Do you believe the AP poll saying it’s a dead heat?

The AP has reported a poll putting McCain in a dead heat with Obama:

WASHINGTON — The presidential race tightened after the final debate, with John McCain gaining among whites and people earning less than $50,000, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that shows McCain and Barack Obama essentially running even among likely voters in the election homestretch.
    The poll, which found Obama at 44 percent and McCain at 43 percent, supports what some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain’s "Joe the plumber" analogy struck a chord.
    Three weeks ago, an AP-GfK survey found that Obama had surged to a seven-point lead over McCain, lifted by voters who thought the Democrat was better suited to lead the nation through its sudden economic crisis.
    The contest is still volatile, and the split among voters is apparent less than two weeks before Election Day….

Do you believe that? I don’t think I do. Other polls, such as this one, show tightening, but nothing THAT close.

Just yesterday, The Wall Street Journal found Obama opening up a double-digit lead, which seemed more consistent with what my gut was telling me.

But who knows? What do y’all think?

20 thoughts on “Do you believe the AP poll saying it’s a dead heat?

  1. Lee Muller

    Obama Plummets Among Independent Voters
    Democrat Barack Obama’s lead over Republican John McCain in the presidential race has dropped to 3 points, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Sunday.
    Obama leads McCain by 48 to 45 percent among likely U.S. voters, down 1 percentage point from Saturday. The four-day tracking poll, which has a margin of error of 2.9 points.
    Pollster John Zogby said the numbers were good news for McCain, and probably reflected a bump following his appearance in the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday.
    “For the first time in the polling McCain is up above 45 percent. There is no question something has happened,” Zogby said.

  2. HighSea

    As we saw in 2000, the national head to head polls (and popular vote) don’t matter. In the electoral college, Obama holds a distinct advantage over McCain. Needing 270 votes to win, Obama has already locked up states that would award him 264 votes. This means that McCain would need to win every swing state (Missouri, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia etc). Although I am voting for McCain, that seems highly unlikely.

  3. Lynn

    I like Nate Silver’s assessments at He does a good job of explaining his reasoning, and presents a very thorough array of poll numbers. Silver doesn’t think Obama’s real lead is in the double digits, and predicts an election day 5% difference. He has explained in numerous posts the different assumptions that underlie “likely voter” scenarios. He sees this morning’s double digit state results as “best case” (highest reasonable assumptions about turnout of pro-Obama voter groups). He has also repeatedly noted that there are an array of reasons that poll responses and voter turnout in this election are harder to predict than usual.
    And, just for the record, Zogby (which Silver has described as less reliable than other major polls) has Obama up 12 today.

  4. Guero

    Look at the internals of the AP poll. Their participants were 45% evangelicals who make up only 23% of the voting age populace.
    Obama’s lead is widening as McSame flounders and further disgraces himself.

  5. p.m.

    I believe the margin for error in polls works like this: Polls for NBC, the Obama network, err in his favor. Polls for Fox, the McCain network, err in his favor.
    In fact, the polls might be designed to err in favor of which candidate buys or is likely to buy the most advertising from whichever medium originates the poll.
    If the media ever played straight, this election has evidenced that it no longer does, and no longer even cares to pretend to.
    Is it a coincidence that the candidate with the more campaign money to spend has been endorsed by more newspapers?
    When Newt Gingrich says, “The fix is in,” is he right?
    Which takes me back to Brad’s original question: Do you believe the AP poll saying it’s a dead heat?
    Sure, at least as much as any other, and probably moreso. Of all the sources for polls, the AP, which doesn’t sell advertising, has less reason to rig the game than just about anybody else.

