Sep 18 2008

ARG Polls Show Danger Signs For Obama – Democrats Defecting

Published by at 11:59 am under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

ARG is out with a bevy of national and state polls in the past few days which are interesting, to say the least. In the national numbers (note: scroll down to Sep 16th item) McCain is up 48-45, a 9 point shift since the end of August. But the internals are really interesting for Obama: McCain has gained 14 points with Democrats and Obama has lost 13 points! No wonder team Obama is worried.

This is important – the poll shows a large defection from Team Obama, and nearly all of them are going to McCain instead of stopping in the ‘undecided’ column. McCain is now getting nearly 20% of Dems! And the numbers are too large to be a sampling error problem. The size can be argued, but not the movement. And it looks to be women doing the moving:

McCain leads Obama 50% to 42% among men (47% of likely voters). Among women (53% of likely voters), Obama and McCain are tied at 47% each. In the August 30-September 1 survey, Obama was leading among women 52% to 40%.

In the states polls FL is 46-46 (which is possible I guess). OH is 50-44 McCain, which is in line with polls showing OH heading into the McCain camp. But the one state poll that caught my eye was Obama’s home state of Illinois – he is only ahead by 6 points (51-45). Another state that surprised me was NH, where McCain holds a 48-45 lead. In CO it is McCain 46-44 (which was trending much higher towards Obama after the Democrat Convention).

More states will be coming out and I still have my eyes on PA and VA – those will indicate which way the race is going. Stay tuned.

Update: From some comments I am seeing on other sites regarding this post I feel compelled to make clear what is safe and not safe to do when analyzing polls. I like polls which are separated by weeks because you get really clean samples. The old adage that a poll is a snapshot is important to keep in mind. The camera may be fuzzy and the tint a little too blue or red, but looking at snapshots across decent time intervals of the same poll will catch trends – changes. The size of the defection of Dems in the ARG poll is debatable, as are the bottom line horse race numbers. But the fact there is a clear movement of Dems from left to right is real.

Comparing across polls is really risky, which is why RCP tries to average across a large number of polls in a single time period. But even then, unless you can see the internals and judge the validity of the voter model (CBS is ridiculously tinted blue in their sample) you must add large error bars to the averages. Fundamentally the race has not changed – it is shifting into a new phase with lots of states in play. Obama is way behind Kerry and Gore at this stage in the campaign. And all year the race horse numbers have only occasionally and possibly accidentally been accurate predictions.

The trends are important. Is Obama reversing some of the McCain-Palin wave? Yes. Is it returning to a steady Obama lead? Check back in 1-2 weeks and we will have the answer.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “ARG Polls Show Danger Signs For Obama – Democrats Defecting”

  1. Neo says:

    In a revealing slip in an interview with ABC recently, Mr. Obama said, “If we’re going to ask questions about who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily.” That he is in fact winning the contest for the most negative campaign could well spell his defeat.

  2. Mark78 says:

    Election 2008 National Head-to-Head Polls
    General Election: McCain vs. Obama
    Poll Date Sample McCain (R) Obama (D) Spread
    RCP Average 09/10 – 09/17 — 45.3 47.0 Obama +1.7
    Rasmussen Tracking 09/15 – 09/17 3000 LV 48 48 Tie
    CBS News/NY Times 09/12 – 09/16 LV 44 49 Obama +5
    Quinnipiac 09/11 – 09/16 987 LV 45 49 Obama +4
    Battleground Tracking* 09/10 – 09/17 800 LV 47 45 McCain +2
    Gallup Tracking 09/14 – 09/16 2787 RV 45 47 Obama +2
    Hotline/FD Tracking 09/14 – 09/16 909 RV 42 45 Obama +3
    Reuters/Zogby 09/11 – 09/13 1008 LV 45 47 Obama +2
    Newsweek 09/10 – 09/11 1038 RV 46 46 Tie


  3. Phil-351 says:


    Not really. The POTUS is elected by the electoral numbers, not the popular vote. Double check those electoral numbers, and McCain has made HUGE gains, and it is only getting better. A lot of states that were leaning to Obama have shifted to McCain, and others have become toss-ups. The next couple of weeks will be interesting, for sure.

  4. MerlinOS2 says:

    The CBS/Times poll is heavily overloaded with dems.

    40 to 30 for republicans. They had a companion poll came out at the same time that put the congressional generic ballot at +20 for the Dems when everybody else is in the mid single digits.

    A total wasted outlier poll who’s only purpose is to skew the averages to give Obama more apparent strength than he really has.

  5. ordi says:


    You are absolutely correct!! Also the MSM needs/wants to keep the race a horse-race so the public will tune in. The MSM does not make as much money if we don’t tune in or purchase their newspaper or Magazine.

  6. crosspatch says:

    “This is important – the poll shows a large defection from Team Obama, and nearly all of them are going to McCain instead of stopping in the ‘undecided’ column. McCain is now getting nearly 20% of Dems!”

    Again, a candidate never won an election by winning 100% of their own party’s vote. Neither party has more than 35% of the electorate. You win elections by getting crossover votes and winning the independents.

    And it isn’t just women. Look at this for Jewish voters in New York who traditionally vote Democrat:

    No, the shocking detail has to do with a wild, 35-point swing toward McCain among Jewish voters. Obama led among them by a margin of 50-37 in August. This month, McCain is actually leading Obama by a margin of 54 percent to 32 percent.

    Obama has some serious reason to be worried.

  7. MerlinOS2 says:


    If the Jewish vote indeed made a 35 point swing in NY it will also end up impacting Obama in Florida and a few other states.

    That is not a demographic that is easily swung at all and why Obama went into immediate damage control mode and did a massive conference phone call with 900 Jewish religious leaders with a perfect pitch presentation for them.

    He knows that will be a major danger to him.

    Seems like every week now his campaign is having to do damage control somewhere along the way.

  8. Terrye says:

    It seems like they keep coming back to the same place.

  9. ivehadit says:

    Shamelessly, the Left will skew poll questions in order to create the news. The take a poll to make the news, to shape the story. But alas, we know the intellectual dishonesty of the left knows no bounds.

    Just this week, we had the guy come out and say the Palin Phenom is over…and lo and behold out comes a poll.

    The only poll I halfway pay attention to is Rasmussen.

    And btw, the electoral college poll is all that matters….

    The Puma’s are goin’ with McCain!

  10. […] ….. but I’m not saying you’ll necessarily believe it (HT AJ Strata): […]