The Real Story from the NYT/CBS Poll: McCain Is Screwed

Election '08

The new CBS News/New York Times poll gives Barack Obama a 6 point national lead over John McCain but if NYTimes' Adam Nagourney is to be believed, it's doom for Barack Obama, doom I tell ya, with his frontpage headline blaring "Poll Finds Obama Isn't Closing Divide on Race."

The Obama campaign's rapid response team wasted no time in pushing back against this framing with a memo that hit the Times on several points including:

[...] c) Obama's 31% favorable rating among white voters is virtually identical to McCain's, which is at 34%. d) By a 2 to 1 margin over McCain, white voters are more likely to say that Obama would improve America's image in the world e) "Racial dissension" around Mrs. Obama's 24% favorable rating among whites is an extremely odd description given that Mrs. McCain's favorable rating among white voters is 20%. f) Enthusiasm for Obama's candidacy is roughly 2.5 times higher among white voters than is enthusiasm for McCain's. [...]
As Nagourney points out in his response to the Obama campaign, much of the data contained in the campaign's memo wasn't covered in depth by Nagourney in his article, but even looking at the results that he did cite, he could have chosen a far different line of argument, such as, say: "John McCain Unable To Define Himself" or the more to the point "John McCain is Screwed."

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