One is an outlier. Two is a trend.

LAT/Bloomberg has Obama +12; adding Barr and Nader to the mix brings it to +15.

LA Times/Bloomberg has Obama +12. Adding Nader and Barr pushes it to +15. Obama runs even with McCain among whites. has details. A commenter there suggests that the daily tracking polls from Rasmussen (and maybe Gallup as well?) assume fixed partisan proportions within the electorate, and reweight the results of their daily polls to make the sample match the assumed “true” proportions of Democratic and Republican identifiers. Neither LAT/Bloomberg nor Newsweek does that, and both show voters tilting strongly Democratic. That may explain the difference between Obama +6 (Rasmussen), Obama +3 (Gallup) and these much bigger margins.

Either approach is legiimate. But there’s lots of external evidence that the Republican brand this year has about the same cachet as the Edsel had; if Rasmussen is really sticking to a 10-point identificaiton margin for the Democrats, the Rasmussen results will tend to understate the true gap among candidates.

Footnote More than four out of five Obama voters, about 40% of the entire electorate, say they’re “enthusiastic” about voting for him; less than half of McCain voters say the same about their candidate. That’s a pretty big cult. Maybe we’re not crazy after all?

Second footnote Republican incumbent Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon has a TV spot up bragging about his work with Barack Obama, complete with two screengrabs from the Obama website showing the logo.

Update Andy Sabl points out that in a crisis year party ID, usually rather stable, may shift faster than pollsters or political scientists are wont to believe. And “Prup” points out that this year, unlike most years, the population that goes to the polls may be even more Democratic than the registered voter population now being sampled. Some Democratic-leaning demographics may turn out to vote in droves, and Democrats (regardless of demographics) are more energized than Republicans.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: