Potential Good News For Obama

Up until now, Obama’s bid for the presidency has been a series of ups and downs. On one side, he has been blessed with abnormal buzz and poll support for a candidate who only has two years in the US Senate. He has thus far been a fundraising machine, packs in the crowds like no one else, and has even shown a marked improvement in debate performance each time he has stepped on the stage.

On the other hand, one would be dishonest if they said that his first three debates were anything even bordering on stellar, and his campaign performance early on was riddled with sloppiness and rookie mistakes.

Still, with everything seeming to tighten up around campaign Obama, one thing has still seemed to elude him; significant gains against Hillary Clinton in the polls.

This may be on the verge of changing. In a just released ARG poll, Obama still trails Clinton and Edwards in Iowa, but has drawn up to neck and neck with Hillary in New Hampshire, and has driven forward to take the lead in South Carolina.

Though this is great news for Obama supporters everywhere, this good news should be taken with a very healthy dose of skepticism.

Of course there is the ever-present argument that it is still very early for polls to mean much of anything, but there are other factors too. At the top of the list, there is a very likely probability that this is all statistical noise. In fact, there can be a decent argument made for this when you take into account the considerably wide shifts in numbers. In New Hampshire Obama jumped up by six points and Hillary dropped by three and in South Carolina, the shifts were even greater with Obama receiving a twelve point bump while Hillary takes an eight point dive.

These are vast swings that don’t necessarily gel with typical poll shifts.

Also, the other major argument I can think of when it comes to looking at these numbers is that this is good news according to the old wisdom, that success in the early states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina could turn the tide. Despite what pundits have said one way or another, no one can really predict what the effect of many states moving up their primaries will have on the old wisdom. It is, at this point, anyone’s guess as to whether these states will be as significant in choosing the next nominee as they have in the past.

But in looking to validate these polls, there is a solid argument that there is some fire to all the smoke. We have just come off of a full week that was dedicated to a substantive debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Centering on meeting foreign dictators, it looked as though Hillary had the early upper hand, but after a week of shots being fired, and stances clarified, it looks as though Obama ended up with a slight upper hand.

Essentially, the argument has been made that Obama and Clinton’s stances are largely similar, the entire week long feud stemming not necessarily from vast differences in policy so much as the confusion that can arise from trying to cram long policy points into the 60/30 second format of a debate answer. But while conservatives have lined up to defend Hillary, Obama’s answer has polled better.

Almost as important, the entire episode has shown that the rookie startup can most definitely hold his own with the seasoned veteran.

Still, for those who do support Obama, enjoy the good news, but don’t take it to heart. These numbers are, for the most part, worthless at least until a few more data points can be attained to verify their accuracy.

(Others covering this, courtesy memeorandum: Open Left, Liberal Values, Pollster.com, MyDD and Dean’s World)

One Response to “Potential Good News For Obama”

  1. james says:

    hey i hope that barak o bama does not win then we will have a non racist world we cant have thet.vote 420.

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