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Posted by on Aug 30, 2008 in Politics | 12 comments

Conflicting Polls On Obama Convention Bounce And McCain Palin Pick


Get ready…set…and once again choose the poll that fits your particular political bias and scream it to the world (but be sure not to draw attention to contradictory ones)…

But in reality, polls now surfacing are painting seemingly-conflicting pictures of where the race between Democratic Senator Barack Obama and his running mate Senator Joe Biden and Republican Senator John McCain and his running mate Governor Sarah Palin is and is heading.

A USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Obama 8 points ahead with many voters having lots of questions about Palin. And a Zogby poll shows McCain slightly ahead, with the company saying the Palin pick stalled the Democratic bounce and Zogby himself likening the race between a modern day JFK (Obama) and a modern day Truman (McCain).

Zogby attributes the big McCain jump in his polling as conservative GOPers coming home again because they’re so happy over the selection of Palin, who is staunchly pro-life and who some Republicans think can attract former Hillary Clinton supporters whom they feel will overlook her pro-life record.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen finds Obama ahead by a few points and Palin making a better impression than Biden. The Palin pick’s critics have likened her to Bush 1’s Veep Dan Quayle or Bush 1’s Supreme Court appointment of Clarence Thomas.

More than a few
cautionary notes need to be taken here. (1) The GOP hasn’t begun let alone finished its convention yet. (2) Palin was a surprise and as such had not be vetted by the national news media, which would have happened if her name had come up earlier. So the GOP could be expected to get a convention bounce, if the quickly-growing hurricane heading towards Louisiana doesn’t cause the convention to be postponed. And if there is anything untoward or controversial in Palin’s background it will be coming out in due course in the mainstream media or other news media. More than ever, these polls are snapshots.

Pick the poll and comparison of your choice so it feels comfortable with your bias but here are some details about these three polls:


Most voters are unfamiliar with John McCain’s new running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and many question her qualifications to be president, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup poll.

Meanwhile, another Gallup poll shows Barack Obama maintaining an 8 percentage point lead over John McCain following the end of the Democratic convention Thursday.

Republicans begin their four-day convention Monday here even as Hurricane Gustav picks up steam as it approaches the Gulf Coast. Palin is scheduled to speak Wednesday.

In the poll taken Friday, 39 percent said she is ready to serve as president if needed, 33 percent said she isn’t and 29 percent have no opinion.

That’s the lowest rating any running mate has had since then-Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle was selected in 1988 to join George H.W. Bush’s team.

By contrast, 57 percent of voters rated Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as qualified after Obama selected him last week. Eighteen percent said he wasn’t qualified.

Meanwhile, the Gallup daily tracking poll shows good news for Obama, following the close of the Democratic National Convention and his high-profile nomination acceptance speech Thursday.


Republican John McCain’s surprise announcement Friday of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate – some 16 hours after Democrat Barack Obama’s historic speech accepting his party’s presidential nomination – has possibly stunted any Obama convention bump, the latest Zogby Interactive flash poll of the race shows.

The latest nationwide survey, begun Friday afternoon after the McCain announcement of Palin as running mate and completed mid-afternoon today, shows McCain/Palin at 47%, compared to 45% support for Obama/Biden.

In other words, the race is a dead heat.

The interactive online Zogby survey shows that both Obama and McCain have solidified the support among their own parties – Obama won 86% support of Democrats and McCain 89% of Republicans in a two-way head-to-head poll question not including the running mates. When Biden and Palin are added to the mix, Obama’s Democratic support remains at 86%, while McCain’s increases to 92%.

Zogby himself writes:

“Palin is not to be underestimated. Her real strength is that she is authentic, a real mom, an outdoors person, a small town mayor (hey, she has dealt with a small town city council – that alone could be preparation for staring down Vladimir Putin, right?). She is also a reformer.”

“A very important demographic in this election is going to be the politically independent woman, 15% of whom in our latest survey are undecided.”

“In the final analysis, this election will be about Obama vs. McCain. Obama has staked out ground as the new JFK – a new generation, literally and figuratively, a new face of America to the world, a man who can cross lines and work with both sides. But McCain is the modern day Harry Truman – with lots of DC experience, he knows what is wrong and dysfunctional with Washington and how to fix it, and he has chosen a running mate who is about as far away from Washington as he could find.

“This contest is likely to be very close until the weekend before the election – then the dam may break and support may flood one way or the other.”

And Zogby finds that 22 percent of Hillary Clinton’s supporters (people who in many cases argued that Clinton was needed in the White House to halt a conservative judge from being appointed who could overturn Roe V Wade) now support McCain.

This may be easier said and strategized than done: at an appearance today, “Sarah Palin was showered with boos…for attempting to praise Clinton’s trail-blazing bid to become the first female president,,” CNN reports.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday is the first to include reaction to both Barack Obama’s acceptance speech and John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin to be his running mate. The numbers are little changed since yesterday and show Barack Obama attracting 47% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 43%. When “leaners” are included, it’s Obama 49% and McCain 45% (see recent daily results).

Obama currently leads by thirteen points among women while McCain leads by six among men. Among white women, the candidates are essentially even while McCain holds a substantial lead among white men (see other recent demographic observations).

Sarah Palin made a good first impression. She was unknown nationally before being introduced as the GOP Vice-Presidential pick but is now viewed favorably by 53% of voters nationwide. Her counterpart, Joe Biden, is viewed favorably by 48%. While Palin has made a good first impression, the more significant numbers will come a week from now after the nation has a chance to learn more about her.

Pick the report to trumpet as proof that your ticket will win. Sometime after Labor Day, the polls may all agree — one way or another…

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle,

UPDATE: More polling data that suggests Palin is not spelled p-a-n-a-c-e-a…