A national Associated TV/Zogby International telephone poll of 1,011 likely voters conducted July 31-Aug. 1 finds Republican Sen. John McCain taking a razor-thin 42%-41% lead over Democrat Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the U.S. presidency.
The margin between the candidates is statistically insignificant, but demonstrates a notable turn-around from the Reuters/Zogby poll of July 7-9 that showed Obama ahead, 46%-36% in a four-way match-up that included Libertarian candidate Bob Barr of Georgia and liberal independent candidate Ralph Nader. McCain made significant gains at Obama’s expense among some of what had been Obama’s strongest demographic groups. For example: McCain gained 20% and Obama lost 16% among voters ages 18-29. Obama still leads that group, 49%-38%. Among women, McCain closed 10 points on Obama, who still leads by a 43%-38% margin. Obama has lost what was an 11% lead among Independents. He and McCain are now tied. Obama had some slippage among Democrats, dropping from 83% to 74%. Obama’s support among single voters dropped by 19%, and he now leads McCain, 51%-37%. Even with African-Americans and Hispanics, Obama shows smaller margins.
The survey results come as Obama, fresh off what had been characterized as a triumphant tour of the Middle East and Europe, including a speech to 200,000 Germans in Berlin. That trip quickly became fodder for an aggressive response ad by the McCain campaign that questioned whether Obama’s popularity around the world meant he was ready to lead the U.S.
“The McCain camp seems to have turned lemons into lemonade," says pollster John Zogby. "Huge crowds and mostly favorable press reviews of Obama’s overseas trip have been trumped by McCain’s attacks on Obama. Loss of support for Obama among young voters may also be due to his perceived reversals on issues they care about, such as the war and government eavesdropping.”
Electoral votes decide the Presidency, and this ATV/Zogby poll gives signs that McCain is making gains in winning key states. By region, McCain’s greatest gains came in the Central U.S. and in the West, home to several key battleground states. What was a narrow Obama lead in the Central U.S. is now a 45%-36% McCain edge. In the West, Obama’s 15% lead is gone, and McCain is now ahead, 43%-40%.
Catholics, who are always a critical voting bloc, favored Obama by 11% in mid-July. Now, they favor McCain by 15%.
Other groups where Obama’s lead has suffered include college graduates and those with family incomes of $25,000 to $35,000. Like the Zogby/Reuters poll, this one included Libertarian Bob Barr and Independent Ralph Nader. Both dropped just 1% between the two polls, with both now at 2%.
Obama’s largest lead in Zogby phone polling since he clinched the nomination was 10%, both in mid-May and again in mid-July.
This survey, commissioned by Associated TV, included 1,011 likely voters and was conducted July 31-Aug. 1, 2008. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.