Quinnipiac’s latest set of swing states polls finds Palin with a net negative impression in several states, including Florida, where she’s spent quite a bit of campaign time. The numbers in Florida are stunning, in a sense; there’s been a net swing of 13 points in Obama’s favor during the past two weeks. He’s even competitive among white voters, with McCain besting him by only five points.
I guess they can call off the Great Schlep. Palin’s mega-crowd in Florida probably misled a lot of people to think that Florida was more secure for McCain than ever. Obviously, an Obama win in Florida is a killing blow. There is no realistic path to victory for McCain without Florida; there might be some wacky possibility involving Oregon and Minnesota, but that isn’t going to happen. There has been a nineteen-point swing to Obama among independents in Florida since September 11. If you graphed Palin’s fav ratings in Florida, they would resemble the equities markets over the last two weeks; she now has net negative fav rating in that state. It’s not all that surprising, but Palin and the financial crisis have combined to destroy McCain.
Pew’s latest numbers show a significant move to Obama in swing states, but more interesting than that is the consolidation of Democratic voters behind Obama and the erosion of Republican support for McCain. The base mobilization strategy that the Palin pick seems to have represented temporarily worked, but now Republicans are drifting away and it could be that choosing Palin had the unexpected effect of pushing Democrats who had been attracted to McCain back to their own party. Obama’s weakness with Democrats has been a year-long theme of mine, and it became the obsession of a lot of pundits during and after the primaries, and I am here to acknowledge that this seems to have disappeared.
It is hard to know why this would be the case, but probably the nastier tenor of the campaign made Democrats who actually bought the “maverick” shtick reconsider. Plus, Pew respondents tended to agree with my assessment of the debate:
However, substantially more say Obama did an excellent or good job (72%) than say the same about McCain (59%).
Obama wasn’t outstanding by any means, but it seemed hard for me to believe that most people could come away from last Friday with an impression that McCain had prevailed. As you might have guessed, Republicans were the only group that gave the edge to McCain. More people in virtually every other demographic rated Obama’s performance as good/excellent than rated McCain’s that way, and the two basically tied among 65+ voters. McCain had a four-point edge on foreign policy among debate watchers compared to a fourteen-point edge among those who didn’t watch. On every issue except Iraq, debate watchers were less likely than those who didn’t watch to find McCain stronger on issues, and even on Iraq there is just a one-point gain compared with those who watched the debate.
Go back and check out those Quinnipiac results on the difference between pre- and post-debate support. In Pennsylvania, Obama went into the debate six ahead and came out fifteen ahead. I guess the clingers have gotten over any lingering bitterness. If Quinnipiac’s numbers are right, Obama is on track there to trounce McCain by Casey-Santorum margins.
As an aside, Quinnipiac’s swing state (FL, OH, PA) respondents oppose the bailout by almost two to one.
Update: The RCP Electoral College projection (with no toss-ups) is currently showing Obama 348, McCain 190. That isn’t quite as lopsided as 1996 (which was 379-159), but seeing McCain as MonDole is looking more appropriate all the time. Fivethirtyeight projects 336-202, and as in the RCP map they have Florida and Ohio going to Obama. As with Bush’s approval rating, the question is how low can McCain’s final EC tally go?