August 31, 2008 - September 6, 2008


US: Daily Tracking (9/3-5)

Topics: PHome

Gallup Poll
9/3-5/08; 2,765 RV; 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 47, McCain 45

Rasmussen Reports
9/3-5/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

Obama 49, McCain 46

US: Obama 42, McCain 39 (YouGov-09/1-3)

Topics: PHome

Economist /
9/1-3/08; 1,000 Adults, 3%
Mode: Internet

Obama 42, McCain 39
(8/26: Obama 41, McCain 36)

Omero: The Palin Effect, more base-rallying & fewer gender differences

As we continue to discuss the Palin Effect, more data have emerged.  An ABC News poll released today shows that partisanship, as opposed to gender, is a far greater predictor than of attitudes toward Governor Palin.


Across nearly every dimension, Republicans have rallied behind McCain's VP pick, with Democrats and independents more ambivalent.  A full 80% of Republicans say the pick makes them more confident in McCain, compared to 59% of Democrats feeling less confident (independents are more divided, 44% more confident, 37% less confident).


And charges that the press have treated Palin unfairly resonate with Republicans more than they resonate with women.  More than half (57%) of Republicans say she has been treated unfairly, with less than half as many Democrats (27%) agreeing.  The difference between men (55% treated fairly) and women (46%) is smaller, with women more likely to be undecided than men.


When we ask the ultimate question--how does each candidate's VP pick affect one's vote--we see Palin moving the Republican base, but not others.  Two-thirds (67%) say Obama's selection of Senator Joe Biden has no difference on their vote, while fewer (55%) say the same about Palin.  But Palin elicits more saying they are "less likely" to vote for McCain (19%) than say the Biden pick makes them less likely to vote for Obama (10%). 


Further, as the report notes, Palin runs up the score among Republicans and evangelicals (+37, +32 more minus less likely to vote for McCain, respectively).  But moderates say Obama's pick of Biden makes them more to vote for Obama (+12 more minus less), with Palin having neither a positive or negative net affect for McCain.


These findings build upon earlier results I wrote about this week.  It seems increasingly unlikely that former Hillary Clinton supporters will move to McCain because of Sarah Palin.  But during the heat of the Republican convention, the Republican base is indeed energized. 

US: Daily Tracking (9/2-4)

Topics: PHome

Diageo/Hotline **
9/2-4/08; 877 LV, 3.3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 46, McCain 40

Gallup Daily
9/2-4/08; 2,779 RV, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 48, McCain 44

Rasmussen Reports
9/2-4/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

Obama 48, McCain 46

** "The Diageo/Hotline Daily Tracker Poll, conducted by FD, is a new daily tracking poll that is being conducted from September 2, 2008 until Election Day, November 4, 2008. The poll is being conducted via telephone among a random, nationally representative sample of registered voters, age 18 and older. FD is interviewing no fewer than 300 registered voters nationwide each day up to Election Day. Results will be released daily, Monday through Friday."

IN: McCain 45, Obama 43 (HoweyGauge-8/29-30)

Topics: PHome

Howey Politics Indiana /
Gauge Market Research
8/29-30/08; 600 RV, 4.1%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

McCain 45, Obama 43
Gov: Daniels (R-i) 53, Long Thompson (D) 35

AK: McCain 54, Obama 35 (IvanMoore-8/30-9/2)

Topics: PHome

Ivan Moore Research
8/30 - 9/2/08; 500 LV, 4.4%
Mode: IVR

McCain 54, Obama 35

Begich (D) 49, Stevens (R-i) 46, Bird (i) 2, Haase (L) 0
(August: Begich 56, Stevens 39, Bird 2, Haase 0)

Berkowitz (D) 54, Young (R-i) 37, Wright (i) 3
(August: Berkowitz 51, Young 41, Wright 4)

Parnell (R) 49, Berkowitz (D) 38, Wright (i) 4
(August: Parnell 46, Berkowitz 42, Wright 3)

From the Eye of the Storm

Topics: Bounce , Bump , Daytime interviewing , John McCain , Mike Murphy , Sarah Palin

From a pollster's perspective, we are in something of the eye of the storm. As Gallup's Frank Newport puts it, "a huge influx of election-related news [is] swirling around these days." The convention speeches garner giant audiences; 38.4 million for Barack Obama's acceptance speech last week, 37.2 million for Sarah Palin last night. And history tells us that the convention period can often alter vote preferences in ways that persist through election day.

