As I’ve already written, Sen. Joe Biden clearly won Thursday’s Veep debate, at least on points. But what really matters is the impact (if any) this debate might have on voters, and whether it changes the dynamics of a presidential race that has been shifting steadily in Barack Obama’s favor. And the best measure of that, I suppose, are the various national tracking polls that are now being reported daily.
The following polls represent three-day running averages. The first number is from today, which includes results from Wednesday through Friday, and thus factors in one day of post-debate reaction. The number in parentheses are those reported yesterday, and represents survey results from Tuesday through Thursday, all collected before the debate.
Obama McCain Research 2000: 52 (51) 40 (40) Rasmussen: 51 (51) 45 (44) Diageo/Hotline: 48 (48) 41 (42) Gallup: 50 (49) 42 (42)
This only includes one day of post-debate tracking, but as you can see, if there is any movement, it’s not in McCain’s favor. Indeed, the Research 2000 poll, which is being conducted on behalf of Daily Kos, showed the best single day spread for Obama yet:
On successive days in the R2K poll, Obama was up +11 Wed, +12 Thurs and +13 Fri, which is post-debate and Obama strongest day yet (MoE +/- 5.1 for individual days.) Interestingly, the Obama numbers (48-52) are more consistent than the McCain numbers (40-46), but the polls are all consistent in picking up an Obama lead.
And Rasmussen, which is reporting the narrowest gap between the two candidates, observes a similar stability:
For each of the past nine days, Obama has been at 50% or 51% and McCain has been at 44% or 45%. The stability of these results suggests that the McCain campaign faces a very steep challenge in the remaining few weeks of Election 2008.
To say the least.
Early voting has already started in Ohio, and begins in earnest here in WA state and throughout much of the rest of the nation in another week and a half. If John McCain is going to turn this thing around, he better get moving quick, because I don’t think Sarah Palin’s collection of half-answers, winks and folksy colloquialisms quite did the trick.