Obama's Sour "Apples to Apples", Part One
Barack Obama is hemmorhaging support against John McCain in states where Democrats can/should win in November.
In the last six weeks, Barack Obama has been losing support, while Hillary Clinton has gained support, when matched against McCain. Much of Clinton’s additional support is from voters who were undecided in late February, and Clinton essentially “split” the “recent deciders” with McCain; as a result there is little change in her margins against McCain. But people who were undecided whether they preferred Obama or McCain are also making up their minds – and choosing McCain. As a result, Obama’s margins against McCain are looking much worse.
This is true among all major demographic categories that were available for comparison – if Obama improves in a category, Clinton has shown greater improvement in that category. And in categories where Clinton is not doing as well as she was in February, Obama is doing consistently worse.
These conclusions are drawn from an “apples to apples” comparison of Survey USA polling done April 11-13 in nine states (California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin) with similar polling done in late February as part the SUSA 50 state poll (conducted Feb. 26-28).
In only one of those states (MN) has Obama improved his position relative to Clinton when matched against McCain. In the other eight, the “electability” trend is in Clinton’s favor – in many of those states, significantly so.
Charts A-1 and A-2 provide a graphic representation of what has happened to the margins for Clinton and Obama when matched against McCain. Chart A-1 shows the actual margins in late February and mid-April in Clinton v McCain (February--red and April-pink bars) and Obama v McCain (February-dark blue and April-light blue bars)
Chart A-2 shows how the margins in Clinton v McCain and Clinton v Obama have changed.
· .Clinton has improved her margins against McCain in 4 states (CA, MO, OH, OR) while Obama has improved in only one (OR).
· Overall, Clinton’s average margin against McCain in the 9 states was basically unchanged (+0.1%, from +3.6% to +3.7%), with a range of +6% (OR) to –4% (WI).
· Obama’s nine state average margin against McCain has decreased by an average of –4.9% (from +7.1% to +2.2%). In 5 states (CA,MA,NM,OH,WI), his margin decreased by 4% or more.
· In February, Obama was doing better than Clinton against McCain in two states where Clinton now does better than Obama (CA, NM),
· In Ohio, where both were beating McCain by 10 points, Clinton now leads by 11%, while Obama is behind McCain by 2%.
· In 5 of the six remaining states (all but MN), Clinton improved her “electability” relative to Obama.
In the majority of these 9 states, Clinton gained support. Clinton’s 9 state average margins don’t improve because the increase in her overall support comes from a decrease in undecided voters (from an average of 9.1% to 6.6%), which she splits with McCain.
. The “Obama v McCain” undecideds also decreased (from an average of 9.2% to 7.4%), but despite the fact that fewer people were undecided, the percentage of people who supported Obama actually declined on average.
· Obama gained overall support in only one state (OR).
· In 2 states (MN, MO), his level of support remained the same, despite a decrease in the percentage of undecided voters.
· In the other six states, Obama’s overall support decreased.
· In 5 of those 6 states (i.e. except for Iowa), this decrease occurred despite the fact that more people had decided who to support.
· In other words, not only did Obama not gain any support from previously undecided voter, the percentage of people supporting Obama over McCain declined.
· Clinton, on the other hand, increased her overall support in six states (CA, IA, MA, MO, OH, OR) and lost support in only 2 (NM, WI).
· Clinton gained overall support in four states where Obama lost support (CA, IA, MA, OR).
· Overall support percentages for both Clinton and Obama were unchanged in Minnesota, and in Wisconsin both lost the same percentage of support.
· In the remaining three states, Clinton either lost far less support than Obama (NM), gained significantly more than Obama (OR) or gained support while Obama’s support remained unchanged (MO).
Obama is tanking, while Clinton is holding her own.
While these 9 states are not representative of all 50 states (no Mountain/Plains or Southern states), they do represent the states that Democrats have to win in order to take the White House. Obama’s weakness in states like California and Massachusetts – states that this year a Democrat should not have to be very concerned about, is worrisome. Even more alarming is what is happening in Missouri and (especially) Ohio – Obama’s loss of support in those states raise serious questions about his electability.
The advantage in the “electability” argument that Obama held six weeks ago has vanished. Six weeks ago, Obama was doing significantly better than Clinton in these nine key states, now Clinton is doing better than Obama.
And, as shall be seen in the next part of this series, Obama’s problems exist across all key demographic groups. He’s losing male and female support. He’s losing White support, and losing support among “Independent” voters and “Moderates” as well, while Clinton is either increasing her support, or at least holding her own, in all these key demographics.
NOTE: Data tables used for this post can be found at http://www.glcq.com/election08/apples/ap...