So something about public perceptions of the candidates is changing, but the real-world limitations of telephone survey interviewing leaves us uncertain about exactly what. At this hour, if you're willing to play what Mark Mellman calls "pick-a-poll," you can make whatever case you want. Three surveys conducted over the last three nights -- from Gallup, Rasmussen Reports and the Democratic Party affiliated Democracy Corps -- all show "no dent" in the Obama advantage gained after the Democratic convention. However, one new survey conducted over the same three-day period from CBS News shows McCain closing an eight point gap since the weekend.

Of course, virtually all of the interviews for those surveys were conducted before Sarah Palin spoke last night. Given the huge audience, and the precedent for convention bounces, future surveys will likely yield a different result.

Some of you may have seen a survey conducted by SurveyUSA today that shows 60% of the voters surveyed giving Palin's speech an "A." But please note the fine print: The interviews were conducted earlier today and released by SurveyUSA at 4:55 Eastern time (according to the email release we received). That means they used their automated methodology to interview whomever happened to be at home during the day today. Do you think that might be a source of some bias in the results, even after weighting by age, gender and race? I'd say that is a very good possibility.

The bigger problem with this sort of survey is that it asks voters to react like pundits. How did Palin perform? Is she an "asset or a liability" to the Republican ticket? Does the selection "reflect well" or poorly on McCain? Only the last question begins to get at what matters, which is whether Palin's selection or speech has changed voter preferences or their underlying judgements about McCain or Obama.

The focus groups conducted last night by Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg for the Women's Voices Women Vote Action fund found results that are essentially consistent with grades that SurveyUSA's respondents gave the speech: Palin's speech "connected with these voters in a way that made her seem authentic, independent and strong," and her post speech favorability scores were improved. On the other hand, the groups showed no net gain for McCain in terms of vote preference. And as always, these were non-projective focus groups of just 22 voters.

Thus, it's still premature to conclude much about the electoral impact of last night's speech by Sarah Palin, and obviously we have not yet heard (as of this writing) from John McCain himself.

My own hunch -- and for the moment it is nothing more than that -- is that Republican consultant Mike Murphy is right. He likes Palin and had no complaints about her speech, but takes issue with the "politics of the choice:"

What I don't like is the effect I think Palin will ultimately have on the ticket. With all her charm, she is still a pick aimed squarely at the Republican base. In a high turnout Presidential year, I am not worried about turning out the base. I'm worried about everybody else we need to win and I fear that among those voters, Sarah Palin will be a dud.

I know, I know, she's a "hockey mom" and through the magic of identity politics she is going to make female voters swarm across party lines in numbers that Gerry Ferraro never dreamed of since this identity politics hokum is only a good idea that is certain to work when, um, we Republicans try to do it.

Instead, I think she'll ultimately be a polarizer. After last night's smash, Republicans are in deep love. Nothing thrills 'em like a good "us vs. them" speech. But I'd guess that most Democrats had the opposite reaction. In a year where the Democrat generic numbers are 10+ points better than the Republican, I don't like the math of a strategy that just polarized the election along party base lines. Among the vital sliver of voters in the middle, I think Palin's rock solid social conservatism will be a turn off. And while voters may value vision over experience, Palin's inexperience is a weakness, denying McCain an argument that has been helping him against Obama.

The survey data that will interest me most, once the dust settles next week, is that which attempts to test Murphy's argument. Does net effect of this Republican convention help move voters in the middle?

US: McCain 42, Obama 42 (CBS-9/1-3)

Topics: PHome

CBS News
9/1-3/08; 734 RV, 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews
(story, results)

McCain 42, Obama 42
(8/31: Obama 48, McCain 40)

US: Obama 49, McCain 44 (DemCorps-9/1-3)

Topics: PHome

Democracy Corps (D) /
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (D)
9/1-3/08; 1,000 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 49, McCain 44, Barr 2, Nader 1
(July: Obama 49, McCain 43, Barr 3, Nader 1)

18 Battleground States
Obama 49, McCain 43, Nader 2, Barr 2

AK: McCain 57, Obama 33 (AV-9/2)

Topics: PHome

American Viewpoint (R) /
John McCain
9/2/08; 400 RV, 4.9%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

McCain 57, Obama 33

US: Daily Tracking (9/1-3)

