The latest CBS / New York Times poll shows that Barack Obama has enlarged his lead on John McCain significantly in the last week. Where Obama was leading by about 4% one week ago, according to the same pollsters, he has now opened a 14% gap.
Never before has Obama enjoyed such a significant lead.Most interesting about the poll is that McCain seems to have lost a lot of support due to perceived negative campaigning. It seems that American voters, and especially independents, are not fond of a McCain taking on Obama for the latter's associations. His favorability ratings are now -5.
Although the 14% lead given to Obama in this poll will probably worry, and demoralize, many McCain supporters, it seems likely that the poll is incorrect. Real Clear Politics shows that the average Obama lead is 8.2% (including the CBS / NYT poll). Personally, I believe that McCain will not win, and I think polls clearly indicate that, but 14% is a ridiculous large gap; it just won't happen. The U.S. is too divided for such numbers to be correct. Those who believe these stats to be correct are dreaming (or having a nightmare).
The best pollsters (better than CBS / NYT, for these are people who poll for a living and who have a long track record of being pretty successful) show Obama in the lead as well, but by much less. Rasmussen, for instance, says Obama leads by 5%. And USA Today/Gallup has Obama up by only 4%.
No, the CBS poll is not correct. Obama is quite certainly leading, but the double digits polls should almost automatically be dismissed as utterly insane.
And no, I'm not just saying that because I think more highly of McCain than of Obama. I would say the same thing if the polls gave McCain a double digit lead.
Interestingly, since common sense tells us the polls are incorrect (the CBS poll that is), it will be interesting to see how the MSM respond when the national election proves to be rather close (2-4% gap). Will they blame it on the Bradley effect, or will they simply accept the more logical conclusion that the polls giving Obama a double digit lead were wrong?This is a cross post from PoliGazette.