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Obama's Sour "Apples to Apples", Part Two


In the last six weeks, Barack Obama has been losing support in virtually every key demographic category when matched against John McCain, while Hillary Clinton has gained support. Obama has lost support among men, women, White voters, “Independents”, and “Moderates”, while Clinton has gained support in all those categories.

Obama’s margins against McCain have fallen significantly in all of these categories, while Clinton is “holding her own” in these key categories as previously undecided voters make up their minds.

These conclusions are drawn from an “apples to apples” comparison of Survey USA polling done April 11-13 in nine states (California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin) with similar polling done in late February as part the SUSA 50 state poll (conducted Feb. 26-28).


Hillary Clinton’s nine state averages shows that she picked up 1.3% more support overall between late February and mid-April, while Obama lost 1.6% of his support (Chart B-1). Clinton improved in all the key demographic categories; although her average improvement among Moderates is negligible (+0.1%), she has managed to pick up significant support in a Clinton v McCain matchup among those groups that she is considered weakest, male voters (+1.8%) and Independents (+2.4%).

At the same time, Obama lost support against McCain in all the major groups – including among his supposed “strong suit”, the “Independent” vote, where he lost, on average, 4.2% compared to late February. Obama also lost considerable support among White voters (-3.2%) and Moderates (-2.9%)

The news isn’t all good for Clinton, however. Despite gaining support in every category, she lost some ground to McCain, as her margins (Chart B-2) among White voters (-2.1%) and Moderates (-2.3%) declined, while her overall margins (0.1%), and margins among men (+0.8%), women (-0.7%), and Independents (no change) showed little change.

But if the news isn’t all good for Clinton, it is all bad for Obama. His average margins against McCain decreased by well over 4 points in all key demographic categories; men (-4.8%), women (-5.2%), White voters (-8.8%), Independents (-11.4%), and Moderates (-7.8%). As a result, his average margin against McCain has dropped by 4.9 points.

That 4.9% average margin drop in support is especially telling, given that the percentage of undecided voters dropped only 1.8% in the hypothetical Obama v McCain matchups. While in the Clinton v McCain matchups, undecided males trended slightly in Clinton’s favor, and slightly in McCain’s favor among white and moderate voters, the “newly decided” voters in all demographic categories went to McCain in Obama v McCain.


Overview: While Obama managed to increase his support by small amounts in a majority of the nine states, major losses in male support in three states results in average net loss of support. (Chart B-4) Morever, where Obama does achieve modest gains in male support, McCain has gained even more support, and Obama’s margins among males versus McCain are consistently lower than in February. Clinton’s performance among males is more mixed, but results in a net average increase in overall male support, and in her average support among males against McCain. As a result, Obama’s advantage over Clinton among male voters was cut in half.


    · Clinton shows significant losses in male support in three states, Massachusetts (-6%), New Mexico (-4%), and Wisconsin (-4%).
    · Obama also shows losses among males in three states (MA –10%, NM –7%, OH –6%) but his losses are more severe than Clintons.
    · Obama shows a significant gain in male support in only one state (MO +6%); Clinton shows significant gains in 4 states (CA +17%, MN +3%, MO, +7%, OR +7%).
    · Overall, Clinton’s 9 state average level of support among males rose by 1.8%, while Obama’s had a small average net loss of support (-0.9%), despite a 2.4% decrease in undecided male voters.


    · .In the two state where Clinton was leading among male voters in February, she now lags behind McCain. In Massachusetts, her margin among males was +10%, now its –9%, and in Ohio it was +5%, now its –3%. (Chart B-5)
    · Clinton now lags significantly further behind McCain in three other states; Iowa, where she lost an additional four points (to –19%), New Mexico where she lost 3 points (to –14%), and Wisconsin (losing 4 more points to –16% among males.)
    · In California, Clinton picked up significant male support, going from –9% to +7%.
    · In two other states, Clinton cut into McCain’s male support significantly, gaining 13 points in Missouri (to –4%) and gaining 11 points in Oregon (to –13%)


    · Obama significantly improved his margin among males in only one state (by +13 points), Missouri, where he went from –15% against McCain to –2%
    · Obama is now losing among males in two states where he lead in February, Ohio, where his margin declined by 16 points (from +9% to –7%), and Massachusetts, where his margin dropped 23 points (from +6% to –17%).
    · Obama’s margin among men also dropped significantly in New Mexico, where he went from –2% among males to –16%.

