Whites Lift McCain To Slim Lead Over Obama In Poll

An overwhelming advantage in experience and lopsided support from working-class and suburban whites have lifted Republican John McCain to a slender lead over Barack Obama less than two months from Election Day, a poll on the presidential race said Friday.

The Arizona senator has a 13-percentage-point lead over his Democratic rival both with men and senior citizens, and a 23-point advantage among rural residents, according to the Associated Press-GfK Poll of likely voters. He's also doing better than Obama at consolidating support from party loyalists: 94 percent of Republicans back McCain, while 83 percent of Democrats prefer the Illinois senator.

Obama has good news, too. He's preferred two-to-one by those who say the nation's economy is in poor shape — a strong position on an issue many surveys say is the public's top worry. He also has an 18-point advantage among voters who look more to a candidate's values and views than experience, and his weak showing with whites is generally no worse than Democrat John Kerry did in his losing but close 2004 race against President Bush.

The poll is in line with others showing that in the days since both parties picked vice presidential candidates and held their conventions, Republicans have gained momentum and erased a modest lead Obama held most of the summer. McCain leads Obama among likely voters, 48 percent to 44 percent, according to the AP-GfK Poll.

"My heart sort of runs with McCain and my mind probably tends to run toward Obama," said David Scorup, 58, a county government official in Othello, Wash. "I think I resonate more with McCain."

The poll suggests that perceived inexperience is more of a problem at the top of the Democratic ticket than in the No. 2 spot for Republicans.

Eighty percent say McCain, with nearly three decades in Congress, has the right experience to be president. Just 46 percent say Obama, now in his fourth year in the Senate, is experienced enough.

Fully 47 percent say Obama lacks the proper experience — an even worse reading than the 36 percent who had the same criticism about McCain running mate Sarah Palin, serving her second year as Alaska governor after being a small-town mayor.

"This is his fourth year in the Senate, and two of those four years he spent campaigning for president," said Arthur Koch, 63, an undecided voter from Wallington, N.J. "I'm not too comfortable with that."

Underscoring how tight the race remains, several swing groups that traditionally help decide presidential races remain split between the two tickets. These include independents, married women and Catholics.

Seven in 10 said Palin made the right decision in becoming McCain's running mate, despite the demands of a family whose five children include a pregnant, unmarried teenage daughter and an infant with Down syndrome. Men were slightly likelier than women to back her choice, and even Obama supporters were split closely over whether she did the proper thing.

"She scares the bedoodles out of me," said Lisa Rolfe, 46, an Obama backer and pharmaceutical worker in Pembroke Pines, Fla. But as for Palin's choice, she said, "I know it's going to be very difficult, but I'm sure she weighed her decision. That's a very personal value."

McCain leads Obama by 55 percent to 37 percent among whites. That includes margins of 24 points with suburban whites and 26 points with whites who haven't finished college, plus similar advantages with white men and married whites.

The poll finds that despite Democratic attempts to tie McCain to the profoundly unpopular Bush, half say they believe the Arizonan would chart a different course — including a slight majority of independents, a pivotal bloc of voters. In addition, although slightly more call themselves Democrats than Republicans, conservatives have a huge 40 percent to 20 percent edge over liberals.

Ken Campbell, 49, a Republican and county sheriff in Lebanon, Ind., said of Obama: "Our lifestyles and beliefs are so radically different that there is no similarity whatsoever."

Obama leads 61 percent to 35 percent among voters under age 30. He has about a 5-to-1 edge with minorities and narrow advantages with college graduates and women, though he trails among white women 53 percent to 40 percent.

Asked if they prefer a presidential candidate with solid experience or one whose values and views they support, two-thirds picked the latter. While those preferring experience overwhelmingly back McCain, people opting for a contender's values say they'll back Obama over McCain, 56 percent to 38 percent.

"Obama seems to be more oriented toward getting people together," said Ron Long, 60, of Pella, Iowa, an Obama supporter.

Though Obama led among those who said values were more important than experience, respondents gave a 9-point edge to McCain as the candidate whose values and principles are similar to theirs. He had an 8-point edge over whom people agreed with on issues.

In another sign of recent GOP gains, people said they preferred a Democratic to a Republican-run Congress, 46 percent to 41 percent. Several surveys earlier this year gave Democrats a wider edge.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Sept. 5-10 and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,217 adults, including 812 considered likely voters. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points for the entire sample and 3.4 points for likely voters.

