Thursday, September 18, 2008

More on "Why is this election so close?"

I was reading through a mid-August Quinnipiac poll of likely voters nationwide, and I came across this question:
Putting aside for a moment the question of who each party's nominee might be, what is your preference for the outcome of the 2008 presidential election - that a Democrat be elected president or that a Republican be elected president?
The response to that is Dem 46, Rep 34, DK/NA 20.

Compare that to the candidate matchup:

Obama 47, McCain 42, Someone else 2, DK/NA 9.

My initial suspicion was that Obama was running behind the generic Democrat, presumably because of his race. But that doesn't appear to be the case here. Obama's numbers are essentially identical to those of the generic Democrat. Instead, McCain is running eight points ahead of the generic Republican, which testifies to his main strength as a candidate, maverickiness. I'm guessing that his numbers will grow closer to the generic GOP numbers over the next few weeks. Still, even though a lot of Republicans aren't crazy about McCain, he wasn't a dumb choice for nominee. He was probably the only Republican in the field who had a remote shot of winning the general election.

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