  6. Phillip

    Dead heat doesn’t seem right given the preponderance of all the other polls. On the other hand, double-digit lead seems too big; there hasn’t been a win that big since Reagan’s re-election in 1984, and no Republican has lost that badly since Goldwater, which was also a re-election situation for LBJ. I’d be stunned if Obama won by more than 6 percent nationally, but if McCain keeps talking about Bill Ayers and if he decides to pull a race card (Wright) down the stretch, then we are looking at potential landslide.
    HighSea’s point is the main one: McCain would really have to flip a bunch of states to pull this off, and he seems to be putting all his eggs in the Pennsylvania basket, where he doesn’t seem to be making much progress.
    I’m guessing about 52-48 Obama, but McCain struggles to win 200 electoral votes.

  7. Lee Muller

    The Obama campaign internal polling, leaked last night, shows only a 1% margin for Obama, with still a large number of undecided.
    Obama is counting on time to run out before enough voters realize how radical he is, especially on the pocketbook issues like confiscating some of their 401-k money to “spread the wealth”.

  8. Dino

    I believe a defective poll was merely summarized without adequate disclosure of impairment. McCain’s supporters are likely to have been under-represented. Not so for loudmouth activists.
    Who values secret balotting more, progressives or conservatives? To answer that we have only to look at proposed legislation ending secret unionization ballots. Yep, served up by Democrats.
    Conservatives are first and foremost private persons not cussing, in-your-face
    activists like Dr. William Ayres and various of Obama street supporters.
    When McCain fights back, he probably picks up a few more frustrated conservatives who gladly sacrifice their telephonic anonymnity for whatever brief, psychic pleasure they may derive from participation in publicity stunts.
    There are however, many more independents like myself who are more thoughtful, hardliners. We never participate in polling by phone or mail. We will decide this election. Relax.
    Obama’s propaganda machine is faltering. His selection of Google’s magnate to head his administration’s new propaganda ministry has not helped his chances either.

  9. Randy E

    AP had faulty methodology as Guero points out.
    As pm mentions, it’s all about the Electoral College and in the EC, it’s all about Pennsylvania. That’s all that matters. If McCain doesn’t win there, he has to hold ALL 8 or so toss up states.
    Ain’t gonna happen, cap’n.

  10. Lee Muller

    Do you plan to join the other Obama followers in rioting if Obama fails to seize power?
    How about the looting if he wins?

  11. bud

    There are so many polls with so many different methodologies some are bound to be way off. Even if all of them have flawless methodologies 1 in 20 polls will be outside the margin of error. White noise alone is sufficient to explain the 1% and 12% polls. My guess is it’s about 5-6%. Still close but this has been very stable for about 3 weeks now.
    As others have suggested the popular vote is not all that important. What counts are the individual state polls. They generally show Obama with roughly 264 votes, 6 short of what he needs (5 to send it to the House). There are at least 5 and possibly as many as 8 states that are virtually even (VA, NC, FL, OH, MO and maybe NH, NV, IN and CO). Some internal polling by both camps appears to show PA a bit closer than the public polls. McCain needs to run the table to win. It’s a long shot but with a bit of a late rally it’s not out of the question. I rate it about an 80-20 race right now for Obama. For McCain to pull it out he’ll need a strong finish and a bit of luck. That could come in the form of an October surprise like a terrorist strike somewhere. It could get interesting. The Obama folks absolutely cannot afford complacency. This is too important to coast now.

