Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dissecting the Conflicting Polls

The polls have been all over the map today, with FOX today announcing a 9 point Obama lead and AP calling the race tied, so you may naturally wonder what's going on.

I think the polls are telling us something very interesting.

The AP poll was conducted following the last debate, but doesn't include the Powell endorsement or anything after that. The Fox poll is conducted entirely after the Powell endorsement.

I think it's become very clear that after the last debate, McCain had found some momentum. Voters clearly thought he *lost* the debate, but nevertheless, he was picking up voters. How is that? Remember, Kerry won all the debates but ended up losing against Bush. I think we were in a similar dynamic for a few days: McCain had latched onto a campaign message, the "Joe the Plumber/Obama tax" message, that resonated with voters, even though they knew it didn't make sense. They still FELT there was some irrational truth behind the message, and it was swaying them, much the way they were swayed to Bush in 2004. They identified.

The Powell endorsement stopped that. It was like a cold slap in the face: basically, saying, wake up, you imbeciles, don't you see what's going on? And Powell was someone whom these very same voters respected. Polls since then have voters returning back to Obama and giving him the big leads he enjoyed when he was most popular in the polls.

As I've been saying, the Powell endorsement was HUGE. It stopped the McCain closing surge. It could be what wins Obama the election.

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