With the release of our February DecisionMaker poll today, I wanted to explore some of the crosstabs to see if any noticeable trends develop. We’ll start with the Presidential race.
First, as a reminder, we poll likely General election voters, and as such the head-to-head Primary matchups are not a predictor of how the election will turn out.
In the head-to-head of Obama v. Clinton, the poll shows Obama with a 14 point lead — 38-24.
But if you look at the groups who are more likely primary voters, Obama’s lead widens.
Among those who ID themselves as "Very liberal" or "Somewhat liberal" his lead widens to 24 points.
Among those who say they "Always vote Democratic" his lead widens to 22 points.
He has a 56 point lead with African-American voters (66-10).
He leads by at least 21 points in every age demographic except 65+ where he leads by 1%.
Therefore, I’d venture to guess Obama’s lead over Clinton is actually higher than the 14 point margin we have it. I’d say if primary voters are polled, the lead may be up in the high teens to around 20. All this is really moot though since this race will be over next Tuesday when Obama wins TX and OH (Yes, I’m making that prediction).
When we take a look at the General election matchup, some interesting trends emerge. Our poll has McCain with a 12 point lead on Clinton (48-36) and a 10 point lead on Obama (46-36).
The fun in the numbers is where the differences occur.
Among Unaffiliateds, McCain leads Clinton 46-36, but Obama leads McCain 43-36. So McCain goes from a +10 to a -7. A pretty big swing.
Breaking the unaffiliateds down even more, Obama is making his largest strides among unaffiliated women. McCain beats Clinton among unaffiliated women by 6, but Obama beats McCain by 17.
I know it’s early, but I think we just found one of the key demographics for this year’s election. It’ll be interesting to watch these numbers over the next 8 months.
One potential problem for Obama is that his support seems to erode some among self-ID’d "Very liberals" or "Somewhat liberals". Among "Very liberals" Clinton leads McCain by 73 points (85-12), but Obama only leads by 61 points (75-14), with an strong increase in those who "aren’t sure".
Are these just dissatisfied Clinton hard-cores who will come back around in November? Is there a chance that the Clintonites get upset at what has happened to their candidate that they stay home?
Another interesting sample is that McCain is getting 10% of the African-American vote against Clinton. Protest vote for Clinton’s earlier race baiting in South Carolina? Quite possibly.
Similarly, many people have theorized that McCain is unappealing to the conservative base and they stay home. So far, the numbers don’t show that happening. His numbers among "very" and "somewhat" conservative voters hold the same against either Obama or Clinton and the number of "not sures" (the answer dissatisfied conservatives would give) is not any higher among those groups than any other demographic or the population as a whole — about 16%. And converse to the argument, among people who say they "always vote Republican" (a truer indication of the base), only 5% say they are undecided and McCain leads Obama 92-3.