Sabato: Obama’s ‘Risky’ Trip Has a Big Payoff

The McCain campaign just released another statement taking issue with what they argue is the presumptuousness of Obama’s speech in Berlin today:

"While Barack Obama took a premature victory lap today in the heart of Berlin, proclaiming himself a ‘citizen of the world,’ John McCain continued to make his case to the American citizens who will decide this election," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement. "Barack Obama offered eloquent praise for this country, but the contrast is clear. John McCain has dedicated his life to serving, improving and protecting America. Barack Obama spent an afternoon talking about it."

Recent polls have suggested the race might be tightening in battleground states, even as Obama dominates the national and global media during his sweep through the Iraq, the Middle East and Europe.

I asked Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, if McCain’s message–that Obama is taking a "premature victory lap"–might be contributing to that tightening.

His answer was that the polls are not, in fact, tightening.

"This is not a particularly close race," he said. "[Obama] has a steady five-to-six-point margin."

Sabato said that the polls actually remained "amazingly static," and that Obama’s trip has "firmed up his support."

"People want to get a sense of the candidate and he has to pass a certain threshold," said Sabato. "This is a critical threshold that he has passed. He can do this."

"This was such a risky move to do," said Sabato, arguing that a misstep on the international stage would have drawn attention to Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience. "But it has paid off big time for him."

  Sabato: Obama’s ‘Risky’ Trip Has a Big Payoff