Obama - polls, surveys and opinion Posted by: McQ
on Friday, May 02, 2008
Pew takes a look at the Obama image and what has happened since his former reverend came on (and has remained on) the scene:
The tightening Democratic race reflects a modest but consistent decline in Obama's personal image rather than improved impressions of Clinton. Fewer Democrats ascribe positive qualities to Obama than did so a month ago, with white working-class Democrats, in particular, expressing more skeptical views of the Illinois senator. Since late February, his unfavorable rating has risen six points among all Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. At the same time, Clinton's unfavorable rating among Democratic voters also has increased by seven points.
Compared with a month ago, race and class are now bigger drivers of preferences in the Democratic contest. Obama has lost ground among whites - especially white working-class voters - who now prefer Clinton by an even larger margin than they did in late March. Her lead among whites who did not attend college has increased from 10 points in March to 40 points today, and her lead among white Democrats who earn less than $50,000 a year has increased from two points to 24 points. Clinton has taken a 10-point lead among white male Democratic voters - erasing Obama's advantage with the group - and she now runs better among Democrats under age 50 than she had previously.
Put into a graphic, it looks like this:
The size of those changes are much more than noise in the polling system, but point to a real shift among Democratic voters. As those questions we've been asking over the past few weeks continue to go unanswered, voters seem less and less enchanted with Obama.
Does that mean that the Democratic voters polled by Pew won't vote for Obama if he's the eventual nominee? Not necessarily. And it is far to early to believe that to be the case or to think it might be the case in November (see the "election enthusiasm gap" in the same survey).
However, like it or not, it does add some credibility to Hillary Clinton's claim that she's the best candidate for the Dems and that her baggage, as she said in the last debate, has been completely rummaged through over the years while we're still finding Obama's.
There's no question the Wright eruption has had a negative effect on Obama, as most foretold. What is unanswered at this point is whether it is a lasting effect or a passing problem. My guess is, among Democrats, it will end up being a passing problem. Among independents, however, I'm not so sure. And it is among independents that both sides think this race will be won.
A few weeks ago I saw an online poll from The Atlantic that tallied 59% disagreeing that "Obama is really a Christian." Andrew Sullivan instigated that poll and must have been properly chagrined.
It may be—mirabile dictu—that the majority of Americans understand that Obama is not the messiah, but merely another politician peddling his wares. They may vote for him anyway, but they aren’t drinking his kool-aid.