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New L.A. Times/Bloomberg presidential poll has some surprises later today

Which White House contender had the better summer?

A new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll of registered voters across the country leaves little doubt about the answer.

We can't reveal the precise figures yet; for that, check back at about 2 p.m. PDT (5 p.m. EDT). Suffice to say that the results will not alter the perception that -- given a seemingly sunny political climate for Democrats -- Barack Obama is under-performing nationally.

Also, a series of questions gauging voter attitudes about candidate attributes makes clear which perceptions Obama needs to shore up between now and election day.

For John McCain, the poll underscores that the more voters focus on domestic issues, the greater the challenge to his hopes of winning the presidency.

And he and his aides might be a bit surprised by the findings when voters are asked whether they view Obama as "too arrogant and presumptuous" and whether McCain could be considered "too hot-tempered."

[UPDATE: A news story on the poll, by The Times' Michael Finnegan, is now available, as is our take on the results.]

-- Don Frederick

Comments () | Archives (19)

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Considering that the LAT/Bloomberg poll had Obama up by 15 points last time (the poll was an outlier), did Obama actually have anywhere to go but down in the poll? I don't think anyone, including the Obama campaign, thought that he was ever up by 15 points.

Um... why even publish this story? Either publish the poll results, or don't. This is just silly.


There is an undeniable force that shouldn’t be discounted and should be appreciated.

Hillary Clinton knows her game, and her experience is paying off.

OK, I'm going to take a shot at guessing what the results are going to show. Obama will have a 5pt lead over McCain, down from the 12pt lead your polled showed in June. This is why you say he is underperforming even though a) 5pts is in line with most of the national polls that have come out in the last month and a half, b) a 5pt popular vote win for Obama in November would be an electoral landslide, and c) that 12pt lead for Obama your poll showed in June was as much an outlier as that wacky Newsweek poll that showed Obama ahead by 15pts.

Much of the tightening will be due to Obama losing voters to undecided. McCain's gains v. the June poll will be minimal.

Like most polls have shown, the economy is most voters' top concern and Obama and the Dems have a clear lead in that issue. McCain leads on national security but that's not nearly as much of a concern for voters as the economy.

A plurality of voters will find Obama lacking in experience. A similar plurality will say that McCain will make a better commander-in-chief.

And as many voters - and maybe more - voters will find McCain "too hot-tempered" as they find Obama "presumptuous". I just don't know if the poll is also going to show which trait in a candidate causes more worry among voters.

I'll check back at 5pm my time to see how I did.

When the campaign starts in earnest, and voters are treated to an accurate description of the radical leftist Obama, his poll numbers will continue to plummet.

He is unqualified to run for President, and the Democrats - in their never ending blind quest for political power - have made a disastrous mistake.

Note that the LA Times and Bloomberg News are both super-slanty towards the left. The reason why the last poll was Obama + 15 is because they get the results and then just add 10 to top off Obama, because there 'weren't enough Democrats in the sample' So a 5 point lead is bad news for Obama.

This under-performing business is getting pretty old. There are so many obvious reasons why Obama would not be polling as well nationally as "generic Democrats" at this stage of the game that it makes little sense to keep raising this as if something is wrong with Obama.

The MSM needs to provide some perspective. For example, national head to head polls at this juncture are not that reliable, and a lead of 4% in the popular vote come November would translate into a substantial victory in the electoral college.

"Media Hype and Election Polls (or the sky is falling)"

Yea the Dems and Obama have the answer to economy, Higher taxes.
I know your argument is "its higher taxes for the rich they deserve it". Who do you think owns businesses? Maybe the Rich. If you own a business and have a set lifestyle and now you have to pay more of your profits in taxes what would you do? I know I would raise prices to cover it.
Corporations and businesses don't pay taxes the middle classes does, one way or another. So don't fool yourself that soaking the rich won't effect you.

The idea that LAT/Bloomberg is left-slanted or that they arbitrarily add democrats to the sample is lunacy. Since LA Times started partnering with Bloomberg there polls have been some of the most republican bias of any. Check the Bush approval polls if you doubt this. The 15-point Obama lead last time was an aberration. I always expected their next poll to be narrrower, we'll just have to see how much narrower.

People are bashing the poll before it's even released? Unbelieveable... some of y'all must really be worried.

To say Obama is underperforming is being kind. Plummeting is more like it, especially after his performance at Saddleback.

The economy may still be a problem, but definitely not as much as when oil prices were in the $140's/barrel... the $30 plunge in oil prices since can be construed as a direct effect of McCain stressing the importance of drilling locally. That will favor McCain.

As for the new foreign conflict by Russia on Georgia, that also plays into McCain's strength.

I would call this a double whammy against Obama! We'll see later whether or not I'm correct.

If Obama has any lead, I'll be amazed, with all the scrutiny he receives... and the lack thereof for McCain.


