Gallup: McCain 49% – Obama 45%!

The latest Gallup / USA Today poll shows John McCain with a statistically insignificant 4% lead over Barack Obama among likely voters, a +10 McCain surge since June. Among all registered voters, people who will vote and people who won’t vote, there is still a slight preference for Obama.

John McCain’s surge has analysts puzzled. While Obama got most of the media attention on a mad dashing tour in Europe, McCain worked quietly on the home front addressing economic problems to a domestic audience.

Earlier there appeared to be a two day upswing for Obama building, but that was erased after the weekend. Rasmussen Reports polls Obama only 3% ahead, which includes the weekend sample which generally skews Democratic. Veteran political pundits are giving John McCain excellent chances.

According to pollster Bill McInturff, there is a reason for Obama’s drop.

“They’ve known John McCain for years. But people say in focus groups, ‘Who the heck is Barack Obama? Had you heard of him before six months ago?'”

There also appears to be a backlash against what many people consider over-the-top coverage of Obama in Europe. The last news on that trip was when Obama canceled a trip to visit wounded troops, which seems to have outdone any impressions that came earlier in the week. That story seems to resonate as the McCain surge is showing.

Additionally, while Iraqi President al-Maliki’s gaffe appeared to help Obama among the chattering class, voters may have interpreted it to wonder if Obama was cozying up too much in the Middle East.

McCain’s economic plan appears to be gaining strength, particularly a comprehensive plan to address high gas prices and the energy crisis in the long-term. As the public learns the details of Obama’s policies, they may be turning to McCain for vision.

Obama’s collapse in the Gallup / USA Today poll may be an aberration or it may be the beginning of the end for the Democrat hopeful. The poll was conducted July 25-27, 2008, using 791 likely voters.

McCain Surge, Obama Collapse (Video)