Frank Luntz Predicts Obama Victory Based on Polls

“I cannot foresee a scenario that John McCain is elected president of the United States.”

–Republican Pollster Frank Luntz on The BBC

The polls still are not showing any meaningful narrowing in the polls. Luntz sees some narrowing in the firm red and blue states, possibly decreasing the popular vote lead for Obama, but Obama continues to have strong leads in many battleground states.

In today’s Gallup tracking poll, Obama leads by eleven points among all registered voters, eight points in the traditional model (which excludes new voters), and by nine points in the expanded model for likely voters. Pew Research shows Obama leading 52 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, with an eleven point lead among all registered voters. CNN/Opinion Research shows Obama leading 53 percent to 46 percent. Reuters/CSpan/Zogby has Obama leading 50 percent to 44 percent.

Back in 2004, when George Bush had a small lead over John Kerry going into election day, many of the liberal blogs were predicting a Kerry victory by arguing that no incumbent president has been elected when they went into election day with under 50 percent in the polls. They believed that the undecided vote would go more heavily to Kerry and he would win.

This year John McCain’s supporters have predicted both that the polls would narrow and that the undecided vote would go to McCain. We are not seeing meaningful narrowing in the polls, and it is questionable how the undecided voters will break.

McCain supporters speculate that some white voters who are unwilling to vote for a black candidate are telling pollsters that they are undecided when they really plan to vote for McCain. Others discount the Bradley effect, arguing that those who plan to vote for McCain, regardless of reason, are already telling pollsters they are voting for McCain (even if not always admitting that race is the reason).

Today on CNN’s Late Edition, John Fund argued that Obama is a quasi-incumbent and tried to apply the same theory applied in 2004 to Obama, also arguing that the independents would go to Obama. There are two major problems with these theories that the undecided will go to McCain. First, Obama leads by fifty percent or more in many polls. Even if one hundred percent of the undecided vote goes to McCain, which is unrealistic, Obama would still win. Secondly, Obama has safe leads in all the blue states which Kerry won and is concentrating on picking up support in several red states.

Even if Obama splits the red states where he is leading in the polls he would still exceed 270 electoral votes. McCain is hoping to pick off Pennsylvania but although some polls show the race is narrowing, Obama still has a strong lead, such as by seven points in the Survey USA poll. Obama’s confidence in winning Pennsylvania can be seen by his plans to campaign in red states for the final couple of days of the campaign, leaving Joe Biden to campaign in Pennsylvania. There are paths to victory for Obama even if he sould lose Pennsylvania. In contrast, McCain has been forced to also campaign in the red states in an attempt to hold onto them, including in his home state of Arizona, and needs to come back from behind in several states in order to win.

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