This election is not over. John McCain can still win. The polls are grim but they are in a tightening phase once again.
For the past several weeks there have been odd swings where Obama goes way out in front and then slips back. We are currently witnessing another slip back.
I’ve decided a couple of things in terms of what polls I will watch. First I am only interested in the tracking polls. At least with tracking polls you have some reasonable chance of spotting trends one way or the other in spite of any bias that may be involved. And one shot polls are so ‘90s anyway.
Second, the tracking polls I have chose to focus on are the Big Five that RCP uses:
Rasmussen, Reuters/CSpan/Zogby, Hotline/FD, Gallup, and GW/Battleground. GW/Battleground does not poll on Friday and Saturday so for our purposes today I will leave them out. The other four are out with numbers through yesterday and their average is Obama up 5.87%.
This repeated exercise of Obama’s lead lengthening and then contracting is very interesting. A plausible explanation could be that a good chunk of the middle is undergoing a very difficult decision process. Under this scenario people get ticked off at the economy and want to punish a politician and McCain best represents the status quo so they move toward Obama.
Then, the painful reality that Obama is a vast unknown reasserts itself and they ebb back toward undecided and McCain.
Of additional interest is that Obama’s support now stands at under just over 49%. Given that John Kerry got just over 48% it should surprise no one that Obama is lurking in the same general area.
As I’ve stated before turn out will determine this election. If Republican, conservative, and libertarian voters stay home on election day Obama will win. If they turn out in numbers like 2004 we can still yet taste sweet victory.