New NBC/WSJ poll takes a different look at the race:
Obama enjoys a 47-41 percent advantage over McCain, which is unchanged from last month. The survey was conducted of 1,003 registered voters from Friday to Monday, July 18-21, during Obama's overseas trip. It has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points.
But Obama’s lead over McCain expands to 13 points when third-party candidates Ralph Nader and Bob Barr are added into the mix — with Obama at 48 percent, McCain at 35 percent, Nader at 5 percent and Barr at 2 percent. However, it’s important to note that the pro-Obama vote (48 percent) and anti-Obama vote (adding up to 42 percent) is consistent with the result from the two-way match up.
The undecided stays consistent: 12 percent in the two-way, 10 percent in the four-way. I'm still wrestling with this; are people switching from McCain to Nader in the four-way?
Barr is the one who's going to matter, but what's interesting to me is that the four-way is asking Nader, rather than McKinney. Nader has more name ID, but McKinney has an actual party and not just a shrinking band of personal loyalists.
The last network TV spot bought by a presidential contender was apparently a single multi-minute ad run by Republican Sen. Bob Dole in 1996.
Or maybe it's because, living in swing state Iowa and watching mostly cable news, I've seen so many spots that I wouldn't notice a national network buy.
Virtually all of the evidence that we have reviewed--historical patterns, structural features of this election cycle, and national and state polls conducted over the last several months--point to a comfortable Obama/Democratic party victory in November. Trumpeting this race as a toss-up, almost certain to produce another nail-biter finish, distorts the evidence and does a disservice to readers and viewers who rely upon such punditry. Again, maybe conditions will change in McCain's favor, and if they do, they should also be accurately described by the media. But current data do not justify calling this election a toss-up.