Obama Leads Money Chase in Key Counties

MSNBC has some interesting data from the 238 key counties in 15 battleground states: “Through August, Obama raised more money in 168 — or 70 percent — of those counties… McCain, has raised more money in 69 counties… Only in one of the battleground states — Ohio — did McCain win the majority of these tightly contested counties.”

Public Split on Bailout Plan

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows the American public evenly divided on the recent steps taken by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to rescue the financial services industry — 44% approve, 42% disapprove.

Interestingly, there is no strong partisan divide: “Approval is under 50 percent among Republicans (49%), independents (46%) and Democrats (42%).”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself.”

— The 2008 Republican Party Platform, adopted earlier this month.

McCain to Run Ads in Indiana

Sources tell Ben Smith that Sen. John McCain’s ad campaign “is set to extend to Indiana, a reliably Republican state where local polling has long showed Obama unexpectedly strong, and where Obama has been running a full-scale campaign.”

The change in direction comes as recent polls show Obama now leading in the state.

Flashback from last week’s Time magazine: “Indiana Republicans proudly say they don’t need to pay for advertising because the Democrats are merely playing catch up. ‘We want [the GOP] to put resources in the true battleground states,’ says Kevin Ober, the Indiana Republican Party’s executive director.”

McCain Tries to Lower Expectations for Debate

In the expectations game for Friday night’s presidential debate, Sen. John McCain went first in trying to build up his opponent, the AP reports.

Said McCain: “Have no doubt about the capabilities of Sen. Obama to a debate. He’s very, very good. He was able to defeat Sen. Hillary Clinton, who, as we all know, is very accomplished. He was able to, with his eloquence, inspire a great number of Americans. These will be tough debates.”

Expect a similar statement from the Obama campaign soon.

PPP Poll: Financial Stress and the Election

A new Public Policy Polling national survey finds that “voters who are stressed about their finances think that Barack Obama would be more able than John McCain to turn the economy around.”
Key findings: “51% of respondents reported feeling stress over their financial situation, while 49% did not. Among those experiencing stress, 57% think Obama is better suited to turn things around while just 37% feel that way about McCain. The Republican nominee does, however, have a significant advantage with voters who are not stressed over their financial situations.  With those folks he has a 54-40 advantage.”

PPP Poll: Obama Surges in Colorado

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado shows Sen. Barack Obama opening up his biggest lead yet in the state over Sen. John McCain, 51% to 44%.

Key finding: “Immediately after the Republican convention 41% of Coloradoans said John McCain’s choice of Palin to join him on the ticket made them more likely to vote for him while 38% said it made them less likely to do so. Now the number of people saying Palin’s selection makes them less likely to vote for McCain has climbed to 47% with the number of people viewing it favorably dropping to 38%.”

“The movement over the last couple weeks has been particularly acute with independent voters. 56% of them say that the Palin choice makes them less likely to support McCain and what was a 49-38 lead for Obama with that group is now a 58-31 advantage.”

Media May Boycott Palin U.N. Event

“Journalists, displeased with Sarah Palin’s efforts to restrict their access to her, are threatening not to cover her events surrounding the United Nations conference here unless they’re allowed more access,” according to Politico.

“The unfolding boycott is the latest development in a rocky relationship between Palin’s handlers and the press, in which the campaign has sought to tightly control her interactions with the media.”

CBS News shows the “great lengths” the McCain campaign is using to protect their vice presidential candidate from answering questions.

Update: The AP reports the McCain campaign “reversed course” and will allow some reporters to attend her meetings.

Upcoming Polls

We’re still waiting on the new Public Policy Polling survey in Colorado, but here’s aclue: Gov. Sarah Palin’s favorability ratings have plummeted in the state.

At 5 p.m. ET, the new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg national poll will be released.No details yet: “But suffice to say that the concern over the nation’s general economic condition in the wake of the turmoil roiling Wall Street is striking.”

Later this week, PPP will also release a national poll designed to get at how the financial market crisis is impacting the presidential race.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘look, here’s what happened.'”

— Sen. Joe Biden, in an interview with CBS News. 

Of course, as Reason points out, Roosevelt wasn’t president in 1929 and televisions were still experimental.

Civitas Poll: Obama Catches McCain in North Carolina

A new Civitas Institute poll finds Sen. Barack Obama has pulled even with Sen. John McCain in North Carolina, 45% to 45%.

Key finding: Obama has reversed McCain’s recent lead among unaffiliated voters and now leads 45% to 40%. 

Said pollster Francis De Luca: “Senator Obama has caught John McCain in the polls in North Carolina. A state that was once thought to be solidly in McCain’s camp has become a toss-up according to this month’s poll.”