Topics: PHome

Gallup Poll
9/1-3/08; 2,771 RV, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 49, McCain 42

Rasmussen Reports
9/1-3/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

Obama 50, McCain 45

ND: Obama 43, McCain 40 (UTU-8/23-27)

Topics: PHome

United Transportation Union (D) /
DFM Research
8/23-27/08; 400 LV, 5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

North Dakota
Obama 43, McCain 40
At-Large: Pomeroy (D-i) 53, Sand (R) 27
Gov: Hoeven (R-i) 63, Mathern (D) 19

Omero: The Palin Effect, Preliminary Results

It's a little too early to tell the full effect of Senator McCain's selection of Governor Palin as his running mate.  In particular, Palin's biography has created numerous side dialogues--chiefly among women--about working mothers, teen pregnancy, abstinence-only education and raising children with special needs.  Surveys on these topics will take a little time, and some care and nuance.


But until then, we do have good preliminary data about the Palin Effect across gender and party.  But bare in mind that the timing of both conventions and the Palin pick announcement (not to mention Labor Day and Hurricane Gustav) make it difficult to identify exactly which bounces are working where.


The Palin Effect has rallied white Republican women; Obama gains with other groups


A Gallup release today demonstrated that compared to an August average, McCain's support post-Palin has increased with white Republican women (+5 change in McCain).  There has been no movement with Republican men (+1).


By contrast, Democrats and independents across gender lines move toward Obama post-Palin.  This movement has mostly been larger than McCain's movement among Republican women (independent men: +7 Obama; independent women: +5; Democratic men and women: +8 each).  In fact, Obama now leads with white independent women (46% Obama, 39% McCain).


Among women, Obama-Biden now have the advantage in "experience"


According to a new EMILY's List Women's Monitor survey of women (conducted 8/31 to 9/1), the Obama-Biden ticket now has the advantage on "experience."  In their last Women's Monitor from early August, half (51%) of women said "having the experience, background, and knowledge to be President" described McCain better, compared to 16% saying it described Obama better. 


In this current survey, the numbers are now almost reversed.  Over half (52%) say the Obama-Biden ticket has more experience, while only 37% say McCain-Palin is more experienced.  Not only did the Palin pick negate McCain's experience "argument," as many commented, but it actually completely erased McCain's advantage, among women, in just a few short weeks.


(Disclosure: EMILY's List is an organization helping pro-choice Democratic women.  It is also a Momentum Analysis client, but we do not work on Women's Monitor.) 


Women do not just use candidate gender to decide who represents them


During the Democratic primaries I noted that Hillary Clinton voters were even more likely to weigh the issues when making their choice.  The Women's Monitor results confirm this pattern--gender alone won't move women voters to McCain-Palin.  (At least among non-Republicans.)


Majorities of women said Palin's positions on issues such as abortion, education, and stem-cell research made them more unfavorable toward her (56%, 55%, and 52%, respectively).  In fact, a majority of women (53%) say Obama-Biden is more in touch with the issues that affect women than is McCain-Palin (35%).


The McCain campaign recently proffered "this campaign is not about issues."  Indeed, Palin's speech last Friday attempted to attract Hillary Clinton supporters, offering an identical gender as opposed to a similar platform. These results, however, show that issues do matter to women voters. 

CBS: Palin Favorable Rating (9/1-2)

CBS News
Mode: Live Telephone interviewers
(story, results pdf)


Is your opinion of Sarah Palin favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about Sarah Palin yet to have an opinion?

    26% Favorable (8/29-31: 22%)
    13% Unfavorable (11%)
    15% Undecided (7%)
    45% Haven't heard enough (59%)

"Republicans are fans of Palin, though Democrats are not."

"[F]ew voters say that having Palin on the Republican ticket will change their vote much.  Just 14% say they are more likely to vote for McCain as a result of having Palin on the ticket, while about as many say they are less likely to do in their vote."

