The Polls - 9/29 And The Debate

The first poll of the day, the DKos/R2000 poll (9/26-28) shows Obama breaking this race open - Obama now leads by 9, 51-42. The two days of R2000 polling in since the debate have Obama +9 on Saturday and +11 on Sunday. Ras (9/26-28) has Obama up 5, 50-45. Gallup (9/25-27) has Obama up 8, 50-42, with a big Saturday post debate result. The last Hotline tracker (9/25-27) has Obama up 5, 47-42. For McCain supporters, there is one ray of hope in the polling, the strangely unmoving (in any direction) Battleground poll (9/22-25, 28) which has had McCain up 2 unvaryingly for a week, 48-46 (and up consistently for 2 weeks.) That seems impossible. No other poll has McCain even within 5 points of Obama. Either everyone else is wrong and Battleground is right and we are headed to a Dewey Defeats Truman situation, or Battleground is utterly wrong.


Barack Obama won the debate. Not because I say so . But because the voters say so. They have moved to Obama since the debate. Jay Cost, an astute political observer, write an interesting but incorrect piece in my view. I thought Obama dominated the foreign policy portion of the debate and that McCain was at his best in the beginning (with Obama missing his best opportunities to finish McCain off.) But at the end of the debate, I felt I saw one President on that stage, Barack Obama. And more and more American voters felt that way, judging by the polling since the debate. So who won the debate? Who won more votes as a result of the debate is the answer. And the answer to that is Barack Obama.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    Not toxic? You're kidding, right? (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by mrmobi on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 10:47:48 AM EST
    I don't agree with Palin on a lot of things, but she's not as toxic as people want to make her out to be.

    First, your statement implies there are some things that you do agree with Palin on. I'm curious, what are those?

    For myself and, I believe, any thinking person, Palin represents the most authoritarian part of the very, very far right (John Birch Society) mind-set which has a stranglehold on the Grand Old Party currently. Her views on the age of the earth alone should disqualify her from consideration as VP, since she rejects evolution science and wants to "teach the controversy." Never mind that there is none to teach, we have big problems in education in this country, and the last thing we need is some Rapture-embracing nincompoop who thinks dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time. There's nothing elitist about thinking that Sarah Palin is a far-right idealogue, all you need is an eighth-grade education.

    One other thing deserves consideration as well. Under her mayoral administration, charging rape victims for the equipment needed to collect evidence is, IMHO, a prime example not only of a toxic and anti-feminist ideological position, but it fits in nicely with a philosophy which argues that budget constraints trump safety.

    So, in that alternate, evil universe where Sarah Palin is President, bridges continue to fall down, because she's against earmarks and we must make the government small enough to drown it in a bathtub. Maybe she'd just outlaw safety regulations and inspections altogether. I mean, deregulation worked so well in the Banking industry, right?

    Perhaps Palin believes that if you are killed driving over a bridge which collapses because we just can't have any of those nasty taxes, it proves you are a witch. She could get her witch doctor pastor to prove that the victims were allied with demons. You're right, she's not toxic at all, she's a maverickey demon-hunter, wolf-murderer.

    The Palin candidacy is a joke, and one which reveals John McCain to be a profoundly un-serious candidate, but none of us should be laughing, because there's a real chance this woman could be POTUS, and that's a truly scary idea.


    BTD--you need to repair one of your links--break- (none / 0) (#1)
    by jawbone on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:41:33 AM EST
    ing margin.

    Fixed (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:45:11 AM EST

    Hey, Big TENt Democrat. . . (none / 0) (#3)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:45:17 AM EST
    thanks for the inTENse analysis.  Do you like the way the polls are TENding?  Do you still conTENd that the best Obama can do is three points?

    PS. . . (none / 0) (#4)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:45:46 AM EST
    imagine if Clinton were the VP candidate!

    Imagine (none / 0) (#17)
    by cal1942 on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 01:46:39 PM EST
    if Clinton had been the nominee.

    I felt Obama held his own in an area where he could have looked weak, but during the debate I couldn't help but think of how Clinton, with her vast understanding of policy and issues, could have tied McCain in knots in the early part of the debate and may even have been able to make McCain blow his top.

    In the coming debates I wouldn't be surprised if McCain lost it. The failure to make eye contact with Obama (kind of insulting really)and the frown that crept across his face on several occasions lead me to believe he's struggling to keep his composure.  If he loses it, it's all over.


    I wasn't thrilled with the debate, (none / 0) (#5)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:46:37 AM EST
    but I thought Obama was the victor. I guess there was so much re-hash of already known positions and accusations by McCain that I was underwhelmed.

    Please keep us informed on the polls, I wish I had time to pay more attention during the day.

    The Palin Debate. (none / 0) (#6)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 08:56:41 AM EST
    Assuming the Palin debate goes the way the Couric interview did (not necessarily a safe assumption -- I'd feel a heck of a lot better if it were Clinton up there debating her instead of Biden) I think it should help at least maintain the momentum for Obama for another week or two.

    And then of course we can hope that McCain makes a spectacle of himself by officiating at Bristol and Levi's wedding.

    Then, the last debate.

    Then the Republicans will start a full court sliming of Obama in swing states.  At that point we'll see if Obama has built up enough of a lead to survive the inevitable swing back.

    Don't underestimate Palin and her appeal (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by stefystef on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:31:03 AM EST
    to "regular" folks.  Friends I know who will not vote for her still like her.

    Unfortunately, there is an underlying liberal snobbery I read in the criticism of Palin that turns off alot of people.   Interesting, everyone is giving kudos to Katie Couric and her interview with Palin (which by the way, wasn't a good interview, IMO), but only a couple of month ago, so many were very critical of Couric and every negative about her abilities as the main anchor of CBS.  No one can make up their mind when it comes to women.

