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The Rundown

2 p.m. ET: Is the race for the White House getting closer? The Rundown spent much of this morning looking at polls -- he doesn't recommend it -- trying to pick through the trends, the tracks, the weights, the blips and other jargon that probably, in the long run, causes brain damage and stunts social growth.

Anyway, given that there are some clips today suggesting that John McCain might be gaining a bit in the race, The Rundown offers this public service -- a look at how McCain has done in five major tracking polls from a week ago (Oct. 13) to today. Only tracking polls are included, because they survey every single day and so are more useful for spotting trends than occasional polls are.

Remember, this number reflects how MCCAIN has gained or lost in the last week:

Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby: -2 points
Rasmussen: +1
IBD/TIPP*: -1
Hotline/Diageo: +1
Gallup (registered voters): -1
Gallup ("traditional" likely voters): +2
Gallup ("expanded" likely voters) +1

*IBD is not out with new results today, so this is through Sunday

So, since last Monday -- before the final debate -- McCain has gained in two tracking polls, lost in two others and split in Gallup, which has three different numbers it provides daily.

The Fix today quotes a McCain source suggesting that the Republican has gained significant ground among white men. The Hotline survey does note an uptick for McCain among white likely voters. But then the Reuters survey has Obama gaining among Independents and among women.

What does it all mean? Maybe it means the race hasn't budged. Or maybe, as Howard Kurtz suggests, it means the media spends too much time looking at polls.

8 a.m. ET: It's fair to say John McCain has had better Sundays. Barack Obama's campaign announced that it had raised $150 million in September, and Colin Powell announced that he was endorsing the Democrat. (McCain said he wasn't surprised by the general's move. Were you? He never was much of a conservative.)

McCain can at least take heart that stock futures are up this morning; maybe the economy will stop mattering to people this week (ha!). In honor of those volatile markets, let's see whose stock is up and whose is down:

The Swing-State Series. Yes, the World Series will now feature Philadelphia, with its electorally vital suburbs, versus Tampa Bay, gateway to the all-important I-4 corridor. Obama's a White Sox fan and McCain likes the Diamondbacks. Will they stay neutral in this series, or will they pander to one battleground or the other? (UPDATE: It turns out that Obama already said last weekend he'll "root for the Phillies now.")

Obama's Lead? Republicans are touting this WSJ headline this morning: "Obama Takes in a Record $150 Million, But McCain Narrows Gap in Some Polls." The story points out that Obama's lead in the RealClearPolitics poll average was down to 5.3 points over the weekend, after being as high as 8 last week.

Obama's Lead. The RCP stat may seem to show the race tightening, but it probably isn't; measuring last week's number next to today's is an apples-to-oranges comparison. The average last week included some surveys (like the NYT, WashPost and LAT polls) showing Obama with leads of 9 or more points. Because RCP uses a rolling average, those polls have now dropped out, and as of now the average only includes the major tracking polls, which show a closer race. But Obama's lead has actually grown in those tracking polls from where they were last week.

Public Financing of Elections. It has to be dead, right? There's no way now the system could offer candidates enough money to entice them to stay in.

TV Networks. Think you've already maxed out on Obama ads? Think again. You won't be able to turn on any channel, anywhere, without seeing the Democrat throwing his money around. Expect Netflix subscriptions to rise.

Maine Republicans. Remember when McCain was going to use Maine's unusual allocation of electoral votes to try to steal one in the state? Probably not happening. Obama's up 11 points in that 2nd district McCain had hoped to snag. The RNC already pulled out of the state last week.

Maine Republicans. For all the talk of seemingly-safe GOP Senators being in peril -- McConnell, Chambliss, even Cornyn? -- Susan Collins somehow looks immune to this year's trends. She's up 13 points in the same new poll.

By Ben Pershing  |  October 20, 2008; 8:00 AM ET
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COMMENTS

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The economy is in a self imposed death spiral, suicides are on the rise and foreclosures are going up faster than the reporters can report them. They are all tied up reporting the daily polling numbers. California is shaking from the finacial quake that the state caused and local government is going bankrupt. It looks bad for Hollywood and the mail carriers are now Netflix employees by default. The German ballots are coming in early and that's a solid Obama bloc of votes. God only knows what's next. We have new roads here for building nobody can now afford and potholes we can't get patched on the roads we are using because the town budget is down. Rock salt is up, so keeping the roads open this winter could prove to be another financial wreck. Last winter we were plowing and salting the new development so people could get to their McMansions and the empty lots sat empty. They are still empty and more McMansions are sporting for sale signs. Buyers are in short supply and credit is tighter than cash. Oil is going down and they are now cutting production to keep prices higher. It looks like the people making elections so expensive are the same people making oil more expensive. Bullets and butter are still affordable and bourbon is as cheap as ever. Have a drink and get hell to pay. We're somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 20, 2008 8:44 AM

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