- Published on Dec 02, 2008
- Contact Jared Wadley
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Barack Obama holds a double-digit lead over John McCain among Michigan and Midwestern voters as the presidential race for the White House enters its final days, according to results from the Big Ten Battleground Poll released today.
About 58 percent of a representative sample of 562 registered voters in Michigan polled Oct. 19-22 said that if the 2008 presidential election were being held that day, they would vote for Obama and Joe Biden. This compares to 36 percent who said they would vote for McCain and Sarah Palin.
A month earlier, the poll showed Michigan residents slightly favored Obama (48 percent) over McCain (44 percent).
"In recent elections, Michigan has been slightly more Democratic than the nation as a whole, and these October poll results for Michigan confirm this," said Michael Traugott, a University of Michigan researcher and a Big Ten poll adviser.
Each candidate has the support of nearly nine in 10 of their partisans. This has remained the same as in the September poll; part of the lead derives from the fact that there are now more people who identify as Democrats than as Republicans.
Obama's lead in the region and nationally derives from Independents moving in his direction since the September poll. One month ago, they were evenly divided in the preferences, but in October about six in 10 prefer Obama.
"The debates gave voters a chance to learn more about Barack Obama in direct comparison to John McCain," said Traugott, a professor of communication studies and a senior research scientist at the U-M Institute for Social Research. "The survey shows that this comparison seems to have worked to Obama's favor, especially with regard to his ability to deal with economic issues."
Nationally, the Big Ten Battleground Poll shows Obama holds significant leads over McCain in the eight crucial Midwest states by 9 percentage points (52 to 43). The margin of error for the state polls was 4.2 percentage points, and 3.1 percent for the national polls.
"In September, we saw virtually the entire Big Ten as a battleground," said University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Charles Franklin, co-developer of Pollster.com. "Now Obama is clearly winning the Big Ten battleground. The dominance of the economy as a top issue for voters is the overwhelming story."
Each scientific sample consists of nearly 600 respondents in eight states that are home to the 11 institutions that comprise the Big Ten Conference: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The sample included an additional 748 respondents from the remaining 40 states, not including Alaska and Hawaii. The total national sample consists of 1,014 registered voters and those likely to register to vote before the 2008 Presidential election.
Most of the questions in the poll were asked of all respondents. Each participating Big Ten University asked a few questions of state residents only. For example, U-M asked about the proposal to expand the use of human embryos for any research permitted under federal law. About 49 percent of Michigan residents opposed this proposal compared with 41 percent who supported it.
"Up to the time that the poll was in the field, the opponents of Proposal 2 were advertising at a much higher level than the proponents," Traugott said. The outcome on election day could depend on whether this ration stays the same."
A different U-M study released earlier this week found that nearly 70 percent of respondents support "medical research that uses stem cells from human embryos," and a smaller majority, 54 percent, believed that the current lines of embryonic stem cells approved by President Bush for federal funding are not adequate for research needs.
That study asked 498 respondents to the monthly random digit dial Survey of Consumers carried out by the U-M Institute for Social Research?s Survey Research Center about the sources and usefulness of stem cells and their support for stem cell research.
With less than two weeks until the elections, undecided Michigan voters polled in the Big Ten Battleground poll were split by close margins with 28.9 percent still undecided, 28 percent leaning toward McCain/Palin and 26.1 percent favoring Obama/Biden.
When Michigan voters were asked about the most important problem facing the country, they said the economy and jobs at 70.2 percent, followed by terrorism and national security at 8.1 percent.
Most Michigan voters also believe the country and state are on the "wrong track" at 87.1 percent and 83.6 percent, respectively.
Obama and McCain have disagreed about how they will handle the war in Iraq. About 56 percent of Michigan voters said they want the next president to set a firm deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops within the next 16 months. Nearly 40 percent said the responsible thing to do is to remain in Iraq until the situation in the country is stable.
For complete state, regional and national results from the October Big Ten Battleground Poll, visit: www.bigtenpoll.org.
For more information on the U-M Institute for Social Research survey, visit: http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/releases/story.php?id=6788
Complete state, regional and national results from the October Big Ten Battleground PollInstitute for Social Research survey