The Note: Obama Land(s)

So Barack Obama's on his pink-tailed unicorn, and John McCain has ripped out his IV and is on board his tank (thank you, JibJabbers, for another memorable entry).

But remind us again -- how is this still a race?

How, that is -- given the national dynamics, McCain's flaws and flubs, and Obama's continued domination of the campaign discussion -- is this not a snoozer?

Two new polls suggest two different answers, but come up with similar spreads in a race that looks mired in the mid-to-high single digits. (Hint: Both answers have to do with Obama, and one he wears on his skin, the other on his sleeve -- at least when he's not on board that unicorn. And if you think a narrow lead is a comfortable lead, ask the National League all-stars.)

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll has Obama up eight among registered voters -- but only three among likely voters.

With Bush setting a new record-low -- a 28 percent approval rating -- why is the race to succeed him even close? "Holes in Barack Obama's foreign affairs resume are spurring doubt about his readiness for a crisis -- raising the stakes on his upcoming trip overseas and posing potential opportunity for his otherwise weaker Republican opponent," ABC polling director Gary Langer writes.

"Americans by a wide margin, 63-26 percent, pick McCain as more knowledgeable on world affairs, rate him much more highly in terms of readiness for the world stage and military leadership alike, and put him ahead of Obama by 50-41 percent in trust to handle 'an unexpected major crisis.' "

Obama has a 19-point edge on the No. 1 issue -- the economy -- and yet: "Sen. Barack Obama holds his biggest advantage of the presidential campaign as the candidate best prepared to fix the nation's ailing economy, but lingering concerns about his readiness to handle international crises are keeping the race competitive," Dan Balz and Jonathan Cohen write in The Washington Post.

"Questions about Obama's experience remain, particularly his ability to deal with national security and international issues," they write. "Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said that his level of experience would hamper his ability to serve effectively as president, while 40 percent said it would help. And asked whether he would make a good commander in chief, 48 percent said yes."

"This [foreign] trip is a big deal for Barack Obama, because there are some questions among voters about his ability to handle foreign affairs, especially when he stacks up against John McCain," ABC's George Stephanopoulos reported Wednesday on "Good Morning America." "He's going to have to show himself -- get people comfortable with the idea of him as commander-in-chief, handling the job of president."

One possible reason that it's so close among likely voters: A big drop in voting commitments among younger voters. "I think the long fight with Hillary Clinton, No. 1," Stephanopoulos said Tuesday on "World News with Charles Gibson." "And No. 2, all of the questions in recent weeks over whether or not Barack Obama is shifting positions, becoming quote-unquote 'a typical politician' -- that's turning some of them off."

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