Final Thoughts on Campaign '08

Dems Led in Campaign News Interest, Too

From the beginning of the campaign to its conclusion, Democrats consistently expressed more interest in election news than did Republicans. That represents a change from previous campaigns. There were only a few weeks when Republican news interest matched or surpassed Democratic interest, including the weeks just before and after the nominating conventions. Despite signs of less Republican engagement, it is not clear whether core GOP groups turned out to vote at lower rates than in the past. What is evident from the national exit polls is that African American turnout increased markedly. More will be learned about this when the results of the Current Population Survey of voter turnout is available.

Registered vs. Likely Voters

Pew Research Center surveys found that the difference between registered voters and likely voters moved in the GOP's direction in the closing stage of the last three presidential campaigns. In Pew's Oct. 23-26 survey, Obama led McCain by 16 points among all registered voters and by virtually the same margin (15 points) when the sample was narrowed to likely voters. However, Pew's election weekend survey found Obama held an 11-point lead among registered voters but just a seven-point lead among likely voters. In the previous two elections, a similar pattern was evident. In both 2000 and 2004, when the sample was narrowed to likely voters, Bush's margin of support increased more in the final surveys before Election Day than it had in earlier surveys. (See "Slight Bush Margin in Final Days of Campaign" released October 31, 2004, and "Popular Vote A Tossup: Bush 49%, Gore 47%, Nader 4%" released November 6, 2000.)

McCain's Gains Among Late Deciders

Compared with other voters, late deciders in 2008 broke in a Republican direction according to the exit polls, giving McCain a slight boost from where he might have ended up had the election been held a week earlier. Those who said they decided in the last week of the campaign (10% of voters) divided evenly (48% for each candidate). But Obama held a wide margin among voters who said they had made up their minds earlier (53% to 46%).

Read the full wrapup Some Final Thoughts on Campaign '08 on the Pew Research Center's Web site.

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

Quick View
Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

Composite image of modern city network communication concept

Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

Sign up for our four-week email course on Broadband Basics

Quick View

How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

Pills illustration
Pills illustration

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

Quick View

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.