Gallup shows Obama extending his lead to 50% to 44% over John McCain. This increased lead is probably a combination of McCain losing his post-convention bounce, which was already underway, followed by gains for the Democratic candidate as a response to bad economic news.
This matches Obama’s record high of 50% which he reached after the Democratic convention. I feel much more comfortable with Obama at or above 50%, fearing that with a lead under 50% McCain could still win if undecided voters were to break heavily for McCain on election day, possibly due to racism.
While regaining the support of 50% is encouraging, I’m sure most realize how volatile this race has been and events between now and the election can bring about further swings. It is impossible to predict what sudden news events might impact the election, but we do know that the debates are one upcoming major event that has the potential to greatly affect the vote.
My suspicion is that the debates might turn out to help Obama in a manner similar to how they helped Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980. Initially many voters desired a change from Jimmy Carter but were apprehensive as to whether Ronald Reagan was up to the job. When Reagan held his own against Carter in the debates many voters felt more comfortable with him, giving him a significant lead. Similarly many undecided voters are unhappy with recent Republican rule but are also aware that John McCain has many more years in government than Barack Obama. If Obama can relieve such apprehension about his experience he has an excellent chance of receiving the support of many undecided voters and opening a more substantial lead.