Poll shows Obama way ahead nationally; Barr, Nader hurt McCain

The L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll finds the following national breakdown in a four-way race: Obama 48%, McCain 33%, Nader 4%, Barr 3%, Undecided 10%. Even if we assume that most of those 10% will eventually vote for McCain, in accordance with the Bradley Effect, Obama’s still clearly winning.

What’s particularly intriguing is that, although Nader does slightly better than Barr, their combined effect hurts McCain far more than Obama. When only two candidates are mentioned, it’s Obama 49%, McCain 37%. Another 4% volunteer their intention to vote for "someone else," while 10% remain undecided. The poll write-up explains:

Eighty-seven percent of McCain’s voters would stay with him [in a four-way race featuring Nader and Barr], but 11% would vote for another candidate, with 2% undecided.  Almost all of Obama’s voters (95%) would still stay with him even when the race opened up to include more candidates.

More specifically, when the two-way race becomes a four-way race, 5% of McCain voters switch to Barr, and 6% switch to Nader, while 2% say they "don’t know" how they’d vote. By contrast, just 2% of Obama supporters switch to Nader, 0% switch to Barr, 2% "don’t know," and — just to prove that you can always find a tiny segment of poll respondents who’ll say things that don’t make any sense whatsoever — 1% switch to McCain! (Remember, he’s an option in both scenarios; why anyone would vote for Obama in a two-way race, but McCain in a four-way race, is beyond me.)

Other interesting findings:

• "More than 80% of Obama voters said they were enthusiastic about their candidate, including 47% who are very enthusiastic.  It’s another matter for McCain.  Just under half (45%) of McCain voters said they were enthusiastic about voting for him, but 51% were not enthused about the prospect."

• "While almost a fifth of moderate Republicans would support Obama, just 7% of moderate Democrats would support the Republican candidate.  Overall, almost four out of five liberals support Obama, just 58% of conservatives support McCain."

• "[M]en are somewhat divided — 40% for Obama to 37% for McCain — but women give the Democratic candidate a 25 point lead (54% to 29%)."

• Among whites, it’s McCain 39%, Obama 39%, Nader 5%, Barr 4%, someone else 2%, undecided 11%. (If Bradley/Wilder holds, McCain will get the bulk of those undecideds in the end.) Among blacks, Obama gets "nine out of 10" or thereabouts, while McCain gets just 2%, and 2% are undecided. Obama wins 61-23 among "other ethnic groups."

State-by-state polls, it should be noted, have been trending in the same direction. Five Thirty Eight, which was projecting an extremely close race as recently as a few weeks ago, now has Obama winning 344 to 194 in the Electoral College, with a map that roughly resembles Clinton’s win over Dole in 1996.

Caveat: It’s still very early, and polls at this point can be extremely misleading, arguably to the point of meaninglessness. It’s clear that Obama is doing very well right now; it’s not at all clear what, if anything, that means for November.

P.S. It should also be noted that, although some pre-election polls in 2000 showed him in the high single digits, Nader ultimately got just 2.73% that year, and in 2004 he managed a paltry 0.38%. It seems highly unlikely, then, that in a high-stakes election offering such a stark issue-based contrast as Obama vs. McCain, he’ll ultimately get anywhere near 4% of the vote. In fact, given that Obama is practically a liberal’s dream candidate (at least as plausible Democratic nominees go), I find it hard to believe that Nader will do better than the 0.38% he got in ’04, when he was running against the far less dreamy John Kerry. (On the other hand, I suppose Nader’s numbers could be boosted by the "racist liberal" vote — folks who won’t vote for McCain because he’s a Republican, but won’t vote for Obama because he’s black.)

The only way I can see Nader breaking 1% is if he truly does pick up a whole bunch of erstwhile McCain voters — and that itself seems highly unlikely, given how anathema his views are to anyone who is remotely conservative or libertarian-ish. My guess is that those 6% of McCain voters who currently gravitate to Nader in a four-way race are simply disaffected with their candidate, and are casting a "protest vote" for the third-party candidate whose name they recognize, namely Nader. But once they start paying more attention, I’d imagine that most of ’em will realize Nader is really not their kind of guy. Nader is a liberal candidate; it’s hard to believe he can build a sizable support base that’s based fundamentally on anything other than liberal voters.

