John McCain surpassed Barack Obama in Rasmussen Reports’ Daily Presidential Tracking Poll in the results announced on Monday, August 04, 2008. When those referring to themselves as “leaning” toward a candidate are counted, McCain leads Obama 47% to 46%. Without “leaners,” the two are tied with 44% each. Last week, Obama was ahead of McCain by three points. McCain and Obama also were revealed to be tied in a Gallup Poll released on Friday, August 1st, which was startling as Obama had been nine-points up on McCain in the previous week’s poll. (In the Tuesday, August 4th Gallup Poll, Obama was ahead of McCain 46% to 43%.)
Due to the sampling error of plus or minus 2% (with a 95% confidence level) in the Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, both candidates are de facto tied statistically. However, this is the first time that John McCain has had any statistical advantage over Barack Obama, no matter how insignificant, since June 3rd, when the junior Senator from Illinois bested challenger Hillary Clinton by racking up a majority of the delegates to the Democratic Party’s Presidential nominating convention.
John McCain‘s showing has been helped by his strong appeal to unaffiliated voters, which he now leads 52% to 37%. Barack Obama‘s approval rating, as measured by how many voters view him favorably, lags behind McCain’s: Obama is viewed favorably by 51% of the poll’s respondents, as opposed to John McCain’s 55% favorable rating.
Barack Obama‘s 51% favorable rating is a personal low since June 3rd. John McCain also has a higher favorable rating by voters who identify as Republicans than Obama has among self-described Democrats, being viewed favorably by 87% of Republicans versus the 83% of Democrats who view Obama favorably. The number of poll respondents who identify themselves as Democrats has dropped to the lowest point since January 2008, though they still outnumber Republicans.
The high cost of gasoline may be adversely affecting Barack Obama, which is ironic as he has sought to portray rising energy prices as part of the legacy of George W. Bush that, Obama alleges, John McCain will carry on. On the matter of energy policy, Obama has slipped behind McCain among voters in terms of trust, gaining the trust of 42% of poll respondents versus the 46% who trust McCain more than Obama on energy policy.
John McCain‘s campaign has been hitting Barack Obama hard with TV ads saying he is responsible for high gasoline prices for opposing a lifting of the ban on offshore drilling. The charge is ludicrous but as H.L. Mencken famously observed, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” This is something the Republicans since at least Ronald Reagan’s Presidency have understood implicitly. John McCain‘s ads seek to portray Barack Obama as an elitist, though it is McCain who hails from the elite, and Obama who worked himself up from the lower middle class.
Barack Obama can take comfort in that, when “leaners” are included, Rasmussen Reports’ survey of states, as shown by its Balance of Power Calculator, has the Democrat ahead in states with 273 votes in the Electoral College, three more than are needed to win, while John McCain is ahead in states with 227 Electoral College votes. Without “leaners” factored in, Obama currently is ahead of McCain in states with a combined 210 votes in the Electoral College versus 165 for McCain.
“The Biggest Celebrity in the World”
In related news, the center-right British newspaper The Telegraph reports that Ironman star Gwyneth Paltrow, who won a Best Actress Oscar nine years ago for her role in Shakespeare in Love, has filmed an ad urging American expatriates to vote for Barack Obama. An American citizen, Paltrow lives in London, England with her husband, British pop star Chris Martin of the rock band Coldplay.
Gwyneth Paltrow is one of a group of expatriate Americans appearing in a video produced by the Democratic Party. Paltrow encourages American expatriates to register and vote in the upcoming Presidential election in November.
On the video, Paltrow gives counsel to fellow expatriates: “Start now – right now. I’ll be voting from London, but you can vote from anywhere. If you live abroad, you’ve got to do it. Every single vote will count.”
Speaking to other expatriates featured in the video, Paltrow says: “Where on earth will you vote?” The video concludes: “Vote Democrat. Vote Obama. Vote From Abroad.”
Democrats Abroad, an official organization affiliated with the national Democratic Party, produced the video for the Internet. Democrats Abroad estimated there are over six million registered Democrats who are expatriates living abroad. Only one million American expatriates registered and voted in the 2006 Congressional elections.
Ironically, some political pundits believe that Barack Obama has been hurt by a new TV ad launched by the John McCain campaign that links him to celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, portraying him as pompous and out-of-touch with the common people, tagging Obama “The biggest celebrity in the world.” Americans are notorious for their ignorance of the rest of the world and their xenophobia, the latter a fault exploited by immigrant-bashing Republicans who, in a case of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, do everything in their power to ensure that American businesses have access to cheap illegal immigrant labor while denouncing illegal immigration. This an example of Adolf Hitler’s “Big Lie” and John McCain should be commended for not buying into it.
Barack Obama also picked up another celebrity endorsement, that of Gloria Steinem, doyenne of the Second Wave Feminist movement. Steinem, the founder of Ms. Magazine, told a writer from the Financial Times that she supports Barack Obama. Fox News and other pro-Republican news sources have been playing up forecasts that predict that the Democratic nominee will not hold on to women supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom Obama beat for the nomination. The 74 year-old Gloria Steinem had been a big supporter of Hillary Clinton, but Obama has her support in November.
“Women are more than smart enough to see that McCain’s policies are a disaster…. He is anti every reproductive issue we’ve ever fought for.”
Steinem told the Financial Times columnist Chrystia Freeland that even if Obama doesn’t chose Hillary as his running mate, he will get the women’s vote. Steinem then said that the vice-presidency wasn’t good enough for the former First Lady, because, “It’s not an independent position, to put it mildly. I would rather see her as the president of the Senate.”
The Vice President is the President of the Senate. The writer, who is English, likely made a mistake, confusing “Majority Leader” with President.
One celebrity who is unimpressed with Barack Obama is Oscar winner Jon Voight, who styled himself as an anti-war activist when that was chic in the 1970s but now denounced the “so-called peace movement” he himself identified with as “Marxist inspired.” In a piece for the Unification Church of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times, the de facto official mouthpiece of the Bush 43 Administration, Voight — an unreconstructed hound who has shamelessly tried to piggy back on his daughter Angelina Jolie‘s fame — termed Barack Obama a false god who will bring socialism to America.
“The Democratic Party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way,” Voight wrote in his op-ed piece. “The Democrats have targeted young people, knowing how easy it is to bring forth whatever is needed to program their minds.”
Denouncing Barack Obama’s association with activists such as Jeremiah Wright, Voight concluded “If, God forbid, we live to see Mr. Obama as president, we will live through a socialist era that America has not seen before, and out country will be weakened in every way.”
It is important to note that Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the American President who, according to Gore Vidal, saved capitalism in America and prevented the imposition of socialism in America, was denounced as a socialist by Republicans and assorted reactionaries. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Jon Voight played F.D.R. in the movie Pearl Harbor. Some people apparently will do anything for money — or publicity.
Financial Times, “Lunch with the FT: Gloria Steinem”
Rasmussen Reports, “Daily Presidential Tracking Poll”
The Telegraph (London), “Gwyneth Paltrow films ad for Barack Obama”
Washington Times, “VOIGHT: My concerns for America; Obama sowing socialist seeds in young people”