Stephanopoulos: No Candidate Has Ever Lost with Obama’s Lead Over McCain

By Jennifer Parker

Oct 13, 2008 7:49am

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reports: The presidential election is now just 22 days away, and Barack Obama is leading John McCain by a whopping 53 percent to 43 percent according to the latest  ABC News/Washington Post  poll.

No candidate has ever lost with a lead like this since modern polling began in 1936.

Americans are in a very angry mood right now and that is helping Obama.

A record high of 90 percent of the country believes we’re going in the wrong direction right now.

A vast majority of the nation,  73 percent of the country, disapproves of the job President George W. Bush is doing. No president has ever had a higher disapproval rating, not even President Richard Nixon at the height of Watergate.

Obama leads McCain 53 percent to 37 percent when it comes to the candidate voters trust to handle the nation’s struggling economy, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Obama’s 10-point lead puts him on solid ground with three weeks to go before Election Day. To put this in perspective, three weeks before the 2004 election President George W. Bush has 50 percent support and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., had 46 percent, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Oct. 10, 2004.

However, ultimately the 2004 election results were Bush 51 percent and Kerry 48 percent.

Some presidential candidates have closed the gap in the weeks leading up to Election Day, including Al Gore in 2000, Gerald Ford closed the gap against Jimmy Carter in 1976, and in 1980 Ronald Reagan overcame an eight point deficit to defeat Jimmy Carter. At that time it was Carter who was the unpopular president with a sour economy.

However this time, it’s McCain’s party with the unpopular president governing over the worst economic crisis to hit the nation since the Great Depression.

With three weeks to go before the election, McCain has an uphill battle. There are also signs that his campaign’s more aggressive attacks against Obama have backfired.

A majority of Americans believe McCain is mainly attacking opponent 59 percent versus only 26 percent who say that about Obama, according to the latest ABC/Post poll.

To his credit, McCain cut off a woman at a campaign rally in Minnesota this past weekend who erroneously said Obama is "an Arab."

"I Can’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s not, he’s not.. Uhm… He’s an Arab ," said the woman.

McCain took the microphone back and said,   "No.No Ma’am. No Ma’am. He’s a   … He’s a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that’s what this campaign is all about. He’s not. Thank you."

McCain gave an honorable response but his campaign has unleashed a torrent of attacks and negative ads against Obama that have contributed to the idea that McCain is the more negative campaigner.

The two presidential debates have been a big boon to Obama. Over the course of those debates 32 percent of Americans think better of Obama after the debates while only 12 percent of Americans say that about McCain and 26 percent of Americans think worse of McCain after the first two presidential debates.

Wednesday’s last debate at Hofstra University in New York state is really his last chance to change the minds of voters. The most important thing Obama can do in this last election is make no mistakes and continue the steady performance we’ve seen over the course of the first two debates.

McCain may be tempted in the last debate to go hard on the attack but that could end up hurting him more than helping him in this environment.

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