You copied and pasted this from something the RNC/McCain campaign sent you, didn't you?

"Plummeting is more like it, especially after his performance at Saddleback."

McCain was playing to his base. Even Warren said that probably only about 15% of the folks in the audience voted for Kerry in 2004. All McCain had to say was, "Life begins at conception, gay marriage is bad", and he'd win these folks over. Obama was in hostile territory and did quite fine, thank you. And let's be honest, I don't think the 10-20 folks who watched this thing who weren't evangelicals or political junkies are going to have their votes swayed by either candidates' performance.

"The economy may still be a problem, but definitely not as much as when oil prices were in the $140's/barrel... the $30 plunge in oil prices since can be construed as a direct effect of McCain stressing the importance of drilling locally. That will favor McCain."

Oil prices are down for 2 reasons - reduced demand, particulary in the US (wow, Americans can conserve!), and inreased production by the Saudis.

"As for the new foreign conflict by Russia on Georgia, that also plays into McCain's strength."

If you asked where this ranks on the list of American voters concerns, my guess is that it would be somewhere in the region of "flag burning". People have larger, more personal, and more urgent things to worry about - eg, the economy. I'm not saying it's a trivial manner, but this election will not turn on voters' perceptions of how either candidate will handle a resurgenct Russian. And if the McCain strength you are talking about is war, war, war, I think American voters have had enough of that.

Again, it's rare to see McCain increase his numbers in these's almost always people moving from Obama to "undecided". That's to be expected with a politician who is relatively new to the scene. And it's especially expected during the summer, when people aren't paying much attention. Of course, I could be wrong but I expect the tightening in this poll - relative to their June poll - will be due to a) adjusting of their model so they don't again produce a wacky 12% lead for Obama (which was clearly an outlier), and b) an increase in the number of undecideds, mostly at Obama's expense.

When McCain starts breaking 45% in these national polls, then we might be able to start talking about a McCain surge. Until then, we're just looking at an electorate taking their taking and making sure they really know all they need to know about Obama before throwing their support to him.

And remember, a 5% popular vote win is an electoral landslide.

What is it your polls and the media always call obama presumptuous and arrogant. John McBush is the most arrogant sob you'd ever wanted to see.

Farthermore, isn't he the presumptuous nominee of the GOP?
The media is ruining this election...
Only a handful of the American public is educated enough to understand what is going on. The other handful are outright racists, and very uneducated. They would rather take the country down another notch, then to help pull it forward no matter what color the president is.

I read a blog where an Obama supporter went door to door in a white rural area, and was told by the voter she could never vote for a negra...


But yet they call themselves christian. Hypocrites.
May they meet their maker at the gates of.........and may the gatekeeper have a skin tone darker then theirs.

VERY FRUStrated.

I would guess that the voters find Obama presumptuous,
conceited, elitist, and totally unprepared for the Presidency. He can cheat his way through the caucuses but when it comes to the General Election, his inadequacies become alarmingly aware.

You guys are really pathetic....Obama was never in the lead. You guys set him up like a cheap suit.

AND, please stop whining about he has no experience or he is an unknown. This guy is very well educated, a first for this country...but we like "C" students.

How many of you heard about John McCain until the elections....that is right, very few of you.

Has John McCain ever been a president of any country?????

NO NO NO. So what makes him so experienced to be president now. You know and I know what it is...

Please don't say his stent in viet nam...their are lot of veterans out there who went throw a war.

Most are still undergoing some sort of mental treatment.

Actually, the kind of torcher Mc Cain suffered, we definitely be grounds for mental treatment. But he has not been honest enough to release that part of his medical record.

Vote him in, and we'll surely lose this country to WAR.

We will become the laughing stock of the world. We're have way there now. We've sold 3/4 of the country to foreign interest, anyway.

Only the rich will survive John McCain's tenor in the white house....NOpe not the middle class, not the almost middle class, certainly not the working class(idiots) and definitely not the poor.

I actually took part in this poll and felt that there were too many questions regarding race in politics. Would you ever vote for a black candidate? Who injected race into the election first?

I should have written down the questions that were asked but I didn't think about it until the very end....20 minutes later.

All in all, I felt that the questions leaned a bit towards Obama but not dramatically and if you were actively listening you wouldn't have been bamboozelled by their shenanigans.

McCain's attacks weren't the only reason for Obama's bad showing. Even if McCain had done nothing, Obama still lost support by his own actions.

Such as FISA, flips or softening on offshore drilling, abortion, other things that moved him from his base -- and gaffeing around Europe -- and further offending Clinton's supporters -- and displaying ignorance when Russia rolled into Georgia at 3 a.m.....

The more people get to know Obama, the lower his poll numbers get. We saw this when he was running against Hillary. The oppisite was true of her; the more they got to know her the more they liked her. Super delegates, you had better wake up if you want a dem in the whitehouse!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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