POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 9/30

SurveyUSA: Obama Gains in Indiana

A new SurveyUSA poll in Indiana shows Sen. John McCain edges Sen. Barack Obama, 48% to 45%. 

Compared to an identical poll released six weeks ago, McCain is down 2 points; Obama is up 1.

SurveyUSA: Race Tightens in Georgia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Georgia finds Sen. John McCain leading Sen. Barack Obama by just eight points, 52% to 44%.

Just 13 days ago, McCain held a 16-point lead in the Peach State. Obama’s share has increased 3 points and McCain’s has dropped five points.

Palin’s Joke About Biden Backfires

On the campaign trail, Gov. Sarah Palin jokes about listening to Sen. Joe Biden’s speeches since she was in second grade. In a just-released CBS News segment, Katie Couric asks if that isn’t an odd thing to say given her own running mate’s age.

Said Palin: “Oh no, it’s nothing negative at all. He’s got a lot of experience and just stating the fact there, that we’ve been hearing his speeches for all these years. So he’s got a tremendous amount of experience and, you know, I’m the new energy, the new face, the new ideas and he’s got the experience based on many many years in the Senate and voters are gonna have a choice there of what it is that they want in these next four years.”

PPP Poll: Obama Takes Lead in Florida

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Florida shows Sen. Barack Obama taking the lead over Sen. John McCain, 49% to 46%.

Key findings: “64% of Floridians surveyed say the economy is their top issue, and Obama has a 55-40 lead with those voters. In a January PPP poll just 26% of voters in the state said they were most concerned with the economy. The events of the last few weeks seem in particular to have helped move independents into the Obama camp. Three weeks ago the candidates were tied, now Obama has a 48-40 advantage with those voters.”

One more possible factor: “Sarah Palin’s net favorability with Florida voters has dropped 12 points over the last three weeks.”

SurveyUSA: McCain Holds Tiny Lead in Ohio

A new SurveyUSA poll in Ohio has Sen. John McCain just barely leading Sen. Barack Obama, 48% to 47%.

Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll released 15 days ago, Obama is up 3 points; McCain is flat.

Debate Highs and Lows

During Friday night’s presidential debate, CBS News and Nielsen worked together to capture real-time reactions to the candidates’ performance. Key insights:
 

  • Obama’s discussion of oil independence and health, at roughly 26 minutes into the debate, drew the overall most positive response from the CBS/Nielsen panel.  
  • Obama’s lowest response came during his discussion of investing in the American dream.
  • In contrast, 92 minutes into the debate, John McCain’s closing comments summarizing his qualifications for the presidency and his plans for keeping the U.S. safe drew some of the least positive responses from the respondents.
  • McCain’s high point came just minutes earlier when discussing the importance of success in Iraq.
  • The candidates’ contentious exchange on energy policy (at 83 minutes) also drew negative responses from the CBS/Nielsen panel. 

The complete analysis of the panel’s minute-by-minute reactions is available.

Palin Goes Silent

Jonathan Martin says the embarrassing unreleased clip from last week’s Katie Couric interview with Gov. Sarah Palin is her response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

“After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases. There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.”

The clip is expected to be broadcast either Wednesday or Thursday.

Term Limits Leader Backs Bloomberg Third Term

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg “geared up to seek a third term after the path to four more years was cleared yesterday when billionaire term-limits advocate Ron Lauder vowed to support a change in the law that would allow Hizzoner to run again,” the New York Post reports.

Diageo/Hotline: Obama Surges in Battleground States

An early look at today’s Diageo/Hotline tracking poll shows Sen. Barack Obama now holds a double-digit lead in key battleground states. 

Among registered voters surveyed in Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin and Nevada, Obama tops McCain 50 to 40%. Just a week ago, Obama led 45% to 42%.

Nationwide, Obama leads 47% to 41%.

The Research 2000 tracking poll has Obama leading 51% to 41%, while Rasmussenhas Obama up 51% to 45%.

Rudderless Republicans

First Read: “So who runs the Republican Party? Apparently nobody. Perhaps the most startling political development was the amazing lack of leadership on the GOP side of the aisle. Let’s run down the list of Republican leaders who attempted to persuade skeptical House Republicans: President Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, and John Boehner… Bush’s leadership and trust issues within his party has been evidenced for quite some time, and the icing on the Bush legacy cake is that fact that he could only convince FOUR Texas House Republicans to support his bill. 

“And then there’s John McCain, who last week decided to insert himself into the process and then (before the bailout failed) took credit for getting wavering House Republicans on board… Now McCain gets a double stomach punch: He’s stuck being seen as supportive of this bailout (which isn’t exactly popular with the conservative grassroots) and he gets to share in the blame for the defeat since he didn’t have enough political capital to get this done (By the way, not a single member of the Arizona GOP delegation voted for this bill). Watching the McCain campaign deal with this yesterday, one could sense that they were fearful that they were going to look inept and take an even deeper political wound than they sustained last week.”

A Massive Failure of Leadership

Michael Scherer notes that our political system might be just as bankrupt as our financial system. It’s today’s must-read piece.

