Allow me, if you will, to share with you a bit of polling data that surfaced recently. While it may appear innocuous on first glance, given historical precedence and a little consideration, it may give us some insight into the outcome of the increasingly contentious and combative presidential race. And on closer inspection still, it may well portend ill for the presidential prospects of Senator John McCain. In an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released Friday, 50 percent of respondents stated they would prefer to watch a football game with Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama, while 47 percent picked his Republican rival, Senator John McCain. While the difference between the two is equal to only a field goal, it adds to Obamas regular guy winning streak established in the Quinnipiac Memorial Day picnic poll this past May. At the time, 35 percent of respondents chose the junior Senator from Illinois as their presidential contender of preference to chat with at the traditional summer kickoff cookout. Lagging close behind Obama again, McCain was the choice of 33 percent of respondents with Senator Hillary Clinton coming in third with 27 percent. On the face of it, these numbers appear trivial at best. Yet, with 77 percent of respondents in the Quinnipiac poll stating that a candidates likable personality was somewhat important to very important in terms of their ultimate decision on who would receive their presidential vote, the initial laugh of dismissal quickly give way to second, more thoughtful glances of concern. Based on a similar poll conducted during the 2004 presidential race, the McCain camp and Republicans might be well advised to give these results a closer look. In another Quinnipiac poll conducted in May, 2004, 50 percent of respondents indicated they would rather have a barbecue with President George Bush over the 39 percent that choose his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry; this, even though Senator Kerry - having married into the Heinz family fortune via his charming and effervescent wife Teresa - could clearly cover any condiment needs one might imagine. Reading the writing on the wall, Kerry later uncomfortably donned blaze orange in an ill-advised and poorly executed photo-op with a broken down shotgun he never actually fired in a blatently patronizing and ultimately futile self-demeaning attempt to establish his hunting credentials and "regular guy" bona fides. We all know how well that turned out for wind-surfin' Johnny in the end. As noted previously by your humble commentator, Obamas got a Bubba problem. For those of you not acquanited with Bubba, he is the proverbial Appalachian/Southern/Middle American "regular guy". Perhaps you'll recognize him by his more familiar nom de guerre; Joe Sixpack. Having been humiliated in the Kentucky and West Virginia primaries with memories of his condescending remarks about God and guns during the Pennsylvania primary still lingering in the back of voters minds; his ability to connect with Middle American voters and Joe has remained in doubt even after winning the Democratic nomination. Seizing on this, the McCain campaign ran a devastating ad in July comparing their erstwhile rival to such out-of-touch and effete celebutants as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. With images of Obama intercut with those of the vacuous duo, the ad caught his campaign off-guard and sent it into a disoriented spin that left it tactically off-balance till his historic nomination acceptance speech in Denver last month. However, with Obamas edging out McCain yet again in a measure of what can be referred to as the regular guy factor, it appears as that the Democrat may well be making inroads with Joe and his fellow average guy brethren. With remarks like, I bet he'd probably get pretty angry and lit up if his team was losing " and He seems intensely focused in a way I'm not sure he does sit down and relax.. characterizing the view of McCain held by some respondents, its clear that the Senator has a ways to go to enhance his regular guy appeal. Then again with the Senator commonly looking like Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny one can hardly expect him to be at the top of the list of those one might call on the spur of the moment to watch the big game with. Moreover, the publics perception of him is being the bitter old heckler that spends the entire game standing up barking at both his own teams coach as well as the refs, annoying everyone in the section hes seated in and turning an afternoon of fall football fun into three and half hours of unmitigated living Hell. Thanks, but Ill go ahead and scalp that extra ticket on second thought. Perhaps if respondents knew he could easily cover the beer with a delivery from his wifes Anheuser Busch distributorship his numbers might be somewhat more favorable. Failing to make significant gains in this area, though, the Senator may well find himself seeking solace in the popping of cold Bud caps instead of celebration in whizzing Dom Perignon corks come Election Night. For all you do, faithful readers, this Buds for you! Courtesy of Senator and Mrs. John McCain, of course. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and the clock winds down on the political equivalent of the Super Bowl!