Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Poll Dance

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2008 at 12:45 PM

The headline for today’s new Washington Post-ABC News poll on the presidential race is about independent voters: The poll finds independents evenly split between McCain and Obama. Overall, Obama leads in this poll by six points (48-42) among all voters and by four points (49-45) among registered voters. The Post story calls independents “a constituency critical to the Republican's hopes of winning the presidency,” implying perhaps that the even split among them is hopeful news for McCain. Obviously, national polls are more about tapping the vibe of the campaign than predicting a November outcome, which requires state-by-state math. But inside this poll there are some signs that the McCain people have to regard as pretty seriously troubling. For instance:
Seventeen percent of McCain voters say there is a good chance they’ll change their mind; only 7 percent of Obama voters say this. An astonishingly low 14 percent say the country is headed in the right direction; 84 percent say wrong track. Whom do you trust more to handle the economy? Obama 52-36. Health care? Obama 53-33. Energy policy? Obama 51-36. Gas prices? Obama 50-30. Iraq? McCain 47-46. International affairs? McCain 49-43. Terrorism? McCain 53-39. What is the single most important issue in your choice for president? (1) economy (33 percent), (2) Iraq (19 percent), (3) health care (8 percent), (4) gas/energy (6 percent), (5) terrorism (4 percent).
These are perhaps the most remarkable results:
Who is the stronger leader? Tie 46-46. Who better represents your own personal values? Obama 51-38. Who would do more to bring needed change? Obama 60-26. Who better understands problems of people like you? Obama 53-35. Who would do more to stand up to lobbyists/special interests? Obama 51-36.
And finally,
Should a president meet with leaders of countries hostile toward the U.S.? 77 yes, 20 no. Would McCain lead the country in new direction or continue Bush’s direction? 38 new, 57 continue.
It would appear that McCain’s efforts to redefine himself as distinct from W. and to depict Obama as naive and unqualified have quite a long way to go.

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