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WaPo-ABC Tracking: Advantage Obama

Sen. Barack Obama holds a sizable advantage over John McCain just two days before the longest and most expensive presidential campaign in history comes to a close.

After nearly two years of ads, rallies, debates and barnstorming, Obama is up 54 to 43 percent among likely voters, in the new Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll. And the ranks of persuadable voters has dwindled to 7 percent heading into the final day. One part of McCain's steep challenge is that more than a quarter of the probable electorate has already voted - among these early birds, 59 percent said they voted for Obama, 40 percent for McCain.

Obama has firmly reestablished his advantage on handling the economy (back up to 15 points) and beaten back a challenge on taxes (he's +11 there). On handling an unexpected major crisis, what had been a double-digit McCain lead to start the fall campaign, is now a 6-point advantage for Obama.

And on the measure that most often correlates to turnout, enthusiasm, Obama holds a massive 26-point advantage in deeply enthusiastic support. In late October of 2004, George W. Bush held a nine-point edge over John F. Kerry on this metric.

Overall enthusiasm is high for both candidates, with 96 percent at least somewhat enthusiastic about Obama and 89 percent that fired up about McCain, but it may take the "very" to get some voters to the polls.

Strong enthusiasm for McCain's campaign has risen somewhat since bottoming at 35 percent very enthusiastic in the middle of last week - 41 percent now report a high level of support. High enthusiasm for McCain's candidacy peaks at 45 percent in those states classified as leaning or toss-ups in today's Washington Post analysis. For Obama, enthusiasm is about even across these state classifications, with 68 percent in leaning or up-for-grabs states saying they are deeply excited about the Illinois Democrat's candidacy.

Full data from today's Post-ABC Tracking poll can be found here.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  November 2, 2008; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Tracking  
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Next: WaPo-ABC Tracking: The Final Countdown


One puzzling thing from the polling
Voted: 19%, Certain to vote 71% = 90%

This is far higher than past and expected voter turnout - why? Presumably there are many who don't follow through.

Posted by: pdgnz | November 2, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm 70 yrs old and have voted in every presidential election in my lifetime. My candidate has always won.

I voted Obama and he will win.

Posted by: COWENS99 | November 2, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Everyone...okay, Obama voters in particular...get out and vote.

No matter what the weather, election lines, or what the polls say in your state, everyone, please vote.

Posted by: amaikovich | November 2, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama hasn't won it yet - if you haven't voted for him and you support him - make sure you vote! Don't depend on other people's votes to get him to the White House - do your part!

Posted by: hitpoints | November 2, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Palin killed McCain's chances. Nice one, Maverick!

Posted by: DemoDevil | November 2, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I surely hope that Obama wins and at this point it looks like he will. I have already voted for him and will be an election judge at my local polling place the day of the election.
Nevertheless, I wonder why Obama, a black person, is likely to beat his white opponent, John McCain. I am astounded. I guess it is partially because Bush has shown the country and the world what Republicans really are and McCain, the one time maverick, has caved in to the Republican Party agenda.
I like and admire Obama, but I am astounded that he is doing better against Bush than either Gore or Kerry could do against him. I will be thinking about this for a long time, but off the top of my head, it appears that the US has come to understand that the Republican agenda is bad for them. I also credit Obama's very tough campaign staff and Obama himself for staying with the high ground.
But neither Gore nor Kerry departed from the high ground. I have to wonder if a combination of things converged for Obama -- moral rectitude( no messy divorces or credible corruption charges), tough campaign staff ( no one is tougher than David Axelrod), and an incredible ability to stay on message. But one has to wonder if being black didn't help him. Maybe the country was ready to accept a superior black man and was prepared to show it. If that is the case, I am surprised and delighted.
I am thrilled that Obama looks like the front runner. I was and am a Hillary Clinton supporter, but the election of Obama to the Presidency will be a wonderful accomplishment for the US.

Posted by: bghgh | November 2, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

All I am hoping for is that Obama will pull this nation together. We have had so much division because of the Republicans and a President that said he would be inclusive and then was anything but. It really is time for the Republicans to step back and come up with a new game plan, hopefully one without a hint of division.

Posted by: hmmmmmer | November 2, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

My hope is for Obama to win. Our country wins w/him President and Biden Vice President. The American people were not heard the last election. Let's hope this time they are. It's so important that we have a leadership w/hope not fear as their outlook. To McFear and Palin-the-Fear
thanks, and no thanks!

