McCain in the Lead

A new LA Times/Bloomberg poll shows John McCain with a narrow lead over both Democratic candidates:

McCain is statistically tied with Sen. Barack Obama, 44 percent to 42 percent, and ahead of Sen. Hillary Clinton by 6 points, 46 percent to 40 percent. The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.

The poll also showed McCain with a 61 percent approval rating, a number higher than both Clinton’s and Obama’s in past polls. (A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll earlier this month measured Clinton’s approval rating at 52 percent and Obama’s at 58 percent.)

I’ll admit I was a little surprised by this. I expected McCain to be leading Clinton, but with all the positive press Obama has been getting I figured he would be on top of McCain.

I should not have been surprised, however. A Rasmussen poll from last week indicates Obama might not be quite as popular as conventional wisdom suggests:

Barack Obama has the same number who will definitely vote for him–34%. But, more people are committed to voting against him than McCain. Forty-three percent (43%) say they will definitely reject him at the ballot box. For 18%, their support depends on his opponent.

Given McCain’s independent streak, one would assume he could cut into that 18% as well. It’s also worth noting that much of Obama’s support comes from folks like myself–voters under 30 who are notorious for low turnout. Now perhaps Obama is the candidate who can get them to the polls, but he’d be crazy to count on it.

These polls are very early, but they do suggest that Saint Obama is not the unstoppable force many pundits seem to think. A quick look at the Electoral College map indicates we’re in for another tight election.

Cross posted at Tennesseefree

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