Primary Portrait: The Public's Shifting Views

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

02/03/2008 - Barack Obama and John McCain have made significant gains in support as the field of candidates has narrowed in both parties. John McCain now leads 42%-22% over Mitt Romney among Republican voters nationally. Support for McCain is up 13 points since mid-January, and he currently draws about twice as much support as either Romney or Mike Huckabee.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s nationwide lead over Barack Obama has been cut in half since mid-January – from 15 points then to eight points currently. Clinton’s support is unchanged since then at 46%; currently, 38% favor Obama, up from 31% three weeks ago. This suggests that the Illinois Democrat may have garnered a significant share of John Edwards’ support. However, it is important to note that the number of undecided Democratic voters has increased as well in recent weeks.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2008,  among 1,502 adults, finds:

  • There is no evidence that acrimony between Clinton and Obama during the course of the campaign has soured Democratic voters on the candidates. Democratic voters remain far more enthusiastic than Republicans about the quality of their candidates, and the favorability ratings for both Clinton and Obama among Democratic voters are virtually unchanged over the past month.
  • Some voters are growing increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of Bill Clinton being “back in the White House” if Hillary were to win the election. Currently, 41% express this negative assessment, up from 34% in October. In particular, more independents now dislike than like the idea of Bill Clinton being back in the White House, a reversal from four months ago.
  • The poll shows a sharp increase in negative views about the economy, and a further decline in opinions about the overall state of the nation. Just 17% rate the national economy as excellent or good, down from 26% last month. Only about a quarter of Americans (24%) say they are satisfied with national conditions, the lowest level in more than a decade.
Read the full report McCain's Support Soars, Democratic Race Tightens on the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Web site.

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