Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why Depressed?

Is there any reason for the GOP to be depressed? Sure. George W.'s apparent lack of concern for things that matter most to Americans is likely to lead to further slippage in congress.

On the other hand, the Democrats are preparing to ordain the new and improved John Kerry as their nominee for 2008. Let's party!

Take a look at some numbers from Gallup comparing how similarly Obama and Kerry perform among key demographic groups.

Obama gets 37% of white voters, Kerry took 41%
Obama gets 91% of blacks, but Kerry took 88%
Obama gets 51% of hispanics, but Kerry got 53%
Obama gets 36% of regular churchgoers, but Kerry got 39%
Obama gets 47% of white women, but Kerry got 51%
Barack ties Kerry among white men.

Each presidential campaign takes place in a new and different environment, with a new cast of characters and issues. If, as expected, Obama wins the Democratic nomination this year, the campaign will have an even more distinctive newness to it, as Obama would represent the first black major-party candidate in the country's history.

Still, the analysis reviewed here suggests that the basic structure of an Obama-McCain campaign is in many ways quite similar to that of the 2004 race between Kerry and Bush.

At the moment, Gallup Poll Daily tracking indicates that this November's election could be close, as has been the popular vote in 2000 and 2004. In other words, just as 2004 was in many ways a replay of 2000, this year's election could be a replay of 2004 with minor changes around the edges.

Certainly the current data show that the patterns of support for Obama when he is pitted against McCain -- among various key racial, educational, religious, and gender groups -- do not look like they have changed dramatically from the 2004 contest between Kerry and Bush.

Obama's stengths are with people who have a college education and beyond.
Kerry and Bush tied among college graduates in 2004. In Gallup Poll Daily tracking, Obama wins by 50% to 44% among college graduates. Among those with postgraduate educations, Kerry won over Bush by 55% to 44%, or 11 points. Obama is beating McCain by 57% to 38%, or 19 points among this group. The comparative data certainly suggest that Obama actually has a relative strength among well-educated voters.

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