Morning polling: Hagan takes lead in NC (!), Obama weak with Clinton voters, McCain gains in FL

Update: Well, well, well. Gallup’s tracking poll, the first entirely post-Biden, was just released and it shows McCain taking his very first lead since June 4th, 46% to 44%. Unlike Rasmussen’s, Gallup does not point to any internals that could explain this shift and warns it is statistically insignificant (as it indeed is), but it does confirm the theory that Clinton supporters’ initial gut reaction to the VP announcement is anger - making tonight’s speech that much more important.

Original post: Rasmussen’s tracking that was released this morning finds a tie at 44%, with Obama losing the 4% lead he had yesterday. This is the first tracking poll conducted entirely after Biden’s pick was announced, but Rasmussen finds Obama getting weaker every night of polling. The internal Rasmussen points to: 47% of Democratic women think that Obama should have picked Clinton, and 21% are now voting for McCain.

This latest decline in Obama’s numbers among Clinton supporters is not what is worrisome. As I suggested a few weeks ago, Obama’s VP pick was the moment some Clinton supporters realized that she would not be the vice-presidential nominee and they might temporarily withdraw their support, preventing Obama from building a VP bounce. If they were on board as of Saturday, they will be on board again in a few days.

But that should mask the fact that Obama has a lot of work to do. The election has tightened, and there is little mystery as to why: Obama has not solidified the Democratic base and Clinton supporters are still sulking. The good news for Obama is that it is easier to fire up Dems than convince independents; the bad news is that they haven’t gotten very far since June 3rd despite knowing this was a crucial challenge.

Quinnipiac’s latest release from the three “big states” (FL, OH and PA) confirms this by highlighting Obama’s weakness among registered Democrats that makes him lose ground in both OH and FL for the second month in a row:

  • In Ohio (polling history), Obama gets 44% to McCain’s 43% (he led by 2% in July). The key factor: McCain’s margin among Republicans is 16% larger than Obama’s margin among Democrats. Obama only gets 69% of Clinton supporters.
  • In Pennsylvania (polling history), there is no change in the margin as Obama keeps his 7% lead - 49% to 42%. Obama is weak among registered Democrats here as well, but he gets more cross-over votes from Republicans and leads by 10% among independents. He only gets 60% of Clinton supporters.
  • In Florida (polling history), McCain has gone from a 2% deficit to a 4% lead, 47% to 43%, mainly because of his gains among registered Democrats (Obama has fallen from 86% to 78%). 76% of Clinton supporters vote for Obama.
  • In another poll from Florida released by Kitchens group in conjunction with the Florida Chamber of Commerce, McCain leads 42% to 39%.
  • We also got a poll from North Carolina from PPP, with the margin remaining stable since July. McCain leads 45% to 42%, with the black vote making up 21% of the sample. Obama gets 84% of the black vote, McCain leads the white vote 57% to 30%. Obama would have to slightly improve his share of both.
  • In Texas, a new Rasmussen poll finds the same margin for the third straight month: McCain leads 50% to 41% (54% to 44% when leaners are included).

Compared to June’s numbers, Obama slips by 8% in Florida, 5% in Ohio and 5% in Pennsylvania. He is somehow able to survive in PA despite only having 60% of the Clinton vote, but being at that much of a disadvantage among base voters alone will not get the job done in a tight state like OH. And while it is true that Florida remains close, keep in mind that the Republican has not been advertising in the state over the past few months. Obama has. The same is true of NC, but given that state’s Republican bent, Obama would be in a strong position heading into the fall if he maintains only a 3% deficit.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls, Democrats got treated to a great surprise in the form of PPP’s poll from North Carolina (thus giving this website’s posse of North Carolina Democrats a reason to celebrate!):

  • In the North Carolina’s Senate race (polling history), Kay Hagan has now taken the lead for the first time since an early May Rasmussen poll. She is ahead 42% to 39% in PPP’s latest poll, with 5% for Libertarian Chris Cole. Dole led 49% to 40% and 4% last month, suggesting that her votes have now gone in the undecided column.
  • In AL-05, a Capital Research Survey Center shows Democrat Parker Griffith narrowly ahead of Republican Wayne Parker in what is the most (only?) endangered Dem-held open seat.
  • In MI-07, an EPIC-MRA poll finds Rep. Walberg in a tight race against Democrat Mark Schauer, 43% to 40%.
  • In MI-09, the same EPIC-MRA poll has Rep. Knollenberg with a 43% to 36% lead against Gary Peters. Libertarian Adam Goodman gets 5% and Jack Kevorkian gets 4%.

The NC numbers are great great news for Democrats, and the poll contains an internal to suggest that they are not just an outlier: More than 60% of voters say they have seen the DSCC’s ads against Dole, and Hagan leads by 6% among that group alone, suggesting that Democratic attacks against the incumbent Republican are proving remarkably effective. It is rare to have such clear polling indication as to the success of an ad campaign. (Note that this race has been surprisingly variable based on ads, as Dole jumped up to a lead in late May after an ad blitz.) Now Hagan still has to capture the voters that have left Dole, as it is the Republican that fell (-10) rather than the Democrat who rose.

