March 27, 2008

LONG, HARD SLOG:

Why Obama Faces an Uphill Battle (Steven Stark, 3/26/08, Real Clear Politics)

There's one other worrisome, though not ironclad, precedent possibly standing in Obama's way. Though the polls are all over the lot at this point, according to the Real Clear Politics average, Obama currently trails John McCain by only a point or two. That's a margin that easily could be eliminated, and, unto itself, would seem to be no great cause for concern. But history suggests otherwise.

At this point in the election cycle -- before any fear of the unknown has set in -- challengers are often running much better against their incumbent-party opponents. In 1988, Michael Dukakis had about a 10-point lead over George Bush (the senior and then-vice-president), only to lose by around eight -- an 18-point swing.

Ditto in 2000. George Bush (the younger) had about a similar 10-point lead over Al Gore at this stage, only to see the lead shrink to nothing by Election Day.

In fact, that's been the usual pattern.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 27, 2008 8:06 AM
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