Greenberg Quinlan Rosner / Democracy Corps
Democracy Corps


The New Electorate Memo (PDF - 13 K)


Executive Summary

In their previous memo, “The Obama Gap,” Stan Greenberg, James Carville and Andrew Baumann first identified the demographics where Obama was strongest and the groups with which he most struggled. This new report updates the previous analysis and reassesses Obama’s standing now that the general election is in full swing. Specifically, this research - which is based on over 3,000 interviews conducted with likely voters throughout the nation over a month and a half - identifies the groups where Obama is underperforming John Kerry’s performance in 2004 or Congressional Democrats’ performance in 2006. Obviously, Obama’s goal is to run better than Kerry did, but the Democrats’ 2006 performance provides a useful point of comparison for any aspirations of replicating the wave election of two years ago.


Key Findings

  • Obama currently leads John McCain by about 4 points - 6 points ahead of Kerry’s 2.4 point margin of defeat against Bush in 2004, but 4 points behind congressional Democrats’ landslide performance of 2006.
  • Much of Obama’s strength is built on his support with young voters and African Americans as well as his appeal, and the Republicans’ problems, with moderates. He is also performing extremely well with certain groups of white younger women and in the suburban areas that have been slowly trending Democratic across the nation.
  • Obama is locked in a dogfight with McCain over independent voters, and he is currently lagging the performance of Kerry in 2004 and especially congressional Democrats in 2006 among some key groups of white independents. In particular, Obama is underperforming among white independent men and women, older white independents and white independents with a college degree.



This report combines data from two recent Democracy Corps Surveys: Democracy Corps national survey of 2,000 likely voters conducted June 22-25, 2008 and Democracy Corps national survey of 1,004 likely voters conducted July 21-24, 2008.