Gallup: Obama Edges Back Ahead of McCain—But Within Margin of Error

By Staff | August 27, 2008 | 2:35 PM EDT

The Gallup Daily Tracking poll for the three days concluding on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008, showed slight movement in favor of Sen. Barack Obama, with the Democratic presidential candidate moving back ahead of Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate, by one point, 45 percent to 44 percent. The poll has a 2-point margin of error.

The same tracking poll through the three days ending on Monday indicated that McCain had pulled to a 46 percent to 44 percent lead, the first lead McCain had enjoyed according to this poll, since Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in June.

In early August, Obama led McCain by 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent.  As of two weeks ago, McCain closed the race to a dead heat.

“Despite these minor changes, the race, from a big picture perspective, has not changed and remains statistically tied -- as it has for about two weeks now,” says Gallup’s poll analysis, by Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport. “A better night for Obama in Gallup's Tuesday tracking interviews, however, suggests that a convention bounce could develop.”
The extent of that bounce will depend on how the public reacts to the final two days of the Democratic convention, and to McCain’s vice presidential selection, which he is expected to announce on Friday.
“As mentioned, interviewing by Gallup on Tuesday night showed a stronger Obama performance, which could augur the beginnings of a bounce for Obama, as is evident more often than not immediately after a candidate's convention,” said the Gallup analysis. “Gallup's official ‘post-convention bounce’ reading on Obama's support will be based on interviewing conducted Friday through Sunday. However, with the McCain campaign hinting that it will attempt to dampen an Obama bounce with a quick announcement of the Republican vice presidential nominee on Friday, any effect from the Democratic convention may be short-lived.”
According to Gallup, candidates have received an average bounce of 5 percent in the tracking poll following their party’s national convention.  Then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton got a 16-point bounce out of the 1992 convention, and went on to defeat President George H.W. Bush in the November election, Sen. John Kerry got a negative 1-point reverse bounce out of the 2004 Democratic convention and went on to lose in November to President Bush.