WISCONSINREPORT.COM (05/22/08) - Plagued by a defection of Clinton supporters and white working class voters, Democrat Barack Obama, trails Republican John McCain in Florida and Ohio. However, Obama is six points ahead of McCain in Pennsylvania. That's according to simultaneous Quinnipiac University Swing State polls released today, which also shows Hillary Clinton beating McCain in all three states at this particular point of the presidential election year. No one has been elected President since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the Electoral College. Margins of error and time might change the actual results of the November election.
When taking the margins of error into consideration, the independent Quinnipiac KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University polls show that, even though the results show one thing, it could be the other, when November rolls around. Who the final Democratic candidate is at the end of the primary and convention process could change the way people vote in November, too, because there would no longer be that question mark.
The current Florida survey of potential November voters shows Clinton may top McCain 48 - 41 percent, while McCain leads Obama 45 - 41 percent.
In Ohio, Hillary Clinton beats McCain 48 - 41 percent, if the current poll holds true into the November election, if Clinton becomes the Democrat's nominee. If Barack Obama continues holding the lead through the Democrats convention, the current survey shows McCain might top Obama 44 - 40 percent.
In the current Pennsylvania survey, New York U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton tops McCain 50 - 37 percent, while Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama leads McCain 46 - 40 percent.
In the McCain-Obama matchups, 26 to 36 percent of Clinton supporters in each state say that if Obama is the nominee they would switch to the Republican in November. Only 10 to 18 percent of Obama supporters say they would defect to McCain if Clinton is the nominee.
"The numbers for Florida and Ohio are good news for Sen. John McCain and should be worrisome for Sen. Barack Obama," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "That is especially true about Ohio, which decided the 2004 election."
"Ohio's economy is worse than the rest of the country and the Republican brand there is in disrepute. McCain's Buckeye lead may be a sign that nationally this may not be the easy Democratic walk to the White House that many expected," Brown said.
"In the Democratic primaries Sen. Obama won in most states among whites with college educations. But this data show him losing among Florida and Ohio white college graduates by six points or more," Brown added.
In a Clinton-McCain matchup, Hillary leads 54 - 37 percent among women, while men back McCain 45 - 42 percent.
In an Obama-McCain matchup, men back McCain 48 - 39 percent, while women split, with 43 percent for Barack Obama and 42 percent for McCain.
Florida voters give Clinton a 48 - 43 percent favorability rating, with 44 - 40 percent for Obama and 45 - 37 percent for McCain.
Florida Democrats split 41 - 41 percent on whether they want to see Clinton or Obama nominated. Democrats say 64 - 31 percent that Clinton should stay in the race and 61 - 31 percent that Obama should pick her as his vice presidential running mate.
Democrats who want Clinton to win the nomination, would vote 91 - 6 percent for her against McCain, but only 43 - 36 percent for Obama against McCain.
The economy is the most important issue in their vote, 47 percent of Florida voters say, while 19 percent list the war in Iraq. Health care and terrorism each get 11 percent. Voters split 46 - 44 percent on whether they trust Obama or McCain to handle the economy. By a 52 - 42 percent margin, they trust McCain more to handle the war in Iraq and trust McCain more, 58 - 34, percent to handle terrorism. Voters trust Obama 50 - 37 percent to handle health care.
There is some good news for Barack Obama: A total of 86 percent of Florida voters say they would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with an African American President.
McCain's age might not be as worrisome as some may think: A total of 65 percent of voters say they would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with a President who enters office at age 72.
Because of his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, 43 percent of Florida voters say they are less likely to vote for Obama, while 52 percent say it won't affect their vote.
The same number, 43 percent, say they are less likely to vote for McCain because of his association with President Bush, while 45 percent say it won't affect their vote.
"Sen. Obama is losing the white vote by 14 - 18 points in Ohio and Florida, which is enough to keep him from victory despite overwhelming support from African Americans," Brown said.
