Saturday, June 07, 2008

Trouble For November

Apparently, Obama had better sew up the wounds he has inflicted on the Democratic party and quickly, if this polling data is accurate:
Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters have a favorable opinion of Obama while 42% offer a negative assessment. Thirty-two percent (32%) have a Very Favorable opinion, 28% Very Unfavorable.

McCain is viewed favorably by 55% of voters nationwide and unfavorably by 43%. Those figures include 18% with a Very Favorable opinion of the Republican hopeful and 20% with a Very Unfavorable opinion.
Two candidates with similar favorable/unfavorable percentages. Shouldn't be too hard, but take a look at the divided support for Obama. His support is highly polarized, meaning that he could conceivably lose 28% of the voters who simply don't like him much, and that would leave him only 14% who would hold their noses and vote for him. McCain, who has been portrayed as a man out of touch with his party and a grudgingly accepted candidate, actually has a better chance of holding onto his support than Obama, the "uniter", does.

In other words, McCain's campaign strategy is pretty clear cut: he merely has to not make any major errors, while reaching out to working class Americans (whom I presume make up the lion's share of that bottm 28%). Obama, whose primary campaign was rife with missteps and faux pas ("you're likable enough," being only the first of many, and you wonder how his comments later in the campaign about working class white voters will play in states that had already voted prior to Pennsylvania). McCain's base actually looks safer than Obama's right now.

Obama's strategy is a bit trickier: he's going to have to run as a populist without running as a liberal. But not running as a liberal might piss off some of the top 32%, the college educated progressives who believe his mantra that the change we need is us.

Today's presumed announcement from Hillary Clinton will likely firm up his bottom numbers, lowering his unfavorables, but I wonder how much effect it's going to have on that bottom 28%? That extremity sounds like it's going to need a bit more convincing than a concession speech.