First Read has a serious question about current polling:
But do consider this question: Which candidate has the bigger problem in the polls -- Obama (who seems to have hit a ceiling in the high 40s) or the better-known McCain (who's stuck in the low 40s in many national or state polls)?
Yes, do consider this question.
Is it better for a candidate to be polling in the high forties or in the low forties? Seriously, think about this one for a while, because the answer isn't as obvious as it seems.
If you are trying to win an election, is it better to be ahead, or behind, in the polls? This question has haunted philosophers since Kirkegaard.
Let me rephrase: is it better to have more public support or less public support? I guess the answer depends on whether or not you hate bands once they become popular. Someone could make a case that McCain isn't actually trying to win the election, and thus being stuck in the low-forties is actually good for him. Still, after lots of tortured inner reflection, I think First Read came on the right answer:
It's a problem for both, but the fact that McCain can't get past 45% in so many polls could be the bigger problem.
Yes, I would have to agree that trailing in the polls is a bigger problem than not trailing in the polls. Good thinking, First Read.
That they even felt compelled to ask the question is demonstrative of a long-standing pundit reflex to argue that everything is good for Republicans.