TIME/CNN: Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio (8/31-9/2)

Topics: PHome

8/31 - 9/2/08
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Iowa (828 RV, 3.5%)
Obama 55, McCain 40
Obama 51, McCain 38, Nader 4, Barr 3, McKinney 2

Minnesota (742 RV, 3.5%)
Obama 53, McCain 41
Obama 51, McCain 37, Nader 4, Barr 2, McKinney 1

Ohio (685 RV, 3.5%)
Obama 47, McCain 45
Obama 45, McCain 44, Nader 5, Barr 2, McKinney 1

NC: McCain 47-Obama 44 (DemCorps-8/20-26)

Topics: PHome

Democracy Corps (D) /
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (D)
8/20-26/08; 852 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

North Carolina
McCain 47, Obama 44, Barr 4
Sen: Hagan (D) 50, Dole (R-i) 45
Gov: Perdue (D) 46, McCrory (R) 46

POLL: Daily Tracking (8/31-9/2)

Topics: PHome

Gallup Poll
8/31 - 9/2/08; 2,767 RV, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 49, McCain 43

Rasmussen Reports
8/31 - 9/2/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

Obama 50, McCain 45

Coleman: Maverick or McSame?

John Coleman is a the Chair of the Department Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Joe Biden has supported President Bush 70% of the time. You may not have heard this mentioned at the Democratic National Convention or in Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

The Obama team--and Obama himself--has been working hard to link John McCain to George W. Bush by noting that he "votes with Bush 90% of the time." And if 90% isn't enough Bush for you, Democrats note, McCain supported the president 95% of the time in 2007. One Obama ad even lists this voting record as the first plank in McCain's economic program.

The figures being used by Democrats are presidential support scores computed by CQ Weekly, a leading weekly magazine monitoring events in Washington. The score is based entirely on recorded roll-call votes  in Congress. CQ identifies those votes where the president has taken a clear stand and then records whether a senator or representative voted in the president's preferred direction. The votes need not be key on the president's agenda or be anything the president encouraged Congress to do--they are simply cases where CQ has determined a clear presidential position. In the Senate, the president's nominations, which are usually noncontroversial, are a sizable portion of the votes used by CQ to compile its support score. In 2007, nominations were 30% of the votes used by CQ to calculate presidential support in the Senate.

As the chart below shows, John McCain has indeed voted consistent with the preferences of President Bush about 90% of the time on these presidential support roll-calls. This has been roughly the same level of support as the average Republican senator.


McCain's presidential support level was 95% in 2007, but this is somewhat misleading. Because he was running for president, McCain was present for only 38 of the 97 roll calls CQ used to calculate the presidential support score. There were 442 roll-call votes in total in the Senate in 2007. Looking at only those votes for which both McCain and Obama were present that year--33 votes--McCain's support score was 94% while Obama's was 48%. CQ also noted in a recent post that McCain, Obama, and Biden voted on less than half the presidential support votes from January through August 2008.

Using the same figures the Obama campaign has used to tie John McCain to President Bush, Biden was a 77% supporter of President Bush's positions in 2002, 70% in 2004, and over a 50% supporter of Bush in 4 of the president's 7 full years in office. Up through the August 2008 congressional recess, Biden had supported Bush's positions 52% of the time since January 2001. Obama himself supported the president's positions just under 50% in 2006 and 40% since he joined the Senate in January 2005.

It is doubtful that many Americans hearing the Obama team's 90% charge against McCain realize that Obama and Biden themselves have supported the president anywhere from 33 to 77% of the time during his term.

In addition to linking McCain to Bush, another goal of the Obama campaign in using the 90% support figure is to blunt McCain's claim to be a maverick who shows independence from his party. Establishing McCain's independent credentials was a major theme at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night.

Given that even Obama and Biden sometimes had relatively high levels of support for Bush, a better measure of independence than the presidential support score would be to look at the party support score, also calculated by CQ Weekly. Looking at "party votes"--those roll-call votes on which a majority of Republicans oppose a majority of Democrats--CQ calculates whether a senator voted with his party's majority or against it. The party support score is the percentage of times a senator voted with his party majority on party votes. There were 266 party votes in the Senate in 2007, or 60% of all Senate roll-call votes.

Looking at his party support scores during the Bush presidency, the chart below shows that McCain regularly was less supportive of his party than the average Republican senator. His voting in 2007, when McCain was frequently out of Washington and missing more roll-call votes than usual (he voted on 48% of the 266 party votes), is an exception.  


McCain's professed independent streak is supported by these data. About 75 to 85% of the time, McCain voted with his party's majority. More frequently than the average Republican, however, McCain voted with the Democratic majority rather than the Republican majority on votes that put the two parties on opposite sides.

