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Posted by on Jul 9, 2008 in Politics | 11 comments

Gallup: Obama Leads McCain By A Hair In Potentially Ominous July Polling

The tepid good news from Gallup for Democratic Presidential presumptive nominee Senator Barack Obama is that he still leads Republican Presidential presumptive nominee Senator John McCain but by a hair — 46 to 44 percent, indicating a race that is now getting closer.

The bad news from Gallup is that the candidate who leads in July has in many cases — particularly in most recent political history — lost the general election.

But the truly bad news for Obama which Gallup doesn’t note is that in a time with soaring gas prices, signs that the economy should immediately check into an Urgent Care facility, and President George Bush’s numbers perhaps now ranked below that of salmonella, Obama is now part of polling that shows a sharply divided and polarized electorate. As Obama himself comes under fire for moving to the center (which he denies he’s doing) and some key Clinton supporters signal more interest in payback rather than supporting Obama for President, the Illinois Senator is seemingly stalled.

Is it a sign of the pre-convention doldrums — or of something more profound?

The Gallup poll numbers, which we regularly report here, indicates neither he nor McCain have hit a home run or are close to striking out:

The nation’s registered voters remain closely divided in their presidential preferences, with 46% of those interviewed in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from July 5-7 saying they will vote for Democrat Barack Obama and 44% favoring Republican John McCain.

Obama’s lead has been as great as seven percentage points over the past month, but has averaged only three points thus far in July, identical to his average lead for the month of June.

The fact that Obama has consistently held an advantage over McCain among registered voters in Gallup Poll Daily tracking since early June suggests that he could very well win the election were it held today (depending on voter turnout patterns). The important question, however, and one addressed in detail Monday on, is whether his consistently narrow lead at this point in mid-summer bodes well for him in November.

Gallup has found that the lead in July polling lost 6 of 9 competitive races. Not a good omen:

In 9 of the past 15 U.S. presidential elections, the candidate who was leading in Gallup polling roughly four months before the election ultimately won the popular vote for president. However, narrowing the set of races to the nine that were competitive, the early polling proved prescient in only three of those.

With Barack Obama leading John McCain by no more than six percentage points in Gallup’s early July polling, the 2008 race currently fits best into the “competitive” category. Given that assumption, Gallup’s election trends from a comparable point in previous presidential election years offer no strong indication of whether Obama or McCain is headed for victory in November.

(In 1976, Jimmy Carter, who won that election, was ahead by 33 points in mid-July, but the race narrowed significantly by Election Day and he won by only two points. Thus, for the purposes of this analysis, the 1976 race is classified as competitive.)

One tidbit of good news for Obama: a new Gallup poll indicates Obama is now gaining on McCain among voters who have less formal education.

In June, voters with a high school education or less were as likely to prefer John McCain as to prefer Barack Obama for president. That represents a change from earlier in the campaign — McCain led Obama among this group during the prior three months, but by diminishing margins.

What does this mean?

–Both the Obama and McCain campaigns know full well that in modern politics they have to be ready to adapt and respond – and mega-quickly.

–The Democrats and Obama can’t assume even one iota of victory in the race. It won’t be over until this lady sings and she isn’t even in the room yet.

–Both McCain and Obama will be looking for something to change the close dynamics of this race. The one who’ll shift it will be one who does something positive or fumbles so the other side can capitalize on it.

–McCain’s efforts to shore up his conservative base yet maintain his independent voter support are increasingly vital.

—Obama’s efforts to move to the center, woo over Clinton supporters and key former Clinton campaign elites who can work for him to win over Clinton supporters, yet maintain support from his party’s progressive base and independents are increasingly vital.

–All analyses in the new and old media on the political race written in June and July could be as outdated as May’s gas price signs by the fall.

But remember that polls do differ. Rasmussen reports has Obama enjoying a steady 6 point lead. Zogby has shown Obama with the same lead and way ahead in electoral votes.

But a look at the cumulative poll chart on shows the race is close — and stuck on close.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • Marlowecan

    Zogby is invariably wacky, and also invariably skews Democratic (recall Zogby’s memorable prediction of a Kerry landslide).

    This is a fascinating poll as it suggests Obama has still not closed the deal, despite frantic “refining” in recent days.

    Of course, not really good news for McCain. The race is between Obama and “Not Obama” I think.

    But there is still uncertainty and anxiety about Obama out there. After the non-stop MSM Obama push in recent months, this is remarkable.

    Progressive should give Obama a break on his “refining”. These numbers suggests Obama has good reason for his focus on the center.

    • Marlowecan said:
      “But there is still uncertainty and anxiety about Obama out there. After the non-stop MSM Obama push in recent months, this is remarkable.

