Wednesday polls: Strong day for Obama who leads big in PA, OH, WI and ME and within the margin of error in VA and FL

Quinnipiac released its eagerly anticipated set of swing state polls, and after two weak showing by Obama in the waves of early April and mid-May, he has improved significantly over the past month by solidifying the support of registered Democrats. Though his lead in all three of these states is inferior to where Clinton stood last month, it still represents a significant shift towards the Illinois Senator:

  • In Florida, Obama is ahead 47% to 43%. He trailed by 4% in May.
  • A month ago, he trailed among independents and got 71% of the Democratic vote. In June, he leads indies by 10% and has the support of 82% of Democrats. 19% of those who voted Clinton in the primary would choose McCain, however.
  • In Ohio, Obama leads 48% to 42% -- no doubt boosted by Bush's dismal approval rating of 22%! He trailed by 4% in May.
  • He has improved his share of the registered Dem vote from 69% to 80% and trails by 3% among independents. Among Clinton voters, however, he only leads 63% to 25%.
  • In Pennsylvania, finally, Obama crushes McCain 52% to 40%. He led by 6% in May.
  • Obama gets 78% of registered Democrats compared to 71% in May. He leads by 11% among independents, though his support among Clinton voters remains tepid (66% versus 24% for McCain).
This seems to be the first Florida poll to ever find Obama ahead of McCain, too early, then, to know whether something is actually changing (this is also the first Florida poll released by any institute since Quinnipiac's last poll a month ago!). But note the uniformity of the bounce in Obama's favor: He has improved by 6%, 6% and 8% in these three states, suggesting about the same size bounce that we witnessed in Rasmussen and Gallup's tracking. The margin has narrowed again in those trackings and that we will have to wait for confirmation that Obama has jumped up in those states from other surveys (PPP yesterday showed Obama up 11% in Ohio). Also, black support in favor of Obama is particularly strong and is what is helping the Democrat create some space: He gets between 90% and 95% of the African-American vote, much stronger than what Kerry got in 2004.

As Quinnipiac points out, no candidate has won the election without at least two of these three states in 48 years, so for Obama to get even two would make the road to the White House very difficult for McCain. However, Michigan now appears to be just as competitive as these 3 states and muddies the equation a bit, as picking up Michigan could help McCain offset the loss of Ohio. Meanwhile, a number of other polls were released today from other crucial states that Obama seems intent on contesting:

  • First, Zogby's latest national poll shows the Democrat leading 47% to 42%. Other good news for Obama: he leads by 22% among independents. The bad news: He is only ahead 54% to 44% among Hispanics and 54% of respondents say he does not have the experience to be president.
  • In Virginia, PPP finds Obama edging out McCain 47% to 45%. He gets 78% of Democrats -- a strong showing in a Southern state.
  • In Wisconsin, SUSA finds Obama ahead 52% to 43% -- up from a 6% lead in May. This includes the support of 91% of registered Democrats (!) and a 23% lead among women.
  • SUSA also continues to provide completely useless VP pairings: Which poll respondents has ever heard of Carly Fiorina?
  • In Maine, Obama crushes McCain 55% to 33%, up from a 13% lead last month in a new Rasmussen poll. There's no breakdown by congressional district but with this sort of lead there is no doubt Obama is ahead in both.
  • In Alaska, finally, Rasmussen continues to find competitive races, with McCain ahead 45% to 41%, down from a 9% lead last month.
  • McCain and Obama have comparable favorability ratings (58% to 53% rspectively) but the enthusiasm level really varies, both among very favorable opinions (29% Obama and 18% McCain) and very unfavorable (31% Obama). This is a pattern we are seeing in many red states.
Wisconsin's lead confirms other polls we have been seeing and my hypothesis that the "Dukakis 5" states are coming home, slowly removing 5 blue states from the list McCain can contest. The Alaska poll is stunning, of course, though it is unclear how much the campaigns will look in that direction (it is rather far, after all).

