Articles and Analysis


POLL: Gallup Daily and Rasmussen Daily for 4/19

The Gallup Daily (National)

Clinton 46, Obama 45
Obama 45, McCain 44... Clinton 46, McCain 44

Rasmussen Reports (National)

Obama 45, Clinton 43
McCain 48, Obama 41... McCain 49, Clinton 42

Favorable / Unfavorable
McCain: 56 / 40
Clinton: 45 / 53
Obama: 47 / 51



Disclosure: I'm an Obama supporter.

Gallup's Clinton 46, Obama 45 is a significant poll, especially considering (a) Obama led by 11 points only a few ago and (b) Gallup's rolling average (like all rolling averages) *smoothes* the results, meaning this average 1% spread is the result of a more significant spread in the past 2 days... possibly as much as 4% (2 days ago) and 7% (yesterday).

In addition, Obama's (rolling average) lead has been steadily declining according to Gallup since last weekend, after the "bitter/cling" comments.

Keep watching to see if this is a preview of Pennsylvania. Then the game changes again and the results of PA will wipe out any previous controversy.



I am an Obama-bot.

As Gallup says, the change is more due to the debate, with the almost-complete focus on Senator Obama:
"Support for Hillary Clinton has been significantly higher in both of these post-debate nights of interviewing than in recent weeks."

Gallup earlier had an article that said the "bitter/cling" comments had no statistically-significant effect on Senator Obama's poll numbers.

It is possible, however, that the debate's focus on Senator Obama's gaffes brought matters to a head...


Jonathan S. Fox:

I've been tempted to guess at the piecemeal daily results from the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls in the past, but I have to give myself a mental smack on the hand and tell myself to be patient.

When the poll shifts steadily over two or three days, it's easy to imagine that there was a consistent number before over the previous three days, and that it's changed to a new and different consistent number now, but takes a few days to fully respond due to the built-in delay. To a certain extent this may be true. But, even if the real percentages did sharply change and are steady at their new results, there's no way to know what this new number is until there's a fully independent sample of just the post-event results. Even if you figure out what a day or two's returns were, there's just too much random error in that to really know if it's trending toward something or not.

Additionally, if it's part of a longer, slightly erratic trend, as it is now, it's just not possible to measure with enough precision to determine exactly when changes were actually happening, which would be necessary to make a good guess at what exactly people are responding to. For example, Gallup's take on the bitter controversy is that it didn't hurt Obama much, since any immediate backlash was only a weak wavering, but now there's been a sharp shift -- it's hard to know how much of that was the debate, or some other factors in the last few days, including continued coverage of the bitter controversy. Really all we can do is wait until they're clearly past and then diagnose the results.

But one thing does seem to be indicated from both of the tracking polls, and that would be that Obama is experiencing some sort of drop-off in support. It might be a fluke, but as an Obama supporter I'm inclined to actively assume the worst, and guess that the pinch he's been under from the combination of media scrutiny, Clinton's press to exploit gaffes, and Republican efforts to get some early kicks in are having an effect. Rather depressing day all things considered, but not yet enough to change any guesses or predictions yet.



I want Obama to lose to McCain, not because of Barack, who is a great candidate and a good man; but because his followers, also known as "Obama-bots", led by Arianna Huffington, are obnoxious classless fanatics who would make anything up to discredit the Clintons or any other Democrat, if it serves their purpose of catapulting their leader to the presidency. They also whine when debate moderators ask Obama tough questions, but remained silent for months when the same treatment was used against Clinton.


Chris G:

agreed Jonathan

smoothing doesn't do anything to statistical significance per se. just take a random vector (rand() in Excel), take a rolling average, and you'll see trends like this by chance. Mark B (and someone else who's name escapes me) made a similar point a few weeks ago.

the trend'd have much more weight in my mind if each point represented the same number of voters (approx 4000) but was *not* smoothed. or similarly if more pollsters were showing the same change.

in any case, within a 2-3 week period we'll have had (1) bittergate (2) ABCgate and (3) the PA primary itself. w/out data on more direct questions it may be hard to tease apart all of these in hindsight, even with composite numbers across pollsters.

on apparent drop-off in Obama's support- i think it's more that the negatives have induced drop-off in support *increase*, looks like at key points his increases have been suppressed some.



Jesus, kingsbridge77. Anybody that reads your post could replace "Obama-bots" with "Clintonites" and Obama with Clinton and say the same thing about Clinton supporters. Your anger is clearly irrational and misplaced.



This is not good for Obama. His negatives (after 2 months of intense media scrutiny) have just about caught up to Clinton's (after 16 years of intense media scrutiny). And if she wins PA (even by single digits), he will have lost 3 of 3 most important swing states (OH, FL, and PA), as well as most of the other biggest Blue states (CA, NJ, MA, etc). If she goes on to win IN, KY, WV, and PR by big margins, he will be seen as a very weak general election candidate by both a large number of uncommitted superdelegates, many Dems and swing voters, and the media. He will likely still get the nomination, but he may never be able to overtake McCain, esp. if a large % of Hillary's supporters do not back him (which looks very likely). Like Mario Cuomo and some others, I personally think the Dems only chance at winning in Nov. at this point is a joint ticket. But that seems unlikely, esp. with Obama as the nominee, unless the DNC forces him (and her) into it. McCain is the luckiest man alive.



New here. I think people watch polls maybe too closely and panic when "their" candidate suffers a glitch over a few days. I try to think a bit more long-term ... we haven't seen nothing yet ... there is still a lot of campaigning to do. I think McCain has been getting a "free ride" for the last few days simply because the Dem's mud wrastling is more entertaining. That's going to change pretty soon. We'll see how many times McCain can stick his foot in it before he starts to stink.



@happycozy: Good catch!

@markdark: That's a good reason for the Democratic primary season to end on June 3, or close to that. The more time the eventual nominee has to unite the Democratic Party, the better.


Truth Seeker:


Do you really believe Senator Clinton would accept Senator Obama aka Senator Finger as her running mate?

First, this guy is a blatant misogynist. Ever notice how he refers to Senator Clinton as "she" at the debates even when she is sitting right next to him? The guy is very immature and, though I don't know him, probably a class A jerk.

More than that he can't take the heat. I mean, look at his pouting, gross behavior after being humiliated at the PA debate. Do you really think the President of the US doesn't have to be statesmanlike? Bite his tongue at times? Be diplomatic? Is Senator Finger going to grow up and fly straight as soon as he takes the oath of office?

I read a blog in the Washington Post, where the blog owner said the flipping off would probably appeal to men. So tell me men...do you approve of this mode of political discourse?


Truth Seeker:

Oh sorry I thought you were asking the two candidates to unite as a team. Sorry Markdark.

But my question still stands.


Truth Seeker:

I meant to address my question about the running mates to Patrick. oops


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