Obama Retakes Lead
Chuck Todd and company note that Barack Obama has rebounded in the polls and that we’re now “about where the race was before the conventions.”
The reason why Obama’s up: women. According to the latest New York Times/CBS survey, Obama is ahead overall by five points (48%-43%); a week ago after the GOP convention, CBS had McCain up two points overall (46%-44%) and five points among women (47%-42%). But in the latest poll, Obama once again has the advantage with female voters (54%-38%). The same holds true in a new national Quinnipiac survey, which finds Obama with a four-point lead over McCain (49%-45%) and a 14-point edge among women (54%-40%). Every poll out this week — whether by a good pollster or a mediocre one — has shown the same trend: movement towards Obama.
Sure enough, the polls almost all show a slight Obama lead:
And, yes, the trendlines show that we’re pretty close to where we were in August:
Todd’s speculation centers on backlash to a perception that McCain’s ads are too negative or the shrinking of the Palin Effect, both of which are possible. It strikes me that the far more powerful explanation, though, is a familar one: Events, dear boys. Events.
This race has always been the Democrats’ to lose. The country is tired of Bush, tired of the war in Iraq, and tired of a sagging economy. Rightly or wrongly, the party of the incumbent president gets blamed for these things.
For a brief moment, it looked like events had turned in McCain’s favor. Namely, there’s now a widespread sense that the Surge — which he supported, indeed, led the call for, and his opponent fought — was a success and that we’re on the verge of salvaging something close enough to victory in Iraq.
The failure of Lehman Brothers and the bailout of AIG, though, have turned the focus back to the economy. That’s almost always an advantage for Democrats, since they’re the party that favors governmental intervention. It’s doubly so in years when Republicans occupy the White House.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If the election is decided on the economy, Obama wins, perhaps easily. If it’s decided on national security issues, McCain may pull it off. It’s looking increasingly likely that it’ll be the former.