(Via Memeorandum) Gallup continues to conduct daily tracking polls of the endless election of 2008 and the results can vary from yawn inducing to jaw dropping incredulity. This latest edition is more in the former class, showing Barack Obama maintaining the status quo and holding a roughly eight to ten point lead nationally over Hillary Clinton. Some previous polls, though, where each of the Democrats are matched up head to head with Senator McCain have really had me scratching my head.
We talked about this during our radio show on Monday (replay available at link, should you care to listen) and this was my basic premise: More than 2/3 of the country opposes the Iraq war. Over 70% think the economy is in a recession and feel the war is contributing to that. 81% feel the country is going in the wrong direction. With numbers like that and so little daylight between McCain and George W. Bush (i.e. a McCain presidency being effectively four years of "more of the same") it seems to these rheumy, inexperienced old eyes that McCain shouldn't even be able to make it out of the gates in a head to head poll. What gives?
I tried to put myself in the position of some of the folks answering the phone when Gallup comes a'calling for their opinion. Let's say for a moment that you are a die-hard Obama supporter and the nice lady on the phone asks you who you would vote for between McCain and Clinton. Might you not have a twinge of guilt but tell her that you would either vote for McCain or not vote at all? And the converse, of course, might happen if you are a Clinton supporter being asked about McCain vs. Obama.
The Republicans already have their candidate. The Democrats are still in the midst of a hotly contested race with feelings running high among supporters on both sides. Once this finally settles out and the Democrats have a nominee, keep an eye on these polls. If my crazy idea has any merit, you may see a rather sudden and measurable shift which won't bring any joy to McCain's supporters.