Sunday, October 05, 2008

Dispatch Poll: Obama Up by 7

The latest Columbus Dispatch poll has Obama leading McCain 49% - 42%. The poll was conducted Sept 22 - Oct 3.

The Dispatch poll is different from others in that it is conducted by mail instead of phone. The theory is that this is more accurate because if someone isn't active enough to mail in the poll response, they aren't likely to vote. For this reason it has been very accurate in static races but because of the length of time to conduct, it can miss sudden changes in a dynamic race.

In the first Columbus Dispatch poll before the conventions, McCain held a 1 point lead. In the the Ohio Newspaper poll conducted Sept 12 - 16, he had a 6 point lead.

The difference in the earlier polls and this one is obvious. As I mentioned earlier, McCain held an advantage over Obama in all age categories over 30 despite the fact that "worse off" respondents outnumbered "better off" respondents by over 2:1. I pointed out that this was a tremdous area of vulnerability of McCain.

A breakdown of this latest poll basically shows the collapse of that support. Obama now has an advantage in every age group except those aged 65 - 74.

Interestingly, Obama is also showing tremendous growth in Northwest Ohio. The Ohio Newspaper poll had McCain leading in this area of Ohio 55% - 34%. The current Dispatch poll has Obama leading 45% - 41%. I'm not sure what would be driving that much of a change in a relatively rural area that has traditionally been pretty conservative. We may be seeing some erosion of support from conservatives.

Overall, I do agree that Obama has the lead in Ohio. The last several weeks have been bad for McCain and have hit him in his most vulnerable spot: the economy.

I do disagree with the Dispatch comment that "The Illinois senator's lead of 49 percent to 42 percent over Republican Sen. John McCain comes at an especially opportune time for Obama because thousands of Ohioans already are casting ballots in the state's first presidential election"

To date, the walk in votes appear to be coming in from Ohio's most partisan voters. I will need to see some data on the mail in absentee ballots before I declare a hole too big for McCain to dig himself out of.

With that said, he had better start digging now, or it will get to be too big very quickly.