A new USA Today/Gallup poll released today revealed that John McCain now leads Barack Obama 49%-45%. However the lead is among likely, not registered voters. Among registered voters, Obama leads McCain 47%-44%.
McCain did experience a ten point swing in this poll from last month when he trailed Obama by 6 points. This is not the same poll as Gallup’s daily tracking poll which currently shows Obama leading McCain 48%-40%. The USA Today poll has a margin of error of four points, so the race is actually a statistical tie.
The USA Today poll used a relatively small sample size of 791 people. While other national polls show the race as within 5 points, there has been nothing to suggest that the race is tied or McCain is leading. I think that there had to have been a problem with the sample used for this poll. This looks like an anomaly, just as the polls that had Obama leading by 15 were outside of the range.
If nothing else these results should give McCain supporters something to feel good about, and Obama backers something to ponder. It is my opinion that there are still a number of Obama supporters who think that this election will be a cake walk. It won’t be. In fact, this race is already turning negative and personal just like the elections in 2000 and 2004.
If Obama doesn’t convince the American people to elect him, we could see the nation split 50/50 for a third straight election. This question in this race isn’t about John McCain. It is all about Barack Obama.
Because of close nature of the past two elections, I believe that these national polls mean nothing. The real barometers are the state polls, which very few people seem to pay attention to. Remember that according to the national polls one year ago Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani would be battling it out for the White House, so until we get closer to Election Day, these polls don’t mean much.