• WisPolitics

Thursday, June 12, 2008

 12:22 PM 

Poll shows Obama with early lead on McCain

In the inaugural UW Dept. of Political Science/WisPolitics.com survey taken immediately after Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign, Barack Obama leads John McCain by a 13-percentage point margin in the Badger state.

The survey of 506 randomly selected probable voters was conducted by phone from June 8- June 10 under the direction of Charles Franklin and Ken Goldstein from the University of Wisconsin Department of Political Science (www.polisci.wisc.edu). It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

Consistent with evidence from other national surveys, the study paints a picture of a hostile political environment in the swing state of Wisconsin for Republicans in 2008. Eight in 10 Wisconsin voters think the country is going in the wrong direction, President George W. Bush has a favorability rating of only 30 percent, 66 percent believe that the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, and the top two issue concerns are the economy and getting U.S. soldiers out of Iraq.

Wisconsin was a key battleground in the presidential contests of 2000 and 2004 and saw extraordinarily tight contests in both years. Al Gore beat George W. Bush by 5,708 votes (0.2 percent) in 2000, and John Kerry bested Bush by 11,384 votes in 2004 (0.38 percent). Goldstein points out, "In both 2000 and 2004, party attachments in the state were virtually identical with equal numbers of voters identifying with the Democrats and the GOP. One of the striking results in this poll and consistent with other survey work I have done in the state, the Democrats now enjoy a major advantage in party identification." In the study, 38 percent of probable voters identified with the Democrats and 24 percent with Republicans.

Obama has very strong favorable ratings with 64 percent of Wisconsin probable voters saying they have a favorable opinion and 32 percent having an unfavorable opinion. McCain also has relatively strong favorables, too, at 53 percent to 44 percent. Obama is seen as the candidate to bring about change (70 percent to McCain's 42 percent) while McCain is seen as the experienced candidate (84 percent to Obama's 43 percent). Still, as the evidence shows, McCain faces a stiff headwind in Wisconsin

Party polarization is a striking feature of Wisconsin opinion at this time with 87 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans saying they would vote for their party's nominee if the election were held today. "For all the talk about a new politics, the electorate is sharply split,'' said Franklin. Among independents, Obama holds a nine-point lead, 46 percent to 37 percent for McCain with 17 percent undecided.

See the poll:


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