  12. Bart

    I think we are starting to see a very nervous electorate out there. This election does not bode well for the “Main Street” Americans on either side of the political spectrum. The uncertainty is very real and to some, frightening. This time, the two most popular candidates on the tickets are relatively unknown, Obama and Palin.
    McCain has been around over 30 years, since he was filmed coming off the plane returning Vietnam prisoners home. We know a lot about him but I suspect there are still some stones unturned and closet skeletons unrattled. Some but I doubt very many. The same can be said about Joe Biden. We know those guys and to some degree, we are vaguely comfortable with them, especially after 30 plus years seeing them on television and campaigning for office.
    Obama and Palin are a different story. Obama is a bit more complicated and his closets have been left alone except for a quick glimpse in one or two but no in depth skeleton rattling by the gatekeepers, the media. He has been given a pass on most issues and if liberals will admit the truth, he has been playing “T-ball” while Palin has been in a blistering, 120 mph fastball, brush-back pitches baseball game with the media. And she hasn’t been wearing a batting helmet either. Some of their beanballs have been downright wicked.
    We deserve to have ALL of the candidates fully vetted. Obams’s past associations, etc. should be scrutinized to the inth degree and so should Sarah Palin’s. The media should do their job and stop playing the roles of surrogate press secretaries and publicity agents for Obama.
    We continue hearing the media claim about the pubic’s right to know. What we need from the media and have a right to know are the complete details about Obama, fully investigated, not the usual fawning and flattering fluff pieces by wimpish news anchors. If you want the View to determine who our next president will be or let Oprah make up your mind for you, you need to be put away somewhere and kept away from sharp objects and scissors. And the same rules should apply to Hannity, Rush, and O’Reilly.

  13. Jimmy

    Most accurate pollster in 2004 election shows: Obama 44.8%, McCain 43.7%, Not Sure 11.6%..
    This election is close and will be close in all of the states that matter. Obama is probably leading the popular vote and likely in the important states by a narrow margin but well within the standard of error.
    I don’t know who wins but if you forced to put a grand on it, I would bet Obama. I do fear what happens if McCain wins. There WILL be rioting and everyone will claim racism won, not McCain. Very sad . . . but true

  14. Lee Muller

    Good post, Bart. All true.
    The big loser in this election is the news media, which stopped being objective, and became the infotainment media, wanting to be part of history, in their shameless help for the “woman”, Hillary Clinton, then for the “black” Barack Obama.
    Too many direct sources exposed the lies, omissions, coverups and collusion of the press with Obama, like CNN reporting yesterday that “McCain has pulled out of Colorado” at the same moment that Sarah Palin was speaking to a crowd of 22,000 supporters in Colorado.
    Everyone, from the most radical socialist supporter of Obama, to independents, to the GOP and Libertarians, knows that media bias and lies are worse than they ever suspected.

  15. david

    I think polls have become nothing but tools used by the dinosaur media to create news, manipulate public opinion in favor of liberal candidates and depress conservative enthusiasm and turnout.
    I don’t think this presidential race has EVER been a fifteen point rout, a ten point race or even an eight point race. I think it has always been either a dead heat or at most a five point race, and that for most of the last three months it has been inside the margin of error.
    What do I base this opinion on?
    1. The polls are conducted for liberal MSM news organizations like CNN or the NYT. Duh!
    2. These polls invariably tighten as the election nears. Why? Because the pollsters know they have to have at least some modicum of legitimacy after the election, so they cannot continue through elelction day call a race a fifteen point deal when it’s really tie.
    3. Obama isn’t campaigning like this race is in the bag. Sure, he’s building a fake victory stage in Illinois. This will probably have columns too. But he’s very nervous.
    The race is very close and it always has been. Polls be damned.

  16. Clif Judy

    Of course I do. I am reading the daily poll statistics and too often, the producers o polls seem to reach for support of Mr. Obama when it seems the simple reason for the polls is simply to feflect findings via polling! Slanted polls are useless polls, if the truth is a concern.

  17. Lee Muller

    Obama’s internal poll, leaked to the media on Sunday, shows less than 1% between OBama and McCain there, with 11% undecided.
    Even if McCain wins, he should have the Justice Department check to see why Obama could not produce a birth certificate to prove he is a U.S. citizen.

  18. Lee Muller

    The most troubling thing is how many Obama supporters don’t care about the dishonesty of their candidate:
    * Obama still has not produced a birth certificate to prove he is a U.S. citizen
    * Obama lied about not knowingn Bill Ayers, Michael Klonsky and other communists pals of his for the last 20 years.
    * Obama is paying ACORN to produce massive illegal votes and steal the election.
    How can anyone support such a lying crook?
    The answer is that most Obama supporters don’t care about honesty and good character, but only about “spreading the wealth” their way.

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