As I did last year, this poll seeks to look deeper than traditional political polls and provide a detailed analysis of how the American people view the upcoming election and the two major party nominees.
Moreover, I am providing an analysis of how the campaigns and their strategists would look at this poll. By doing so, I am providing a different perspective than you would get ordinarily.
Obama and McCain have similar favorabilities, yet it is the preference for a Democratic president that now gives Obama a slight lead.
McCain has yet to challenge the premises behind the Obama candidacy, and is allowing him to consolidate support in ways that give him a slight but clear advantage, the survey shows, because of the electorate’s desire for change.
Defining change and what it means is the key to victory for both McCain and Obama.
Specifically, the poll is very clear in suggesting that because of the desire for change, Republicans can only win if they make the case that Obama and/or his policies are unacceptable and will take the country in the wrong direction.
Voters who support McCain cite his foreign policy experience, his desire to keep taxes low and to cut government waste.
10% McCain has the strongest foreign policy credentials and will lead us in fighting the war on terror and the war on Iraq. 14% McCain will keep taxes low and cut government waste in this time of economic recession. 32% McCain has the experience and foreign policy expertise to lead our country.
Voters who support Obama cite that he will bring change, fresh leadership and bipartisanship to the country.
11% Obama has the wisdom, intelligence and judgment to lead our country. 13% Obama will create plans that stimulate the economy, create jobs and provide health care to all Americans. 14% Obama will change the ineffective government by working in a bipartisan manner to create real solutions. 38% Obama will bring change, fresh leadership and new ideas to this country.
Mirroring what we saw before, the most convincing reasons to support Obama are that he will bring fresh leadership and ideas to the economy, end America’s isolation from the world, reach out to world leaders and develop alternative energy sources.
44% 54% Obama will end America’s isolation from the world and reach out to world leaders. 43% 53% Obama has a plan to develop alternative sources of energy and to reduce gas prices. 36% 59% Obama brings fresh leadership and ideas to get our economy moving, create new jobs and to provide health care for everyone who needs it. Not convincing Convincing Argument
Fighting terror, unifying America and ending the war in Iraq were less convincing reasons to support Obama.
53% 45% Obama has a real plan to get us out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office. He will put our resources to work here where they are needed to alleviate the economic crisis we are facing. 52% 46% Obama can unify America and create bipartisan consensus in a way that will bring us together. 47% 49% Obama has a practical plan to fight terror and maintain our strength around the world. Not convincing Convincing Arguments
The most convincing arguments against Obama were his support for the labor unions and tax increases, his former ties, and claims that he is an elitist who is out of with hardworking Americans.
51% 45% Obama is too much of a liberal elitist to understand the hardworking Americans’ problems. He’s out of touch with the way people live and what they need to succeed. 52% 45% Obama is too close to Reverend Wright and other anti-American figures. I have doubts about whether I can trust him as president. 47% 47% Obama oppose frees trade and supports labor unions beholden to special interests. He supports large tax increases. Not convincing Convincing Arguments
Lacking experience, supporting social programs that will raise taxes, and talking to leaders from rogue nations were less convincing reasons to oppose Obama.
51% 38% Obama wants to talk to world leaders from rogue nations like North Korea, Iran and Venezuela that sponsor terrorism. Doing this will put us at risk and demonstrates his inexperience. 52% 46% Obama’s support for social programs will increase the deficit and force the government to have massive tax increases across the board. 54% 42% Obama is too young and inexperienced to be president. He is not ready to serve on day one. Not convincing Convincing Arguments
The strongest reasons to support McCain are because of his war hero qualifications, his status as a reformer who will cut spending, and because he is trusted to lead the U.S. in Iraq.
42% 55% McCain is a strong leader who can lead us in Iraq and make sure that when we withdrawal, it enhances security and promotes U.S. interests. 42% 56% McCain is a reformer and fierce crusader against government waste. He’ll cut government and pork barrel spending and eliminate earmarks. 41% 58% McCain is a war hero who understands the problems facing the U.S. He is uniquely qualified to fight terror and will keep us safe and secure. Not convincing Convincing Arguments
Less convincing reasons to support McCain were that he won’t talk to leaders of rogue nations, that he is a fiscal conservative and that he is a maverick with fresh ideas.
50% 46% McCain is a centrist and a true maverick with fresh ideas. He has programs to create bipartisan consensus on issues like global warming and developing alternative energy sources. 48% 50% McCain is a fiscal conservative who will hold taxes and avoid the massive increases Democrats support. 46% 50% McCain will never talk to leaders of rogue nations who support terrorism. You know that with McCain, we will have a secure and strong America. Not convincing Convincing Arguments
The most convincing arguments to oppose McCain were that he wants to continue Bush’s tax cuts, that he is willing to stay in Iraq for 100 years, and that he will represent a third term of President Bush.
49% 47% McCain will continue most of the president’s policies and will represent a 3 rd term of a failed and discredited President Bush. 49% 47% McCain said doesn’t care how long we stay in Iraq and we could stay 100 years. He is out of touch. 45% 52% McCain wants to continue President Bush’s tax cuts and other domestic policies which have led to a recession. He has no programs to hold down gas prices or alleviate the problems of homeowners. Not convincing Convincing Arguments
Less convincing reasons to oppose McCain were that he doesn’t represent enough change from Bush, that voters can’t relate to his values and that he is too old to be President.
60% 38% McCain is too old to be President give the pressing domestic and international challenges we face. 54% 43% McCain’s personality, values and goals are not ones I’m comfortable with. He represents the past. 51% 46% Our country is on the wrong track and needs changes to overcome our domestic and international problems. McCain will not represent enough change from this administration to get the job done. Not convincing Convincing Arguments
McCain has an extraordinary opportunity to turn his experience into his advantage and to run on the doubts people have about Obama and his associations, doubts Obama has addressed this week with his values campaign.