Race Opening Up Again?

The Gallup Daily Tracker has Obama continuing to open up his lead over McCain.

Believe it or not, this slight shift back towards Obama seems to be in tracking with a number of other polls which show the race remaining static or opening back up by a small amount with Rasmussen serving as the one poll showing the race narrowing by a tiny margin.

This is, to me, somewhat expected given the Obama infomercial that ran on Wednesday.  Even if that half hour tv spot wasn’t the greatest thing in political advertising, it was still a half hour of advertising that had the added effect of getting significant media play for a full twenty-four hour news cycle.

With today almost over, what we are now looking at is three full days of political coverage.  Two of those days will be during the weekend where many Americans will be going on trips, relaxing, etc.  Monday will be the last day of pre-election coverage, but that also means that any developments that occur on Monday will not likely reach all of the media market, and therefore fail to have maximum impact on the electorate.

To put these final days in perspective, there has been only one such come from behind political victory in the last week of a presidential election (at least in contemporary times).  In 1980, Ronald Reagan, then the Republican governor of California, was trailing the incumbent Democratic president, Jimmy Carter.  Of course, though Carter was leading a week out, we know that Ronald Reagan would end up succeeding him as President.

But there are key differences between that presidential race and this one.  For one, the political climate was actually unfavorable to the incumbent who was unpopular due to economic troubles facing the nation and the Iranian hostage crisis.  The other major difference was that the one and only televised debate between the two candidates occurred in the final week of the contest, and actually served as one of the few incidents where a presidential debate did fundamentally change the race.

Compare that to now.  The political climate is heavily slanted against the Republican party, and the debates have all come and gone.  Further, of the four debates (three presidential and one vice presidential), all four were decidedly won by the Democratic ticket.

So I’m not saying this election is locked up by any stretch of the imagination, but we are definitely in a place where if McCain wins, it will be by some mechanic that is nearly inconceivable based upon past presidential election history.

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