When a Newsweek poll showed last week that Barack Obama had a fifteen-point lead over John McCain, it was widely dismissed as an outlier. But a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll released last night showed another big lead for Obama: twelve points in a two-way race and fifteen points with independent candidates Ralph Nader and Bob Barr included. One poll, that’s nothing, don’t waste our time with that garbage. But two polls — that’s a horse of a completely different color. And that color, if it were in a box of creatively named Crayola crayons, let’s say, would be called “Ascendant Obama.” Not only is he looking dominant in the polls, but he’s hoping to use his bazillions of dollars to expand the electoral map this November.
• John B. Judis says that while national polls this early should be taken with a grain of salt, one question “jumps off the page”: When asked which candidate “cares more about people like you,” Obama walloped McCain, 50 to 23, which “says a lot to me about John McCain’s difficulties as a presidential candidate and does say something about Obama’s prospects in the fall.” [Stump/New Republic]
• Ben Smith writes that Obama thinks he can broaden the electoral map and will “focus his resources largely in 14 states George W. Bush won in 2004,” hoping to overturn states like Virginia, Indiana, and Georgia. [Politico]
• Mike Dorning writes that if Obama can motivate about 10 percent more young and African-American voters to turn out on election day, he could make major gains in nine states Bush won in 2004, and even win Iowa and New Mexico. [Swamp/Tribune ]
• Brian Montopoli says that it’s tempting for Democrats to believe that Obama has already wrapped up the race, but it may not be that simple. Michael Dukakis was up by ten points over George H.W. Bush in May 1988, and while Obama “is a far more charismatic campaigner” than Dukakis, “McCain’s chances may be better than these early national polls suggest.” Still, “it may be extremely difficult” for McCain to close the gap if Obama doesn’t make any “serious mistakes.” [Horserace/CBS News]
• Rick Klein and friends think one more poll like this one will result in “real panic in the GOP.” [Note/ABC News]
• Alex Koppelman writes that “it might be time to take these numbers seriously.” But he also notes that both the Los Angeles Times poll and the Newsweek poll surveyed a high proportion of Democrats, and that an accurate sample composition (meaning, “how many Democrats to include, how many Republicans and how many independents”) may be hard to figure out this year, as a “lot more Americans are identifying as Democrats than in previous years.” [War Room/Salon]
• David Weigel isn’t surprised that Nader and Barr take votes away from McCain: Voters want a Democrat for president, but if they find Obama too “weird and treasonous-seeming,” they’ll still not vote for McCain because he’s failed to “differentiate himself from the GOP brand.” [Hit & Run/Reason]
• John Podhoretz warns his readers not to kid themselves; “the lead is real.” [Contentions/Commentary]
• Eric Kleefeld points out that for all the talk about Obama’s problems with white voters, he’s actually tied with McCain in white support. In fact, “[i]n the unlikely event that every last white undecided were to break for McCain, Obama would be almost where John Kerry was in 2004 exit polling.” [TPM Election Central]
• Heidi Przybyla mentions some areas where Obama could use improvement: He is losing to McCain among independents, he’s with the minority on offshore drilling, and many votes say that he’s “too naïve and inexperienced for the job of president.” [Bloomberg] —Dan Amira
For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.