McCain: November 2008 Archives
TO: McCain Strategy Team
FROM: Bill McInturff, Lead Pollster, McCain-Palin 2008; Partner,
Public Opinion Strategies
RE: State of the Race and Ballot Position
DATE: October 28, 2008
First, let’s be clear: This is a hard election to “predict.”
The historic nature of the candidates on both tickets, the huge influx of unregulated money by the Obama campaign, the dour public mood, and the unique level of voter interest all suggest an historic level of turn-out, not witnessed in over 40 years.
- Our models/understanding of what is coming is therefore necessarily projective, but, here is what we know for sure:
- The McCain campaign has made impressive strides over the last week of tracking.
- The campaign is functionally tied across the battleground states … with our numbers IMPROVING sharply over the last four tracks.
- The key number in our mind is Senator Obama’s level of support and the margin difference between the two candidates.
We are witnessing a significant shift across the battleground states.
The race has moved significantly over the past week, closing to essentially tied on the last two-day roll. These gains are coming from sub-groups it should be possible to sustain over the next week, including:
- Non-college men;
- Rural voters, both men and women;
- Right-to-life voters; and most encouragingly;
- We are beginning to once again get over a 20% chunk of the vote among soft Democrats.
Finally, in terms of critical improvement, even as this track shows more Republicans voting for us than Democrats supporting Obama, we are witnessing an impressive “pop” with Independent voters.
As I said during our Sunday briefing, we do substantially more interviews per day than any public poll, but, given the shift we were witnessing, it was my expectation that by Tuesday/Wednesday multiple public polls would show the race closing. A quick glance at Real Clear Politics would indicate this is happening by today, Tuesday, and that’s good!
It is not surprising we are witnessing this closing as we are finally having an opportunity to run a campaign that focuses on Senator Obama’s record on taxes and his lack of experience.
We are tracking how much people have seen, read, or heard about a number of thematic elements from both campaigns, including the false charges about Senator McCain’s health care plan, being out of touch on the economy, and the Obama’s campaign charges about Medicare. At the same time, we are testing awareness of “Joe the Plumber,” Senator’s Biden’s quote about his own running mate being so inexperienced it invites being tested by our enemies around the world, and Obama’s proposals that will raise federal spending by a trillion dollars.
This has been the week where “Joe the Plumber” has literally become a household name. An astounding 59% of voters in these battleground states have heard “a lot” about this story, 83% have heard “a lot” or “some” about this episode.