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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Polls and Patterns: Obama Takes A Big Hit

Yesterday I brought some news about recent polls showing that Barack Obama was taking a few hits and while still ahead by a statistically insignificant amount, his numbers continued to drop with John McCain's rising. Obama also suffered a hit in favorability ratings and his unfavorable ratings rose.

Today I see the pattern continues and while the individual polls show different statistical numbers, they all show the same pattern emerging.

Obama is losing voters.

Starting with the Reuters/Zogby Poll we see that in July, Barack Obama held a 7 percentage point lead over McCain and when Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr were added in, Obama held a ten point lead over McCain.

The August Reuters/Zogby Poll shows that Obama has not only lost his 7 point lead over McCain individually, but has lost the 10 point lead in the four way race.

The August poll brings good tidings for John McCain, he now leads Obama by 5 points and keeps the same five point lead over Obama in the four way race with Nader and Barr included, which is a 12 point swing against Barack Obama when individually matched up with McCain and a 15 point swing against Obama in a four way race.

Zogby calls it a dramatic reversal.

Between July and August Obama has lost 9 percentage points among Democrats, lost 8 points among women, lost 11 points among catholics, lost 12 points from people over 35, lost 11 points from college graduates, lost 11 points from those living in cities, lost 7 points from those with an income over $50,000 and lost 11 points from Southerners.

McCain’s surge follows a month in which he has aggressively portrayed Obama as an out-of-touch elitist and celebrity not prepared to be President. McCain also continues to accuse Obama of being willing to lose in Iraq in order to win the election. While Obama was on vacation last week, McCain took the spotlight, talking tough about Russia’s military action against the Republic of Georgia.

Pollster John Zogby: “Since Obama returned from his overseas trip, it seems like McCain has thrown all the punches. Clearly, the blows have landed. In recent days, Obama is fighting back, going after McCain on the economy, the issue voters care about most. McCain has changed the dynamic of the race heading into the two conventions. That puts more pressure on Obama to go to Denver and effectively define himself and McCain.”

This matches the pattern, if not the exact numbers from the L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll and the Quinnipiac poll from yesterday, both showing the same pattern of Obama dropping as McCain rises.

CNN's new polling of polls still shows Obama with a slight lead (3 percentage points), which is within the margin of error, but the pattern is evident there as well and his lead has been cut in half in just one week.

According to CNN's average of several recent national surveys, Obama's lead is now a slim 3 points over the Arizona senator, 46-43 percent — half of his advantage in a CNN poll of polls one week ago, and down from a high of 8 points in mid-July.

McCain's latest focus on Obama and his celebrity vs experience has paid off and the conflict between Russia and Georgia has given McCain a boost as the person better ready to lead in the minds of voters.

The latest poll results come amid increased attacks from McCain on Obama's readiness to be commander-in-chief and the re-emergence of national security worries among voters in the wake of the Georgia crisis.

As Obama heads into the Democratic convention and prepares to announce his vice presidential choice, his numbers should see a slight bounce, but he appears to be in downward spiral right now and that bounce may not be sufficient to hold any type of lead considering that the week after the Democratic convention, the Republicans hold their convention and John McCain is expected to announce his VP a day after Obama is officially nominated.

Somewhere privately, Hillary Clinton is saying "I told you so".

She did warn the Democrats....they didn't listen.