USA Today Touted Obama Lead; Sees 'Doubts, Divisions' in McCain Edge

When a USA Today poll found Barack Obama holding a six point lead over John McCain in late June, the newspaper trumpeted, "Poll: Obama Has Edge Over McCain." But when a USAToday/Gallup survey resulted in a four point spread for the Arizona senator, the July 29 print headline mildly offered, "Doubts, Divisions Seen in Tight Race."

The online adaption of Tuesday's article featured a more balanced take. It read, "McCain gains on Obama in poll" and both versions cited the Republican's improvements in the first sentence. But headlines are sometimes all people see. And there's a big difference between an "edge" and "doubts" and "divisions."

Now, it is true that McCain's lead is among likely voters and not registered voters. Whereas, USA Today's June poll showed Obama leading in both. But it's still a big swing considering the Illinois senator's international tour. And, one would think, headline worthy.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's site.