The First PollAOL has begun their weekly straw poll for the General Election. After you vote in the poll, it might behove you to closely examine the results. Those results so far would give John McCain a hearty electoral vote landslide. Further, the results in Ohio and Missouri show McCain leading by 10 and 15 points in each State, respectively.
Many will argue-and rightly so- that this kind of poll is not reliable. If this were the only poll being taken, I would say that those who make this argument have a real point. However, this will be a week-by-week exercise, similar to the primary straw poll that AOL conducted, and in which the casual observer could clearly see the changes in the national mood. The poll went from Hllary Clinton having a sizable lead among Democrats to Obama having one, and by the time of the last weekly poll, Barack Obama was reflected as the State-by-State choice-albeit just barely.
One thing the AOL poll is showing is where the swing States will be. McCain has a sizable lead in New Hampshire, but leads by only four points in Wisconsin and two in Michigan. I would expect McCain's poll lead in Vermont, which is one of just a few single votes, to ebb away, as with Maine. McCain has a 50-50 margin in Minnesota as well. The online vote in Wisconsin and Michigan is very close.
This is a poll worth watching because if the primary poll that AOL ran is any indication, the leader in the week before the election could be the winner of the General Election. In polling so far, John McCain is carrying all of the base Red States and barely hanging on in swing States. That is all John McCain needs to do to win in November.
While not a reliable arbiter, the AOL poll does show yet aother painfully close Red-Blue election, and regardless of the final outcome, that is very likely how the 2008 vote will be remembered.