    I don't agree with Palin on a lot of things, but she's not as toxic as people want to make her out to be.  Her appeal to the real base of the Republican Party, not the so-called conservative elite and pundits who think they can still call the shots in the party, is what will be bring McCain over the top in the end.


    As a McCain supporter. . . (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by LarryInNYC on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:36:27 AM EST
    Her appeal to the real base of the Republican Party, not the so-called conservative elite and pundits who think they can still call the shots in the party, is what will be bring McCain over the top in the end.

    you probably need to keep telling yourself that.  And, it's true, she certainly energizers the clinic blockading wing of the Republican Party.

    But for independents, and even for Republicans (even conservative Republicans) who are at this point in history more interested in competent government, her selection is an indicator of the miserable job McCain would do running the government.

    Palin is George Bush distilled.  Sure, 26% of the country still likes Bush, so Palin has a built in enthusiastic following of tens of millions of people.  By 26% doth not a majority make, especially when energizing them involves doing something that alienates most of the rest of the population.


    I'm not buying (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by Howard Zinn on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 02:16:49 PM EST
    your comparison between those who thought Katie Couric did a good job w/Palin and those who thought she was a bad choice for lead anchor.

    Surely one could be seen as a good interviewer and not necessarily a good lead anchor.  The reverse could also be true.  

    Also, surely not all of those who think Couric did a good interview w/Palin also thought that Couric was a bad choice for lead anchor.

    Just too many holes in the ol' logic to support your claim.


    Ras posted late this morning (none / 0) (#7)
    by rdandrea on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:12:55 AM EST
    8:00 instead of 7:30 Mountain time.

    Obama 50, McCain 45

    Oops (none / 0) (#8)
    by rdandrea on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 09:13:29 AM EST
    Didn't see you already had it.

    Essentially unchanged, then (none / 0) (#11)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 10:08:11 AM EST
    from 50-44 yesterday.

    Battleground Poll can be flawed (none / 0) (#12)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 10:41:01 AM EST
    in the swing state of Wisconsin, where by law, if we ask -- and we know to do so -- the name of the sponsoring organization (and its address and treasurer also must revealed), the interview is terminated and tossed.  

    Battleground does try to weasel about it, or as it puts it in instructions for Wisconsin: "If the respondent asks during the course of the interview, please tell them [sic] that you will give them the information at the end.  If they [sic] insist, and will go no further with the interview until you divulge, give them [sic] the information and terminate the interview.  You cannot allow an interview to continue once the respondent has been told who is sponsoring it."

    I have not found similar instructions by all polls, and in some cases, my spouse and I and others we know have been refused the info required by law -- and have had pollsters try to continue the interviews (in those cases, we are the ones who terminate them).  

    But when a pollster does follow Wisconsin law, it must throw off the randomization or other methodology.  I have no idea how much that might affect results, but Battleground and others that factor for (as all ought do by now) likely voters also would give a bit more weight to the Midwest, as it has the highest voter participation rates.

    So as in so much, all polls and regions and states are not necessarily equally represented -- but for many reasons that could affect results.

    Jay Cost (none / 0) (#14)
    by Faust on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 11:35:13 AM EST
    I really like his demographics and numbers analysis, but increasingly I find whenever he deviates from discussing the numbers I find him just as suspect as every other bloviator.

    Look at this passage:

    Does this mean that McCain won the debate? Not necessarily. If we define "won" as the immediate reaction of the public, the polling evidence is mixed, and not especially helpful. LA Times, Gallup, CBS, and CNN showed Obama winning. Rasmussen, with a tighter Republican-Democrat mix, showed a closer 33-30 Obama victory. SurveyUSA found a clear Obama victory in California, but a one-point McCain victory in Washington State. Interestingly, SurveyUSA found McCain even with Obama on the economy in Washington, and with leads on who "understands" Iran, Iraq and above all Russia. Many of these polls found a strong contingent of people who considered it a draw.

    So from that passage (none / 0) (#15)
    by Faust on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 11:39:36 AM EST
    where he cites ONE STATE POLL showing McCain with a one point lead and a host of other polls showing an Obama victory he concludes that the polls are "mixed and not especially helpful."

    This is NOT the kind of quality analysis that I expect from Mr. Cost. The phrase "many of these polls show" without any subsequent analysis of which polls he is refering to and commentary on the demographics of the "strong contingent of people" is what I expect from standard bloviators, not data analysts.

    Seriously. I can get crap like this from Nate Silver. Stick to the numbers Jay.


    I actually trust Silver more (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by Socraticsilence on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 01:29:02 PM EST
    At least on the numbers, (his analysis is interesting but opinion and not fact), his math is extraordinarily tight, though in politics is based on regression analysis, I'm willing to bet that if it proves correct this time, that by 2010 his will be the single best site on the web for political polling (his Baseball track record is awesome).

    I'm not enough of a math guy to dispute Nate's (none / 0) (#18)
    by Faust on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 02:05:27 PM EST
    numbers. I was only refering to the fact that Nate likes to bloviate. I like it when numbers guys stick to the numbers. But hey it's a free country, they can do what they want. I'm just saying I'm very unimpressed with Cost's analysis of the debate.

    I think Obama has the lead ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 04:45:43 PM EST
    he does because of the economy, and the view of most Americans that Dems are better with the economy.  Period.

    The debate was an irrelevant sideshow.

    On ABC's THIS WEEK on Sunday, they had a 17 minute round table discussion.  They did not spend one second on the debate.  It was all about the economy.

    That's where we are.

    Obama is a very lucky guy.

    I think this week will have Obama's biggest lead.  My guess is that his lead will grow to 12 points in some polls.  The race will tighten in the latter part of the month.  But, barring unforeseen events, I don't think McCain can catch him.