Poll suggests McCain's support softening as race stays tied

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 16, 2008 

WASHINGTON — John McCain and Barack Obama remained neck and neck seven weeks before Election Day, but there's been some softening of the support for McCain and his running mate, a new Ipsos/McClatchy poll has found.

The national survey found registered voters split evenly, with 45 percent supporting McCain, the Republican, and 45 percent supporting Obama, the Democrat.

Two percent supported independent candidate Ralph Nader, 1 percent supported Libertarian Bob Barr, 5 percent supported none of those choices and 2 percent said they didn't know whom they supported.

The latest survey of 1,046 registered voters was taken nationwide from last Thursday through Monday. Its error margin was plus or minus 3.0 percentage points.

The competition was similar to the week before, when 46 percent supported McCain and 45 percent supported Obama.

In the subsequent week, McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, dominated news coverage of the presidential race as financial markets faced a new round of turmoil.

"It seems like McCain is holding the ground he gained with his convention bump," said Clifford Young, a senior vice president at Ipsos, a public affairs firm. "We're not seeing any fast deterioration."

While there was no significant change in the number of voters who said they supported either ticket, the poll did suggest some easing of the commitment to McCain-Palin.

Among those supporting McCain and Palin, 71 percent said they'd definitely vote for the ticket, down from 77 percent the week before. The slice of those who said they'd probably vote for McCain-Palin rose from 10 percent to 13 percent, and the total of those who said they could change their minds rose from 10 percent to 12 percent.

"It does suggest a slight wavering on the McCain-Palin side," Young said. "There's a little more doubt in people's minds. There are underlying signs that the convention bump may have a time stamp on it."

Support for Obama and Biden remained almost the same as the previous week, slightly more solid than McCain and Palin's support.

Among Obama-Biden supporters, 80 percent said they'd definitely vote for the ticket, the same as the week before.

Another 13 percent said they'd probably vote for the ticket, up from 12 percent the week before. Seven percent said they could change their minds, down from 8 percent the week before.

McCain leads among non-Hispanic whites and among households with incomes greater than $50,000.

Obama leads among Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks, as well as among women and in households with annual incomes below $25,000.

POLL METHODOLOGY:

The Ipsos\McClatchy poll was conducted from last Thursday through Monday.

For the survey, Ipsos interviewed a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of 1,190 adults across the United States. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population.

Within this sample, Ipsos interviewed 1,046 respondents who identified themselves as registered voters. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population.

These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's regional and age-sex composition reflects that of the U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census.

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McClatchy Newspapers 2008

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