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  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 16, 2008 at 11:46 AM
    This just in; the group that says W killed soldiers, lied, that McCain is more of Bush and Palin is a Redneck is now exposed. The group is called DOPES (Deomcratic Obama Party Euphoria Speculators) They have all received appropriate training by the liberals of Ayers, Soros, John Edwards, Pelosi and Reid. They are doing an outstanding job of creating rumors, lies and deceipt to voters. Their favorite line is "McBush" which is a dead give away to that training. Warning, these people think we think like them but they are only 15% of the population so there is not detrimental danger, just some spitting hate and anger. If you see one of these people, walk away, they are there to spread the latest rumors and half truths given by the trainers. Price of gas is up due to DOPES in the house and congress yet they blame Bush. The have a 12% approval rating for a reason. I cannot fill my car up with wind and solar, nozzle won't fit. Yall have a nice day!
  • by xdac Location: greenville on Sep 16, 2008 at 09:33 AM
    the reason why because they love their money than change. personally i am going to vote. but it does not matter who becomes president because the one thing that AMERICA in the crisis that it's in no one want to admit to what it all boils down too. America will suffer just because of the war. and for those of you who voted 2times for bush will vote for McCain and why? the devil always blind those who does not have an open mind because their mind is on one thing MONEY the root of all evil. it's not the money that is evil its what you do with it, and AMERICA chose to spend BILLIONS on a WAR. the best thing i can tell you is to go out and buy plenty of WATER and put your faith in GOD not man. back in 2004 i wriiten a poem U.S.O.A saying gas was going up now in 2008 those of you who paid attention know i was speaking the truth. and no i did not vote for BUSH because God never tells anyone to take a life.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 15, 2008 at 12:42 PM
    I question anyone that posts that Bush killed soldiers. You are simply out of bounds. If you check on the "facts" you will find the house and senate agreed to it. Again, a fact, stop following party rehetoric sheep. Obama supported death in the third trimister that no one else wanted. This is the story. McCain is not ahead due to race. He is ahead because Palin is a real change from government. She goes after both partys for corruption. McCain is more experienced than Obama, fact, he is also more patiotic and tough on foreign countries, facts again. I am a democrat voting McCain-Palin because I don't buy the hogwash liberals crap they shove down our throats. Obama is of questionable background and Biden is weak on foreign countries. Do some research on both, stop following the McBush liberal stance and stop posting baaahhhhhhhhhhhh
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on Sep 13, 2008 at 09:30 PM
    I'm white, and I don't care one bit for Obama or McCain. As far as I'm concerned there is very little difference between the two. But this story caught my attention as it appears to me the writer of this story is attempting to subtlety suggest racism is behind support for McCain. As in the only reason a white person wouldn't vote for Obama is because he's black. It made me wonder why there hasn't been a big story about Obama carrying 95% of the black vote. Somehow abortion got dragged into this thread so I'll chuck in my two cents on that as well. Simply put, if it ain't a baby, you ain't pregnant.
  • by Blog Refuter Location: NC on Sep 13, 2008 at 08:51 PM
    I am pro-life because of my religious convictions and conscientious spirit, but let's get real. No matter who's the president, abortion clinics will stay in business. Let's focus on other issues which actually can be changed. Seriously, if the country's population continues to increase and poverty takes a grip of more people, things will not get better. I'm still pro-life and don't support abortion, but perhaps safe sex is a better option.
  • by Done Deal on Sep 13, 2008 at 12:01 PM
    To Anonymous, I am anti abortion but that is me. I think the issue here is the fact that Obama is not responsible for the passing of the abortion law, yet people think it is his place to make abortions go away. Well people I am sorry but abortions will never go away, the law is set in stone in other words it is a done deal . It is not your business any way unless it is your body and your baby, so get over it and move on.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2008 at 10:22 AM
    I haven't been polled either. So add one more white to the OBAMA side.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2008 at 10:20 AM
    Yessssssssssssssssssss Cheryl. People need to give up the abortion issues. Obama doesn't kill babies!!!!!! I most likely wouldn't choose abortion, but it's MY choice. I respect pro - life, but again every woman should have the choice. I can't honestly say what I would do ...say if I had a 13 year old daughter who was raped and became pregnant. I thank God I never had to deal with that, but people do, and they don't need the government telling them what they can and can't do. And I'm white and also 1000% for Obama. :)
  • by Cheryl on Sep 13, 2008 at 07:51 AM
    How many babies and innocent people have Bush Killed in Iraq?
  • by MISS LITTLE on Sep 13, 2008 at 07:19 AM
    I am WHITE and 1000% for Obama
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