Lake Research Partners at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver
September 1, 2008
The latest George Washington University Battleground 2008 Poll Findings
August 20, 2008
May 2008 GW Battleground Poll Released
May 22, 2008
Research Partners Congratulates Donna Edwards on Her Democratic
February 13, 2008
Congress Should Do
More to Help the World's Children
October 11, 2007
July 2007 GW Battleground
July 26, 2007
Chicago Alderman-Elect Sandi Jackson
March 1, 2007
on the Role of the Economy in the 2006 Elections:
A Post-Election Analysis
November 30, 2006
Post-Election 2006 Analysis Slide Presentation
November 24, 2006
in the 2006 Elections
November 13, 2006
Part D Insights
Care in the 2006 Elections
Research Partners Make Big Contribution To Progressive Wins
November 8, 2006
on the Role of the Economy in the 2006 Election
October 30, 2006
GW Battleground Poll Released
October 5, 2006
Health Care One Year After Hurricane Katrina
August 8, 2006
Landmark Study Tracks Vulnerable Californians Adapting to Medicare Part D
Lake Research Partners Congratulates Georgia's Competitive Democratic Primary Candidates
July 25, 2006
Lake Research Partners Congratulates Democratic Primary Winners
June 8, 2006
Poverty Poll Released
March 8, 2006
GO TO NEWS ARCHIVE
2008 POLL RELEASED
August 20, 2008
WASHINGTON – The latest edition of The George Washington University Battleground 2008 Poll finds a negative political environment (78% wrong track) with
voters most concerned about the economy and jobs (24%), gas and energy prices (15%), and the war in Iraq (12%).
Voters disapprove of George W. Bush’s job performance (63%), but continue to approve of him as a person (57%). Furthermore, nearly three quarters of voters disapprove of the job
Congress has been doing this year (74%). More than half (56%) say that they think Democrats are in control of Congress, while 27% believe it is the Republicans.
Despite a negative political environment for the Republicans, the presidential horserace is within the margin of error (+ 3.1%). With a tight turnout model, McCain currently tops
Obama by 1 point (47%-46%). However, when voters are asked which candidate they think is going to win the election, 51% say Obama, versus 34% who think McCain will prevail.
Both John McCain and Barack Obama enjoy majority favorable images (57% for each). In the GW-Battleground Poll’s first measure of the candidate’s wives, 48% of voters have a
favorable opinion of Michelle Obama, while 46% have a favorable opinion of Cindy McCain.
Examining these results, Republican pollster Brian Tringali said, “It is amazing how similar the image scores appear to be for both Barack Obama and John McCain. If Obama is this
agent of change that America has been waiting for, why is his image no better than the nominee from the other party—a political party whose brand is supposed to be so badly damaged?”
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake notes, “Voters are looking for change. That gives Obama a real advantage in this election even as McCain tries to reinvent himself. Among undecided
voters, Obama has a decided advantage in being better liked. This poll also modeled a traditional electorate. However, Obama has the ability to change the electorate.
Simulating modest gains in youth turnout takes the ballot to a 2-point advantage for Obama. Changing the face of the electorate is Obama’s ace in the hole.”
Ron Faucheaux, associate professorial lecturer at GW’s Graduate School of Political Management, said, “The candidates will use the upcoming conventions to reinforce their vision
of change. However, once the buzz about vice presidential candidates and acceptance speeches fades, McCain and Obama will need to overcome perceptions about age and experience,
as well as strengthen their connections to voters.”
The negative political environment and widespread disapproval of the Republican president and Democratic controlled Congress carries through into name identifications with
majorities of voters holding unfavorable views about George W. Bush (55%), the Republicans in Congress (54%), and the Democrats in Congress (50%).
A majority (51%) of Americans believe the war in Iraq is not worth fighting. However, a majority (56%) of voters also believes that the situation in Iraq has gotten better in the
past six months. Asked what leaders should do with U.S. troops currently deployed in Iraq, 44% of voters support keeping troops there until the country is stabilized, 31% would
set a date for withdrawal in the next two years, and 23% believe an immediate withdrawal is necessary.
Looking at perceptions of the overall race, a majority of voters (55%) are satisfied with the choice of candidates for president. Pluralities of voters claim that what they have
seen, read, or heard about Obama and McCain have made them less likely to vote for those candidates (47% for McCain and 46% for Obama). In addition, half of voters (50%) think
that John McCain is running the more negative campaign, compared to 21% who think Obama is running more negative.