Obama and Biden, on the other hand, have both been more likely than the typical Democratic senator to vote with the Democratic party position. In each of his three full years, Obama voted over 95% of the time with the Democratic majority on party votes. McCain reached 90% only once, in 2007.Biden's party support level has hovered between about 90 to 95%. From these data, McCain can more credibly make the claim that he is willing to buck his party. He has voted against his party majority about 15 to 25% of the time across the Bush years, compared to about 3% for Obama and 5 to 10% for Biden.

I've plotted these data in a different format in the chart below. Here, zero on the left axis indicates the baseline party support level of the average senator for each party. I then plot the difference between the average Republican senator's party support and McCain's, and the average Democratic senator's support and Obama's and Biden's. During the Bush years, McCain was usually about 5 to 10 percentage points less likely to vote with his party than the average Republican senator. Obama's party support level was about 10 points higher than the average Democratic senator, while Biden was usually between about 5 to 12 points more likely to vote with the party majority than the average Democrat.


These numbers burnish McCain's independent credentials, at least compared to his two senatorial rivals. But they also point to one of the key dilemmas of the McCain candidacy. To weaken McCain's maverick image, Democrats can tie McCain to Bush by emphasizing McCain's presidential support percentage, while not mentioning the sometimes high Bush support level of his Democratic opponents themselves. McCain can respond by noting that, compared to his rivals, his party support percentage shows he is less likely to vote along party lines and has more of an independent streak. Emphasizing that streak may endear him to independents and some Democrats, but it is of course one of the chief aspects of McCain's legislative life that has historically created problems for him within his own party and among party activists. It is one of the tasks of the Republican convention to convince Republicans of the virtue of that independent streak as a matter of character, even if they disagree with McCain on policy particulars.

Looking at the Internals

Topics: 2008 , Barack Obama , Bounce , Conventions

My second Convention Daily column for the week, on the way last week's Democratic convention changed perceptions of the candidates on the so-called "internals" is now posted online.

Convention Observations and the LCG Vote Projection Model

Boy, you take two weeks off and the whole political world turns upside down. The following are some quick observations on the current political landscape. Let's start with Obama and the Democrats:

  1. Obama and his team made a tactical error by vacationing in early August. Our sense is that he lost a lot of momentum that his campaign had built up in the Spring and early Summer.
  2. This--combined with his lackluster performance at Saddleback and the campaign's uninspiring television advertising--resulted in his limping into the convention. Several national polls released just prior to the convention showed Obama up by just a couple of points or dead-even with McCain.
  3. However, the convention was a success by the only important measure: it successfully introduced Obama to millions of people who did not know him. Additionally, it matched the historical average for convention bounces (3-5%) by giving Obama a four-point bump in our post-convention poll analysis.
  4. The Obama team won the expectations game regarding the Clinton speeches. For days the media wondered aloud how strong the Clinton(s) endorsement of Obama would be and acted stunned by the strength of their vocal support.
  5. Bill Clinton's speech was a home run. The former President showed again why he is such an effective politician (even if you disagree with what he is saying). He gave the best comparison between the two candidates in explaining why the Democrats are the better choice this year.
  6. The image of Obama's convention speech will stick with voters. Simply put, the production was a show-stopper. Getting 84,000 people in a stadium to see a political speech was impressive enough, but combining that with the Greek columns, the fireworks, confetti shot from a cannon and grand orchestral music made this seem like a Hollywood blockbuster. Nearly twice as many people watched his speech on television compared to John Kerry's in 2004 (38 million viewers compared to 20 million four years ago). Those images will stick with people.
  7. Picking Joe Biden for VP was smart...announcing it on Friday at 1 a.m. was not so smart. The selection added much-needed experience to the ticket. Perception is everything, and the takeaway from most voters was that Obama had the good sense to pick a grown-up. However, we are stunned by the timing of the announcement. It was a major communications misfire and a wasted opportunity.
  8. While the Obama adverstising has been lackluster, some recent spots are beginning to tie McCain to Bush (a strategy which we argued weeks ago they should have been pursuing since June). These are pretty effective.

On the McCain/Republican side:

  1. The Palin pick is neither a game-changer nor a disaster. On the plus side, she has and will continue to invigorate the base, and she is the ONLY thing being talked about both on the convention floor and in newsrooms across the country. In 24 hours, the McCain campaign went from no buzz to being the political version of the iPhone 3G. She is a base pick who will have a cultural connection with alarge swath of the nation's voters. She also brings a reformer edge that compliments McCain. On the other hand, as hundreds of commentators have pointed out, she undercuts the experience argument against Obama. A few comments on the selection:
    1. Vice Presidential nominees do not matter. With the exception of Johnson in 1960 this is the truest thing you can say about Presidential elections. In the end, the only thing they can do is hurt you. This race has always been about Obama and (to a lesser extent) McCain...and it still is.

