Opinion: The latest from Gallup and Pew polls on the presidential race

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Based on the Gallup daily tracking poll, it was a wise move for Barack Obama to take a break from the presidential campaign trail.

Then again, based on a new, larger survey of voters by the Pew Research Center, the summer’s overall trend is favoring John McCain.

Bottom line: Still no sign of Obama taking full advantage of the political dynamics that should favor Democrats this year; still no sign of a significant boost for McCain that gets him above the mid-to-lower 40% range.

In the latest Gallup average of three consecutive days of polling, Obama continued a slow ascent that began shortly before he embarked on a vacation in Hawaii. He had seen his numbers drop following his much-covered overseas trip last month; at the start of August, he and McCain were tied in the tracking at 44% each. Now, Obama leads by six percentage points, 48% to 42%.


The new Pew survey, conducted from July 31 though Aug. 10, found that McCain had pulled within three points on Obama after trailing him by eight in June.

At summer’s start, the numbers were 48% for Obama, 40 for McCain; now it’s Obama 46%, McCain 43% (a margin within the poll’s margin of error of 2.5 points).

In their overview, the Pew pollsters write:

‘Two factors appear to be at play in shifting voter sentiment. First, McCain is garnering more support from his base -- including Republicans and white evangelical Protestants -- than he was in June, and he also has steadily gained backing from white working class voters over this period. Secondly and more generally, the Arizona senator has made gains on his leadership image. An even greater percentage of voters than in June now see McCain as the candidate who would use the best judgment in a crisis, and an increasing percentage see him as the candidate who can get things done.’

The Swamp blog has more on the Pew findings.

-- Don Frederick