Unreadiness vs. Temperment?

George Will: “It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?”

ARG Poll: Obama Holds Lead in Pennsylvania

A new American Research Group poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain, 50% to 46%.

Obama Hammers McCain on Foreign Cars

As Sen. John McCain heads to Michigan today, the Obama campaign tries to highlight recent news that McCain owns three foreign cars — a Lexus, Volkswagen and Honda — despite statements that he’s always bought American cars.

To drive the point home: A new ad hits the airwaves in Michigan.

Quote of the Day

“You had Obama spend the better part of the summer trying to make this race into a 20-25 state battleground, but he’s reined this in a little bit to 11 or 12 states and potentially less closer to Election Day. It’s all about Ohio and after that, the other areas are a hedge.” 

— Evan Tracey, head of TNS’s Media Intelligence Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks campaign advertising, quoted by Time.

The Politics of a Bailout

Today may be a pivotal day for Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s bailout plan as he testifies in front of the Senate Banking Committee, First Read notes.

“Quite a few lawmakers — from the left and right — are questioning the size and scope of the bailout and the transfer of financial power to one person. We were surprised by the type of lawmakers who we saw releases from yesterday questioning the bailout. They weren’t from wingers on either side. This is such a tricky game for both parties on the Hill. Neither side wants to be seen as handing over a blank check to Wall Street, and neither wants to be seen as the party who hurt the financial markets longer than necessary.”

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal notes both presidential candidates “left their options open about whether they would support or oppose the mammoth proposal if and when it reaches the Senate floor. Opposing the plan could look irresponsible. But supporting a bailout while voters are suffering their own economic hardships could be hazardous, too.”

NPR has a must-listen report on the implications of the bailout.

The No Talk Express

The Washington Post notes it’s been 40 days since Sen. John McCain held a press conference, “despite having promised to hold weekly Q&A sessions with the press if he’s elected.” 

It’s been 25 days since his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, held one.

UpdateCNN reports McCain will “take a few questions” from the media this afternoon.

NBC Poll: Obama Leads in Florida

A new NBC News/Mason-Dixon poll in Florida finds Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain, 47% to 45%.

First Read has more details: “Obama leads McCain in the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, and Polk counties) by a 49%-43% margin. Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker says the key to winning Florida statewide is usually through Tampa Bay, and Obama’s six-point lead in the area explains why he’s ahead in this poll. Moreover, outside of Nevada, there is probably not another state that has been hurt more by the housing and credit crunch, and that may be benefiting Obama right now. Also potentially troublesome for McCain in this must-win GOP state, he leads by just six among Hispanics (49%-43%), which in Florida is made up of a majority of Cubans. (If Obama does pick off younger Cubans, he may close the overall gap thanks to his large lead among non-Cuban Hispanics in the I-4 corridor.) Also, McCain’s four-point lead among seniors (48%-44%) is not as big as he needs it to be to offset the electorate-changing demographics among blacks and young voters.”

Quinnipiac: Obama Ahead in Key Battlegrounds

By very large margins, voters in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin say Sen. Barack Obama, not Sen. John McCain, is the candidate of change, helping lift Obama into the lead in these battleground states, according to four simultaneousQuinnipiac polls of likely voters.

Colorado: Obama 49%, McCain 45%

Michigan: Obama 48%, McCain 44%

Minnesota: Obama 47%, McCain 45%

Wisconsin: Obama 49%, McCain 42%

Said pollster Peter Brown: “With a lousy economy, an unpopular war and an even less popular Republican President, it’s difficult to find voters who don’t want change.”


Fox News Poll: Battlegrounds Remain Close

A set of new Fox News/Rasmussen polls show four of the five battleground states are similar to the presidential election four years ago. Virginia, however, is more competitive than it was in 2004.

Florida: McCain 51%, Obama 46%

Michigan: Obama 51%, McCain 44%

Ohio: McCain 50%, Obama 46%

Pennsylvania: Obama 48%, McCain 45%

Virginia: McCain 50%, Obama 48%

WP Poll: Obama Leads in Virginia

A new Washington Post poll in Virginia shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain, 49% to 46%. 

Key finding: “Fifty percent of respondents said the economy is the most important issue in their choice of president and Obama holds a 10-point advantage on who would better handle the problem.”

Granite State Poll: McCain Holds Small Lead

A new WMUR/Granite State Poll in New Hampshire shows Sen. John McCain ahead of Sen. Barack Obama, 47% to 45%.

“Pollsters asked half the voters who they would vote for if the election were held today, and the other half were asked who they plan to vote for looking ahead to the November election. Among those who were given the more immediate timeframe, 8 percent were undecided, but among those given the longer timeframe, 20 percent were undecided.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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