Zogby: Obama Leads in 6 of 8 Battleground States

Monday, 27 Oct 2008 10:45 AM

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UTICA, New York — Reuters/Zogby telephone surveys of eight battleground states show Democrat Barack Obama ahead in six. While his lead over Republican John McCain is less than three points in Florida, Missouri and North Carolina, these results still point out the daunting task McCain faces to reach the 270 Electoral College votes needed for election.

The surveys were conducted from Oct. 23-26. Sample sizes in each state ranged from 600-603, with a margin of error of +/- 4.1%.

In addition to the states listed above, Obama also leads in Ohio, Nevada and Virginia. McCain leads in Indiana and West Virginia.

Pollster John Zogby: “McCain is well within striking distance in each of the six states in which he trails. None of Obama’s leads are outside the margin of error. However, unless McCain can take one of the big states won by John Kerry in 2004, such as Pennsylvania, he needs to win these six states. He might be able to survive the loss of Nevada, but probably not any of the others.”

Obama has a lead exceeding 20 points in the Washington, D.C. area, and a double-digit lead in the Richmond and Norfolk areas. That more than overtakes McCain’s lead in the rest of the state. Obama also holds an 18-point lead among Independents and does slightly better among Democrats than McCain does with Republicans. McCain leads by 21 points among white voters and by 11 among those over age 65. Obama gets 94% of African-Americans, who comprise 22% of the sample.

A 16-point lead among Independents fuels Obama’s lead in this critical state. He also has a small edge with both men and women, and is ahead among every age group. McCain leads by seven with white voters, but every African-American respondent is voting for Obama.

Obama is within two points of McCain among several groups that are McCain strengths in many states, such as whites, men and those over 65. Obama leads by 10 among women, 14 with Independents and eight with Catholics. McCain is ahead by 10-11 points with whites and those over 65, but Obama is up 12 with Independents.

Obama’s 20-point leads in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas are balanced by similar McCain margins in the rest of the state. McCain leads with whites by 11 and those over 65 by 10. Obama counters with a 12-point advantage with Independents and by three with Catholics.

McCain builds big margins in the western parts of the state, and Obama counters with the same in the east and the Raleigh-Durham area. Obama’s lead comes from Independents who favor him by by 21 and his gender advantage (plus seven with women and even with men.) McCain is up by 27 with whites, so African-American turnout may decide who squeaks by in North Carolina.

McCain is winning 16% of Democrats compared to Obama’s 10% with Republicans. That is enough to offset Obama’s 64%-25% lead with Independents. McCain’s favorable showing with Democrats is reflected in his 55%-38% lead among those over 65. Whites choose McCain by 17, while Hispanics favor Obama by 16. Maximizing African-American turnout will be the key to a possible Obama win.

Independents favor McCain by 15. Their votes coupled with those of Indiana’s Republican majority give McCain a six-point margin. McCain also leads with women and is within a four points of Obama with 18-29-year-olds.

McCain is winning a very healthy 28% of Democrats and is up 16 points with Independents. He also is ahead in every age group.

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