As for the House races, they are all among the hottest of this year’s House battle. In another year, Republicans would be likely to have the upper-hand in the conservative AL-05 but the environment combined with financial disparities allow Democrats to stay (more than) competitive. As one of only two competitive Dem-held open seats (and it is debatable how vulnerable OR-05), AL-05 will remain a focus for both parties.

10 Responses to “Morning polling: Hagan takes lead in NC (!), Obama weak with Clinton voters, McCain gains in FL”


  1. 1 Jim W

    The ad against Liddy has proven to be very effective. I’ve heard from some of the older generation that they too have been disappointed with Liddy’s record in Washington. The ad points out that Liddy is 93rd in the senate in regards to effectiveness, and votes 92% of the time with Bush.

    Kay Hagen should still consider herself the underdog. The attack ads against her hasn’t started yet. She should remember what the GOP did in 1998 against Edwards when they attacked him giving advise to a group regarding trial law.

    NC statewide races can get very nasty.

  2. 2 mikeel

    McCain is ahead in the Gallup tracker for the first time since June 4.

    Two causes: Biden pick has angered some Clinton supporters, but I think this is part of a slow decline that means McCain will win by a large margin. Whether this helps Republicans downballot is hard to say right now.

    I’ll be watching for Democratic candidates running away from Obama.

  3. 3 Anonymous

    Agreed about Clinton voters. I think that is the reason that the tracking is tied or Obama losing support. But what I don’t understand is why people are so fickle in their preferences. I mean the where with Obama and the next thing, they jump to Mcain because Clinton was not chosen?!! It would be more rational to withhold support rather than jump to the opposing side. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Like I’ve always known, it’s up to Obama’s fellow democrats to decide if they want to win this election. ( see Begala and Carville formenting disent on CNN. That is NOT helpful at all to their candidate and again doesn’t make any sense to me.)
    Obama has been a good candidate. It’s up to the democrats to put him in the white house - not republicans or independents.

  4. 4 Tom B

    OK. That’s understandable but highly improbable. First, Obama will only win if he can capture the majority of the Democratic vote AND significant segments of independents & GOP voters. Similarly, if Obama succeeds at capturing large African-American votes, he will still need 20-30 percent of the white vote to win the presidency.

    Regarding the party dissenters: yes, it is logical to come together. I supported Clinton, but will gladly vote for Obama. However, the situation is beyond anyone’s control. Imagine if Obama had failed in capturing the nomination and suppose, tee-vee personalities had claimed that he only got to be where he is because of Affirmative Action or some other falsehood. You can imagine that many black voters would re-consider casting their vote for the Dem. So, who knows? If Clinton gives the speech of a lifetime tonight, it will hopefully go far at bridging the gap.

  5. 5 Jim W

    I too originally supported Clinton, but have since changed my allegiance to Obama.

    I feel confident that Hillary will give a great speech in support of Obama. My main concern is with Bill Clinton. From what I can tell, President Clinton feels somewhat snubbed that Obama has not given him enough credit for his tenure as President. I may be wrong, but I still believe that Bill Clinton’s support will be the crucial ingredient to Obama’s prospects in November.

  6. 6 Jaxx Raxor

    Actually Tom B, in order to win Obama just needs to win 85%+ of the Democrats and maintain parity with McCain among Democrats in order to win. He doesn’t need to win an overwhelming majority of Independents or a big share of Republicans to win because there are more Democrats now than Republicans or independents. That is why appealing to Clinton voters is much more important for Obama than appealing to true independent voters who are not sure of which party to vote for.

  7. 7 Ogre Mage

    Obama’s decision to not put Clinton on the ticket was stupid from an electoral standpoint. In this political environment, we should be winning this race easily and we’re not.

    Sending out Hillary and Bill to try and woo over her supporters can help, but it really is Obama who needs to get in front of them and persuade them himself. He has chosen to put Hillary in a peripheral position which will limit her influence.

  8. 8 Anonymous

    Exactly my point Jaxx Raxor. Democrats will have to put Obama in the White House and he needs about the percentage to get it.

  9. 9 Anonymous

    And Ogre Mage, Hillary’s influence over her supporters may be limited but it is very significant. She needs to completely ‘dimish herself ‘ ( i.e no more talk of her 18 million voters or catarrhsis or her opinion for VP was not sought, etcetc) and talk up Obama more and more and then some more, in order for those holding out to finally get it. She has not done this yet. I mean look at Mitt Romney’s open support for Mccain and compare that with her’s.
    See what I mean?

  10. 10 Guy

    Taniel - thanks for covering the NC senate race. As I said previously a candidate who lives by ads (to pump up her %) will die by the ads - Dole is that candidate. This race will move up the rankings because you have an incumbent at 40%. In OR and MN that is not the case so it will be harder to win.

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