“Nearly every major political leader in America supported the $700 billion financial bailout bill. The President of the United States. The Vice President. The Treasury Secretary. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Democratic and Republican nominees for president. The Democratic and Republican leadership of the House and the Senate. All of them said the same thing. Vote yes.”

“But a majority of those politicians anointed by the U.S. Constitution to reflect the will of the people voted no. This is a remarkable event, the culmination of a historic sense of betrayal that Americans have long felt for their representatives in Washington D.C. The nation’s credit crisis exposed Monday a much deeper and more fundamental problem — a political credibility crisis that now threatens to harm our nation further, should the markets freeze up and more companies begin to fail, as many experts predict.”

Questions Raised Over McCain’s Medical Records

The Huffington Post interviewed CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “who was one of only a handful of reporters allowed into the review” of Sen. John McCain’s medical records. He described the process as overly secretive and not very thorough.

Said Gupta: “We were given three hours to go over 1,200 pages of records. That is a lot to go through. It was very sort of cloak and dagger and I’m sure they had their reasons. Given that I had my medical training, I was able to hone in on what it thought was important more quickly. But the pages weren’t numbered, so I had no way of knowing what was missing… As a reporter I can only comment on what I saw but I can’t say by any means that this was complete… As far as the secretiveness of it, what they said to us is that you can’t take anything out of the room, but you could make notes. So it was a lot to go through in a short period of time.”

SurveyUSA: Obama Holds Double Digit Lead in New Jersey

A new SurveyUSA poll in New Jersey gives Sen. Barack Obama a ten point lead over Sen. John McCain, 52% to 42%.

Key findings: “Obama leads among most groups: men and women, young and old, well-educated and less-educated, rich and poor. Obama leads by double digits in North and South Jersey, and is effectively tied with McCain in Central Jersey.”

Democrats Ahead in Key GOP Districts

The latest Democracy Corps survey of the competitive battleground House districts “reveals an intensely angry electorate, even more sour on Republicans who have not distanced themselves enough from Bush and are now at risk even at the edge of the current map of competitive congressional seats.” 

“Democratic candidates are now ahead by 4 points in the 40 most vulnerable Republican seats, even in the bottom tier. A near majority of 48% in these Republican seats say they ‘can’t vote to re-elect’ their Republican incumbent, while Democrats are ahead in the open seats.”

Debate Advice for Biden

In The Week, Democratic strategist Robert Shrum says driving Gov. Sarah Palin “over a cliff” is not Sen. Joe Biden’s job in Thursday’s vice presidential debate. “There’s no profit in coming across as disdainful and there will be nothing but backlash if the disdained one is a woman.”

Instead, he has two fundamental objectives: to stand up for Obama and to go after McCain. That’s what vice-presidential candidates are for, although it didn’t appear that way in the last two races. Joe Lieberman fell startlingly short in a debate where his principal effect was to be nice to Dick Cheney and make Cheney look nice in turn; John Edwards was half-hearted, probably because he had half an eye on 2008.”

More Than 50 Million Watched Debate

Nielsen just released its ratings for Friday’s presidential debate.
 

  • The overall number of people who watched was surprisingly small (52.4 million) given the high numbers for the GOP and Democratic conventions. This was well below the 62.5 million who watched the first Bush/Kerry debate four years ago. This may be because Friday is the traditionally the second-lowest night of the week for watching television.
  • African American viewers continue to be highly engaged in the campaign. They had a rating of 19.5 vs. a rating of 18.1 for the entire population.

Fox News Poll: Obama Gains in Battleground States

The latest Fox News/Rasmussen poll in key battleground states finds Sen. Barack Obama gaining a net three to five points in each state.

Colorado: Obama 49%, McCain 48%

Florida: Obama 47%, McCain 47%

Ohio: McCain 48%, Obama 47%

Pennsylvania: Obama 50%, McCain 42%

Virginia: Obama 50%, McCain 47%

Key findings: “In all states, Obama gained ground among unaffiliated voters. While the sample sizes in each state are small and the shifts often modest, the consistency of the result is worth noting… The number saying that they would not be comfortable with Obama as President fell in all five states.”

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“Senator Obama and his allies in Congress infused unnecessary partisanship into the process. Now is not the time to fix the blame. It’s time to fix the problem.”

— Sen. John McCain, quoted by Time.

PPP Poll: Obama Moves Ahead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Barack Obama has taken the lead over Sen. John McCain for the first time, 47% to 45%.

Key finding: “Over the last year there’s been a strong relationship between the number of North Carolinians listing the economy as their biggest concern, and Obama’s standing in the polls. In January when just 39% of voters said it was their biggest issue John McCain led by 14 points. In August with it up to 48% Obama trailed by just three. Last week with 58% listing it number one the race was tied, and now with the number up to a record 64% Obama has taken a small lead. He is up 55-38 among respondents citing the economy as their main concern.”

Also not helping McCain: A dramatic decline in approval of running mate Sarah Palin.

Oops

“What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this.”

— McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, on Meet the Press yesterday, taking early credit for getting House Republicans to support the bailout bill. 

In the end, the bill failed a vote in the House of Representatives with a majority of House Democrats supporting the bill but two-thirds of House Republicans voting against the measure.

UpdatePolitico also has a story about McCain taking credit too early.

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

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