The Campaign Spot

Don’t Let Any Recent Polling Get in the Way of That Conventional Wisdom, Guys

A selection of commentators I generally like but sometimes doubt…

Charlie Cook: “While managing the economy is not exactly Obama’s strong suit, it does pull the focus even further away from national security, McCain’s strength. It would seem a better bet that this jump ball would be more likely go toward the team that hasn’t been in power, and the edge would go to Obama.”
The guys at “With that said, [Democratic] people have become decidely more optimistic in the past 24-48 hours as the economy has returned to the center of the national debate. Obama’s never going to be a Clintonesque natural out there on the stump in responding to the economy — he might have to repeat a message three times where with Clinton it would have sunken in the first one.”
And in addition, the Miami Herald: “The shift in focus could play to the Democrat’s strength, considering that McCain himself has said the economy isn’t his strong suit while Obama has relentlessly tried to tie his Republican opponent to President Bush’s financial policies.”
Eh. Check again, guys. So far the two candidates are running about even on who voters trust to manage the economy.
Rasmussen: “Polling conducted last night shows that 47% trust McCain more than Obama on economic issues while 45% trust Obama.”
Democracy Corps/Battleground Poll:

Now I am going to ask you something different. I am going to read a list of issues and I want you to tell me whether, overall, you think Barack Obama or John McCain would do a better job with this issue.
The Economy: Obama 48, McCain 45; In battleground states, Obama 47, McCain 45.

Reuters/Zogby: “Half of all voters said the economy was the top issue, and the poll showed McCain narrowly led Obama on the question of which candidate could best manage the economy by 47 percent to 45 percent. But that was a significant gain for Obama from McCain’s 9-point advantage last month. The poll was taken before Sunday’s upheaval on Wall Street with the fall of Lehman Brothers Holding and the sale of Merrill Lynch.”
Gallup: “In the Sept. 5-7 USA Today/Gallup poll, 48% of Americans say Barack Obama can better handle the economy, while 45% choose John McCain. This marks a significant gain by McCain; just before the Democratic National Convention in late August, Obama had a 16-point margin over McCain on the economy.”
This could change, of course. But I don’t think it’s so automatic that the prominence of economic issues helps Obama. And a near 50-50 split might be good enough for McCain, as he has a much bigger lead on his signature issue, national security — 59-35 in the Democracy Corps/Battleground poll.


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