The trend of the tracking polls hasn't been good of late. Rasmussen, which is a quite reputable poll, has Obama and McCain tied today -- and with leaners (basically people who haven't made up their minds, but are forced to choose for the poll), McCain is up by one point. This is the first time that McCain has tied or beaten Obama in the poll, Obama has always been up. Not anymore:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows the race for the White House is tied with Barack Obama and John McCain each attracting 44% of the vote. However, when "leaners" are included, it's McCain 47% and Obama 46%.
This is the first time McCain has enjoyed even a statistically insignificant advantage of any sort since Obama clinched the Democratic nomination on June 3 (see recent daily results).
I've had a bad feeling about the direction of the campaign for the past couple weeks. We've been saying for months that McCain and the GOP would go negative, very negative. No surprise. That is what's happening. Karl Rove and his crew are at their best destroying people and they're running the show now. The latest tracking polls seem to indicate that McCain's negative attacks are having an impact. The corollary is that Obama's response hasn't been working, or at least it hasn't been enough. That needs to change, fast.
Granted, this is a national tracking poll and, as we've written many times, this election is about the states, because it is. I'll be monitoring FiveThirtyEight.com for any movement on the state polls.
For those who think it's too early to be worried, here's some historical perspective: the first Swift Boat ad attacking John Kerry was launched on August 5, 2004.
Cenk Uygur has some suggestions for Obama to break the stalemate:
Instead, right now the only conversation is about whether Obama is qualified to be president or not. I think McCain's ads in this regard have been comical. They have flat-out sucked. But that doesn't matter. Because the only thing that matters is the conversation itself.
If Obama doesn't change the topic, he gives up an enormous advantage he has, which is the American people are grossly dissatisfied with the Republican Party (even the chairman of the NRCC is telling Republican Congressman to run away from their own party). Make the election about Republicans.
Secondly, Obama has not attacked at all. This is the same mistake Kerry made. He could have pounded Bush for all of his mistakes; instead he hardly laid a glove on him because he wanted to run a positive campaign. That's ridiculous.[..]
Should Obama go after McCain for voting with Bush 95% of time last year and 100% of the time this year? He would be an absolute idiot if he doesn't. Who cares about the nuances? That's not what voters remember. They'll remember that McCain voted with Bush almost all of the time, for whatever reason.
Obama wins simply by having this conversation. If the question is -- does John McCain blindly follow George Bush -- Obama doesn't even need to win that debate. He wins simply by having that debate. What is stuck in people's mind is how much McCain voted with Bush.