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Posted by on Jul 25, 2008 in Politics | 27 comments

McCain’s Energy Policy Gains Traction in COPM

Despite the perceived dire climate for Republicans nationally, I continue to watch the COPM (Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan) states for an indicator of how the general election will play out. While the media focuses on the various stops of the Obama team across Europe, John McCain continues to hammer on energy policy and the economy in some of these states, and the message seems to be sinking in.

The four polls conducted by Quinnipiac University in partnership with the Wall Street Journal and show that McCain is running slightly ahead of Obama in Colorado, is close in Minnesota and has narrowed the gap in Michigan and Wisconsin.

In Colorado, McCain was ahead 46% to 44%. Obama led in Michigan, 46% to 42%; by 46% to 44% in Minnesota and by 50% to 39% in Wisconsin, according to the four state polls posted on the university website.

And what is the issue which seems to be resonating? Yet again, the answer is energy.

The issue that seems to have helped McCain in the polls released today was his support of offshore drilling for oil. As gasoline prices have risen sharply, other polls have shown that Americans are more likely to support offshore drilling, especially if they are in states where drilling isn’t likely.

Voters in the four states support offshore drilling by margins of 22 to 31 percentage points. The polls also show that the voters in the four states would support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by a range of seven to 12 percentage points.

Energy policy ranked as the most important issue, eclipsing the war in Iraq, which has garnered most of the attention this week because of Obama’s trip.

People keep reminding us that this election is Obama’s to win if he can only reach out and grab it. The flip side, of course, is that the election is also Obama’s to lose, and if he keeps up this resistance to exploring every possible solution to our future energy situation, he may do just that. I have held numerous, extensive discussions in this space with readers on the subject of energy, and much good information has been offered on both sides. Today, no matter how you feel about the drilling question, I consider the political ramifications.

We see McCain gaining ground, largely on the energy issue, in Colorado and Michigan. Now he is taking the same message to Ohio. Later this morning, I’ll be taking part in a conference call with the McCain team on energy and will update you with any new information.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey notes this morning that it’s not just the presidential candidates. Congress is struggling with this issue also, and the Democratic leadership can’t seem to allow a vote on the subject to come to the floor.