For the second straight day, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that the race for the White House is tied. Sunday’s numbers show Barack Obama and John McCain each attracting 43% of the vote. When "leaners" are included, the two candidates are tied at 46%. For most of the past month-and-a-half, Obama has led McCain by approximately five percentage points. It will take a few more days to determine whether this recent tightening of the race reflects real change or is merely statistical noise.
McCain is now viewed favorably by 57% of voters and unfavorably by 40%. For Obama, the numbers are 54% favorable and 44% unfavorable.
McCain earns favorable ratings from 32% of Democrats while Obama is viewed favorably by 23% of Republicans. Among unaffiliated voters, McCain is viewed favorably by 58%, Obama by 53%.
Unknown whether this is an anomaly or if it is indicative of Obama's more recent shift to the middle which has angered much of his base, but adding to this news is the fact that the highly touted expectation from the Obama campaign and Democratic fundraisers, all assuming that the Clinton donors would be more help than they have proven to be, that they would have a $100 million dollar month in June has fallen flat.
In the meantime, WSJ estimates that Obama's totals, in the month since Clinton suspended her campaign has just topped $30 million, which is not a bad haul but shows the disconnect from what they expected to what they actually were capable of achieving.
"June fund-raising for Sen. Obama appears to be falling below the expectations of some supporters. The campaign hasn't released its June numbers, but people close to the fund-raising operation say the total will likely be just over $30 million. While this isn't a poor showing, it is an underwhelming haul for a campaign that has ballooned in recent months, has promised a true, 50-state electioneering effort and has told its biggest fund-raisers that it wants to collect $300 million in general-election cash by mid-October.
Add this to the fact that the Republican National Committee, as of the end of June, had 13 times the amount of money in the bank as the Democratic National Committee, which has allowed McCain along with the RNC to outspend Obama in advertising in key states and the Rasmussen numbers start to make more sense, much to the anger of Obama's base who is now infighting with each other.
In the meantime, John McCain has not only tied up the numbers in the polls, but has also brought in his best month of fundraising in June as his campaign continues to gather strength.
Obama's campaign team has yet to post its fundraising figures for June. His fundraising has been on a downward trend: he raised $55m in February, $41m in March, $31m in April and $22m in May. The June figures are expected to reverse that trend but still fall significantly short of the total needed to meet election budget needs.
Obama's campaign team said yesterday that a Wall Street Journal report that he had raised $30m in June - $20m less than expected - was "way off the mark". A spokesman, Dan Pfeiffer, said: "Some in the press still haven't realised that anyone who is talking about numbers doesn't know what our numbers are."
In addition to what he raises himself, McCain will have access to the funds of the cash-rich Republican party - about $68m - while Obama will have only modest help from the Democratic party, which has about $3m at its disposal.
Is it the ever shifting or "evolving" of Obama's stances on issues that are important to his base or could it be the betrayal many of his most ardent supporters felt at his backing and voting for the FISA compromise bill, despite an active campaign encouraging him to support a filibuster, which he did not do despite promises to the contrary months before?
Could it be that the media is now vetting him in a manner that they did not do during the Democratic primary?
Or is it the disenfranchised Clinton voters that are growing their own movement and actively working against Obama with some showing support and donating to the John McCain campaign?
Perhaps a mixture of all the above?
Whatever the reason, as John McCain did during the Republican primaries, which saw him so far behind last summer many speculated he would drop out of the race entirely, he is slowly but surely gaining support within the party, most recently from over 100 Christian conservative leaders.
Contrasting that, Barack Obama highest level of support, his peaking moment so to speak, was in February and he has slowly but surely been heading downhill since then.
June will be a better month for Obama than May was, no doubt, because a fair number of Hillary Donors have helped with the fundraising "bounce" in the month since she suspended her campaign, but considering the $100 million goal that Democratic fundraisers set out there, very publicly, anything under $50 million is a huge disappointment to the Obama campaign which counted on more support than what they have seen to date.
Time will tell if McCain's steady rise will continue or if Obama's steady dwindling numbers will prevail, but either way, the race is tighter than anyone predicted it would be at the beginning of this year and promises to be interesting to watch over the next few months.