McCain is in a viable position to become President, because there are many people, including this one, who believe Obama is far worse. Why is this race even close?
Polls: McCain On The Rebound
By Joe Murray, The Bulletin
The mad dash to the White House has become a horserace again with a new poll showing John McCain closing the gap and coming within striking distance of Barack Obama.
A Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby daily tracking poll, taken before Tuesday night's debate in Nashville, shows Mr. McCain trailing Mr. Obama by a 47 percent to 45 percent margin; well within the poll's 2.8 percent margin of error. Seven percent remain undecided.
"This represents a bit of a recovery by McCain, who had been sliding in some polls before his running mate, Sarah Palin, put in a strong performance in her one and only debate performance last Thursday," the poll read.
This, however, was not the only good news for a McCain camp trying to get out from under a dark cloud.
A CBS News poll released on the eve of the second presidential debate, showed Mr. McCain trailing Mr. Obama by a four-point margin. Mr. Obama led Mr. McCain 47 percent to 43 percent with seven percent undecided.
Among likely voters, Mr. Obama's lead shrinks to a three-point margin of 45 percent to 48 percent. This poll was also taken after last Thursday's vice presidential debate.
"Why isn't he (Mr. McCain) 25 behind given what is happening in this economy?" asked Pat Buchanan while appearing on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show."
"People's nest eggs are gone, jobs are being lost, companies can't borrow, it is a disaster, [President George W.] Bush is unpopular and he (Mr. McCain) is still hanging in there."
Mr. Buchanan, as well as folks at the RNC, credit Mrs. Palin for Mr. McCain's resilience and claim the American voter islooking beyond attempts to define the Alaskan governor as a liability.
"Barack Obama, with the assistance of the mainstream media, would love to caricaturize Gov. Palin to distract voters from her fresh perspective and proven record of reform," said Blair Latoff, spokeswoman for the RNC. "Last week, the American people saw Gov. Palin without the lens and editing of the mainstream media and once again Americans reacted very favorably to her running with John McCain."
But Mrs. Palin cannot win this election for Mr. McCain alone, especially in light of the economic crisis. Other factors, such as perceived economic ability and supporter enthusiasm, are equally pivotal.
Mr. McCain has made inroads rehabilitating his image on the economy, a sore sport for a Republican running during a time of economic crisis unfolding on a Republican president's watch and has continued to distance himself from President George W. Bush in the minds of voters.
Fifteen percent are "very confident" Mr. McCain would make the right choices on the economy, while 38 percent are "somewhat confident," the CBS poll found. Forty-four percent are "not confident" in Mr. McCain's economic prowess. The numbers changed little from the poll taken prior to the first presidential debate.
While Mr. Obama still leads Mr. McCain in terms of economic decision, he has lost some ground since the first presidential debate.
Twenty-four percent are "very confident" the Democrat could handle the economy, down from 29 percent pre-debate, while 34 percent are "somewhat confident." Those "not confident" Mr. Obama would make the right economic decision shot up to 41 percent, a seven point jump from the pre-date numbers.
And while the Obama camp has feverishly been trying to link Mr. McCain to the policies of Mr. Bush, whose approval ratings are now the lowest of any modern American president, the charge does not appear to be sticking among voters, a good sign for the McCain camp.
When asked what Mr. McCain would do if elected president, 38 percent responded he would continue the policies of Mr. Bush. This number is down from 46 percent in mid-September.
Mr. Obama continued to win out in terms of supporter enthusiasm. Though it dropped three points after the vice presidential debate, 58 percent of Mr. Obama's supporters enthusiastically support him, while 31 percent support him with reservations (up from 29 percent on Oct. 1).
Enthusiasm for Mr. McCain, on the hand, remains relatively mild as 38 percent of his supporters enthusiastically support his candidacy, while 44 percent support the maverick Republican with reservations.
Eighty-two percent of Obama supporters and 81 percent of McCain supporters responded their support cannot be swayed between now and Election Day, thus leaving only one in five voters uncommitted. The poll showed the number of uncommitted voters are down from the week preceding the vice presidential debate.
Joe Murray can be reached at email@example.com