    2. She is a base pick, pure and simple. This is not about attracting Clinton voters. Her job is to energize a flagging Republican base.

    3. We think this pick will make Biden's job quite a bit harder. If Palin holds her own in the debates and exceeds expectations it is a victory for McCain.

    4. Finally, unlike the Biden roll-out, this one was done beautifully and blunted the Obama post-convention bounce.

  2. McCain's advertising has been vastly better than Obama's. As we pointed out in mid-August the McCain attacks on Obama in July and August kept this thing close. For the most part, the McCain ads have worked because:

    1. They usually make their point clearly and simply
    2. They contrast the two candidates in sharp and relatable terms
    3. They use third party validators (often Obama's primary opponents or his own words) They employ viscerally engaging video that help tell the story
    4. They tell a story that people are already pre-disposed to believe (that Obama is not ready to lead)
    5. Here is a quick sampling of the most recent McCain contrast spots that we think have made a difference:

  3. Yes, they tried to make lemonade out of lemons, but make no mistake: losing a day of free convention advertising was a major blow to the Republicans. They had no choice in delaying/curtailing the opening night, but that doesn't mean it was good for them. In fact, it means 25% less time for defining Obama and laying out McCain's agenda. They get some points for putting the country first but that may be long forgotten in a few days.

  4. With Labor Day in our rear-view mirror, the fundamentals of this campaign (a bad economy, very negative impressions of the incumbent and his party, a dissatisfied electorate) are locked in and they overwhelmingly favor Obama. Every recent national poll (released over the last three days) has Obama up by anywhere from four to eight points. It is still Obama's election to lose.

LCG Regression-Based Vote Projection

Beginning today, we unveil our regression analysis/vote projection. To completely bore (most of) you, we have developed a single line projecting the net McCain vote. We have included all reputable publicly available registered voter polls since June 9th of this year (there are 56 polls in total). The most recent poll includes interviews conducted on Sept 1st. We used SPSS to develop a curvilinear polynomial regression model.
If you project the trend out to Election day, our analysis shows McCain losing by 3.1 percentage points.

Hats off to Chris Blunt who helped develop the model. Truth be told, there really hasn't been much of a trend. It's just a cloud of data points. The regression suggests that there has been some tightening but not enough to close the gap by November 4th. Of course, this assumes no change in the political environment and there will be hundreds of meaningful changes.

horserace regression 2008-9-2.png

Things to watch in the coming days:

  • If the Palin narrative becomes a "process" story. This would be devastating for McCain. The focus on Palin needs to be about her...and not how she was selected or vetted.
  • How much of the GOP convention focus is on Obama. Team McCain will try to bloody Obama with surrogates over the next 48 hours.
  • Whether tropical storm/hurricane "Hanna" is impacting Florida on Thursday evening enough to impact what McCain and the GOP say and do.

Thanks again to Pete Ventimiglia, John Zirinsky and Chris Blunt for their contributions to this Election Monitor.

Bounce Update (Part II)

Topics: Bounce , Bump , Conventions , Gallup Daily , Rasmussen

I spent a fair amount of time pouring over the national surveys out this week for a Convention Daily column that should appear later tonight or early tomorrow morning (I'll add a link when it does - column available here). And all things considered, I think we have more to learn about the impact of the conventions -- or at least from last week's convention -- from the "internals" in those surveys than from the daily twitches in the rolling-average tracking surveys.

Many, however, are taking note of the fact that both the Gallup Daily and Rasmussen Reports surveys reported Barack Obama gaining slightly to new highs today: 50% and 51%, respectively. Moreover, our national trend chart -- partly reflecting the daily tracking surveys and party the other national surveys released this week -- now shows the Obama number climbing to a new high (48.8%) and McCain steady at 43.6%.

It is tempting, very tempting, to read today's small moves in the daily tracking as a reaction to Sarah Palin. I just want to be a voice of caution: It may be no more than random noise around a plateau in a post-convention bounce for Obama. Keep in mind that there is always a 25% probability that on any given day, both daily tracking surveys will move in the same direction. The Republican convention is just now getting underway in earnest. Come this weekend, the numbers will likely take yet another turn.

