Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Obama Regains His Lead!

In Gallup today, Obama is two points up.

He still trails by one on Rasmussen.

Overall, if you factor in the Diago/Hotline poll giving Obama a three point lead, that gives Obama an average 1.3 point lead over McCain (CORRECTION: if you weight all polls by sample size his lead is a little less - closer to .6) - back to where he was before the conventions. But with Gallup being a three-day moving average, I suspect there's more movement we'll see from Obama's numbers yet this week. For Obama to move from 1 point behind to 2 points ahead overnight means he's had a great polling day today (probably 4 points over McCain); he should be able to sustain some of that and could be up by 3 or 4 in both Gallup and Diago, with a small lead in Rasmussen, by the end of the week.

Remember, Gallup is a more immediate poll, Rasmussen a slower poll. What do I mean by that? I mean, Rasmussen weights their polling to be more suspicious of "short term" fluctuations. Gallup doesn't. It doesn't mean one is more valid than another - just that the Rasmussen poll will tend to be more "skeptical" of day-by-day changes and applies a weighting mechanism against party ID registrations that helps to factor them in more slowly. Gallup doesn't weight by party ID, so it reacts more instantaneously, but then, could also be subject to more narrow fluctuations that don't really signify a deep change in voter opinions. On election day, Rasmussen may actually give a better snapshot of what's going to happen at the polls, but in terms of day to day shifts in opinion, Gallup probably gives a better understanding of how the electorate is weighing things and changing its mind.

So if you believe that Obama has significantly changed the course of the election with his economic message (and McCain's flubs) during this financial meltdown - and I do - then the Gallup poll is telling us where Obama's numbers are heading - and if he can keep up the current storyline on the economy, he has a good chance of widening his overall margin to 3 points before the first debates.

Of course it all means nothing if Obama loses Pennsylvania...or Michigan. Both states are still nearly tied. Help out.

UPDATE Sept 18: New CBS poll shows five-point Obama lead amongst likely voters. As predicted, Obama now up by four in Gallup, tied in Rasmussen.

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