Posted by WLS:
We’re seeing more and more stories in the media calling the race effectively over. Obama is feeding this storyline by dumping money into states where he’s got little chance to win, but giving the press reasons to report a looming Obama “landslide” since he’s “competing” in West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina, etc.
But let’s consider for a moment the impact of Joe The Plumber since Obama’s rope-line encounter with him on Monday afternoon in Ohio and the McCain campaign’s emerging message on “spread the tax/wealth”.
As Dick Morris noted on Wednesday after the debate, “Joe The Plumber” turned the tax issue in this election from an issue about the “rich” and corporations into an issue about the middle class. The exchange took place on Monday, it got some press attention on Tuesday, moved more into focus on Wednesday, and then exploded after the debate. Among the various tracking polls, you would have expected to see a little bit of influence in polling done Wednesday, much more influence in the polling done yesterday, and probably even more on polling being done today.
So, is there any evidence that Obama’s “Joe The Plumber” moment has had an impact?
Rasmussen has been surprisingly stable even with all the turmoil in the economy and the press calling the race over:
Oct 1-8: 51-52 Obama, 44-45 McCain
Oct. 9-17: 50-51 Obama, 45-46 McCain
No real showing yet of an obvious effect, but his 3 day sample only includes 1/3 that came after the debate on Wednesday night. But even though it’s stable, moving from 6-7 down to 4-5 down, given all that’s working against McCain, is not a terrible place to be.
2) Gallup (“traditional” LV poll):
The first day they started putting out this version was Oct 12, reflecting polling going back to Oct. 9. So they’ve been tracking these numbers for 8 days.
Oct 12: Obama 50, McCain 46
Oct 14: Obama 51, McCain 45
Oct 17: Obama 49, McCain 47
The interesting thing about this is that the Joe The Plumber story first hit then news cycle on Tuesday after the exchange took place on Monday. It got a lot of play Wednesday and Thursday leading into and coming out of the debate.
The polling for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – released on Tuesday morning – was Obama +6 in the “traditional” model for LV and +10 in the “expanded” model for LV (higher than normal minority and young voter turnout). Today those same numbers are +2 and +6. That’s an ENORMOUS 4 point swing in 72 hours.
So what does Gallup have to say in the little press blurb they put out with each poll?
“This three-day rolling average includes one full night of interviewing after Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, and shows little significant change as a result of the debate at this point.”
Right. Thanks for coming.
This is the poll that I have always found the most reliable because its done by Ed Goeas, a GOP pollster for hire, and Celinda Lake, a Dem Pollster for hire. They collaborate on it every 4 years and their joint effort, in my view, takes much of the bias out of the poll questions and/or the weighting given to the sample. The curious thing about their poll this year is that while it has moved along with the other polls, it has moved slower and later than the others – it’s seemed to lag the sharp shifts seen in the others.
Look at their tracking chart. They had it pretty much even about 10 days after the GOP convention but with the start of the financial crisis in late September, their poll followed a big Obama bubble, up to +13 last weekend – though they might have had a sampling error there because one day earlier they had it at Obama +8 and one day later they had it back at Obama +8.
But they had Obama +6-8 pretty consistently the entire month of October, after having it much closer in September even while other polls had Obama with much larger leads in late September.
But since Joe The Plumber, McCain has moved to -8/-6/-4 over the past 3 days.
He tracks over 4 days, not 3, so only one-quarter of his sample is post-debate, and only one-half of his sample came after Joe The Plumber hit the news cycle on Tuesday. From his chart it looks like McCain had some bad polling days last weekend and Monday – which would be similar to other polls – all of which followed his poor Town Hall format performance. So when the bad polls from Monday and Tuesday are replaced by polling from today and tomorrow, you could see more improvement here. For now, McCain has moved from being -6 the 4 full days after the Town Hall debate (Th-Sun polling last week), to -5 today (M-Th polling this week).
5) Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP:
This is by far the most curious of all the polls. It has the race at 46-41, with 13% still undecided. I guess the other 3% are 3rd party voters. It also shows Obama increasing his margin from 2.1 to 5.3 over the last 4 days, exactly the opposite of every other poll. Most surprising, it has McCain actually losing 2 points, from 43 to 41 in the last 4 days.
While the margins are still statistically significant and Obama remains with the advantage, McCain is not without hope. The movement is in his favor and Obama has suffered through declines from 50% to 45% before, suggesting that those voters are not wedded to him.
The current movement may halt or it may reverse. But while the press didn’t see any “game changer” in Wednesday’s debate, they didn’t see John Kerry’s “global test” comment as a “game changer” either. He made that statement in the first debate in 2004 on September 30. The press went on to report that Kerry won all three debates handily and all the media polling after the debates proved that. But his approval ratings never recovered after dipping on that comment, and Bush gained and held the advantage through the election even with poor debate performances.