In the end, most of the disaffected conservatives/Republicans will either stay home, vote for Barr, or hold their noses and vote for McCain. The "conservatives for Nader" movement is about as plausible as the "elderly Jews for Buchanan" movement in Palm Beach County eight years ago. ;)

38 Responses to “Poll shows Obama way ahead nationally; Barr, Nader hurt McCain”

  1. Jim Peterson says:

    When McCain agreed with Internet regulation, I turned against him and for Ron Paul and now Bob Barr. McCain voted for IMBRA, which forces all American men to be background checked before being allowed to say hello to foreign women…who want to be contacted. IMBRA then forces these foreign women to sign affidavits that it is OK for an American to say hello to them.

    This kind of abuse of power is why the Republicans are going down for the count this year (even though this type of law is written and supported by Democrats, the Republicans will be punished for agreeing with the Dems too much).

  2. Napoleon says:

    Jim, your not one of those dudes who sit on their a$$ all day talking to “chicks” on the internet are you?

  3. dcl says:

    John McCain, is the new John Kerry… The candidate you nominate because you think “he is palatable he can win” and then realize, oh crap, this guy is about as inspiring as drying dog shit, and generates as much enthusiasm and interest as a film about paint drying and grass growing. His only beneficial factor being, he doesn’t completely piss anyone off (well, anyone outside the beltway, McCain has very few friends inside the beltway, as he has managed to piss just about everyone off and I’m told has turned into a crotchety crazy old man in recent years, similar to Senator Byrd, but far less entertaining. I mean at least Senator Byrd knows every rule of the Senate backwards, forwards and sideways to massively annoy opposition party members that piss him off which can make for some very entertaining CSPAN)

  4. Marty West says:

    “The candidate you nominate because you think “he is palatable he can win” and then realize, oh crap, this guy is about as inspiring as drying dog shit, and generates as much enthusiasm and interest as a film about paint drying and grass growing.”

    LOL!

  5. Joe Mama says:

    Not quite being fair to McCain. Let’s not forget that McCain was inspiring enough to be the media darling back in 2000 when he was running against Bush, and was pretty much their flavor of the month until Obama burst on the scene in 2004 and then in this year’s primaries. Kerry never garnered the same kind of enthusiasm as McCain. The only similarities between the two are that they both served in Vietnam, and even that comparison is not being entirely fair to McCain.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I stopped reading at “registered voters.”

    And then I saw it was a national poll, which was another reason to stop reading.

    And then I looked at my calendar and saw that Perot had a 10-point lead, which was another reason to stop reading.

    And then I saw that Barr is currently only on the ballot in 30 states and that Nader is currently only on the ballot in 4 states, which was another reason to stop reading.

  7. dcl says:

    True, McCain sat on is ass in a POW camp most of the time while Kerry was out fighting. Or is that not what you meant? Seriously, it is best not to get into arguments about war records.

    I would say it is time to break out the Flip Flops for McCain though… Man, that guy changes his mind more often than a lemming. And he try’s to use that as a reason he should lead? The biggest thing this guy has ever managed is a Senate staff, that is run about as well as your local starbucks (then slow one, not the fast one)

  8. Joe Mama says:

    Now that we’re once again back to the Republican candidate being the war veteran and the Democrat not, I certainly understand the attitude of Democrats that “it is best not to get into arguments about war records.” If you read about McCain’s experiences as a POW, you will learn that he wasn’t allowed to sit all that much.

    McCain’s flip-flops are obviously fair game, but it is incorrect to say that “the biggest thing this guy has ever managed is a Senate staff.” Just like Obama, the biggest thing McCain has managed is his presidential campaign. That is no small thing. And both McCain and Obama have run pretty good campaigns so far in my view — Obama because of his ground game (especially in the caucus states during the primaries) and fundraising ability, and McCain because he managed to turn what was by all accounts a faltering campaign last fall into a nomination winner.

  9. dcl says:

    yes, McCain’s campaign is a stunning example of managerial acumen (end sarcasm). Regardless they are not really running the campaigns beyond the fact that they hired the people who are running the campaigns. So the reality is McCain really does not have any greater managerial or executive experience than Obama… Then again, Bush had experience (running every business he had ever been in charge of into the ground) and look what it got us… So…

    Joe, I meant not getting into arguments of McCain’s war record versus Kerry’s war record. Or one veteran’s record versus another. They served they fought, that should be enough. Unless they went out and committed war crimes and raped puppies and six year olds there is not a lot of point in getting into a pissing contest over who has the most medals.

