McCain’s numbers jump in North Carolina

After months of me (and a lot of other NCers) doing a lot of nailbiting over polls showing Obama and McCain running within just a few points of each other in this long time red state – no doubt helped by Obama’s numerous visits here, we finally have a reason to be cautiously optimistic:

RALEIGH (WTVD) — In an election for President of the United States in North Carolina Tuesday, September 09, Republican John McCain suddenly and breathtakingly surges to a 20-point win over Democrat Barack Obama, 58% to 38%, according to this latest exclusive SurveyUSA election poll conducted for ABC11-WTVD.

In 3 previous SurveyUSA NC tracking polls, McCain had led by 8, 5, and 4 points. Today: 20. McCain has gained ground in every demographic group. Among men, McCain led by 9 last month, 27 today. Among women, Obama led by 2 last month, trails by 12 today. McCain holds 9 of 10 Republican voters; Obama holds 3 of 4 Democratic voters; independents, who were split last month, break today crisply for McCain, where, in the blink of an eye, he is up by 25.


McCain is now in front among the educated and less educated, among the affluent and less affluent. He’s polling at 64% in Coastal Carolina (up from 57%), at 60% in Charlotte (up from 53%), and at 54% in Raleigh / Greensboro (up from 44%). Pro-Life voters backed McCain 2:1 last month, 4:1 this month.

This is absolutely awesome news. I know the numbers may tighten up a bit, but as long as Mc stays ahead by at least 8 points, I’ll feel reasonably comfortable that my beloved state will not turn blue in November. On the other hand, incumbent Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole is in the midst of a battle to keep her seat against Democrat Kay Hagen, who has all but erased Dole’s lead the last month or so after running (mostly negative) ads like crazy (Dole, as far as I know, only recently started heavily running ads).

Back to Obama, if McCain’s lead stays in double digits for the next couple of polls, we may see that the O-man stops running ads here, as the campaign has already done in Georgia (via Jennifer Rubin).

Add to that even more good news on the McCain front:

RIVERSIDE, Ohio (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday brushed aside a survey that showed him losing support among white women voters to John McCain since the Republican standard-bearer named Sarah Palin as his running mate.

A Washington Post/ABC News survey published on Tuesday found most of McCain’s surge in the polls since the Republican National Convention was due to a big shift in support among white women voters.

Obama, who finds himself in the rare position of being on the defensive, did come out ahead in one “important” poll today – important to the “global approval” crowd, anyway (h/t: Kim Priestap):

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may be struggling to nudge ahead of his Republican rival in polls at home, but people across the world want him in the White House, a BBC poll said.

All 22 countries covered in the poll would prefer to see Senator Obama elected US president ahead of Republican John McCain.

In 17 of the 22 nations, people expect relations between the US and the rest of the world to improve if Senator Obama wins.

More than 22,000 people were questioned by pollster GlobeScan in countries ranging from Australia to India and across Africa, Europe and South America.

The margin in favour of Senator Obama ranged from 9 per cent in India to 82 per cent in Kenya, while an average of 49 per cent across the 22 countries preferred Senator Obama compared with 12 per cent preferring Senator McCain. Some four in 10 did not take a view.

“Large numbers of people around the world clearly like what Barack Obama represents,” GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller said.

FYI, “people of the world”: If there’s a way we could convince him, at least half of this country would love to see him run for president of one of YOUR countries rather than our own.

Anyway, as I said at the top of the post, we have reasons to be cautiously optimistic now. McCain’s selection of Gov. Palin to be his running mate has not only electrified the base, but it also appears to be winning over independents and women as well. However, we’ve still got a tough road ahead, as Obama will be getting more aggressive (and he has the money to do so) in the weeks ahead to try to counter McPalinmentum (see Biden, Joe for more). And in the short term, he’s getting a little help from … Ron Paul supporters:

On September 5, the ballot-qualified Constitution Party of Montana submitted its presidential elector candidates to the Secretary of State. The party informed the Secretary of State that its electors are pledged to Ron Paul for president and Michael Peroutka for vice-president. Ron Paul was aware that the party planned to do this, and has said that as long as he can remain passive and silent about the development, and as long as he need not sign any declaration of candidacy, that he does not object.

The most recent Rasmussen poll shows that McCain now has an 11 point lead over Obama in Montana, this after several months of close numbers. Ron Paul being on the ballot could make that race tighter than it looks on paper.

Stay suited up in your battle gear, ya’ll. Keep fighting the smears against McCain and Palin. Email interesting blog posts and articles about McCain-Palin to friends and family members who you think will be receptive to thinking about voting for their ticket. Get yourself a bumper sticker or two and/or a campaign sign to stick in your yard. Things are looking promising at the moment, but you always have to expect the unexpected and you should never ever “get comfortable” with how things look. As we all know, things can turn around in a news-cycle span of 24 hours. Be strong and vigilant, and keep up the good fight. We might, just might be able to win this thing after all :)

Update 1: Check out these recent attacks on Gov. Palin from prominent Democrats – including Obama himself:

Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan on Tuesday – introducing Joe Biden at a campaign event – ripped into Palin’s record and punctuated it with this snarky jab. “There’s no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick” he said. Obama himself used similar langauge later in the day about the McCain-Palin reform rhetoric, saying “You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “It’s still a pig.”

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch, as part of his endorsement of Obama, said Palin “scares the hell out of me.” And Obama hit Palin in nearly a dozen different press releases – one day after drawing laughs at a campaign stop by calling her a “moose shooter.”

It isn’t just Democratic officials who are fixated on Palin. Media outlets on the left – from Talking Points Memo to Huffington Post – are loaded with hard-hitting stories about Palin. McCain often seems like he’s playing second fiddle.

“On the stump, not a single word that comes out of her mouth – or not a single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth – is anything but a lie” wrote TPM’s Josh Marshall. “I know that sounds like hyperbole. But just go down the list. None of them bear out.”

Here’s the extended version of Obama’s remarks (via Neo in the comments section):

Obama poked fun of McCain and Palin’s new “change” mantra.

“You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said as the crowd cheered. “It’s still a pig.”

“You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.”

“We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

Hmm. These folks sound awfully bitter, don’t they? Any guesses as to what they “cling” to? :-?

Update 2 – 7:58 PM: Here are more encouraging poll numbers out of Michigan and Wisconsin.

Update 3 – 8:28 PM: The McCain campaign is firing back on the “lipstick” comment, but I think if you watch the video (again, via Neo) you’ll see he was talking about McCain’s claim to be a change agent, not Gov. Palin personally (though I think it’s clear that the crowd thought he was talking about Gov. Palin). IMO, the McCain campaign needs to be careful that it doesn’t do a knee-jerk everytime they think Gov. Palin has been insulted and/or unfairly attacked by Democrats (even though it’s understandable, considering the nasty nature of attacks the far left has launched against her over the last two weeks), especially considering that not only has Obama used the term “lipstick on a pig” last fall while talking about how General Petraeus supposedly had to “dress up” the situation in Iraq for President Bush, but so has McCain, who used the term to describe Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan last October.

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