Realclearpolitics.com yesterday had John McCain ahead of Barack Obama by 274 to 264 electoral votes, counting leaners. RCP has Obama carrying just two Bush '04 states, Iowa and New Mexico, with 12 electoral votes. McCain's lead in two other Bush '04 states, Virginia and Colorado, with 20 electoral votes is microscopic, but then so is Obama's lead in New Hampshire, with four electoral votes. And when RCP takes tossup states, with 132 electoral votes, out of the totals, Obama is ahead 228 to 178. Still...
Then today two national polls showed McCain ahead. The Battleground poll, conducted by Republican pollster Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake and sponsored by George Washington University, has McCain ahead by a statistically insignificant 47 percent to 46 percent. They have Democrats ahead on the generic vote-for-Congress question by 47 percent to 40 percent, just a tad less than the 49 percent-to-41 percent Democratic edge in their September 2006 poll. Obama's favorable/unfavorable rating has gone from 59 percent to 28 percent in July 2007 to 57 percent to 39 percent now. That's almost identical to McCain's 57 percent to 36 percent fav/unfavs. Offshore drilling is supported by 72 percent, oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by 58 percent. The other poll, Reuters/Zogby, will be discounted by many because of pollster John Zogby's reputation for tweaking the rules. (Here's a criticism by David Moore on the pollster.com website.) It shows McCain ahead by 46 percent to 41 percent, in contrast to Obama's 47 percent to 40 percent lead in Zogby's July poll. Interestingly, it shows McCain ahead on managing the economy by 49 percent to 40 percent--further evidence that high gas prices and Democrats' opposition to offshore and ANWR drilling have cost them dearly. Voters under 30 went for Obama, but by only a 52 percent to 40 percent mark.
Obama is still ahead 44.9 percent to 43.6 percent in the realclearpolitics.com average of recent polls. It seems pretty clear that Obama has lost some ground, though exactly how much is unclear. Intrade currently prices McCain at $38.90 to win $100. That may turn out to be a good buy.
But there's also some good news for the Obamaites.
Yesterday weather.com projected "scattered thunderstorms" with a 60 percent chance of precipitation for Thursday, August 28, when Obama is scheduled to deliver his acceptance speech outdoors in Invesco Field. Today's 10-day forecast says that August 28 in Denver will be "mostly sunny."
By Michael Barone