McCain Gets A Bounce

The first batch of post-RNC polls are out, and they contain good news for John McCain.. In the Gallup Tracking poll, McCain is up 3% against Obama. In the Rassmussen Tracking poll, McCain is tied 48% to 48%.

These polls show that McCain did get a bounce from the RNC, and that this race is very fluid. It would not be surprising if these numbers get better for McCain by mid-week as weekend polls sometimes undercount Republicans.

I am going to go off on a limb and predict that Obama will underperform his polling numbers—just as he did in New Hampshire in January. I believe that there is a strong “bandwagon” effect among Obama voters and that McCain will actually peel away some of the Hillary voters that have “come home” to the Democrats after the DNC.

Watch the swing state vote—states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan will decide this election. Obama needs some of the key Western states to win. McCain must take Ohio and Florida to win. Obama has to hold all of Kerry’s states and peel off enough electoral votes for the red states to win.

If Pennsylvania goes to McCain, Obama is toast. He is unlikely to pull enough additional electoral votes to make up for that loss. If I were McCain, I’d be having Sarah Palin circling the Great Lakes states while McCain pulls Colorado, Nevada, and possibly New Mexico from Obama.

This race is completely up in the air. McCain has taken some of the wind out of Obama’s sails. He has an opportunity to run as an “agent of change” and beat the prevailing political climate. Obama is now on the defensive, and could lose. The debates will be critical, and the next two months will be some of the most exciting in American politics yet.

UPDATE: The latest Gallup/USA Today tracking poll has even better news for McCain: a lead of 10% in a survey of likely voters. That poll is likely an outlier, but there’s little doubt that McCain has gotten a bounce from his convention, and that Obama’s lead has evaporated.

UPDATE: Today (Sept. 8), McCain has a 3.2% lead in the RealClearPolitics average. All the major polls show the race either tied, or with McCain in the lead. There’s no doubt that McCain got a bounce from the convention, and that it was a substantial one. The question will be whether he can make the best of that momentum into Election Day.

8 thoughts on “McCain Gets A Bounce

  1. Oh my goodness. Comments allowed again. Glasnost revisited even here at!

    This race has basically gone exactly as I predicted for months now and I suspect September will be a month of incremental growth for McCain. He’ll end the month in about the same situation as where Bush was at the end of September 2004, with a comfortable but vulnerable lead. The debates obviously loom large, and the needle is unlikely to move much in either direction until then.

    Few are making the observation you have about the fact that undecided voters are likely to break against Obama in November the same way they broke against him in the primaries. I’ve been telling everybody that for that reason, I give McCain a 90% chance of winning. Unless Obama leads by five on the eve of the election, expect him to lose. Beyond that, Obama’s hold on upper middle-class suburbanites is no sure thing. If he loses even a small percentage of them, he’ll be destroyed…likely losing every state not bordering an ocean except Illinois.

    Palin’s appeal will ultimately be limited outside of rallying the hard-right, so I doubt she’s gonna be a game-changer in the Great Lakes states. She continues to be McCain’s largest potential vulnerability, particularly given that her entire “earmark-hatin’ reformer” mirage is diametrically opposed to the reality of her being one of the most establishment-dependent politicians alive today. The fact that her reformer image is built upon two blatant lies that she “told Congress thanks but no thanks to the Bridge From Nowhere” and that she “sold Murkowski’s plane for a profit on eBay” makes the entire “Sarah-mania” fad likely to crumble just as quickly as it was constructed.

    But just as Dan Quayle didn’t move the needle against Bush-41, I’m not too optimistic that Palin will move the needle much against McCain even after her almost inevitable implosion.

  2. Palin one of the most establishment-dependent politicians alive? Really?! That doesn’t make much sense.

    Nice try with the supposed “lies”—except that she did kill the Bridge to Nowhere, and she never said that she sold the plane for a profit. She did, in fact, put the plane on eBay just as she said. It was eventually sold through another broker, but that doesn’t make her statement any less correct.

    Watch Palin’s debate performance from 2006. She’s a disciplined politician, whereas Biden is not. Trying to attack her won’t work, and it’s just feeding her mystique. After this week, one would think that the Democrats wouldn’t fall into that trap again.

  3. “Nice try with the supposed “lies”—except that she did kill the Bridge to Nowhere”

    Yeah, she drove the final stake through its heart after Congress already shot it dead….and she kept the money. She never told Congress “thanks but no thanks on the Bridge to Nowhere”. She told Alaskans they needed to advance the narrative on why it was needed back in 2006. It’s a blatant and irrefutable lie…and one the McCain campaign has rolled out AGAIN, completely tempting fate and baiting her critics to hit her at her biggest vulnerability. For this woman to be running as a “reformer” is to pretend the first 43 years of her life never happened. It’s one thing for there to be a backlash against personal attacks by random bloggers against her family (cleverly conflated with “vicious smears” by the “mainstream media” as if the Washington Post can control what some wingnut on Daily Kos types), but quite another to have your entire professional image thoroughly debunked by reality, which is what Palin is poised to do.

    At the current pace, Palin will become a liability for McCain before the debates. I don’t doubt she can hold her own with a disciplined debating style (although most likely it will be just as superficial as her speech) against a windbag like Biden, but it seems increasingly unlikely that her myriad of controversial positions and associations will not have made her radioactive long before October 2.

    Palin undeniably is/was a rising star in the GOP ranks, but she was rolled out onto the national scene four years too soon, with not nearly the amount of time necessary to be taken seriously as a candidate well versed enough in NATIONAL issues to be President. Obama is by no means a graybeard, but has nonetheless spent more than four years immersed in national politics, running for the U.S. Senate, being a U.S. Senator, and 19 months now in a pressure cooker race for the Presidency. By contrast, Sarah Palin has spent at best a few weeks chewing on national issues. Most voters not already in the tank for her are unlikely to be persuaded.