"In Ohio, more than a quarter of Clinton voters say they will support McCain. In Florida, more than a third of them say they will back McCain against Obama. If he can't win a decent chunk of them back, he's got an uphill climb in these pivotal states," Brown speculated.
In Ohio, McCain edges Clinton 46 - 44 percent among men, as she takes women 53 - 37 percent. Men back McCain over Obama 47 - 39 percent while women tip to Obama 42 - 40 percent.
Ohio voters give Clinton a 52 - 42 percent favorability, with 44 - 38 percent for Obama and 43 - 36 percent for McCain.
Ohio Democrats say 50 - 37 percent they would rather see Clinton win the nomination. These voters say 65 - 30 percent that she should stay in the race and say 59 - 30 percent that Obama should pick her as his running mate. Democrats who back Clinton would vote for her 95 - 4 percent over McCain, but would vote only 50 - 26 percent for Obama over McCain.
The economy is the most important issue to Ohio voters, 53 percent say, followed by 16 percent who list the war in Iraq and 15 percent who cite health care. By a 46 - 40 percent margin, voters trust Obama more than McCain to handle the economy. They trust McCain more, 51 - 37 percent, to handle the war in Iraq. And they trust Obama more, 54 - 31 percent, to handle health care.
In all, 86 percent of Ohio voters say they would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with an African-American President. And 59 percent would be "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with a President who is 72 at the start of his term.
Because of Obama's association with Rev. Wright, 40 percent of Ohio voters are less likely to vote for him, while 56 percent say it doesn't make a difference.
Because of McCain's association with President Bush, 44 percent are less likely to vote for him, while 47 percent say it doesn't make a difference.
"Voters say they are much more comfortable with a black candidate than someone age 72, as is Sen. McCain," Brown said. "Given that the United States has never had a black President, but Ronald Reagan was 73 when he was re-elected, one has to wonder whether respondents are giving what they perceive to be the politically correct response. Still, McCain's age is a problem with many voters," Brown continued.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton tops McCain 57 - 31 percent with women. He has a 43 - 41 percent edge with men. Obama tops McCain 49 - 37 percent with women. Men split 43 - 42 percent. Clinton gets a 50 - 42 percent favorability, with 50 - 34 percent for Obama and 42 - 37 percent for McCain.
Pennsylvania Democrats prefer Clinton to Obama 47 - 40 percent and say 65 - 33 percent that she should stay in the race. Obama should pick Clinton as his running mate, Democrats say 59 - 31 percent. Democrats who back Clinton would vote for her over McCain 93 - 5 percent, but would vote for Obama over McCain 51 - 32 percent.
The economy is the top issue for 48 percent of voters, followed by 22 percent who list the war in Iraq and 13 percent who cite health care.
By a 50 - 39 percent margin, Pennsylvania voters polled trust Obama more than McCain to handle the economy. They trust McCain more, 49 - 43 percent, to handle the war in Iraq and trust Obama more, 57 - 30 percent, to handle health care.
A total of 88 percent of Pennsylvania voters are "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with an African-American president.
A total of 59 percent of Pennsylvania voters surveyed are "entirely comfortable" or "somewhat comfortable" with a President who is 72 years old.
Because of his association with Rev. Wright, 39 percent of Pennsylvania voters are less likely to vote for Obama, while 57 percent say it doesn't make a difference.
In Pennsylvania, because of his association with President Bush, 47 percent of voters are less likely to vote for McCain, while 47 percent say it makes no difference.
"Sen. Barack Obama's lead in Pennsylvania is probably because historically it has been the most Democratic of the three swing states," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Sen. Obama trails Sen. John McCain by four points among white voters in the Keystone State and the Democrat loses working class whites by eight points, while McCain wins them by double digits in Ohio and Florida," said Richards.
From May l3 - 20, Quinnipiac University surveyed: 1,419 Florida voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percent; 1,244 Ohio voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent; 1,667 Pennsylvania voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percent.