A range of polls have shown John McCain improving his position with respect to Obama in the overall national 'horse race.' Key states have improved for McCain. Now Rasmussen confirms that the shift toward McCain is accompanies by (or perhaps caused by) increased trust in his ability to handle a range of issues:
The Republican also has pulled ahead on the issue of balancing the federal budget. Two weeks ago, the candidates were tied on this issue at 40%. McCain now has a 43% to 40% lead on the issue among voters.
McCain used to be behind on the issue of Social Security but has pulled ahead of Obama for a 44% to 38% lead.
On issues that Obama has previously enjoyed huge advantages, such as health care and education, his leads have decreased. On health care, Obama leads 46% to 41%, down from a 12 percentage-point lead just two weeks ago. On education, Obama leads 43% to 39%, down from a 10-point lead two weeks ago. On environmental issues, Obama’s advantage over McCain has gone from 14 percentage points down to eight this week.
The economy is the top issue for the majority of voters this election season. Voters have consistently trusted the Democratic Party more on this issue, but the two presidential candidates are tied at 45% as to who voters trust more. A week prior, Obama had a statistically insignificant one percentage point lead on the issue.
So is McCain improving his standing because voters are coming to trust him more, or because they're growing more unsure about Obama? Given the focus on Obama the last few weeks, can there be any doubt that he's lost ground more than McCain has gained?
Obama is clearly into bear market territory now and he needs to do something dramatic to change the game. Will he really want to wait until after his Hawaiian vacation to announce his vice presidential selection (as is now rumored to be his plan).