not remove Congress’ power to fund the war and build our forces. If 2/3 of Congress wanted to end the war, it would be over.

    Through division, confusion, and disarray the Congress simply refuses to exercise their legitimate powers to control the President’s ability to make war. I’m unwilling to authorize these wobbling committeemen with additional power to direct our armed forces through any sort of War Powers authority until they show the fortitude to use their existing power.

    The Constitution works well in regards to the CiC, it is the Congress that requires censure for failure to do their job. The Whitehouse punked them into a war, and they took the bait. Same as it ever was.

    We do agree that the President has abused our armed forces, but there is an existing remedy for that also – impeachment. And where is the Congress with that option? Can you say, “off the table”?

    Bottom line: We don’t need more laws, we need more patriots in Congress, and an honest wo/man in the Whitehouse. Say, maybe one that doesn’t pimp a Fish Camp Mayor as a capable CiC.

  25. Bubby, you have some very good points, but every time I see you accentuate them with the corny name-calling (snow bunny, snowbilly, Fish Camp Mayor, etc.), I’m reminded of the fanatics who criticize “Micro$oft” or “Sore Loserman”, who I tend to dismiss automatically as having a grudge that goes beyond reasoned and principled disagreement (not to say that’s necessarily the case with you).

    If your intent is to persuade or clarify, I bet you’d be more effective without that element. It’s no skin off my back, of course.

  26. Jon: You judge “reasoned and principled” after the Republican Party just cynically picked a completely unprepared, backwoods-redneck-barely-graduated-from-community college-beauty-queen as VP backup to the Commander in Chief? The woman who would face down Putin, or negotiate with China? You are already gambling with a 72 year old cancerous Presidential candidate. This is America’s future in dangerous times. Act like you care, or live with the consequences.

  27. I expected McCain to get a post-convention boost, albeit not as large as those polls seem to indicate. At this point, I think the biggest threats to Palin are a) the possibility of Troopergate developing into something concrete or b) her foray into unscripted public interviews (à la the Charlie Gibson interview later this week).

    By the way, Rasmussen (which Waldo cited in this post) has them tied at 46%.

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