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18% Of Likely Voters “Undecided”

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This is the reality of the race. Voters always want a change after eight years, but to Obama? Not only is he almost inconceivably inexperienced for the toughest job in the world, he’s got a long record of terrible judgments about people –Ayers, Rezko, and Wright to name the big three– and hist first big decision turns out to be Slow Joe “no more coal plants in America!” Biden. The challenges at home and the crises abroad have left a very sober electorate that knows well that Obama is in way over his head, but the MSM’s deep investment in Obama’s success has kept him afloat since Operation Chaos began the process of unmasking his many weaknesses.

McCain-Palin by contrast is a very different combination of the old warrior and the new young reformer without much national identification but amazing charisma. McCain’s decades of battles with the base left him without a grassroots energy until he selected Palin and that transformative choice is still only dimly understood by the Manhattan-Beltway media bigs. Polls show Obama in the lead, but they also show McCain with surprising momentum in game changing states like Pennsylvania and Michigan. The poll analysis will be very disturbing for Obama supporters:

Persuadable voters give McCain and Obama even marks on the economy, as well as other financial issues, including Social Security, gas prices, the budget deficit and housing prices. That underscores the opportunity each has to try to maneuver for an edge on the economy as a whole.

Among these uncommitted voters, McCain leads on Iraq, terrorism, taxes, corruption, immigration and gun rights, while Obama has an edge on health care, gay marriage, the environment, stem-cell research, racial equality and education.

The Midwest is home to more of these up-for-grabs voters. That’s not surprising given that seven large states in the region are among the most hotly contested battlegrounds -Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Among these undecided voters, Democrats are much less intensely behind Obama than Republicans are behind McCain. Obama appears to have more people on the bubble, and many of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s former backers haven’t fully committed, while McCain’s backers are hard-core Republicans and enthused by his running mate selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The Hillary voters know her presidential ambitions are finished if Obama wins, but also knows she will be the nominee in 2012 if McCain wins. How many millions of them will say “Obama” but pull the lever for McCain? And how many undecideds will ultimately decide these are not the times to throw the dice on a new comer from the Chicago machine with long associations to radicals and crooks?

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