Polls of New York State by Siena and New Jersey by Marist (via New York Post) show that McCain has been hacking away at Obama’s leads in both states, turning both races from double-digit leads for Obama into statistically insignificant pluralities.
Among New Jersey likely voters, Marist College finds that McCain now trails Obama by only three points, 48% to 45%. Another pollster, Fairleigh-Dickinson, had Obama ahead by 14 points among LVs less than two months ago.
Siena, which has been polling a McCain/Obama ballot in New York State roughly monthly since last November, shows McCain trailing there by five points, 46% to 41%. The gap was eight points in August, and 18 points in July. (Note: the above New York Siena polls were released in terms of the looser, more Democratic-leaning standard of “registered voters.”) Analysis after the break.
The crosstabs in both polls show the Democratic ticket is hemorrhaging women voters. Besides Obama’s failure even to choose, or even to bother to vet, New York’s Hillary Clinton as a vice-presidential candidate, I doubt the Democratic brand in New York has been helped much either by back-to-back scandals involving prominent Democrats, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Rep. Charlie Rangel. All three of these hits taken by Democrats feature some aspect that would raise the ire of women voters:
- Obama allowed the GOP to beat him to the punch in putting a woman on a national ticket;
- Spitzer humiliated his wife by fooling around with hookers on the job;
- Rangel tried to blame his wife for unpaid taxes on property in the Dominican Republic (even going so far as to file for divorce; the papers were withdrawn once he paid the federal back-bill and relieved some of the public pressure on him, and now they both deny that they ever considered divorce).
Obviously it’s far too early to say that McCain even has any hope of stealing these states from a Democratic candidate who, by all rights, should run away with them in November. Four years ago, New Jersey and Hawaii were looking equally competitive late in the game, and John Kerry went on to steamroll George W. Bush in both states regardless. However, it’s worth pointing out that this time it’s not a sudden, inexplicable shift, attributable in retrospect to polling outliers. There’s an identifiable impetus behind the shift toward McCain (i.e. disaffected women), and it’s not sudden; Obama has been sinking here for weeks, even months.
Obama is still heavily favored to win New York and New Jersey. However, his vaunted fundraising capabilities will come under a heavy burden if, against all expectations, he’s forced to spend money in these states to fight off the McCain/Palin advance, especially in a media market as suffocatingly expensive for advertising as the New York metro area.
UPDATE: Just noticed that Hot Air noted the Spitzer factor as well, and most likely before me. Due credit!