With only a week to go before the general election, the downward trend for John McCain continues. The new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows Barack Obama leading McCain, 53%-38%. Interestingly, Obama also leads 53%-34% with early voters.
In six weeks this race has gone from even to Obama maintaining a double digit lead. Obama’s support is holding steady, as he has been at 50% or more for the last three weeks. Over the same period, McCain has lost six points. McCain is still being weighed down by George W. Bush. Bush’s approval rating has fallen to a new low of 22%, and by a 47%-40% margin those surveyed believe that McCain will continue the policies of Bush.
Obama now leads McCain, 48%-31% among Independents, 51%-38% with men, and 54%-34% with women. The candidates are tied at 44% with white voters, but Obama leads 90%-1% with black voters. Obama leads McCain with all age groups by double digits, except those over 65 with whom he leads, 45%-37%. Obama leads by 16-18 points across all educational levels. The Democrat leads with every income level, but his lead is smallest with those who make $50,000-$74,999. He is ahead of McCain 49%-44% with this group.
By religion, McCain leads Obama big with evangelicals, 65%-22%, but that is it. Obama leads with Protestants, Catholics, and the Unaffiliated. The big development is that McCain held a lead of 52%-39% with those making over $75,000 in September, but this has turned into a 52%-41% margin for Obama. This is the group that was likely hard hit by the financial crisis, and has been driven to Obama because of it.
In what could be a very ominous sign for McCain, 15% of those surveyed had already voted, and those voters overwhelmingly supported Obama, 53%-34%. An additional 16% said that they plan to vote early, and they support Obama, 56%-37%. Since Democrats are more enthused about this election than Republicans, it was a pretty safe assumption that these early voting numbers would favor Obama, but 19% is a huge number. If this margin holds up, Obama will go into Election Day leading in many key states.
Absentee ballots and early voting has long been the domain of the Republican Party. It is a tribute to Obama’s ground organization that so many voters have turned out early for him. With a week to go, all the numbers are starting to point to a possible big win by Obama. The McCain campaign doesn’t seem to have the time, money, or message needed to close the gap. It is very telling that support for Obama has stayed steady for weeks now, while McCain continues to drop. It would seem that the momentum is with Obama heading into the last week of the campaign.