Archive for Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poll: Gap between candidates tightening after final debate

October 23, 2008


— The presidential race tightened after the final debate, with John McCain gaining among whites and people earning less than $50,000, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch.

The poll, which found Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, supports what some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain's "Joe the plumber" analogy struck a chord.

Three weeks ago, an AP-GfK survey found that Obama had surged to a seven-point lead over McCain, lifted by voters who thought the Democrat was better suited to lead the nation through its sudden economic crisis.

The contest is still volatile, and the split among voters is apparent less than two weeks before Election Day.

"I trust McCain more, and I do feel that he has more experience in government than Obama. I don't think Obama has been around long enough," said Angela Decker, 44, of La Porte, Ind.

But Karen Judd, 58, of Middleton, Wis., said, "Obama certainly has sufficient qualifications." She said any positive feelings about McCain evaporated with "the outright lying" in TV ads and his choice of running mate Sarah Palin, who "doesn't have the correct skills."

The new AP-GfK head-to-head result is a departure from some, but not all, recent national polls.

Obama and McCain were essentially tied among likely voters in the latest George Washington University Battleground Poll, conducted by Republican strategist Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. In other surveys focusing on likely voters, a Washington Post-ABC News poll and a Wall Street Journal-NBC News survey have Obama up by 11 points, and a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center has him leading by 14.

Polls are snapshots of highly fluid campaigns. In this case, there is a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; that means Obama could be ahead by as many as 8 points or down by as many as 6. There are many reasons why polls differ, including methods of estimating likely voters and the wording of questions.

Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political science professor and polling authority, said variation between polls occurs, in part, because pollsters interview random samples of people.

"If they all agree, somebody would be doing something terribly wrong," he said of polls. But he also said that surveys generally fall within a few points of each other, adding, "When you get much beyond that, there's something to explain."

The AP-GfK survey included interviews with a nationally representative random sample totaling 1,101 adults, including 931 registered voters and 800 adults deemed likely to vote. For the entire sample, the survey showed Obama ahead 47 percent to 37 percent. He was up by five points among all registered voters, including the likely voters.


bmwjhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

How on earth can people earning less than $50,000 possibly support the Republicans?I hate politics!

BigAl 9 years, 6 months ago

Actually madmike, either McCain or Obama will be a huge improvement over Bushco. I like McCain but I support Obama. I would have voted for McCain back in 2000 before Rove and co managed to smear him out of the race. I'm also not a big supporter of McCain's choice for VP. That was a bit of a reach. So no, I wouldn't be all that upset with a McCain win. I would be concerned but not upset.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 6 months ago

But, but, the Lightworker is supposed to win in a landslide....

LiberalDude 9 years, 6 months ago

This AP poll is bogus. If you look at the sample that was used they over-sampled people in the South (McCain country) and people who consider themselves evangelicals (40% of the people polled considered themselves evangelicals).I think the polls that show Obama up by about 7 are more accurate.

BigAl 9 years, 6 months ago

madmike... whatever gets you through the day.Back to the topic of the polls, I could easily be wrong but I still think Obama wins with a comfortable margin.

BigAl 9 years, 6 months ago

madmike... you mean ACORN that had McCain as their keynote speaker in Florida just two years ago when McCain told them that they were doing good work? I don't have any friends at ACORN but apparently John McCain does.I do think that ACORN is out of control in registering voters. I just hope it doesn't transfer to actual voter fraud. Just because you register Mickey Mouse to vote, doesn't actually mean he will walk into a booth and vote. By the way, I was talking about the "hanging republican chad" shenanigans in Florida that got Bushco elected.

Jennifer Forth 9 years, 6 months ago

It's only fraud if they try to vote as Mickey Mouse. By law ACORN has to submit all registration forms they receive. Go educate yourself before making more nonsensical claims.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 6 months ago

This website analyzes all polls, and using records of their past performance in a wide variety of races, comes up with its own results. Their current analysis says that Obama will win the election by 344 to 194 in the electoral college.

WilburM 9 years, 6 months ago

Although article here was passable, the headline on the front page (and in the electronic edition) is just bad journalism. Over the past day (just one day), there have been more than10 surveys of the presidential contest, and the average margin was about 7 percentage points. There is just no credible evidence that the race is tightening (and on a state by state basis, it's going more toward Obama). Of course the press wants a closer race, but the headline should reflect both the underlying story and curent reality. This one does neither. (see or www. for good polling summaries)

BigAl 9 years, 6 months ago

I don't know what a "Lightworker" is but I tend to think that Obama wins comfortably. Unless we have more rightwing shenanigans in Florida, Obama should put this away early.

BigAl 9 years, 6 months ago

BuffyloGal... I agree with you. I just didn't state it as well as you.

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