Obama Increases Lead in Swing States, Among Women Voters, And New Voters

The latest polls coming out of the swing states provide bad news for John McCain. Obama is solidifying leads in battleground blue states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. In recent days Obama had already taken leads in several states which had voted for Bush in either 2000 or 2004: New Mexico, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Colorado. While victory in none of these states is guaranteed, if Obama can just maintain leads in all four of these, along with holding all the other blue states, he would win a narrow victory in the electoral college. In addition polls have shown that several red states are competitive, with Obama leading or coming close in states including Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, Missouri, Florida, and Ohio.

The last two red states have received considerable attention from their roles in the 2000 and 2004 elections. The latest Qunnipiac Polls show increasing leads for Obama in both states as well as in Pennsylvania:

  • Florida: Obama up 49 – 43 percent pre-debate and 51 – 43 percent post-debate;
  • Ohio: Obama up 49 – 42 percent pre-debate and 50 – 42 percent post-debate;
  • Pennsylvania: Obama ahead 49 – 43 percent pre-debate and 54 – 39 percent post-debate.

McCain is in denial about these results:

These polls are laughable. We hope Obama thinks they’re true. The national tracking is clear: Some polls have us down 2 percent, some 4, some as high as 6. How could you have national numbers like that, but have those kinds of numbers in three of the largest, most competitive states in the country? These states are bellwethers because they closely mirror national demographics. Given the volume of campaigning in those states, we expect that they are close to the national track – if not tighter.

Obama is certainly not going to accept these results as indicating a sure victory and the campaign has expressed skepticism. Still, there are major problems with McCain’s logic. He is further behind in the national polls than he indicates, and it is certainly possible that Obama could have greater leads in battleground states where he is concentrating attention. Obama’s campaign certainly showed an ability to concentrate on delegates as opposed to worrying about the national totals in the primaries and is showing the same concentration on the electoral college. In contrast, McCain’s campaign often does not appear to know what it is doing, such as recently coming under criticism for the time spent in Iowa. McCain’s heavy leads in the south and other strong Republican states might result in the national polls showing the race as being closer than it actually is.

The Quninpiac numbers could either be an outlier or the first signs of a trend. Various other results suggest advantages for Obama going into the final month. Pew Research Center shows an improvement in Obama’s leadership image, negating McCain’s earlier advantages in facing a less experienced candidate. Time finds not only that Obama is increasing his lead but that he is picking up more woman voters:

Obama now leads McCain 50%-43% overall, up from 46%-41% before the parties’ conventions a month ago. Obama’s support is not just broader but sturdier; 23% of McCain supporters said they might change their mind, while only 15% of Obama’s said they could be persuaded to switch.

Among the poll’s most dramatic findings: McCain is losing female voters faster than Sarah Palin attracted them after the Republican National Convention. Obama leads McCain by 17 points with women, 55%-38%. Before the conventions, women preferred Obama by a margin of 10 points, 49%-39%. After McCain picked Palin as his running mate, the gap narrowed to a virtual tie, with Obama holding a 1-point margin, 48%-47%.

In a stark indication of just how much the political landscape has changed over the past four years, white women now favor Obama by three points, 48%-45%; in 2004, George W. Bush won the same demographic by 11 points against John Kerry. Where Bush carried married women by 15 points in that election, 57%-42%, Obama now leads by 6 points, 50%-44%, a 21-point shift.

McCain came back from behind in the national polls after the Democratic convention with the attention from choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate. While the novelty of the choice helped short term, there is the possibility that making such an absurd choice will ultimately make John McCain unelectable. Marc Ambinder finds Palin to be a reason for McCain’s drop in the polls. He also cites the advantages of the choice, including fund raising and drawing more attention to McCain’s campaign.This is consistent with my view of the Palin pick. By energizing the far right, choosing Palin improves turn out and prevents the landslide loss which otherwise would occur, but also makes it more difficult for McCain to actually win in many swing states or win a national election.

Perhaps the worst news of all for Republicans in the long run is that new voters and those who didn’t vote in 2004 back Obama over McCain 61% to 30% in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News/ MySpace poll. The big question with such voters is how many will turn out, but Obama has showed an ability to get young voters to turn out in the primaries.

1 Comment

  1. 1
    Voncea Edwards says:

    McCain is spending way too much time  bashing Obama, while Obama is sticking to the issues at hand, such as our economy.  McCain always avoid the questions when asked.  Then he starts in on Obama again.  Obama tells the people what his plans are for the future but McCain I believe he doesn’t have a clue on what hes going to do.  He promises the middle class and the low income famalies nothing! I truly believe that his formost priority is to protect the wealthy and their money.  The republican party has already lost the confidence of the people, and McCain and Palin or only making it worse with their bad jokes and imaginary people like joe the plumer who still yet didn’t endorse his vote to mcCain in the public. Mr Obama should let him have the slogan about change, his new slogan should read Obama For The People!

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