The latest Quinnipiac University/ Wall Street Journal/Washington Post swing state poll was released today, and it finds Barack Obama surging ahead of John McCain in the critical swing states of Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The big news is that Obama now leads McCain with men in each state, and Sarah Palin has completely fallen apart.
In Colorado, Obama has managed to keep his nine point lead, 52%-43%, which is the exact same margin as three weeks ago. Obama leads McCain with Independents, 51%-40%, and still dominates in the state with women, 54%-38%. Obama leads with white voters, 48%-47%, and he leads with men, 49%-47%. The Obama engine is being fueled by the economy, as 54% of Colorado voters said that this was there most important issue, and by a margin of 51%-39% voters said Obama understands the economy better than McCain.
In Michigan, Obama leads McCain 54%-38%. Obama leads across the board here too. With men he leads, 48%-44%, with women, 60%-32%, white voters, 48%-43%, and Independents, 52%-35%. Sixty four percent of those asked said that the economy was their most important issue, and by a margin of 52%-35% said Obama understood it better. The story is the same in Minnesota, where Obama has added three points to his lead, and is now up 51%-40%. Obama leads with women, 54%-37%, whites, 49%-43%, Independents, 51%-38%. McCain and Obama are tied among white men at 46%. The economy is the top issue to 58% of respondents, and they trust Obama over McCain to handle the economy, 49%-34%.
The most drastic jump for Obama has come in Wisconsin, where he has gained nine points, and now leads, 54%-37%. Obama leads with women 59%-33%, men, 49%-41%, whites, 52%-39%, and Independents, 52%-36%. The economy is the top issue to 55% of respondents, and Obama is favored over McCain on the issue, 53%-32%.
There are three elements carrying Obama in these polls. First, the economy is the critical issue in the minds of these voters, and McCain has shown no competency in this area at all. Second, McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin is in total free fall. Palin has negative approval rating in every state, and her approval rating ranges from 37%-39%. None of the people surveyed in these polls believe that she is qualified to be vice president. Only, 41%-44% of respondents believe that she is qualified to be VP. In contrast, Joe Biden’s unfavorable rating ranges from 22%-27%, and 76%-81% of those asked believe that he is qualified to be vice president.
Palin was added to the ticket to attract the white suburban soccer moms that voted for Bush in 2004, but her selection has backfired in a big way. Women don’t think that she is qualified for the job. By a margin of 52%-42% women voter said that she isn’t qualified. In Michigan, by a margin of 50%-34% women said that she isn’t qualified. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, the margin was 49%-40%. My theory is that Sarah Palin sunk McCain’s chances, especially in Michigan, because she is completely unable to discuss the economy.
While those asked stressed that the debates didn’t change their support, what the debates did seem to do is make voters more comfortable with Obama. This is a Democratic year, and I think many voters wanted to support a Democrat, but they had some concerns about whether or not Obama could handle the job. I believe that the biggest thing the debates have done for Obama is that they have eased worries about him, because he has looked more presidential than McCain. In each poll that is released, Obama is shoring up his lead, and if this trend continues for another week or two, McCain will need a miracle to win this election.