Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

CNN: Post-Biden, The Election Now A "Dead Heat"

Posted Aug 25, 2008 at 1:27 AM by Maurice Berger

A CNN poll conducted entirely after Obama's naming of Biden as his running mate shows the race a dead heat, at 47%-47%. The survey, which indicates that McCain has gained ground since July, also suggests that the naming of Biden has failed to quell the concerns of some Clinton supporters. As the CNN's polling directer notes, “The number of Clinton Democrats who say they would vote for McCain has gone up 11 points since June, enough to account for most although not all of the support McCain has gained in that time.” 

Yet, it may be too soon to tell if this trend will hold. For one, the Obama campaign plans to use the Democratic National Convention to unify the party and heal wounds left over from the primaries. Perhaps as important is the unreliability of "flash polls"--surveys completed during or immediately after an important event or news story in question. Such polling gauges the effects of the incident or event in question on voter sentiment--in this case the nomination of Biden--over a highly compressed time period. Thus, the reaction time of voters may be insufficient for public opinion to be fully formed.