A national Associated TV/Zogby International poll1 finds Republican Sen. John McCain taking a barely distinguishable 42%-41% lead over Democrat Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the U.S. presidency. The difference between the candidates is statistically insignificant, but nonetheless indicates a notable turn-around for McCain.Forgive me if I don't just buy into the hype here.
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I have a hard time believing polling data that says this is a real horse race. All you have to do is compare the two candidates in the average American fashion (television presence) and it's obvious that Obama is the better candidate. The only way you get to a dead heat is if you compare McCain's total lack of understanding when it comes to the cost of unending war, with Obama's total lack of understanding of economics in general. In other words, the only way there is a real race for the White House is if the American people are paying attention to the issues. A completely unprecedented turn of events.
Americans have never (NEVER) returned the same party to power when an economic downturn occurs on their watch. Never mind that the sitting president has squat to do with the value of a dollar these days, other than his military adventurism; and historically, war has not been something the electorate punishes a president for. Taxes (Read my lips) yes; war, no. Massive home foreclosures, inflation, etc, all point to the election of the opposition to the presidency; making this election virtually unloseable for the Democrats.
At least in the presidential field.
So, why the anomalous polling data? Could be the way the questions are asked. Could be the average American is suspect of a President who appears to be more popular overseas than he is here. But don't pretend that Americans care about issues. That never happens.
If Americans cared about issues, Ron Paul would be the Republican nominee. If Americans cared about issues, Bob Barr would be polling at least on the same level as Obama and McCain. They both talk about issues, and can back up the talk with facts.
No, issues don't drive American politics. Americans care about good hair and teeth, and the right soundbites. Obama has that in spades. I'm sure they'll come around to the right way of looking at things soon enough, and the polls will once again reflect the True Will of The People.