The results of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was just released, and these poll results confirm what three other national polls this week have shown, this race is a dead heat. So far this week, we have seen the ABC, CNN, CBS, and now the NBC poll all show this race as a tie.
Interestingly, the most the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate, and the Republican convention was able to do is tie this race up against Obama. Palin has helped with the base, but when the question was asked, how will Palin affect your vote for McCain, 34% said she would make them more likely to vote for McCain, 24% said that she would make them less likely to vote for McCain, and 40% said that it makes no difference. I think the media is greatly overstating the Palin impact outside of the Republican Party.
What Palin has done is shore up the Republican base. Enthusiasm for McCain’s candidacy has jumped 20% in the past month from 12% to 34%. The problem is that Obama also gained enthusiasm among Democrats. He has gone from 46% of his supporters calling themselves very enthusiastic about his candidacy to 55%. Democrats are still much more excited about this election than Republicans are.
The other pieces of good news for Obama is that he is now even with McCain as 90% of each party now support their respective candidates. Last month 52% of Clinton supporters said that they supported Obama, but the Palin pick seems to have driven more of them to Obama because 60% of self-identified Clinton supporters are with Obama now. Twenty percent of Clinton supporters said that Palin would make them more likely to vote for McCain, but 31% said that she makes them less likely to support McCain.
Seventy four percent of those surveyed believe that McCain would closely follow Bush’s policies and only 35% believe that McCain is the candidate to bring about change. There is actually good news all though this poll for Obama. His approval/disapproval rating has swung up three points since last month and Obama cut three points off of the idea that Obama is a risky choice for president. Obama gained three points with men, but McCain 10 points among women, especially white women.
This is a revealing poll in the respect that it tells us a lot about the shifting dynamics in this campaign. It will be interesting to see what happens after the novelty of Palin wears off. The critical polls will come after the first presidential debate. It looks like Palin alone won’t be enough to carry McCain to victory. This race will still come down to the presidential candidates, and those three debates will likely determine who the next president of the United States is.
Full poll results here