Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It’s the Economy

Barack Obama has an eight-point lead over John McCain in the latest Washington Post poll.

Overall, the Democrat has a lead of 50 percent to 42 percent over Republican Sen. John McCain among registered voters nationwide, lifted by a big edge among women, and he has also regained an edge among political independents. But it is Obama’s 19-point lead on the economy that has become a particularly steep challenge for McCain.

Economic concerns continue to eclipse other issues, with half the country saying the economy will be “extremely important” to their vote. Gasoline and energy prices, which voters rarely mentioned at the start of the year, come in just behind. The Iraq war, which was again the subject of direct engagement between Obama and McCain yesterday, ranks third. A cluster of domestic issues, including education, health care and Social Security, ranked behind the war, as did the issue of terrorism.

Polls are snapshots and no indication of where the election will go, but it is worth noting that more people are worried about the economy, where the Democrats lead, than they are about Iraq, where it’s a lot closer. This is probably because the war is far more abstract to most people; they hear about it on the radio as they’re driving past the gas station with the sign that shows gasoline at $4.19 a gallon on their way to their bank that is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy to plead for relief from foreclosure.