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 Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pew Research Center Poll: Obama’s Lead Widens

  Read here article by Susan Davis on Wall Street Journal

The presidential race is increasing breaking in Barack Obama’s favor, with the latest Pew Research Center poll giving the Illinois senator his widest lead yet, 52%-38%, over rival John McCain.

Contributing to Obama’s edge is increased voter confidence in his candidacy. In particular, a majority of voters, 53%-32%, identify Obama as the best candidate to improve the U.S. economy, the No. 1 issue in this election year.

McCain has also done himself no favors, according to the poll.

Fewer voters view McCain as “inspiring” as they did one month ago, with 37% saying so now, while 43% said so in mid-September. In contrast, 71% of voters identify Obama as inspiring.

More voters, 41%, also say McCain has poor judgment while just 29% say the same about Obama.

McCain’s age has also increasingly become an issue for voters.

At 72 years old, McCain would be the oldest president ever sworn in to a first term. About one-third, 34%, said McCain is “too old” to be president, up from 23% who said he was too old in September. As Pew notes, at this same stage in the 1996 race between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton, almost as many, 32%, said Dole was too old to be president.

McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, is also proving to be a drag on the Republican presidential ticket. Nearly half, 49%, have an unfavorable opinion of Palin.

Women under 50 years old in particular dislike Palin, with 60% holding an unfavorable view—up from 36% one month ago.


  1. Ipsos/McClatchy poll

    Read here article by STEVEN THOMMA from McClatchy Newspapers

    Entering the homestretch, Barack Obama leads John McCain by 50 percent to 42 percent and appears to be gaining strength on key issues despite a barrage of criticism from his rival.

    A new Ipsos/McClatchy poll out Tuesday found:

    -Obama, the Democrat, supported by 50 percent of likely voters.

    -McCain, the Republican, supported by 42 percent.

    -Independent candidate Ralph Nader supported by 1 percent.

    The Ipsos/McClatchy poll of 773 likely voters was taken last Thursday through Monday. It has an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

    "Likely voters" are those who are registered to vote and display some measure of intense engagement in the election.

    The first Ipsos/McClatchy poll taken since the third and final debate between the major candidates offered several signs of growing strength for Obama and troubling weaknesses for McCain.

    On issues, Obama has gained ground among voters across the board, even on issues where McCain still has an advantage and on some where the Republican usually would expect to be ahead.

    On taxes, for example, likely voters now prefer Obama over McCain by a margin of 8 percentage points. This is despite a concerted effort by McCain and running mate Sarah Palin to cast Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal who would raise taxes on ordinary folks such as Joe the Plumber, an Ohio man whom McCain cited repeatedly in the last debate and since then in ads and on the campaign trail.

    On family values, a subject Republicans have used to court Christian conservatives and suburban moderates since the 1980s, likely voters now prefer Obama over McCain by 8 points. That's up from 3 points in mid-September.

    Voters also prefer Obama over McCain to handle jobs and the economy by 16 points and health care by 24 points, both wider margins than earlier Ipsos/McClatchy polls found. That reflects the traditional Democratic advantage on those issues and a barrage of Obama ads in battleground states ripping McCain's health care proposals.

    Likely voters still prefer McCain over Obama on the issues of national security and foreign policy. However, McCain's advantage on national security, 12 percentage points, had narrowed sharply from the 23- to 28-point edge he'd had in weekly Ipsos/McClatchy polls since Labor Day.

    More troubling for McCain's prospects: Voters don't care as much about the issues on which he's strong. They rank the economy as their top priority by 3-1 over national security, a distant second. Foreign policy is dead last.

    Obama benefits from a significant gender gap, leading among women by 16 points while trailing among men by 1 point. He also leads among voters aged 18-34, those aged 35-54, Hispanics and blacks. The two candidates split older voters.

    McCain leads among whites, 51-40 percent.

    In another sign of Obama's growing strength, his support is becoming more solid in the final weeks, as McCain continues to show some weakness even among his own supporters.

    Among Obama supporters, 92 percent said they'd definitely vote for him and 6 percent more said they'd probably vote for him. Just 2 percent said they still could change their minds.

    Among McCain supporters, 81 percent said they'd definitely vote for him and 12 percent said they'd probably vote for him. Seven percent said they could change their minds.

    That relative softness among McCain's support helps explain why Obama is spending his final campaign push in once reliably Republican states such as Florida, Virginia and Indiana, looking to win over McCain voters.

  2. Harris Poll

    Read here

    A new Harris Poll finds that if the election were held now, 50 percent of likely voters would vote for Barack Obama and 44 percent would vote for John McCain.