Asked to assess their level of comfort about some personal characteristics of the presidential candidates, Republican candidate John McCain’s age is the personal quality that
the largest percentage of people are not comfortable with. Twenty-seven percent (27%) said they are not at all comfortable voting for a candidate who is 72 years old,
followed by 12% of voters who are not at all comfortable voting for someone who is divorced. For Barack Obama, 5% are not at all comfortable voting for a candidate who is 46
years old and 4% of voters are not at all comfortable voting for an African American.
Barack Obama leads McCain when it comes to whom voters think best “represents middle class values” (52%-37%), “fights for people like me” (48%-39%), “will unite the country”
(50%-36%), “is an independent voice” (50%-37%), and narrowly leads McCain in “will get things done” (44%-42%). McCain leads Obama when voters are asked to name who “is a
stronger leader” (52%-37%), “says what he believes” (44%-40%), and “shares your values” (46%-43%).
In a series of questions about issue handling, McCain leads Obama when voters are asked who will better “reduce gas and energy prices” (40%-37%) and who will better handle
“dealing with the war in Iraq (54%-41%). The candidates are tied in “keeping America prosperous” (43%-43%). Obama has an advantage over McCain in who will be better when it
comes to “creating jobs and improving the economy” (48%-39%) and “handling the health care issues” (54%-35%).
Tringali said, “the positive re-evaluation of John McCain is the untold story of the last three months of this election. John McCain’s biggest comparative gain over the last
three months has come on the issue of gas and energy prices.”
Lake countered, “Obama has a decisive advantage on the economy and domestic agenda for the middle class that will determine this election. Among voters overall, he is ahead 9
points on the economy and 15 points on being for the middle class. Among undecided voters, Obama is ahead 12 points and 27 points respectively. That should translate into
decisively taking the undecided voters.”
On a series of questions about economics, only 14% rate the current economy as “excellent” or “good.” Thirty-seven percent (37%) say the economy is “fair,” while half of voters
think it is poor (50%). However, this measure is inconsistent in comparison to the rating of one’s personal economic situation. More than half of voters (51%) say their personal
economic situation is excellent or good, while 36% say “just fair” and only 13% respond “poor.”
When voters are asked to select the current economic issue that is most important in determining their vote for president, 20% respond that it is the rising cost of gasoline and
fuel. When voters are asked who is the most responsible for the high cost of gas today, 20% blame oil companies, 14% say foreign oil producing countries, 14% think it is
speculators, 11% blame President Bush, and 10% think it is the fault of China, India, and other developing countries. In an effort to determine what voters think is the best
solution to finding new domestic sources for energy, the most favorable proposals are incentives for renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal (93% favor);
promoting energy conservation practices (92% favor); and building new “wind power” generating turbines (90% favor).
This bipartisan GW-Battleground 2008 Poll surveyed 1,003 registered likely voters nationwide August 10-14, 2008, and yields a margin of error of + 3.1%.
First conducted in 1991, this year marks the poll's 15th anniversary. It has accurately portrayed the political climate through four Presidential and three mid-term election cycles. The GW-Battleground Poll continues to be an in-depth bipartisan look at the political climate and a leader in setting the standards for polling.
This nationally recognized series of scientific surveys is unique to the industry, in that it offers the distinct perspectives of two top pollsters from different sides of the aisle. The George Washington University is the sponsor of the GW-Battleground Poll, a highly regarded, bi-partisan election survey conducted by top polling firms Lake Research Partners' and The Tarrance Group.
The University's role in the poll is guided by its Graduate School of Political Management. GW's public affairs, public policy, and international affairs programs (undergraduate and graduate) are frequently ranked highly in leading publications, including recognition among the Top 10 "Most Politically Active" colleges and universities in the 2005 Princeton Review and as the "Hottest School for Political Junkies," according 2005 Kaplan/Newsweek How to Get Into College guide. The George Washington University also is one of the nation's best schools in fostering social responsibility and public service, according to the Princeton Review and Washington Monthly, which both included the University among its top-rated schools for community service in 2005.
For more information about the poll, please contact Daniel
Gotoff at Lake Research Partners at (202) 776-9066
or e-mail Daniel at dgotoff@Lakeresearch.com.
The GW-Battleground Poll archives since 1991 are at GW’s
Gelman Library, www.gwu.edu/gelman.
For more news about GW, visit the GW News Center at www.gwnewscenter.org.
15 Years of the Battleground Poll