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Fickleness pervades the polls

January 14, 2008 |  7:39 pm

How volatile -- in both parties -- are voter attitudes in the presidential races?

Like quicksilver, as two stats from an avalanche of new polls vividly illustrate.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey finds Barack Obama narrowing Hillary Clinton's lead nationwide among Democratic-leaning voters. And, digging into the numbers, a key reason is a striking reversal in preferences among blacks.

In an ABC/Post poll a month ago, Clinton led Obama among African-Americans, 52% to 39%. But the new survey found not only that Obama had erased his deficit within the demographic, but leads Clinton by 60% to 32% -- a margin of almost 2 to 1.

A CBS News/New York Times poll reports a similarly stunning shift among Republican-leaning voters that speaks to the rise of John McCain and the fall of ...

Rudy Giuliani.

Just a month ago, the survey found Giuliani easily besting McCain as the GOP's "most electable" White House contender, 43% to 7%. The new numbers are almost exactly reversed -- 41% named McCain as the party's best bet come November, 12% picked Giuliani.

The political world may soon have to come to grips with a recurring malady: Pollster whiplash.

-- Don Frederick