McCain Gains On Issues, But Stalls As Candidate Of Change

  • September 18, 2008

With two eventful and closely followed political conventions now in their rearview mirror, voters' views of Barack Obama and John McCain have changed in some ways, yet remain the same in others. What has not changed is that the race remains very close: a Pew Research Centers national survey of 2,509 voters interviewed Sept. 9-14 on both landline phones and cell phones finds that 46% support Obama, while 44% support John McCain. These results are almost identical to those in Pew's pre-convention survey in early August, which had 46% backing Obama and 43% McCain.

When the current survey of registered voters is narrowed to those most likely to vote, the margin between the candidates contracts further. Among 2,307 likely voters surveyed, the race is tied at 46%-46%.

Although bottom-line voter attitudes have changed little since early August, the new survey finds that McCain has made considerably more progress than has his opponent in changing fundamental attitudes toward his candidacy. Yet the race remains close largely because Obama continues to be seen as the candidate of change, and voters remain divided over whether McCain would govern differently than President Bush.

Read the full report McCain Gains On Issues, But Stalls As Candidate Of Change on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.