Slim Poll Gap Looks Good for Mac, at First

Stumbles haven't hurt Republican, who's in similar polling spot to both Bushes
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2008 5:33 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., takes off his sunglasses as he arrives at Midway International Airport in Chicago, Monday, July 14, 2008.    (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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(Newser) – A new poll shows Barack Obama up just 3% on John McCain (from 15% a few weeks ago), and another has them tied—numbers that look fantastic for the presumptive Republican nominee at first blush, Chris Cillizza writes in the Washington Post. "Given the tilt of this electorate, it's fairly surprising that Obama hasn't been able to 'close the deal' with voters," one GOP pollster says.

But despite Republican pollsters crowing about Obama’s “popular but ill-defined change message,” a Democratic expert says McCain is mathematically "stuck" in a “quasi-incumbent race” and that independents “ultimately break to the challenger.” The Obama-is-too-risky factor is also not evident in more revealing state polls, which show him close in red territory like North Dakota and Georgia.