    Now the question of 3 tours of duty versus five deferments (while “supporting” the war), that is fair game. I wouldn’t have had a problem with Bush and Dick if they were against the war and said so and that’s why they didn’t serve. But to say you are for the war and then doge any responsibility for it, that is cowardice. Or for that matter served and captured as a POW versus too young to have served in the war, that is a valid discussion.d

  10. yea says:

    i think the only question left for this election is whether the democrats with get a lieberman proof and fillibuster (sp?) proof majority in congress.

  11. I R A Darth Aggie says:

    True, McCain sat on is ass in a POW camp most of the time while Kerry was out fighting.

    You don’t want to go there. You really don’t want to go there. But if you really think the Hanoi Hilton was run by the Hiltons, maybe you should give Pete Peterson a call and get his view.

  12. kcatnd says:

    And both McCain and Obama have run pretty good campaigns so far in my view — Obama because of his ground game (especially in the caucus states during the primaries) and fundraising ability, and McCain because he managed to turn what was by all accounts a faltering campaign last fall into a nomination winner.

    True, but I’m not sure how much credit to give McCain. Obama had to actually beat a tough opponent who was “inevitable” at one point. McCain defaulted to the nomination, which says nothing of his abilities good or bad, but suggests that we haven’t seen him successfully manage a competitive campaign yet.

  13. Sandy Underpants says:

    McCain’s a crusty old relic of a failed american political point of view.

    Bob Dole is gonna laugh at how bad McCain loses this November. McCain’s own campaign ace said his only hope is that America gets attacked by terrorists to show how important it is to have a Republican as President. He must’ve forgotten how great those Republican Presidents are at ignoring intelligence reports and doing nothing, other than not flying commercial, to prevent 9/11 from happening.

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/10/august6.memo/

  14. dcl says:

    Hey, if the jack asses in the Republican party are happy to malign the record of Kerry for no good reason and scant evidence, there is no reason that turn about is not fair play.

    Like I was saying leave the specifics of the war record out of it. Otherwise you end up with jackassery like Kerry was only a little wounded one of the times he got shot. and what kind of soldier was McCain that he got himself captured anyway? That sort of stuff is stupid. Both men served their country honorably, enough said. It is certainly no ground to be fighting an election on. That was true four years ago and it is true this year. And it was true back when we elected Grant and Jackson… Not that we haven’t always gone in for the wave the bloody shirt election stuff, but it has also always been stupid, and had nothing to do with fitness to lead the nation.

  15. Joe Mama says:

    It wasn’t just “the jack asses in the Republican party” who “maligned the record of Kerry for no good reason and scant evidence,” it was the majority of those who actually served with Kerry who were saying those things, at least in the beginning (which BTW was at least as far back as the Dick Cavett Show in the 1970’s, not the 2004 election). If some guy who served with Kerry says Kerry is an opportunist, then his POV is no less valid than Kerry’s. Those guys had plenty of reason and evidence to say what they did about Kerry. It didn’t all turn out to be true, but most of what the Swift Boat Vets said about Kerry was factually supported, and they’ve been saying this stuff about him for decades, not just when he wanted to be POTUS. Kerry had some on his side as well, but the Swift Boat Vets had more supporting their side of the story by far. “Turn about” would be McCain’s fellow POWs coming out and saying that he wasn’t really tortured by the NVA, he lied about where he was shot down, what he was doing at the time, etc. Of course, since McCain didn’t come back and try to make a name for himself by riding the radical anti-war wave and vehemently slandering his fellow servicemen en masse in the process (which he would then have to pretend he never did if McCain had the gall to then show up at his party’s convention with the words “reporting for duty”), those he served with aren’t likely to do so.

  16. Alasdair says:

    Joe Mama – the D-list really, *really*, REALLY do not want a comparison of war records and Life experience to be part of the 2008 Election …

    It would be the classic example of a battle of wits with an unarmed person … sorta like you and David …

  17. Joe Mama says:

    Regardless they are not really running the campaigns beyond the fact that they hired the people who are running the campaigns. So the reality is McCain really does not have any greater managerial or executive experience than Obama.

