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Barack Obama has won the argument on Iraq. The latest NBC/WSJ Poll, released tonight, shows that 60% of the voters think a timetable is a good idea, and 30% think it's a bad idea. Arguments about the success of the surge are irrelevant.

This is not helping John McCain, who is floundering and (out of frustration, presumably) lashing out at Obama and taking a ton of heat for it. It's getting so bad, even Business Week says John McCain's Brand has Jumped The Shark. Ouch.

Back to the poll:
Presidential choice
6/08 (5/08) (4/08)
Barack Obama  47 (47) (46)
John McCain   41 (41) (43)

But Obama’s lead over McCain expands to 13 points when third-party candidates Ralph Nader and Bob Barr are added into the mix — with Obama at 48 percent, McCain at 35 percent, Nader at 5 percent and Barr at 2 percent. However, it’s important to note that the pro-Obama vote (48 percent) and anti-Obama vote (adding up to 42 percent) is consistent with the result from the two-way match up.

link

51% of voters are focused on what kind of president Obama will be vs. 27% for McCain.

55% want change, even if less experience, vs 40% for stability

Obama has greater risk (55%) vs. McCain (35%).

Obama is more mainstream (60% agree) compared to McCain (45%), but McCain has shared values lead.

43% of McCain supporters see him as the lesser of two evils vs. 22% for Obama.

Tony Blankley (MSNBC) reminds us this is eerily similar to 1980, and Obama is Ronald Reagan... the public wants him but won't commit until late.

Excited to vote for your candidate? 44% to 14% (guess who?)

In addition, the Republican Party’s brand is in tatters. President Bush’s approval rating is at 30 percent, up two points from last month’s poll. Also, for the 25th consecutive survey, more view the Republican Party negatively (48 percent) than positively (31 percent). By comparison, the Democratic Party has a 43-37 percent positive-negative rating.

Furthermore, just 13 percent in the poll believe that the country is headed in the right direction. That’s the lowest percentage on this question ever in the history of the NBC/Journal poll. [bolded mine] In July 1992 — the year that challenger Bill Clinton beat incumbent President George H.W. Bush — 14 percent said the nation was on the right track.

Perhaps more ominous for McCain, by 55-40 percent, voters say they prefer a presidential candidate who will bring greater changes — even if he’s less experienced and tested — to an experienced candidate who would bring fewer changes to existing policies.

"McCain can’t make this election about experience. Re-running Hillary’s campaign isn’t going to be enough," Newhouse says, referring to Sen. Hillary Clinton, whom Obama edged for his party’s nomination.

Bottom line: Obama holds the lead (no tightening), and attracts the most attention, excitement and interest. However, he has not made the sale as of July. That doesn't mean he won't. The Obama World Tour shows he can look Presidential. McCain will have to shake things up to win. That doesn't mean he can't, but it's not clear he's got it in him to do so.

But you knew that. The poll is merely affirmation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jul 23, 2008 at 04:30 PM PDT.

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