McCain More Trusted on Economy, Losing

A new Rasmussen poll finds that voters trust John McCain more than Barack Obama on taxes (47%to 45%) and on “economic issues” more generally (48% to 47%).  These numbers are, of course, within the margin of error.  They do, however, represent a reversal of a trend and may indicate that the “Joe the Plumber” and “spreading the wealth around” message is resonating.

This, in a survey that has Obama leading in the national head-to-head 50-47, also within the margin of error, but leading in enough tossup states for an Electoral College blowout.  Moreover, the same poll’s toplines show the candidates are tied on the War in Iraq, Immigration, and Social Security.  McCain has large lead only on Abortion, while Obama has large leads on Environmental Issues, Balancing the Federal Budget, Negotiating Trade Agreements, Healthcare and Education.

Granting that this is just one snapshot, the numbers don’t make much sense.  Either the economy is much less decisive as an issue that we’ve been led to believe, health care and education have much more, or the election is being decided on personality or some other non-issue basis.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rick DeMent says:

    Which is odd because clearly he hasn’t the first clue as to what socialism actually is and he can’t add. You would think that to trust someone on matters economic these would be two things someone should know something about.

  2. just me says:

    My guess is that personality is playing a role here.

    I doubt education does, but healthcare could be playing a role. Obama has misrepresented McCain’s healthcare plan in ads, but the ads are well done, and in my state at least they run constantly all day long. McCain hasn’t defended the ad around here, so the misrepresentation wins the day.

  3. markm says:

    Well, the “tax breaks for 95% of Americans” sounds way too good to be true if even possible…the $250k threshold for tax breaks seems to be lowering as of late (he said a number less than $250k in the last debate and Sen Gaffo-matic said $150k before he went into hiding, etc.). Throw in the fact that there are more than a “small handful” of small businesses that make more than $250k, add a dash of plumber guy with a smattering of redistribution mantra, mix it up and all of a sudden camp O’s tax plans sound kinda murky to the average schlep.

  4. sam says:

    Granting that this is just one snapshot, the numbers don’t make much sense.

    Tru dat.

  5. Alex Knapp says:

    Because this is the only poll out there giving McCain the edge on economic issues, I think it should be given a greater level of skepticism. Most other polls give Obama a double-digit edge on economic issues.

  6. Anderson says:

    Dude — it’s Rasmussen.

  7. “…or the election is being decided on personality or some other non-issue basis.”

    Ya think?