    Fair enough, but if you happen to listen to POTUS 08 on XM every day during your commute, then you’ve heard Obama’s spokespeople repeatedly make the point that running a presidential campaign is a positive example of their candidate’s management experience.

  18. Dave says:

    Latest Gallup poll has Obama and McCain tied: http://www.gallup.com/poll/108376/Gallup-Daily-Obama-McCain-Tied-45.aspx

    BTW, the Gallup sampling (2600 RV) is more than twice as large as the LA Times/Bloomberg poll (1115 RV), and almost three times as large as the Newsweek poll (896 RV). So you tell me which one is more “accurate”.

    You won’t see these numbers trumpeted by the media, though… Bottom line: Polls in June mean nothing.

  19. coqndor says:

    [yawn]… wake me up when Obama’s been sworn in.

  20. Joe Loy says:

    A nameless commenter above makes a very good point about Barr’s and especially Nader’s Ballot Status in the States. Always keep that in mind when Analyzing. (I say “especially Nader’s” because while the Libertarian Party starts out with “automatic” ballot placement in numerous states, the “independent” Nader must Petition everywhere or Nearly everywhere, so his is by far the tougher Row to Hoe. / Which proves, btw, that there IS some Justice in this world. :)

    Now, That said ~

    “Nader is a liberal candidate; it’s hard to believe he can build a sizable support base that’s based fundamentally on anything other than liberal voters.”

    Indeed. / Pursuant to which principle, Ralph’s latest strategy apparently is to Inject Race into the Campaign :} by touting Himself as the True African-American Candidate ;]. Be afraid, Barack Obama. Be Very afraid. :)

  21. Alasdair says:

    Given that Way-Too-Early Man is supposed to have strolled off the veldt and spread out from there, aren’t we all African-something ?

    “Can’t we all just get along ?”

    “Vero possumus”

    Hmmm … would that be Obama’s name in Latin class ? “Vero Possumus Africanus” ?

  22. coqndor says:

    Sextus molestus est.

  23. Sandy Underpants says:

    JM,

    “The Swift Boat Veterans” weren’t even on the same boat as John Kerry, and the official Navy records contradict their perjurous statements as does the testimony of John Rassman, the man who was rescued from the water by John Kerry. The Swift Boaters were American sellouts who whored their service to this nation to Richard Nixon to keep this country in Vietnam in the 70s (thanks patriots) and they whored themselves again in 2004 to keep this country in Iraq. Talk about soldiers that would have best served this country if their heads were on a stick in Hanoi. I’d salute that.

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005460

  24. coqndor says:

    The real question is whether the surge in my pants will last through 2012 if Obama is elected.

  25. Brent says:

    From the opinion article you provided.

    …When I surfaced, all the swift boats had left, and I was alone taking fire from both banks. …Kerry must have seen me in the water and directed his driver, Del Sandusky, to turn the boat around. Kerry’s boat ran up to me in the water, bow on, and I was able to climb up a cargo net to the lip of the deck. But, because I was nearly upside down…

    So did all the swift boats leave or did Kerry’s stick around. This guy would be a great witness in a trial. Yeah, I’m going to take his obviously contradictory statements as proof Kerry was a war hero.

  26. Alasdair says:

    Silly Sandy ! Even the article shows that it was Kerry’s “driver” who was the hero who rescued Rassman, not Kerry …

  27. coqndor says:

    Holy shit, Brent. If there was a bronze star for blog post heroism, you’d have earned it for that attention to detail. For saving blog readers from potential contradiction, and serving the blogging community, I hereby nominate Brent for the Bronze Star.

  28. susan says:

    The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do in the closely divided battleground states, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. Two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people are merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 19 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, Rhode Island, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  29. coqndor says:

    This is no forum for statements of the obvious, Susan. It’s not as if when someone says “count every vote” they mean “all 538 of them.”

  30. JMOL says:

    “we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.”

    Why?

  31. coqndor says:

    “Why?”

    Why not?

  32. Brendan says:

    Count Every Vote — All 538 Of Them.”

