Tags: zogby | obama | leads | PA | MI

Zogby Poll: Obama Leads in 'Must Win' Pa., Mich.

Thursday, 10 Jul 2008 01:45 PM

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Sen. Barack Obama has the upper hand over Sen. John McCain in key Midwestern states and in the one swing state in New England, a new package of interactive polls conducted by Zogby International shows.

The surveys show the Democrat leading in Pennsylvania by 10 points and in Michigan by 14 points - both of which have been "blue" states favoring the Democratic presidential nominee in recent elections. Because of Obama's poor performance in both state primary elections this spring, speculation had arisen that he might have trouble holding those states this fall, but, at least for now, he appears to have the advantage.

Obama also leads in New Hampshire, once a reliably Republican "red" state that, because of an influx of younger, wealthier voters along the state's southern tier bordering Massachusetts, has begun to turn "blue." This is far from a clear-cut lead for Obama - he holds a three-point edge over McCain with 12% undecided.

In two other key Midwestern states - Ohio and Missouri - the race is too close to call, the Zogby polling and analysis shows. Both states played an important role in the two most recent presidential elections, with Ohio being the critical win that put Republican George W. Bush over the top four years ago. This latest Zogby polling indicates that these states are poised to again play a critical role in the presidential election this fall.

Zogby is watching with particular interest this year two classes of voters that heavily populate these and other key states. Labeled by Pollster John Zogby as "Equinox voters" - a reference to the twice-a-year time changes most Americans make to their clocks to coincide with the spring and fall seasons - one class of voters has "springing ahead" in the changing U.S. economy, while others are "falling back" economically because they have not been able to make such adjustments. Each of these states include healthy-sized populations of these classes of voters. While New Hampshire features an influx of "spring ahead" voters, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and parts of Missouri feature voters who are "falling back" economically.

The state-by-state polls are part of an extensive national polling package that included 46,274 likely voters. Details of this polling, along with an interactive map detailing the Zogby analysis of the presidential Electoral College race, are available at www.zogby.com.

Nationally, the poll found Obama leading McCain 44%-38%, with Libertarian Bob Barr of Georgia at 6%. In electoral votes, Obama leads McCain, 273-160. A total of 11 states with 105 electoral votes are within the margin of error

The online package of surveys was conducted from June 11-30, 2008. It carries a margin of error of 0.5 percentage points. After nearly a decade in development, the Zogby Interactive survey on a state level was remarkably accurate in the 2006 midterm elections. In 18 U.S. Senate elections polled two years ago, the Zogby online survey correctly identified the winner of 17 of 18 races, and in the 18th race - in Missouri, it was still within the margin of error, though it had Republican Jim Talent winning (he was defeated narrowly by Democrat Claire McCaskill).

Here is a rundown of battleground states in the Northeast and Midwest.

States Where Obama Leads

Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes)

Obama

McCain

Barr

Nader

Other/Not Sure

46%

36%

5%

2%

11%

The current picture makes the Democratic primary look irrelevant. Obama leads in every income group. Obama trails McCain by only 3% among both white and male voters, and his 14% deficit among seniors is less than in most states. Obama's margin is built primarily in Philadelphia and its suburbs, but he is close in both the central region and the Pittsburgh area.

2004 Outcome: Kerry 51% - Bush 47%

Michigan (17 electoral votes)

Obama

McCain

Barr

Nader

Other/Not Sure

47%

33%

6%

2%

12%

The economy seriously undercuts strengths McCain shows in other states. Obama is up 4% over McCain with white voters. The two are tied among men.  McCain's lead among those over 65 is only 7%, far less than in the rest of the nation.  The only income group favoring McCain are those above $250,000.

2004 Outcome: Kerry 51% - Bush 48%

New Hampshire (4 electoral votes)

Obama

McCain

Barr

Nader

Other/Not Sure

40%

37%

10%

2%

12%

McCain had best begin tacking right in New Hampshire in order to win back Barr's support among conservatives and libertarians, who combined make up more than 40% of the state's voters. McCain now receives 74% of Republicans, while 91% of Democrats stay with Obama. Independents are close, as Obama leads by 5%. McCain does best in the coastal areas.

2004 Outcome: Kerry 50% - Bush 49%

States With No Clear Leader

Ohio (20 electoral votes)

Obama

Obama

Barr

Nader

Other/Not Sure

43%

38%

7%

2%

12%

Barr's 7% represents more than the difference between Obama and McCain.  Otherwise, Ohio again reflects national patterns.  Young and old are split, with those 18-24 choosing Obama over McCain, 73%-9%. Their grandparents (ages 70+) go with McCain, 56%-30%. Obama wins the gender gap, leading among women by 18% and trailing among men by 9%. Suburban voters are dead even.  As for income, the lead moves from Obama to McCain when income reaches $75,000. While Obama wins big in Cleveland and Columbus, McCain is ahead in Cincinnati.

2004 Outcome: Bush 51% - Kerry 49%

Missouri (11 electoral votes)

Obama

McCain

Barr

Nader

Other/Not Sure

42%

40%

6%

1%

11%

Once again, Barr is hurting McCain here.  The margin between McCain and Obama here is due to: (1) Obama getting 85% of Democrats, compared to McCain's 80% of Republicans; (2) Obama has a 7% lead over McCain among independents.  Barr wins 7% of Republicans and 11% of independents.

2004 Outcome: Bush 53% - Kerry 46%

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