A new poll of the state of Connecticut released today by Quinnipiac University shows Barack Obama leading John McCain, 56%-35%. This poll is in line with a growing state by state trend towards double digit leads for Barack Obama.
As has been the same in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Minnesota, Obama leads McCain among all age groups in Connecticut. He leads McCain 68%-26% with voters age 18-34, 54%-38% with voters age 35-54, and 53%-38% with voters over 55. Voters in the state felt that war (74%-18%) and the economy (55%-36%) were the two most important issues in this election.
Men favor Obama by a margin of five points, 50%-45%, while women give the Democrat a nineteen point lead, 55%-36%. Those without college degrees favor Obama, 50%-42%. Twenty percent of those who voted for President Bush in 2004 said that they will be supporting Obama this time. McCain’s support among registered voters has plummeted in Connecticut. In February of 2007, Obama lead McCain 43%-38%, but Obama picked up fifteen points since, and now leads 52%-32%.
The key factor dragging McCain down in most of these polls has been President Bush. In Connecticut, Bush has a 19% approval rating. Because McCain has aligned himself with the president, his approval rating has fallen to 46%, which is fifteen points lower than Obama. In terms of running mates, 53% of those surveyed said that Obama should not choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate.
Interestingly for McCain, adding Joe Lieberman to the ticket actually costs him support in Lieberman’s home state. Only 14% of respondents said that adding Lieberman to the ticket would make them more likely to vote for McCain, but 32% said that adding Lieberman would make it less likely that they would support McCain. This makes sense in the context that most of Lieberman’s support in the state is Republican, and thus, already likely to vote McCain.
Because of the close popular vote totals in the last two presidential elections, I don’t believe that national polls have much significance. Where one can best observe trends developing is by looking at the individual states. So far, the state polls reveal a strong trend with women and older voters moving towards Obama in big numbers. The primary reasons for this move are the unpopularity of George W. Bush and the nation’s economic struggles. Every time John McCain moves closer to George W. Bush on any issue, he loses support. George W. Bush has shrunk national support for the Republican Party.
McCain needs to be pro-Bush to appease the base, but for every one vote he gains among Republicans, he loses three nationally. McCain might survive this election, but he is facing a political juggernaut in Obama, who has the mood of the nation behind him. I suspect that as this campaign goes along the trend away from McCain will continue to grow.