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In the two daily tracking polls for the general election, Gallup and Rasmussen, Barack Obama has shown significant, upward movement since he clinched the nomination on June 3rd. Here are the current standings in these two polls, with the immediate, pre-June 3rd results in parenthesis:
Obama: 48% (45%)
McCain: 42% (46%)
Obama: 50% (46%)
McCain: 44% (46%)
With only a 2% margin of error in each poll, both of these results are statistically significant. What's more, Obama appears to be rising even faster following Hillary Clinton's concession speech on Saturday than he rose from Wednesday through Friday. Since Clinton's speech, despite only a two-day sample, Obama has gained 5% relative to McCain in Gallup, and 3% relative to McCain in Rasmussen. Cumulatively, that is more than half of Obama's gain, despite only having a two-day sample (the tracking polls measure three days, according to both websites).
Since the start of 2008, at the national level, Pollster.com has shown Obama and McCain within 3% of each other or less, indicating that this would be a third consecutive close election where virtually the entire country already has its mind made up. As such, the question here is if Obama's rise over the past week is merely a temporary bump caused by the positive press following his clinching of the nomination, or if it is a long-term, solid 3-4% increase caused by the consolidation of the party now that the nomination campaign has ended. We would all do well to assume that the bump is the former, but to hope that it is the latter. There isn't enough data to confirm that Obama has consolidated the base at this time, but this is certainly a hopeful sign.