Inside the poll numbers

Analysis by Chris Graham
freepress2@ntelos.net

Barack Obama continues to hold a two- to four-point lead in the major national polls.

Looking inside the numbers, one might be able to foresee the margin widening as we head into the election season.

Obama held a 48-44 lead over John McCain in the latest Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll and a 46-44 lead in the latest Gallup tracking poll.

Two tidbits of interest from the Gallup folks today. One, 23 percent of Americans say that McCain’s age – he would be 72 at his inauguration next year – would make him a less effective president, while only 8 percent say that Obama’s race would make him less effective. It seems that the race factor that could have been a silent killer for the Obama effort hasn’t taken shape yet, anyway, while the age issue that I don’t know I thought would be any kind of a worry for McCain just might in fact be.

Two, McCain had been outpolling Obama among voters with a high-school education or less in March by a 47-40 margin, but Gallup is reporting today that the candidates are tied in this demographic subgroup at 43 percent each. This is interesting in light of the characterizations in the media during the Obama-Hillary Clinton Democratic-nomination contest that had Obama the darling of the elites and Clinton the favorite of working-class voters.

One nugget from the Rasmussen data. The division among Obama and McCain voters can be seen most clearly in voters’ views on what to do in Iraq. Seventy-eight percent of Democrats think their party’s top priority in Iraq should be getting the troops home, while 76 percent of Republican voters think their party’s top priority should be finishing the job in Iraq.

It helps Obama’s cause that according to Rasmussen 41 percent of Americans consider themselves to be Democrats, while 31.5 percent consider themselves to be Republicans.

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