Politics

Gallup Daily: Race Stabilizes With McCain Up by Two

Race nearly back to pre-convention period competitive status

PRINCETON, NJ -- Voter preferences in the race for president are unchanged from where they stood over the weekend. John McCain still edges out Barack Obama, 47% to 45%, according to Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Sept. 12-14.

While today's two percentage point advantage for McCain is not statistically significant, McCain's persistent two-point advantage across the three most recent Gallup Poll Daily tracking reports suggests he does hold a real, albeit slight, lead over Obama. It also suggests the race may be stabilizing at this highly competitive level after the tapering off of some, but not all, of McCain's post-convention bounce.

McCain had trailed Obama by eight points around the close of the Democratic National Convention, but then moved into a five-point lead right after the Republican National Convention. The structure of the race is now slightly more favorable for McCain than it was prior to the entire convention period, when Obama typically led McCain by one or two points. (To view the complete trend since March 7, 2008, click here.)

The percentage of undecided voters in Gallup Poll Daily tracking has ranged from 6% to 8% for more than a week. This is noticeably lower than the 9% to 11% undecided seen in mid-August, just prior to the convention period.

Numerically, it appears that much of this shrinkage has benefitted McCain. For instance, in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 20-22, the three-day period prior to Obama announcing Joe Biden as his running mate, Obama led by two points, 46% to 44%, with 10% undecided. Support for Obama is now one point lower while support for McCain three points higher. At the same time, the percentage of undecided voters has slipped from 10% to 8%. -- Lydia Saad

(Click here to see how the race currently breaks down by demographic subgroup.)

Survey Methods

For the Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey, Gallup is interviewing no fewer than 1,000 U.S. adults nationwide each day during 2008.

The general election results are based on combined data from Sept. 12-14, 2008. For results based on this sample of 2,805 registered voters, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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