The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mass Prez Polls

The latest numbers.

While the race for President of the United States is neck and neck at the national level, the race for who is going to carry our state of Massachusetts is not nearly as competitive. In an article today in the Springfield Republican, local GOPers are quoted as saying Republican John McCain can carry the state. In theory it is not impossible, as McCain was very popular here in the primaries of the 2000 election, with many prominent Democrats (such as Springfield's Charles V. Ryan) re-registering just so they could vote for McCain.

Yet that was when the alternative was George W. Bush, and now that a full-fledged liberal Democrat like Barack Obama is the other choice the enthusiasm for McCain is not nearly as high. Still, McCain is the first Republican since Ronald Reagan (who carried Massachusetts in 1984) to have at least an outside chance of winning here. In fact recent polls indicate that the Obama/McCain race is tightening in Massachusetts.

In July, the Rasmussen Report had Obama trouncing McCain in Massachusetts by a 55% to 31% margin. In their August poll, Obama has slipped four points to 51% while McCain has enjoyed a five point surge to 38%. That's still not enough to place an Obama victory in Massachusetts in serious doubt, but it is not the direction the state Obama campaign would like to see things trending. Another bad month like that for the Obama camp and Massachusetts may slip into the toss-up category.

The results are even more ominous sounding for the Obama effort in Massachusetts in the latest Suffolk University poll. They claim the race is even tighter, with Obama having slipped below fifty percent:

Democrat Barack Obama (47 percent) leads Republican John McCain (38 percent) by 9 percent among Massachusetts voters, according to a poll released today by 7NEWS/Suffolk University. Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney and Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr each polled 1 percent, while 13 percent of voters surveyed were undecided.

The poll sharply contrasts with a June 7NEWS/Suffolk University poll, which showed Obama with a 23-point lead, 53 percent to 30 percent.

The biggest McCain gains came among Western Massachusetts voters, men, middle-aged voters, and independents.

Despite a once twenty-three point lead shrinking to just nine points, Obama's victory in Massachusetts still seems probable - but with numbers plunging that fast, it can no longer be called a certainty. At the very least it suggests a previously unimaginable prospect: Obama having to spend valuable time and money campaigning in Massachusetts to keep our state from slipping away to McCain.

The Rasmussen Poll also asked some interesting questions not related to the presidential race:

Incumbent Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, remains far ahead of his Republican challenger Jeff Beatty 56% to 29%.

For 43% of Massachusetts voters, economic issues are their number one concern this election cycle, with 24% listing national security as their top concern. This parallels findings nationwide. In 2004, national security was the number one voter issue. Unlike voters in most other states, a plurality (48%) say protecting the environment is more important than reducing the price of gas and oil, although nearly as many (41%) see it the other way around. Only 38% believe the United States has the best economy in the world.

Forty-four percent (44%) believe the United States and its allies are winning the war on terror, while 24% think the terrorists are winning. Forty-two percent (42%) agree with Obama that Afghanistan is the central front in the war on terror. Fifty-four percent (54%) also say Afghanistan is a greater threat to the United States than Iraq, although 21% rank Iraq as the greater threat.

For the second month in a row, just 21% of Massachusetts voters think President Bush is doing a good or excellent job, while 59% rate his performance as poor, down from 64% a month ago. An equal number (59%) say Bush will be regarded as one of America’s worst presidents, but 30% say history will view his performance as average and 7% say he will be seen as one of the best U.S. chief executives.

Sometime in the 1990's Kateri Walsh sent me this WHYN Christmas card. Below it is a listing of the people in the photo, which was shot on the steps of Springfield City Hall. (click photo to enlarge)

On the streets of Amherst today this hot car was cruising.

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.

-Groucho Marx

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