Despite the intense media coverage Sen. Barack Obama is receiving during his much-touted foreign trip abroad, a just-released FOX News poll shows no significant bounce in the Democratic presidential hopeful’s overall numbers.
Obama, the sampling shows, is hanging on to just a thin head-to-head lead over Republican challenger Sen. John McCain, 41 percent to 40 percent. Interestingly enough, those numbers are down from the 45 percent to 41 percent edge he had over McCain just a month ago.
Obama has a narrow 2 percentage point edge among independents, the poll shows, 34 percent to 32 percent, with 34 percent undecided.
McCain, on the other hand, has 86 percent of those who say they are Republicans backing his bid for the White House in November, while Obama is receiving a 75 percent showing of support from those calling themselves Democrats.
When third party candidates are included, McCain’s support declines slightly. Independent candidate Ralph Nader receives 2 percent of the vote, and Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr receives less than 1 percent, which changes Obama’s advantage slightly, 40 percent to 37 percent. Another 17 percent are undecided.
"It seems increasingly clear that this race will come down to which candidate can better appeal to the roughly one-third of independent voters who remain undecided," says Ernie Paicopolos, a principal of Opinion Dynamics, the company that conducted the poll for FOX News.
The poll shows 29 percent say Obama’s overseas popularity makes them more likely to vote for him, yet nearly an equal 27 percent say it would make them less likely to vote for him. In addition, 41 percent of respondents to the poll say Obama’s foreign standing makes no difference to them. By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans think Obama’s foreign tour is more a campaign event (47 percent) than a fact-finding mission (19 percent).
In regard to Iraq, nearly half (47 percent) think Obama already had his mind made up on the conflict before he embarked on his journey abroad, while 37 percent believe what he learns from the trip might end up influencing his position.
So where’s the bounce many of the political pundits in the media expected from Obama’s travels to Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East?
When asked by FOX News cable show host Sean Hannity about his reaction to the overwhelming news coverage of Obama's foreign trip and how it may or may not affect his popularity in the polls prior to the general election, McCain responded by saying, "All I can do is be amused. It is what it is."
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