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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

ABC News/Washington Post Poll Carries Good and Bad News

The ABC report on the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll starts off by asking a question, which is, "If everything is so good for Barack Obama, why isn't everything so good for Barack Obama?"

The poll itself was done after Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign and it carries good news for John McCain and Barack Obama.

The problem is, it also carries bad news for John McCain and Barack Obama.

The PDF of the poll itself can be found here.

First off that highly touted post Clinton "bounce" for Obama never materialized and the ABC report points out that his support relies heavily on younger adults who cannot be relied on as much as older adults on election day.

He leads McCain by more than a 2-1 margin among Americans under 30; that shifts to a tie among middle-aged adults, and a McCain advantage among seniors.

McCain and Obama are evenly split with support from Independents and the changes found from last months ABC/Post results comes from woman, particularly married white women and Obama is doing better than he did in the last poll with men.

Despite talk of party untiy, this poll finds that 24 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters still prefer John McCain over Barack Obama and that an additional 13 percent say they would pick someone other than the two candidates or they would not vote at all.

Those numbers are "essentially unchanged" from the previous ABC/Post poll taken before Clinton suspended her campaign.

Given his shortfall among Clinton supporters, Obama overall loses slightly more Democrats to McCain -- 14 percent -- than the number of Republicans defecting from McCain to Obama, 9 percent. As noted, independents split evenly.

9 out of 10 Republicans support John McCain while not quite 8 out of 10 Democrats support Barack Obama. The saving grace for Obama there is that there are more self-described Democrats than there are Republicans, which evens it out overall.

There are similar countervailing trends on the subject of ideology. More Americans say Obama is "just about right" on the liberal-to-conservative ideological scale, 52 percent, than say McCain is about right, 40 percent; that's because about two in 10 see McCain as too liberal on top of the third who call him too conservative.

At the same time, the country's basic ideological posture helps McCain: Thirty-three percent of Americans think of themselves as conservatives, more than half again as many as the 21 percent who are liberals. Obama leads broadly among liberals and moderates alike, but conservatives push McCain back into the match.

Independents are even split between the two candidates.

These statistical data is in direct contrast with the fact that Obama leads McCain in trust for 7 out of the 11 specific issues asked in the survey questions and McCain has the edge in only 2, terrorism being one of them which he leads by a wide margin.

According to the Washington Post report on this same poll, Obama leads McCain 48 percent to 42 percent, to which they note that "at this point four years ago, Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry held identical leads over President Bush among all adults and among registered voters."

Obama supporters are far more enthusiastic about him than McCain supporters are.

Bush's approval ratings in the tank and association with the Republican beand is seen as a detriment for John McCain.

Obama also is ahead with voters who think that change is more important than experience. Obama receives 8 out of 10 of what ABC calls the "new direction" voters.

81 percent of those who believe that experience is more important, favor John McCain. That number has risen from 68 percent in the surveys from last month with similar levels in March and April.

All in all the answers to the survey questions seem to favor Barack Obama and yet the numbers show an identical lead for Kerry in 2004 over Bush and Bush was elected.

McCain clearly is at a disadvantage given the questions, answers, the prevailing public opinion and yet there seems to be a marked disconnect between the individual answers given to specific questions and the overall numbers, which makes the question ABC asks at the beginning of the report, by far, the most confusing one to answer.

If everything is so good for Barack Obama, why isn't everything so good for Barack Obama?