Research Impacts - Polls

Obama Lead Tight Over McCain

Release Date: 6/26/2008
 
By Seth Brohinsky and Mark Schulman, Abt SRBI

Time/Abt SRBI Poll: Obama Lead Tight Over McCain

Democrat Barack Obama holds only a slim 47% - 43% lead over John McCain among likely voters, with 8% undecided, according the latest national Time Magazine Poll, conducted June 19 – 25.

Without those “leaning” to either candidate, Obama holds a 5-point lead over his Republican rival, 43% - 38%, with 17% undecided.


And what if the candidates in the November election were Barack Obama and John McCain,
And you had to choose, for which of these candidates would you vote?

Base: Registered likely voters

 

Firm Support (%)

"Leaning Support" (%)

(Base: Undecided / Unsure registered likely voters)

Total Support Including "Leaners"

 (%)

Barack Obama

43

20

47

John McCain

38

30

43

Other Candidate

2

2

2

Undecided/Don’t know

17

46

8


Democratic Primary Scars Remain

The poll finds little evidence of the expected Obama post-primary “bounce.” The Obama vote still reflects some scars from the hard-fought Democratic primary battle with Hillary Clinton.

  • Female voters, a traditionally Democratic vote, split evenly between Obama (45%) and McCain (44%).
  • 1 in 4 voters (26%) who supported Clinton in the primary now favor McCain.

McCain Underperforming Among Males and Whites

McCain also faces challenges with males -- a traditional Republican constituency. Obama holds a slight lead among male voters, 49%-42%. Bush won 55% of the male vote in 2004, according to the NEP exit polls.

McCain maintains only a 9-point lead among white voters, 49% – 40%. In 2004, however, Bush swept the white vote 58% - 41% over Kerry, according to the exit polls.

  • Black votes overwhelmingly support Obama, 92% - 4%.


And what if the candidates in the November election were Barack Obama and John McCain
And you had to choose, for which of these candidates would you vote?

Base: Registered likely voters

 

Total Support Including "Leaners" (%)

White (%)

Black (%)

Republican (%)

Democrat (%)

Independent (%)

Barack Obama

47

40

92

12

79

44

John McCain

43

49

4

82

13

43

Other Candidate

2

3

-

1

2

3

Undecided/Don’t know

8

8

4

5

6

9


Change vs. Terrorism Threat

The head-to-head comparisons between Obama and McCain on various issues indicate that the election could be won or lost depending upon which issues trump the others. Obama soundly beats McCain on the “change” issue – taking on special interests. McCain drubs Obama on combating terrorism. On the top issue of the day, handling the economy, the Democrat holds only a slim lead over his Republican rival.

Obama’s strengths over McCain hinge on his likeability and his edge on handling the economy, the number one issue right now.

  • Most likeable: Obama tops McCain, 58% - 23%.
  • Take on special interests: Obama over McCain, 46% - 31%.
  • Best understands concerns of people like myself: Obama beats McCain, 47% - 36%.
  • Best able to handle the economy, Obama over McCain by a slim 44% - 37%.

McCain’s overwhelms Obama by 20 points in combating terrorism, 53% - 33%. He also leads Obama in handling the situation in Iraq, 48% - 38%.

A majority of likely voters (55%) say Hillary Clinton’s chances in the general election would be helped by having Barack Obama as her Vice-Presidential running mate. About one-quarter (24%) believe it will have no effect and just one-in-ten (11%) say it will hurt her chances.

The Iraq Paradox

Voters prefer McCain on handling Iraq. Yet a majority of voters, 56% - 39%, favor bringing the troops home in a year or two rather than waiting until Iraq is stable.

 Which candidate would best be described by each of the following statements….
Base: Registered likely voters

 

Barack Obama (%)

John McCain (%)

Net Difference (%)

Not Sure / Don't know (%)

Is the most likeable

58

23

35

6

Best understands the concerns of people like myself

47

36

11

5

Would best protect the U.S. against terrorism

33

53

20

8

Best be able to handle the economy

44

37

7

9

Would best handle the situation in Iraq

38

48

10

9

Will take on special interests in Washington

46

31

15

11

Is closest to your views on so-called values issues, such as abortion and gay marriage

40

39

1

15


 
Methodology

This Time Magazine poll was conducted by telephone June18 – 25, 2008 among a national random sample of 805 likely voters, age 18 and older throughout America.

The margin of error for the entire sample is approximately +/- 3 percentage points. The margin of error is higher for subgroups. Surveys are subject to other error sources as well, including sampling coverage error, recording error, and respondent error.

The sample’s partisan distribution is as follows:

  • Democrats: 36%
  • Republicans: 28%
  • Independents: 28%

Abt SRBI Public Affairs designed the survey and conducted all interviewing.

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