Posted by: nkelly1 | November 2, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Here is the poll that really counts. IBD/TIPP Daily Tracking Poll - Day 21 - The race tightened again Sunday as independents who'd been leaning to Obama shifted to McCain to leave that key group a toss-up. McCain also pulled even in the Midwest, moved back into the lead with men, padded his gains among Protestants and Catholics, and is favored for the first time by high school graduates. Link: - Even more importantly, is the fact that Obama has consistently been under 48% in this poll. This was the most accurate Presidential Poll in 2004.

This is the subject that is driving Obama's poll numbers down. And the whole country is finding out about it. Obama has supported multiple terrorist in the past. Most recently as 2006 when Obama used U.S. taxpayer funds and his Senatorial position to campaign for a radical relative, named Raila Odinga. Odinga was running for President of Kenya and lost by almost 233,000 votes. Then he called for demonstrations which resulted in ethnic cleansing and genocide perpetrated by his supporters. Its just too long to explain here, but here is a link to a website that explains it pretty clearly.

Posted by: Octo44 | November 2, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Octo44, give it up, it is over for the haters, even the poll you site has had Obama in the lead for the past 2 months, it is over for the Republicans and it is about time.

Posted by: hmmmmmer | November 2, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked:

> I wonder why Obama, a black person, is likely to beat his white opponent, John McCain.

It's because old people die, and the kids who replace them aren't as evil and greedy as the ones they replace.

Thus, as time goes on, the population becomes less and less f*cked up.

-- faye kane, homeless smartmouth

Posted by: FayeKane_HomelessSmartypants | November 2, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I am 160 years old and I voted Republican ever since Abe Lincoln. This year I will vote Obama. Go Obama!

Posted by: johng1 | November 2, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

It's five to midnight for the out-of-control conductor of the erstwhile Straight Talk Express and the Alaskan Moose-o-lini.

Really put the country first, and vote Obama-Biden, 08!!!

Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | November 2, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

"Palin killed McCain's chances. Nice one, Maverick!"

Palin-Quayle 2012!

Posted by: jjedif | November 2, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Polls mean nothing. Votes win election. Vote Obama/Biden 08. Also stop into your local Obama headquarters and offer to help in the last 2 days. They accept walk-ins!!

Posted by: Westmichigangrandma | November 2, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Octo44, you guys have launched every sleazy attack in the book and it's NOT working! Try to go out with a scintilla of dignity..

Posted by: Jeff62 | November 2, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

In 2000 Republican primary Sen. McCain lost to then Gov. Bush. Looks like this time Sen. McCain will again lose to President Bush. That's what we call double whammy!!! One more reason that he is going to lose is Palin. So after the election we can say that Sen. McCain was Bushed and Palined.

Posted by: arlam1971 | November 2, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

If I were for John McCain I'd be very angry and upset right now. And I'd be looking for any sign of good news, or even slightly good news.

And so, like the person above, I'd be paying attention to the one and only poll saying that McCain is "only two points behind" and claiming that it was "the most accurate poll of 2004" even if the facts were otherwise.

If I were for McCain I'd be ignoring every single poll showing Barack Obama between 6 and 11 points ahead.

Like it or not, Barack Obama will be the next president. I'm happy to see that the mendacious attacks of McCain and his shameful campaign haven't worked.

Posted by: snesich | November 2, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

The most definitive poll at the moment is not the Gallop, CNN, Washington Post, Mason Dixon or Zogby poll. These polls are snapshots in time each representing anywhere from 500-2000 people.

Instead, the most telling "poll" is the 20-25% of the electorate (24+ million people) who have already voted. In this "poll" Obama leads by a 20 point margin (60%-40%).

Posted by: 112181 | November 2, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I... I cried, I wept like... some... grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn't know what I wanted to to.......perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure!

Posted by: gls2 | November 2, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey Octo44 --

If you're this upset now, I can't imagine how furious you were when an AWOL drunk won the last election. Or maybe not?

Maybe you were one of the people who chose the last president? Well, we're going to choose the next one. You see, your choice didn't work out so well. The country is in a mess. A really BIG mess. So, we're not going to listen to you.

Good night and good luck.

Posted by: bjalexa | November 2, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

nkelly1 is cherry-picking, nkelly1 is cherry-picking, ...

yeah, nkelly1 is cherry-picking,

Posted by: petrarca1 | November 3, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

no no no... Oct44 is cherry-picking, Oct44 is cherry-picking, Oct44 is cherry-picking,

sorry nkelly1 :)

Posted by: petrarca1 | November 3, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Flashback to the final weekend before the 2004 election

CNN Poll of polls
November 1
Likely voters, average of 8 polls (16)
Bush 48%
Kerry 46%

CNN Poll of polls
October 31
Likely voters, average of 6 polls (15)
Bush 48%
Kerry 46%

CNN Poll of polls
October 29
Likely voters, average of 7 polls (14)
Bush 49%
Kerry 46%


And the final result was …
Bush 51%
Kerry 48%
This may not mean anything for the 2008 election, given the Bradley effect and the economy etc., but the 2004 Poll of Polls was at least directionally right with the undecideds splitting 3:2 in favor of Dubya.