    :)

    Whether you’re pro- or anti-Electoral College, the National Popular Vote plan is an incredibly, incredibly bad idea. It is an absolutely terrible way to go about changing the system.

  33. coqndor says:

    Haha! It was only a matter of time.

  34. JMOL says:

    “Why not?”

    Because it weakens the role of states qua states in the presidential selection process.

    Because it removes a key constitutional safeguard against the dangers of faction.

    Because it unacceptably tilts the balance of political power toward population centers at the expense of great swaths of rural territory.

    Because it erroneously assumes that the President should be elected based on his/her appeal to regional/urban popular causes rather than his/her ability to appeal to diverse interests all across the land.

    Because it smacks of trying to change the rules of the game in your favor because you can’t win otherwise.

    Because the US is a federal republic of states, not a popular democracy.

    Because the conscious coordination and agreement among the states represented by the NPV violates the Compact Clause of the Constitution.

    Because if the NPV were implemented by a group of states representing 270 or more electoral votes at the time of adoption, but less than 270 electoral votes after a subsequent decennial census, chaos would likely ensue.

    (That’s for starters.)

  35. coqndor says:

    I don’t really care about this issue. I was just prodding for the “Count Every Vote — All 538 Of Them” response. I found this one funny, though:

    “Because it unacceptably tilts the balance of political power toward population centers at the expense of great swaths of rural territory.”

    What is this, an argument from dirt?

  36. Joe Loy says:

    Not necessarily from Dirt, coqndor. From Cows is good too. / Moo. ;}

    “The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).”

    No it would Not, Susan. / Because: the extraordinarily cumbersome, duplicative & decentralized vote-tallying mechanism set forth in the proposed Interstate Compact to which you refer, would not (and indeed could not) provide, in a popularly-Close election a la 1960 or 1968 or 2000 or even 2004, an Authoritative, Uncontroversial, and nonlitigiably Final determination of Who that candidate Is. / The constitutional consequences of which intrinsic Inability would make the little 2000 Kerfuffle look like the proverbial Walk in the Park. / Not even to Bother asking Will you be happy when ~ not If, but When ~ in a Not-Close election we “guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes” upon ascertaining, incontrovertibly, that he has received 40% of them (give or take :), easily outdistancing his closest competitor’s 34% (more or less :)? [No, your Interstate Compact doesn’t provide for a Runoff ~ and, Constitutionally, it can’t.)

    That’s just for Starters of course. For the rest ~ and Elaboration of the above ~ see Brendan’s link in his comment above.

    Amend the Constituion, Susan. If a thing is worth Doing it is worth doing Right. (Hm? Why of course that’s Hard. It’s supposed to be. It’s the Constitution! :)

  37. Alasdair says:

    Elder Loy – perhaps the fair Susan hath a point (differing from the one at the top of Our David’s head) …

    Perhaps it IS time to have the President chosen as being the candidate who receives the most popular votes … and as long as that candidate gains more than 50% of the popular vote …

    As long as the votes are all truly equal …

    As long as the votes are by voters who have provided tamper-proof evidence of their legal eligibility to vote …

    As long as, as soon as a voter has cast their vote, a tamper-proof method ‘marks’ them as having done so …

    As long as all votes are cast under the same system on the same tamper-proof ballot in each and every one of the 50 States (and DC) …

    If ALL of those can be achieved, then we can probably afford to have the NPV method … until then, we should stick with this system which has checked and balanced unfairnesses which somehow manage to make the system work (flawed tho it may be) …

  38. JMOL says:

    Touche, coqndor.

    But it’s not an argument from dirt — it’s an argument meant to reveal the duplicitousness and dishonesty of the NPV crowd, who cloak themselves in rhetoric about making every vote count equally and eliminating “spectator states,” when the reality is that a national popular vote means that campaigns, driven by economies of scale, will focus far more resources on urban centers and populous suburbs, and all but ignore the millions of people who live in rural areas, including many midwestern and great plains states that at least now receive some attention under the current system because the Electoral College guarantees them greater standing than a directly proportional system like the NPV would.

    Honest arguments for the NPV are bad, but dishonest ones are worse. Worst of all is that the current NPV movement has cynically crafted its message to appeal to the “small” states even though it is the people in those very same small states that will be most negatively affected if the compact should take effect.