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McCain Gaining Ground in Va. Polls

Tim Craig

Two new polls out today show Sen. Barack Obama with a 4-point lead over Republican John McCain in Virginia.

The polls indicate that McCain is starting to gain a little ground on Obama in Virginia. Last week, several polls showed Obama with a lead of between 7 and 11 percentage points.

In a poll released today by National Journal, Obama draws 48 percent vs. McCain's 44 percent. A second poll by Marist College Institute for Public Opinion shows Obama leading McCain 51 percent to 47 percent among likely voters.

But only 2 percent of voters questioned in the Marist poll say they could switch their votes before Election Day, suggesting Obama is still well-positioned to withstand any late surge by McCain in Virginia.

By Tim Craig  |  October 30, 2008; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Comments

This is what gets on my last nerve about the media. They try to push a narrative in the fact of facts. Yes, Obama has an average of a 4 point lead in VA in the two polls that you cite, but what you don't mention is that the previous polls had him losing to McCain. Moreover, you don't mention in each one of the National Journal polls of CO, OH, and VA, Obama has gained whereas McCain has LOST ground or stalled. Additionally, you don't cite polls where McCain is losing support in his own state, now within the margin of error. I saw you on MSNBC this morning. You're a joke!

Posted by: NMP1 | October 30, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow. There's non-Fox anti-Obama bias?

Please.

The Post has been harping for WEEKS about how Sen. Obama has surged to the lead. Just a couple of days ago the webpage had a huge article about the double digit lead that Sen. Obama had.

This article is buried deep in a blog and you need to hunt for it that Sen. McCain is coming back.

Put the Kool-Aid down.

Posted by: kolbkl | October 30, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I think in "real Virginia" John Mccain will win.It will be hard for him in Northern Va because of the new racial demographics that have ruined places like Arlington, etc. We will see on Tuesday if Super Negra will win or if John Mccain will win and make the US economy relax.

Posted by: Scruffy1970 | October 30, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

As for the National Journal poll, it is noted on Pollster.com the survey is of registered voters and has a margin of error of 4.9% (not very good technique).

Posted by: citizenbill | October 30, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Cling, cling, cling.....McCain is going down in flames (not a reference to his poor piloting abilities, or lack there of).....

Posted by: pgiaquinto | October 30, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Scruffy1970, I think in "real Virginia" John Mccain will win.It will be hard for him in Northern Va because of the new racial demographics that have ruined places like Arlington, etc. We will see on Tuesday if Super Negra will win or if John Mccain will win and make the US economy relax.
________________________________________

Scruffy, you and george allen represent the proud tradition of the "real virginia". By the way, the dry cleaner called, your hood is ready.


Posted by: pgiaquinto | October 30, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Aw Scruffy 1970 -- Now aren't you just the lucky one that you can hide behind a screen name in an obscure blog and spout your racist sentiments? Wish you people would come out of the dark and show yourselves. Oh, I guess you can't ... you're not MAN enough.

Posted by: Tootsumi | October 30, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

One last glimmer of hope for the Republicans, before they get squashed big time. Good ridance to the neocons and corporate cronies, they'll just have to get by on the trillions they've already stolen.

Posted by: DrWho2 | October 30, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

If you are thinking about voting McCain/Palin you need to see this video of a MEETING OF AIP (Alaska Independent Party) DISCUSSING their "FRIEND" Sarah Palin and how other fringe groups have had success registering as Republicans to achieve their goals. Move ahead in this video to about 6 minutes of this 9 minute video to hear the relevent portion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjVWHAvwKrA

HURRY. This video keeps getting pulled back down by someone who doesn't want it viewed.

Posted by: IndependentVA1 | October 30, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

We will see on Tuesday if Super Negra will win or if John Mccain will win and make the US economy relax.

Posted by: Scruffy1970
*****************************
What a lowlife POS you are - on November 4th,in the evening, make sure that your attempts are successful and don't leave too much of a mess - try to succeed at one thing, m'kay?

Posted by: LABC | October 30, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The "gaining ground" explanation doesn't pass the smell test. I'm sure that Richard Morin could give a nice primer here on the way to interpret these recent numbers.

When doing a polling comparison of individual polls, the best frame of reference is how a given polling firms results stack up against its own past polls -- not those of other polling firms (e.g. each polling firm uses it's own set of sample sizes, likely voter screens, and methodology).

In the case of National Journal the only comparison point that they have is a September poll.

Based on those numbers there's been a significant swing in Obama's favor since the last poll -- what looks like an 8 point swing.

In the case of Marist, I haven't been able to find a comparison point from the firm for past Virginia general election polls -- so this may be their first poll of the state.

The best analysis would simply be to put up the numbers.

It wouldn't be wrong to say that "these polls show a tighter race than other recent polls."

It's a misrepresentation of the polls though to say that they show a tightening race -- that's an inference that isn't supported by the evidence. The apples to apples comparison is how a pollsters own results stake up against their own past results -- not how they compare to other pollsters.

Having said that, I would expect that the race will tighten down the final stretch run. There's no way that McCain loses Virginia by 10 points as has been shown in some polls.

I'd guess that McCain's weak support with some independents and some Republicans will eventually break his direction. But no poll though has shown him cracking the key 50 percent threshold.

Posted by: JPRS | October 30, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

If you are thinking about voting McCain/Palin you need to see this video of a MEETING OF AIP (Alaska Independent Party) DISCUSSING their "FRIEND" Sarah PALIN and how other fringe groups have had success registering as Republicans to achieve their goals. Move ahead in this video to about 6 minutes of this 9 minute video to hear the relevent portion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjVWHAvwKrA

HURRY. This video keeps getting pulled back down by someone who doesn't want it viewed.


Posted by: IndependentVA1 | October 30, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Tim Craig, you should be ashamed of yourself! NMP1 and JPRS are both exactly right. To claim that the race is tightening by comparing the results of polls conducted by different agencies with different methodologies is grossly misleading and in fact is journalistic malpractice. You have not given readers the information they would need to draw any conclusion, and have drawn the wrong one yourself. This is really, really shoddy work for a Post reporter. Readers deserve better.

Posted by: Thesmothete | October 30, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Awwww.sounds like the dems/libs who think they have it in the bag tasted something SOUR.

USE YOUR BRAIN>......VOTE MCCAIN!

Posted by: blevins20061 | October 30, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

NMP1, JPRS, and Thesmothete:

Why are you pushing back so hard? Most of the recent polling of Virginia has shown Obama with a wide lead, as Tim Craig noted. Now, two more recent polls come out indicating a smaller lead. Your response is to attack the way those polls are characterized by the reporter in this blog? A little perspective and calm might go a long way for you.

If you react this way to these polls, how will you handle it if more are released in the next few days showing a similar trend? Even worse, what if the unthinkable (for you) happens and McCain actually carries Virginia?

Attacking the reporter who references two new polls that are more encouraging for McCain than others (by different firms) that were published previously won't change the polling. You'd be well advised to ignore the polling and concentrate on things that actually aid the candidate of your choice.

Posted by: RSNSouth | October 30, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

If McCain is gaining ground in Virginia - that shouldn't come as a surprise since the Republicans have cranked up their dirty tricks machine. Republican operatives have been sending out bogus notices on official looking stationary to registered Democrats, first in the Hampton Roads and then later elsewhere in the Commonwealth, telling them that they could vote on November 5.

If McCain and his party have to stoop to tactics such as these and negative attack ads, then they obviously have little of positive value to offer the electorate and that they realize that and are running scared.

Posted by: laSerenissima2003 | October 30, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

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