Politics & Government

Polls: No lasting boost for Obama from overseas trip

Barack Obama got no lasting boost from his ballyhooed trip last week to Europe and the Middle East, according to new national and swing state polls released Thursday.

And John McCain may have benefited from his rival's visit to Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, said Frank Newport, the Gallup Poll editor.

“McCain voters may have been energized,” Newport said. “They said they were paying more attention to the race.”

Many experts caution, however, that polls in the summers of presidential election years seldom mean much, and they warn voters not to take them seriously.

“It's my strong personal opinion that nothing (in politics) between the primaries and the end of the political conventions means anything,” said Brad Coker, the managing partner of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.

Gallup's daily sampling of 2,682 registered voters found Democrat Obama with a 45-44 percent lead over Republican McCain on Monday through Wednesday, a narrower margin that Obama had when he began his trip.

New Quinnipiac Polling Institute surveys Thursday found Obama's lead in three key swing states has dropped in recent weeks. McCain spent last week in key states promoting his energy plan, particularly his proposal to lift the ban on offshore oil drilling. That message may have resonated with voters, said Peter Brown, Quinnipiac assistant director.

“While Obama was on tour, trying to show voters he could handle world affairs, voters were home trying to fill their gas tanks,” Brown said. Obama was up 46-44 percent over McCain in Ohio and Florida, and ahead by 49-42 percent in Pennsylvania. The polls were conducted from July 23 through Tuesday.