    This six point lead for Senator Obama is larger than in late September when he led by only one point among likely voters, 47 percent to 46 percent.

    These are the results of a Harris Poll of 2,119 adults of whom 1,390 were likely voters, surveyed online between October 16 and 20, 2008.

    We have defined as likely voters registered voters who are highly motivated to vote on or before November 4th.

    In previous elections there were sometimes substantial differences between the voting intentions of likely voters and registered voters, but in this poll there is no significant difference, and Obama's lead among all registered voters is eight percentage points.

    Demographic Analysis

    Demographic analysis of likely voters reveals several interesting patterns:

    -- Among those who say they are certain of their vote choice, Obama has an eight point lead;

    -- Looking at previous presidential voting, among Bush voters in 2004, McCain has a lead of 63 points. Among 2004 Kerry voters, Obama has a lead of 78 points;

    -- This year's primary was a long one and many more people voted than in previous years. Among those who voted in a primary or participated in a caucus this year, Obama has an 8 point lead. Looking at those who did not vote in a primary, his lead goes down to four points;

    -- When the Democratic primary ended, there was a lot of talk about dissatisfied Hillary Clinton supporters perhaps not voting for Obama. Among those who supported Hillary in the primaries, Obama has a 62 point lead; however, 16 percent would vote for John McCain;

    -- Obama leads by twenty-two points in the East and nineteen points in the West. McCain leads by fourteen points in the South. The race is closer in the Midwest where Obama's lead is eight points;

    -- Obama's support is much stronger among younger voters; he has a 26 point lead among Echo Boomers, those aged 18 to 31. McCain does better among older voters and has a lead of 2 points among Matures, those aged 63 and over. He also has a two point lead among Generation Xers (those aged 32-43) while Obama has a 6 point lead among Baby Boomers, those aged 44-62;

    -- The gender gap has returned as Obama leads by 15 points among women. McCain leads by one point among men. Among women, there is a large marital gap as Obama leads by 33 points among single women while McCain leads up three points among married women;

    -- Obama has a huge 82 point lead among blacks and a clear 16 point lead among Hispanic voters. McCain leads by 11 points among whites;

    -- Overwhelming majorities of Republicans and Democrats support their candidates. The critical Independent voters are still almost equally split (Obama 45%, McCain 43%);

    -- Looking at education levels, McCain does best among people with only a high school education or less with a five point lead. Obama leads by nine points among college graduates and 25 points among those with a post graduate education;

    -- The race is close among people with household incomes over $50,000 but Obama enjoys a 21 point lead among people with incomes under $35,000; and,

    -- Conservatives and Liberals split predictably. Obama has a 26 point lead among moderates.

    So What?

    These results raise two important questions.

    Given the generally favorable media coverage of the Obama campaign, the polls all showing Obama doing better than McCain in the debates, Obama's ability to outspend his opponent, and the extremely unpopular Republican administration, one might have expected Obama to be leading by a much larger margin than six percentage points.

    Another concern for the Obama campaign is turnout, and specifically the turnout of the youngest potential voters, among whom he enjoys a big lead. Historically, they do not normally come out to vote in large numbers.

    Since the race is much tighter among those other generations who do come out and vote, the Obama campaign really needs to ensure the younger voters turn out on Election Day. If they do not, it could be an even tighter race than the numbers now show.

    Read here for more details of the polls

  3. Cable News Network/Opinion Research Corporation (CNN/ORC) poll
    Read here

    According to a Cable News Network/Opinion Research Corporation (CNN/ORC) poll released on Monday, 51 percent of likely voters questioned over the weekend support Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, while 46 percent back Republican nominee John McCain.

    That five-point advantage for Obama is down from an eight-point lead he held over McCain in the last CNN/ORC national poll, conducted Oct. 3-5.

    The latest poll found fewer people believe that McCain, if elected, would mostly carry out the policies of Republican President George W. Bush, who remains unpopular among Americans, polls have shown for nearly two years.

    Forty-nine percent of those questioned in the latest poll said McCain would mostly carry out Bush's policies, down from 56 percent in the previous poll.

    Illinois Senator Obama held onto his six-point advantage in the new Poll of Polls, with 50 percent of voters saying he was their choice for president, while 44 percent backed McCain, and six percent were undecided.

    The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the latest national polls. The latest CNN/ORC poll found that 53 percent said Obama would better handle the current U.S. economic crisis, with 38 percent saying McCain would do a better job on that issue.

    Sixty-three percent in the poll said Obama would do better at helping the middle class, almost double the 32 percent who felt McCain would do better for the middle class.

    Recent polls show the U.S. economy remains by far the most important issue among Americans this election year.

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