POLL: Daily Tracking (8/30 - 9/1)

Gallup Poll
8/30-9/1/08; 2,772 RV, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 50, McCain 42

Rasmussen Reports
8/30-9/1/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

Obama 51, McCain 45

POLL: Diageo/Hotline (8/29-31)

Diageo / The Hotline
8/29-31/08; 805 RV, 3.5%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 48, McCain 39
(8/24: Obama 44, McCain 40)

POLL: ARG National (8/30 - 9/1)

American Research Group
8/30-9/1/08; 1,200 LV, 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 49, McCain 43

POLL: Zogby National (8/29-30)

Zogby Poll
8/29-30/08; 2,020 LV, 2.2%
Mode: Internet

McCain 47, Obama 45
(8/24: Obama 46, McCain 44)

Obama 44, McCain 43, Barr 5, Nader 2
(8/24: Obama 45, McCain 42, Barr 4, Nader 1)

POLL: USA Today/Gallup (8/30-31)

USA Today / Gallup - story
8/30-31/08; 1,835 registered voters, margin of sampling error +/- 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviewer (landline and cell phones)

Among registered voters
Obama 50, McCain 43 (8/21-23: Obama 47, McCain 43)

UPDATE: Maura Strausberg of the Gallup Poll now confirms that this survey was a two-night  subset of the the Gallup Daily tracking survey.

"Internal" Measures of Change on the CBS Survey

Topics: 2008 , Barack Obama , Bounce , CBS , John McCain

The just released CBS survey we posted a few minutes ago is one of the first of the post Democratic convention polls to include extensive "internal" measures on perceptions of the candidates. If you want to get beyond the ongoing obsession with convention bounces, the CBS results pdf is worth reading in full.

Most useful within in are the measures that show the biggest changes since the pre-convention CBS poll conducted in mid August. Some examples:

  • 50% say Obama "has made it clear what he would do as president;" up 9 points (from 41%)
  • 58% say Obama is "tough enough;" up 10 points (from 48% in July)
  • 67% of Obama voters say they "enthusiastically support" him; up 19 points (from 48%) before the convention
  • 37% rate Joe Biden favorably; up 23 points (from 13%)
  • 41% rate Michelle Obama favorably; up 13 points (from 28%)
  • 52% rate Hillary Clinton favorably; up 7 points (from 45%)

At the same time, several measures show little or no change since mid-August:

  • 39% rate Obama favorably; unchanged since mid-August
  • 44% say Obama has "prepared himself well enough for the job of president;" unchanged since mid-August
  • McCain's ratings are unchanged; from 34-33% favorable/unfavorable in mid-August to 35-34% now.
  • 48% say McCain "will generally continue George W. Bush's policies;" up only one point (from 47%). 

Tune in again next week to see how the Republican convention alters perceptions of McCain and Obama.

POLL: CBS News National (8/29-31)

CBS News - story, results pdf
8/29-31/08; 781 registered voters, margin of sampling error +/- 4%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviewer (landline and cell phones)

Obama-Biden 48, McCain-Palin 40 (8/15-19: Obama 45, McCain 42)

POLL: Daily Tracking (8/29-31)

Rasmussen Reports
8/29-31/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

Obama 49, McCain 46

Gallup Poll
8/29-31/08; 2,733 RV, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 49, McCain 43

One Night Wonders

Topics: Gallup , John McCain , One night polls , Rasmussen , Sarah Palin , Vice-President

My first Convention Daily (National Journal) column of the week concerns the two one-night polls released on Saturday, by Gallup and Rasmussen Reports, that tested reactions to the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running-mate.

POLL: CNN National (8/29-31)

CNN/Opinion Research Corp.
8/29-31/08; 927 Registered voters, margin of sampling error +/- 3%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviewer

Obama 49, McCain 48 (8/23-24: Obama 47, McCain 47)
Obama 46, McCain 44, Nader (i) 4, Barr (L) 2, McKinney (G)

POLL: Daily Tracking (8/28-30)

Gallup Daily
8/28-30/08; 2,730 RV, 2%
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Obama 48, McCain 42

8/28-30/08; 3,000 LV, 2%
Mode: IVR

Obama 49, McCain 46