Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin helps in Pennsylvania but Obama pulls away in Ohio

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin apparently is attracting white women likely voters to Arizona Sen. John McCain, helping him pull away from Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in Florida and narrow the gap with the Democrat in Pennsylvania, even as he is slipping slightly in Ohio, according to simultaneous Quinnipiac University Swing State polls released today.

No one has been elected President since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the Electoral College. Results from the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University polls show:

* Florida: McCain leads 50 - 43 percent, compared to 47 - 43 percent August 26;
* Ohio: Obama is up 49 - 44 percent, compared to 44 - 43 percent last time;
* Pennsylvania: Obama leads 48 - 45 percent, compared to 49 - 42 percent.

Voters in all three states say Sen. McCain's selection of Gov. Palin is a good choice: 60 - 26 percent in Florida, 57 - 30 percent in Ohio and 55 - 33 percent in Pennsylvania.

Since August 26, McCain's support among white women is up four percentage points in Ohio and five points in Pennsylvania, and dropped two points in Florida, where it was high to start.

"White women, a key demographic group in any national election, appear to be in play, with some movement towards Sen. McCain in Pennsylvania and Ohio," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Obviously Gov. Sarah Palin is having the impact that Sen. McCain hoped when he selected her."

"The size of Sen. McCain's margin with white voters overall tells the tale. In Florida, where McCain leads among whites by 24 points, that is a large enough cushion for him to survive Obama's almost total control of the black vote, and strong support among Hispanics."

"But in Pennsylvania and Ohio, where McCain leads by just six or seven points among whites, he's behind in the total count."

"Overall, even among many Democrats, Palin gets good grades. By almost a two-to-one margin, voters see McCain's choice of her as a good one, roughly the same who feel that way about Sen. Joe Biden."

President George W. Bush's approval ratings are:

* 33 - 63 percent in Florida;
* 30 - 65 percent in Ohio;
* 26 - 70 percent in Pennsylvania. Florida

Florida men likely voters back McCain 54 - 41 percent, while women go 47 percent for McCain and 45 percent for Obama, the first time he has trailed among women. White voters back McCain 59 - 35 percent. Obama leads 55 - 37 percent with voters 18 to 34 years old; McCain leads 52 - 41 percent among voters 35 to 54, and 54 - 39 percent with voters over 55.

Independent voters back McCain 50 - 43 percent, compared to 47 - 39 percent August 26 and 24 percent of those who backed Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary now support McCain, up from 14 percent August 26.

By a 58 - 29 percent margin, Florida voters have a favorable opinion of McCain, compared to 49 - 35 percent for Obama. Palin gets a 47 - 23 percent favorability, with 38 - 28 percent for Biden.

The economy is the most important issue in the election, 49 percent of Florida voters say, as 12 percent cite the war in Iraq; 11 percent list terrorism; 9 percent say health care and 8 percent say energy policy.

Florida likely voters say 58 - 38 percent that the vice presidential candidates picked by McCain and Obama will have little impact on which candidate they will pick on Election Day.

"Sen. McCain has opened up a sizable lead over Sen. Obama in Florida on his ability to capture most demographic groups," said Brown. "He wins voters over age 35 overwhelmingly; takes independents and keeps a larger share of Republicans than Obama captures of Democrats."


Obama leads 52 - 42 percent among Ohio women, compared to 51 - 37 percent August 26. Men split 47 - 47 percent. Obama leads 64 - 33 percent among voters 18 to 34, while voters 35 to 54 split with 48 percent for McCain and 46 percent for Obama. Voters over 55 back McCain 48 - 44 percent.

Independent voters back McCain 47 - 43 percent, compared to a 42 - 38 percent Obama lead August 26, and 28 percent of former Clinton supporters now back McCain, compared to 23 percent last time.

McCain gets a 53 - 34 percent favorability in Ohio, identical to Obama's 53 - 33 percent. Palin's favorability is 41 - 22 percent, compared to 36 - 22 percent for Biden.

For 52 percent of Ohio voters, the economy is the biggest issue, while 11 percent cite health care; 10 percent say the war in Iraq; 9 percent list energy policy and 8 percent say terrorism.

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