As Democrats gather in Denver, many may be wondering why the presidential race has tightened. An analysis of polling data shows that that while voters are unhappy with the state of the nation and give low ratings to President Bush, the GOP base has started to solidify around McCain. Polling also finds that Obama's extensive media coverage may be a mixed blessing.
A new Pew Research survey finds a decline in the share of Americans who want churches and other houses of worship to be involved in political matters. Most of the drop in the past four years has come among political conservatives.
With fewer than two weeks to go before the start of the presidential nominating conventions, McCain has solidified his support among Republicans and white evangelicals, especially in the South, while Obama lags in attracting Clinton supporters.
The latest Pew Research Center national survey, including a sample of 503 adults on a cell phone, finds that the overall estimate of voter presidential preference is modestly affected by whether or not the cell phone respondents are included.
Obama is doing better among young and independent women than either of the last two Democratic nominees, but many older Democratic women remain undecided.
Even with a partisan enthusiasm gap, voter interest is already as high as in November of recent elections, two trends that may significantly alter the composition of the eventual electorate in the Democrats' favor. The proportion of swing voters is also up compared with four years ago. Nearly half of independents (47%) are undecided or may change their minds, up from 28% in June 2004.
While Obama and McCain received similar levels of media coverage, Obama remained by far the most visible candidate. Only 11% of Americans cited McCain as the candidate they had heard the most about, while more than seven-in-ten (71%) named Obama.
A solid majority say the nomination of an African American for president is important to the country, but racial and partisan divisions exist on the significance of Obama’s historical achievement.
More of the public heard about controversies related to Obama than other campaign events. Even so, far more Americans believe press coverage has favored him than think it has favored Clinton.
While a majority of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters (53%) favor a so-called "Dream Ticket," fully 54% of Obama supporters do not want Clinton chosen as his running mate.