And I have resolved to no longer express wonder and amazement when a Virginia poll shows a tie or Obama narrowly ahead, as every poll recently released from the Commonwealth shows that result -- including one released early this week. That the state's 13 electoral votes are in play are a nightmare for McCain as they expand the map in a region the GOP has long not had to defend. With Mark Warner set to destroy Jim Gilmore, there could even be reverse coattails -- as the PPP poll confirms:

  • This Senate race is no doubt polled so much because Virginia is competitive at the presidential level, but we are still waiting for Colorado to be polled this much. PPP finds Warner crushing 59% to 28% and the worst news for Gilmore is that no one is surprised...
  • In more interesting Senate news, Susan Collins continues to slip in Maine. The latest Rasmussen poll finds her ahead 49% to 42% -- under 50% and within single-digits for the first time. Last month's poll, finding her ahead by 10%, was already the tightest the race has ever been.
  • Proving that Collins is in a Chaffee-esque situation of being driven down by her party rather than by her own liabilities, she has a shockingly high 70% favorability rating.
  • In North Carolina, Elizabeth Dole rebounds in a new Civitas poll: Barely ahead 45% to 43% last month, she is now leading 48% to 38%.
  • In another congressional poll from that state, this one from NC-08, Larry Kissell is narrowly ahead of Rep. Hayes 45% to 43% in an internal poll conducted by Anzalone Liszt.
  • This is a district that voted Bush twice (including by 9% in 2004) but Obama leads McCain 50% to 37% (should we take that as a sign that the poll oversamples dems? A 23% swing from where we were 4 years ago is perhaps a bit much).
Maine has long been a disappointment to Dems, as Collins has been ahead by more than 20% in many polls taken since the fall of 2007. But as partisan passions heat up in the coming months it looks like Collins could get dangerously close to being this cycle's Linc Chaffee and suffer from her party's dismal ratings. As Al Franken's situation is worsening in MN, the DSCC would be delighted to get Maine back in the picture. As for NC, Dole is still under 50% in the Civitas poll but this is the second pollster (after Rasmussen) among those that had shown a tied race in May (after Hagan's primary victory) to find that Dole has rebounded. There are clear reasons for that, too: (1) Hagan's primary bounce faded and (2) Dole has been running TV ads over the past few weeks. Still within striking distance for Democrats but no reason to be as euphoric as the DSCC was last month.

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  • Although it may seem that the NC 8th Dems have been oversampled, the district is extremely democratic and results in November haven't reflected this because of poor voter turnout. This year with external forces impacting turnout in the 8th, the district should be overwhelmingly democratic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 18 June, 2008 14:11  

  • Looks like more post Clinton bump. Pretty impressive as I still see signs that many Clinton supporters are still simmering.

    By Blogger Paul Kekai Manansala, At 18 June, 2008 14:33  

  • News likes this makes me wish the election were tomorrow. Still, if we're going to bank on one of these candidates imploding over the next five months, I doubt it'll be Obama, so this is encouraging news.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 18 June, 2008 15:03  

  • The results show that not all Clinton supporters were Democrats because the numbers do not add up to 100%. For example
    In Ohio, Obama leads 48% to 42% -- no doubt boosted by Bush's dismal approval rating of 22%! He trailed by 4% in May.

    He has improved his share of the registered Dem vote from 69% to 80% and trails by 3% among independents. Among Clinton voters, however, he only leads 63% to 25%.

    If he gets 80% of registered Dems how can he only get 63% of Clinton supporters and bare in mind she won the primary.

    Also these polls show how stupid the Clinton argument was that only the winner of the Dem primary could win the state.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 18 June, 2008 15:32  

  • As I expected the early head to head polls were unreliable due to the Clinton factor. Now that we are seeing more accurate polling I beleive we may see a blowout of MacGovern proporations. If the expected Republican smears are not effective Obama could win 300+ EV's.
    McCain's support for offshore drilling will not only put Florida in play but more importantly puts coastal Republican senate and congressional candidates in a real bind. Do they support the McCain/Bush position on offshore oil drilling or follow their voters wishes.

    By Anonymous fritz, At 18 June, 2008 16:19  

  • Zogby has McCain leading on the handling the economy, 45-40%, rising to 48-37 among women.

    Not an outlier in the overall numbers, but surprising in the internals, which are favorable to McCain.

    By Anonymous mikeel, At 18 June, 2008 17:27  

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