    I still think McCain will win, probably by a comfortable margin, but Palin was a high-stakes gamble that didn’t need to be taken for a candidate who was already tied last week. Worse yet if you’re a GOP wingnut, it threatens to turn one of their most promising stars into damaged goods if the gamble doesn’t pay off.

  4. Put it to you this way, Jay. You went to college at Gustavus in St. Peter, Minnesota, a town a little bit larger than Wasilla, Alaska. I know nothing about the Mayor of St. Peter, but how comfortable would you be with the idea that two years down the road, he or she would be on the cusp of being elected Vice-President? Does that seem rational to you?

  5. Yeah, she drove the final stake through its heart after Congress already shot it dead….and she kept the money.

    Given that the Alaska Democratic Party itself said she killed the bridge, along with the rest of the media, trying to make political hay of this issue won’t work.

    The attacks on Palin are counterproductive. They aren’t working, they won’t work, and Obama is getting hammered in the polls because of the backlash. Making light of Palin’s supposed “inexperience” is a dumb move, because it highlights the fact that Palin has more relevant experience than Obama. She was not just a Mayor, but a Governor of a large state, the Chairwoman of the Oil and Gas Board, and those executive positions mean much more than being a half-hearted legislator and perennial candidate. If Obama wants to play the experience game, he’ll lose.

    McCain knows that Obama and the Democrats just have to tear down Palin, and that doing so is hurting them. He’s inside their OODA loop, which means that McCain is driving this race.

  6. “Given that the Alaska Democratic Party itself said she killed the bridge, along with the rest of the media, trying to make political hay of this issue won’t work.”

    We’ll see. For the next month, Sarah Palin will be pathologically dodging reporters while getting her head filled with McCain campaign talking points leading up to next month’s debate. Her low profile in the face of the mounting inconsistencies in her story are almost certain to prove damaging, particularly when they so clearly contradict reality. The McCain campaign dug their own hole on this, and are exacerbating it by making sure Sarah Palin is the focal point of the campaign instead of their actual nominee. She can possibly redeem herself in the debate, but it might be too late by then. With each passing day, she’s being further exposed as a fraud, a liar, a bigot, and a book-banning totalitarian. Even Bush-loving pseudo-Democrat Ed Koch is now on record calling her “scary”. The Palin bubble is poised to burst as quickly as it was inflated.

    “The attacks on Palin are counterproductive. They aren’t working, they won’t work, and Obama is getting hammered in the polls because of the backlash.”

    You seriously think Sarah Palin, with her 50% approval rating and worldview well to the right of at least 75% of Americans, is beyond critical review? Just because she gave one well-received speech stoking the culture wars? She’s the classic “agent of intolerance” and an amateurish one. Being exposed as a liar on top of everything else pretty much limits her appeal to being a bloody T-shirt for the cultural right to wave around in their saliva-spraying screeds about the world being out to get them.

    “She was not just a Mayor, but a Governor of a large state, the Chairwoman of the Oil and Gas Board”

    Two years ago she was a Mayor. Experience beyond that has come entirely within the last 18 months. Again, I ask you if you would balk if the current Mayor of St. Peter, Minnesota, could in any way be considered qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency two years from now?

    “those executive positions”

    If “executive experience” is that important, why is your party’s official nominee a 26-year Congressional veteran rather than a Governor? Hilarious that your favorite GOP candidate in the primaries was a Tennessee Senator with zero “executive experience”, while the GOP candidate with the most executive experience, Mike Huckabee, was the guy you declared unfit for office. Yet now “executive experience”, even a few minutes worth, is your top qualification for the highest office in the land. Do you not even realize how badly you are insulting people’s intelligence with this kind of demagoguery?

    “If Obama wants to play the experience game, he’ll lose.”

    No he won’t. Obama is comfortable enough with the issues to talk with reporters about them. Palin is not. They briefly let her off the reservation without her training wheels yesterday, and she proved she didn’t understand the federal government’s role in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The odds of a meltdown increase with each passing hour, and considering McCain was stupid enough to make her the focal point of his campaign, her downfall could do serious harm to what was otherwise a slam-dunk victory for McCain.

    Trust me, two weeks from now you will be in deep dismay that McCain didn’t pick any of the above of Pawlenty, Willard, Lieberman, or Ridge…..or Hutchison for that matter.

  7. Oh and Jay, you know that windfall profits tax on the oil companies that you, McCain, and every conservative hack economist in the country insists would be an economic calamity? Well, you’ll never guess where windfall profits on oil companies accounts for $6 billion worth of annual loot. If you guessed Sarah Palin’s Alaska, you’re the big winner!

    Explain that one, will ya! 😉

  8. Another day….another breathless accusation of sexism from the McCain campaign. I just get the sense that September 10, 2008, was the day you Machiavellian thugs overreached in the eyes of everyone not already aboard the McCain ship.

    It was bound to happen. Apparently, the McCain campaign thought they were gonna run out the clock for FIFTY-SIX days by parading their veep candidate out once a day to read talking points from the script she literally holds in her hands in plain sight, never speaking to any reporters, all the while sending out campaign surrogates out to make daily hyperventilations about sexism. The veep candidate herself, who were told is the toughest woman on Earth, meekly hides on the campaign bus save for her 20 minutes onstage at McCain events. Did you guys really think you could make this work for two months and nobody would notice?

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