Democracy Corps: The Changing Presidential Race after the Conventions


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner / Democracy Corps

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Dcorps Memo: The Changing Presidential Race (PDF - 11 K)

Dcorps Survey Results (PDF - 13 K)

Executive Summary

The latest events in the presidential campaign have tightened the race dramatically. In Democracy Corps’ latest surveys of 1,000 likely voters nationally and 1,017 likely voters in the presidential battleground states, the vote margin has shifted 7 points towards John McCain nationally and 9 points in the battleground. This swing puts McCain ahead of Barack Obama by 2 points nationally (48 to 46 percent), consistent with the national public polls, and by 1 point in the battleground states (48 to 47 percent).

Though these results are challenging, this is still an election that Obama has at least an even chance of winning. In this memo, Stan Greenberg and James Carville analyze the new dynamics of the election that progressive Democrats and the Obama campaign should address to get the race back on track. Their recommendations include elevating Obama’s profile on strength, experience, honesty and national security to contesting Republicans on change and the economy and appealing to independent voters and targeting key groups among which Obama is underperforming (older women - especially seniors and unmarried, white union households and white non college men).

 

Key Findings

  • Partisans have made up their minds. Both parties have been successful in consolidating and energizing their bases during the convention. Barack Obama and John McCain are now getting roughly 90 percent of voters within their own party.
  • Palin's impact isn't the one the press has conveyed. In truth, rather than persuading Hillary Clinton’s supporters to vote for McCain, Palin drove Clinton’s primary voters further into the Obama camp, with roughly 80 percent of Clinton’s primary supporters now voting for Obama. Instead, the McCain-Palin ticket has solidified the support of white non-college men who are now voting for McCain by 63 to 29 percent nationally (a margin virtually identical to what Bush achieved against Kerry in 2004) and by 62 to 31 percent in the battleground states.

 

Methodology

Democracy Corps survey of 1,000 likely voters nationally and 1,017 voters in the battleground states conducted September 8-10, 2008. Battleground states include: CO, IA, IN, FL, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH, NM, NV, OH, PA, VA and WI.