Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Proof in the Pudding

One final post for the day on centrism in light of today's Rasmussen polling data. The data show that over the last month and a half, Obama's "move to the center" has worked, at least insofar as it has resulted in significantly fewer people perceiving him as a "liberal" and more people perceiving him as a "moderate." But the data also helps to disprove the notion that "moving to the center" inherently increases a candidate's potential support. Comparing the change in the perception of Obama's "centrism" with Rasmussen's daily election tracking poll, you will see that Obama's lead over McCain has barely budged since Hillary Clinton dropped out of the Dem race on June 7- the entire time. Except for a few days in mid-June, Obama's lead (without leaners) has consistently been between 5 and 7 points and his overall (without leaners) support has held steady between 45 and 48 percent. If you include leaners, the analysis remains exactly the same.

Although I have no idea how much change there has been in the composition of Obama's 45-48 percent in that period, what is clear is that the increased perception of him as a "centrist" and the decreased perception of him as a "liberal" have done nothing to increase the overall size of his supporting coalition. And that is precisely the point of my previous posts decrying the utility of "centrism."

(Via memeorandum)

UPDATE: Chris Bowers at Open Left noticed the same thing.