Obama cautiously manages expectations, polls waver

Sen. Barack Obama began to temper the chances of his success on November 4th reminding his audience that he believes they could still “screw it up” between now and Election Day. Whether that’s true or not is anyone’s guess, however, it does speak to the Obama campaign’s conscience decision to begin managing election night expectations.

Report from Breitbart:

Barack Obama headed onto Republican turf Friday bidding to seal the deal with voters 18 days from election day while warning Democrats not to forget their ability to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

The Illinois senator was en route to Virginia, which has not voted for a Democratic White House hopeful since 1964 but is now very much in play as Republican John McCain struggles to shore up his own support for November 4.

But while he is flush with cash and poll readings that hint at an election wipeout, Obama issued a clarion call against complacency following a fundraising concert here late Thursday with Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.

“Don’t underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” he said, only half in jest. “Don’t underestimate our ability to screw it up.”

He added: “I want everybody running scared. Over the next 18 days, other than your family and your job, I want you to make a decision that there is nothing more important than bringing about this change that we need.”

A report from the CBS Early Show discussing the ongoing strategies:

While the polls have remained in Obama’s favor, there are a few stragglers now showing that the lead appears to tightening up and the race is coming back to the middle, report from the WSJ:

A spate of widely publicized newspaper and network polls over the past week have shown Barack Obama opening a big lead over John McCain. But other surveys tell a somewhat different story, suggesting the presidential race is still close, and the Republican has even gained ground in recent days.

The reason for the divergence: Pollsters are facing new challenges this year, trying to gauge whether the electorate is changing, and how much.

Surveys giving Sen. Obama a large and growing lead tend to assume that a growing proportion of voters are Democrats, and a shrinking percentage Republicans. They also point to a big increase in turnout, particularly among voters under the age of 30. Surveys showing a closer race assume less change in party affiliation in particular.

To be sure, Sen. Obama leads in every national poll, and the Electoral College map appears to favor the Illinois senator, who campaigns this weekend in Republican-leaning states that all voted for President George W. Bush.

Real Clear Politics, a nonpartisan Web site that tracks major polls, reported Thursday that Sen. Obama led Sen. McCain by 49.5% to 42.7%, based on an average of 13 national surveys taken in the past week.

The polls feeding into that conclusion show a wide range, from a CBS/New York Times poll giving Sen. Obama a 14-point lead, to a Gallup poll showing the Illinois senator with just a two-point edge, equal to the margin of error.

A Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg poll this week shows the Illinois senator leading by nine points, while a Pew Research Center survey gives him a seven-point lead. But an Investor’s Business Daily-TIPP poll shows Sen. Obama with a nearly four-point advantage. Recent polls by Rasmussen Reports and Zogby International show Sen. Obama leading by four and five points, respectively.

One Gallup poll shows the Democratic nominee’s lead has shrunk since last week, falling to six points from 10. “Clearly, the race has tightened,” says Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Daily.

It seems to me that there is such a discrepancy in polls from Obama with a 14 point lead to Obama with only a 2 point lead based on the difficulty pollsters are having narrowing down the electorate. We’ll know on November 5th, however, hindsight is always twenty-twenty but that doesn’t help us now. I’d say it’s a 4 to 5 point race perhaps.

Either way you slice it, Obama has lead nationally, even if it has seemed to tighten over the past week.

  • Babs

    I’ve had a few people to ask if I thought Obama’s new worry might be due in part to the crack down on ACORN registrations in these 13 or 14 states, whatever it is. I don’t know the answer, but it would make one wonder if even Obama is afraid voter fraud is indeed afoot.

    I’m still more focused on the reason these polls vary so much. And I keep coming back to the emails sent from PUMA to their reported 2 million plus members asking them to lie in any polls they participate in and say they support Obama. The goal, according to PUMA, is to give Obama a false sense of security.

    I think this year, more than ever before, the polls are totally unreliable because of factors like this. And I’m beginning to think that Obama’s thinking the same thing.

  • Bill Hedges

    Babs last night I heard Drmocrat Secreaey was giving excuses for not helping clear registration problems. Has court ruled ? Have not heard..

  • Babs

    Yes, Bill, they ruled in her favor on a technicality, basically. The state is not finished with this, though. It just bounced back down to state level. I hope Brunner isn’t counting on keeping her job for long.

  • Bill Hedges

    Babs–As as a assumption, Thr laws she must follow has been around a long time. All other States are complying with those laws. She has been in office long enough to comply with those laws. If my assumptions are true, you are right. she should at least be out of office. Prehap in jail.

  • Pats

    Bill, assumptions do not send someone in jail or out of office.

  • JD

    I don’t know if you all have been tracking the what the candidates are doing but…

    It sounds like the new topic for conversation is going to be healthcare.

    Obama and McCain are releasing more and more adds on this issue this week in all the battleground states.

  • Bill Hedges

    Pats- tr-read what I wrote

  • Bill Hedges

    JD-I am not knowledgable of either health plan. My only concern is I don’t want to pay money for that to go to government. They spent social secity, tramportion , etc funds for other pruposes. Running social security broke. I don’t want that happening to my health care money.

  • Bill Hedges

    Babs- People for hoest election lose in latest court ruling. More to follow.

  • Babs, both candidates think they can win, if they didn’t then they wouldn’t be running. But it would be presumtive and arrogant to act like you have won when the race isn’t over.

    Obama seems to be the type of person who doesn’t gloat when winning or has won and November 4th isn’t the finish but just the start.

  • nzpudding, what appeals to you about Barack Obama? How, in your opinion, is he different from McCain?

  • Andrew

    “I’ve had a few people to ask if I thought Obama’s new worry might be due in part to the crack down on ACORN registrations in these 13 or 14 states, whatever it is.”


    ACORN is not a group of super-geniuses trying to sway the election. What happened is what will always happen when you give unethical hung over college kids money for signatures without a governance system. People lied; they didn’t even lie well. They just put names on paper to get paid. There is almost no chance that the voter registration fraud committed by ACORN will lead to even a hand full of fraudulent votes.

    I’m sure there is voter fraud. There always is, and most of it is committed by corrupt or inept election officials in the guise of purging the rolls. Obama should be worried, as should McCain and every citizen. Voter fraud undermines the will of the people and could possibly hand the election to someone who did not win legitimately. Especially in a close race as this may turn out to be.

    I do agree that polls should not be trusted in this election. Too many untested variables throughout this entire process make me think that an upset or a landslide could happen either way.

  • Chris, as a citizen of the world I look at the candidate who will best make that world a better place to live in. Obama seems to be diplomacy first and military second, where McCain seems to be military first and diplomacy maybe.

    I also like Obama’s stance on healthcare for everyone and helping those that are in need and not those that aren’t. I agree with his pro-choice stance.

    I like McCain, but it’s 8 years too late for him I’m afraid, but I don’t like Sarah Palin at all, I think she’s dangerous. Her views are so out their it beggars belief.