Obama leads McCain by 7 in open-ended poll question
Obama 45 McCain 38
The above Gallup poll doesn't list the candidates and ask which do you prefer, instead they just ask a general open-ended question of "who do you plan to vote for"?
I think this question avoids some of the common errors, such as:
1. Primacy - some people latch onto the first choice
2. Recency- some people tend towards who/what they heard last
3. Trying to impress the interviewer by saying what the respondent thinks is politically correct. ...and other issues I'm sure.
This also is a case of how the absence of evidence is evidence itself. If Obama had done worse than in regular polls, then an argument could be made as to the weakness of his perceived political strength, but since that didn't occur here, all is well for the Democrats.