Posted by: libertaria08 | November 3, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

It's getting crowded under Obama's bus!

Granny Dunham - you racist old lady, get under the bus!

Auntie Zuni - I love you, but sorry I haven't seen you in 5 years. By the way, get out of this country!

J. Wright - Yeah, I love your racist views, but you know, you don't sound so good to the hicks in PA and VA - get under the bus!

Tony Rezko - thanks for the money, but don't call me anymore!

Posted by: pgr88 | November 3, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse





(With apologies to Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise)

JOHN MCCAIN: You want answers?

KEITH OLBERMANN: I think I'm entitled to them.

JOHN MCCAIN: You want answers?

KEITH OLBERMANN: I want the truth!

JOHN MCCAIN: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has a certain, precious amount of wealthy people. And those wealthy people have the right to protect what they have, any way they can. If they don’t do it, who's gonna do it?

You? You, Keith Olbermann? I, as their candidate, have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for those lower and middle classes and you curse the people who give them jobs. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that all those unemployed, underemployed and soon-to-be-unemployed people, while tragic, probably didn’t work very hard anyway. (Look at how little they earned compared to CEOs' salaries and their well-deserved golden parachutes!!!) And the existence of trickle down Republican economics, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is what has raised that free market tide so that all boats, big and small, could float...You don't want the truth.

Because deep down, in places you don't talk about these facts, like with your friends at Georgetown parties, you want me on call. You need me on call at three in the morning.

We use phrases like “loose regulations, squishy credit lines and a warm place to count the profits” ...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending our captains of industry. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who still rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very economic bubble I helped George Bush to provide, then questions the manner in which we provided it!

I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you grow some patriotic gonads and eschew socialism. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

KEITH OLBERMANN: Did you support George Bush and all his works?

JOHN MCCAIN: (quietly) I did the job that the Republican Party sent me to do.

KEITH OLBERMANN: Did you support George Bush and his economic policies?

JOHN MCCAIN: You're goddamn right I did!!!


Posted by: Martinedwinandersen | November 3, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I am hopeful that Obama will win this election and if he does I will be most relieved not so much that we were saved from McCain but that we were saved from that moose killing,old brood mare that wants all women to be like her.Cant wait to see her moose hunting in her new clothes back in Alaska again.

Posted by: mar303 | November 3, 2008 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I don't think there's a Bradley effect? I heard the polls don't count new registrants, creating an Obama effect!

On Saturday in North Carolina, I waited six hours to vote. With a crowd of 50/50 black and white, young and old, the line was filled with laughter and hope, and not one person was voting for McCain. But if we don't get our friends and neighbors out to vote the celebration will be short lived.

Don't think for one minute or one second they won't try and steal this election if they need to. No matter where you live get out to vote for Obama, we can never have enough votes!

Posted by: YellowDogBill | November 3, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse

It is time for the Republican Party to "molt". The Grand Old Party, boasting just 4-years ago that the Democrats were wimps and worse is now getting a beating not seen since the Great Depression. They need to change their skin. Now it is virtually the all white party. If they want to stay the same--blame the elite liberal,humanist, media, liberals and now socialists then they have to change their name to:

The Christian White Party For Guns, Unborn Children, Preemptive War and the Death Penalty

CWPGUPD--A mouthful but it has to be it has to be an incluive big tent of fearful white people.

Posted by: explorers100 | November 3, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow news flash, when you ask 50% Democrats and Democratic leaning and ask 42% Republicans and Republican leaning, what do you expect 8% difference on an 11% poll. Polls are used to drive public opinion not record it!

Posted by: thelaw1 | November 3, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

To the 70-year-old who arrogantly said that his candidate always won and will again, I've got news for you--and to all you other Obama supporters: Obama isn't fit to lead this country. The liberal media isn't fit to deliver news to this country, either. Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Katie Couric, etc. are as biased and propagated as they come. They're sorry.

I like Obama a lot, but I don't trust him, and I hate his ideologies. Here's a guy who adamantly supports abortion and infanticide, among other things.

John McCain isn't perfect, but all Obama has on him is a style edge: He smiles more and has more charisma, but that's about it. McCain's also someone who doesn't have VESTED INTERESTS OVERSEAS and who has proven himself TRUSTWORTHY. He gets my support, clearly.

By the way, you can add "The View" members, aside from Elisabeth, to the list of people unworthy to provide news.

Posted by: Ronald4 | November 3, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

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