The Campaign Spot

It Says Something About the Cycle That This Is Only a Mildly Weird Poll

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll is typically strange.

It’s little changed from their last; before Obama was ahead 53-43; now they have Obama ahead 53-44.

But since the last poll, McCain has improved eight precent on “who better understands economic problems.” On whether McCain would lead the country in a new direction or the same as Bush, it’s split, 49-48. Last time it was 52-45. And yet, as we saw, barely any improvement for McCain overall.

Once again, I’m supposed to believe that McCain winning most of the Republicans (more on this below) and Obama winning most of the Democrats, and the independents splitting 48 percent to 47 percent is going to yield an Obama win by nine percent.

On that issue of party unity, we’re to believe that the PUMAs are coming back to Obama in signficant numbers, while Republicans are steadily turning into Obamacans …

Obama’s doing a bit better in his own party; 91 percent of Democrats support him, compared with McCain’s support among Republicans, 84 percent. Republicans are more often reliable party voters, but 12 percent of them now favor Obama, better than John Kerry or Al Gore’s share of Republicans (6 and 8 percent, respectively), and about matching Bill Clinton’s in 1996 (13 percent).

The ABC/WashPost poll in late September found 86 percent of Republicans for McCain, 88 percent of Democrats for Obama. PUMAs don’t exist anymore? Colin Powell and Christopher Buckley are leading the exodus of Republicans for Obama? I suppose it’s possible, but I have my doubts.

ABC notes that they’re expecting 7 percent more Democrats to turn out than Republicans. That isn’t the wildest spread I’ve seen in a poll this year, and certainly in the range of possibility. But with the turnout at Palin events (and for McCain alone in Virginia this weekend, actually), donations, debate ratings, etc., I don’t see the GOP base as being depressed and staying home this year. Or at least, not yet.

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