In a sharp turnaround, Republican John McCain has opened a 5-point lead on Democrat Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race and is seen as a stronger manager of the economy, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.Since polling occurred Thursday through Sunday, that means the poll didn’t catch much, if any, of the “Saddleback effect.”
McCain leads Obama among likely U.S. voters by 46 percent to 41 percent, wiping out Obama's solid 7-point advantage in July and taking his first lead in the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll.
The reversal follows a month of attacks by McCain, who has questioned Obama's experience, criticized his opposition to most new offshore oil drilling and mocked his overseas trip.
The poll was taken Thursday through Saturday as Obama wrapped up a weeklong vacation in Hawaii that ceded the political spotlight to McCain, who seized on Russia's invasion of Georgia to emphasize his foreign policy views.
Since its generally agreed Sen. McCain came across as far more informed and looking like a leader, you can wonder what the results would have been with a “Saddleback effect."
"There is no doubt the campaign to discredit Obama is paying off for McCain right now," pollster John Zogby said. "This is a significant ebb for Obama."Sen. Obama having more trouble with his base than McCain with his goes against the meta-narrative most MSM shill. Usually we’re told its McCain who hasn’t solidified his base, especially among “conservatives” and “evangelicals.”
McCain now has a 9-point edge, 49 percent to 40 percent, over Obama on the critical question of who would be the best manager of the economy -- an issue nearly half of voters said was their top concern in the November 4 presidential election.
That margin reversed Obama's 4-point edge last month on the economy over McCain, an Arizona senator and former Vietnam prisoner of war who has admitted a lack of economic expertise and shows far greater interest in foreign and military policy.
McCain has been on the offensive against Obama during the last month over energy concerns, with polls showing strong majorities supporting his call for an expansion of offshore oil drilling as gasoline prices hover near $4 a gallon.
Obama had opposed new offshore drilling, but said recently he would support a limited expansion as part of a comprehensive energy program.
That was one of several recent policy shifts for Obama, as he positions himself for the general election battle. But Zogby said the changes could be taking a toll on Obama's support, particularly among Democrats and self-described liberals.
"That hairline difference between nuance and what appears to be flip-flopping is hurting him with liberal voters," Zogby said.
Obama's support among Democrats fell 9 percentage points this month to 74 percent, while McCain has the backing of 81 percent of Republicans. Support for Obama, an Illinois senator, fell 12 percentage points among liberals, with 10 percent of liberals still undecided compared to 9 percent of conservatives.
Here are two easy predictions:
1) Between now and November, Team Obama is going to give McCain a huge amount of help solidifying his “conservative base.” McCain can't take conservatives for granted, but with Obama still refusing to admit he knew all those years what Wright was saying; attacking Justice Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts; and promising more government give-aways, conservatives will know what to do on Election Day.
2) If McCain win’s in November, people will look back to Saddleback and say, “That’s when the evangelical tide started running in McCain’s favor. Whatever was Obama thinking when he said, 'that's above my pay grade?'"
I hope you read the rest of the Reuters story here. There’s quite a bit in it that may surprise you.
I’d love to hear what you think.