      I disagree, Marlo. While there may have been an Obama push by the MSM this spring, he’s been under nearly constant fire from them since April or so.

  • Neocon


    His party fails to understand how serious this oil and gas thing is. Once again they keep turning to decades old talking points which the rest of America is finally not going to give a flying flip about.

    In the end we can worry about air tomorrow. Right now I have to get to work.

    What part of this does the Democrats not understand. This is NOT Barak Obama’s fault. He is wedded to this powerful lobby within his own group. turning on them is death to him.

    Failing to respond to this crisis with other then alternative fuels which is a crock in the short term is going to end his bid for the White House. Mark my words. Oil/gasoline and a Balanced Budget are the number one concerns of all Americans right now.

    The war in Iraq pales in significance right now.

  • Silhouette

    “Balanced Budget are the number one concerns of all Americans right now.”

    Yes, hmmm. Better stay with a man who is unknown as to his abilities to handle a collosal budget crises rather than a woman with eight years experience in the Oval Office wrestling a poor budget back to the strongest one in US history.

    Yes. Let’s stay the course no matter how bad it looks. If we don’t, we’re racists.

    Instead of picking the right person for the job, we’re going to let a person like Obama manipulate our common sense with the race card. And I fear it will be our final politically-correct mistake as democrats, and maybe even as Americans.

  • markomalley

    Sorry, this Hillary supporter is proudly supporting McCain.

    And I’m not alone.

    • cbl0213

      This Hillary supporter is on the McCain train too. Things have changed and I feel as though Senator Obama morphed into Senator Clinton’s views on everything. He either lied in the primary to get the nomination or he is telling lies now to win the election. This man cannot be trusted!

  • christoofar

    “His party fails to understand how serious this oil and gas thing is.”

    Thanks for the morning LOL, Neo.
    Yes, the Dems truly don’t understand it at all.
    Probably just too darn complicated for us to get our heads around. I think McCain’s “gas tax holiday” is the only true solution.

  • Kathryn

    I understand the bitterness of the Hillary supporters, no one likes to lose, but can I point somethings out, Silhouette is giving Hillary credit for balancing the budget for 8 years but as I recall, the First Lady doesn’t do that and if she did, I would be worried. If you are implying that Bill would still be in charge of the budget in a Hiliary administration, I have serious problems with that as well.

    As far as the Hiliary supporters on the McCain train, be careful of what you wish for and enjoy the Scalito clones.

  • Neocon

    Thanks Chris you prove my point about how wedded the Democrats are to decades old talking points and proves further that as the world has change drastically the talking points have not.

  • Anna

    Hillary supporters who vote McCain aren’t Democrats, they’re Hillary worshippers (ironically, most of them claim that it’s *Obama* with a cult of personality…geez). Had she actually been able to run a professional and competent campaign, you’d have all had your wish for your “idol” to be the nominee. Then you’d have seen how your idol would not have lived up to your expectations. I was around for the 90s, they were good but a couple of reality checks:
    1) Hillary was not, I repeat, *not* the president during Bill’s terms. She may have advised him some but she does not get credit for all of his accomplishments. She certainly never took any responsibilities for any of his (political) failures.
    2) When it came to the economy in the 90s, Bill basically a) got lucky with the dot com bubble & b) didn’t do anything to interfere with it. Heck, he kept Greenspan on as chairman of the Fed and, to his credit, this was the smart thing to do.
    3) Most Obama supporters would’ve been fine with Hillary being the nominee had she actually won. Personally, the moment she started the whole “But he’s Black, you wouldn’t vote for a Black guy, would you? Besides, did you know he’s Black?” meme turned me off on her. However, had she won and won fairly I would’ve voted for her (not enthusiastically but she would’ve been better than McCain).
    4) Chances are pretty high that had Hillary been the nominee, she could very well have lost. The one thing Hillary worshippers seem to forget is that *nothing* unites Republicans like a Clinton.

  • sharonevolving

    Oh Anna, still drinking Obama cool-aid? How much do they pay you to troll sites? This HRC supporter is also backing McCain. There are a lot of us out there and Obama won’t be getting our votes. We liked her because she was strong, centrist, could stand up to them boyz, and wasn’t trying to win a popularity contest. Finally, people are starting to wake up and realize Obama is nothing and no one, and has no ‘new politics’ on offer. He’s Bush V2 – a nice, affable guy you want to have a drink with, but you’re pretty sure he doesn’t know anything, and his powerful handlers will have a new puppet to play with once he gets in. This is the Dems do-over of 2000 with their own puppet. Is there another qualified centrist like HRC out there? Wow – the Repubs unwittingly put one up. He’ll do for a second choice. I am putting country over party. Anybody but NoBama.

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