The nine state averages show that Clinton’s margins against McCain among males held steady (+0.8%, from –10.2% to –9.4%) while Obama’s margin’s against McCain among males deteriorated (-4.8%, from –0.7% to –5.4%). As a result, Obama’s advantage over Clinton among males in these nine states decreased by about half, going from an average 9.5 points to an average of 4.2 points.

Overview: Obama increased his overall support among women in only two of nine states, while losing at least 3% among women in 5 states. (Chart B-7) resulting in an average net loss of female support for Obama. Obama’s lead among women against McCain decreased by an average of more than 5 points (Charts B-8, B-9). . As with male voters, Clinton’s performance among female voters is more mixed, but does result in both a small overall increase in support among women, and a small increase in her average margin against McCain among women. . As a result, Clinton’s overall advantage over Obama among women voters in these nine states increased substantially.


    · Clinton shows significant losses in female support in one states, California (-7%).
    · Clinton shows significant gains in female support in two states, Massachusetts (+8%) and Ohio (+6%).
    · Obama shows a significant gain in female support in only one state (MA, +6%);
    · Obama shows a significant loss of female support in two states, New Mexico (-6%) and Ohio (-5%). .
    · Overall, Clinton’s 9 state average level of support among females rose slightly (by 1.0%) which is only one third of the decrease in the average female undecided vote
    · Obama’s had an average net loss of support among females of –1.8%, despite a 1.8% average decrease in undecided female voters.


    · In Missouri, Obama’s margin against McCain among women is now negative, dropping 15 points from +2% to –13%.
    · Obama also lost significant ground among women in 4 other states, California (dropping 8 points, from +16% to +8%), New Mexico (-13 points, from +16% to +3%), Ohio (-9 points, from +11% to +2%), and Wisconsin (-9 points, from +25% to +16%)
    · Only in Massachusetts did Obama’s margin among women increase significantly, going up 10 points, from +9% to +19%.


    · Clinton’s margin among women against McCain decreased in 5 states, three of them significantly: California (-13 points, from +31% to +18%), Minnesota (-7 points, from +22% to +15%), and New Mexico (-6 points, from +12% to +6%)
    · Clinton significantly increased her margin among women in 3 states, Massachusetts (+11 points, from +25% to +36% Ohio (+7%, from +16% to +23%), and Oregon (+4 points, from +12% to +16%)

Clinton’s nine state average margins against McCain among women decreased only slightly (by -0.7 points, from +16.4% to +15.8%.), Obama’s average decrease in margins among women was more than 7 times that of Clintons (-5.2 points), and his advantage over McCain among women was cut by more than a third, going from +14.3% to +9.1%. As a result, among women, Clinton tripled her relative advantage over Obama when matched against McCain in these nine states, going from an average of 2.1% to 6.7% between February and April.


The results for Clinton (CHART B-10) are decidedly mixed. She improves her overall margins against in four of nine states, improves among males in three states, and among females in 4 states. The gains and losses are offsetting each other, resulting in very small in average increased margins overall (+0.1%) and and among male voters (+0.8%), and a small average decrease among female voters (-0.7%)

But the news for Obama is almost all bad. He increases his overall margin in only one state (OR), and is generally losing ground among both male and female voters – in the two states where he does substantially improve his margins with one gender (MA, MO), the gains have been offset by reduced margins in the other gender, resulting in a net margin decrease. As a result, his average margins against McCain have decreased significantly among both male (-4.8%) and female (-5.2%) voters, resulting in an overall average margin decrease of –4.9%.

The mixed news for Clinton, and the generally bad news for Obama, results in good news for Clinton.

Out of nine states, in the last six weeks, Obama outperformed Clinton overall when matched against McCain in only one state, Minnesota, and only outperformed Clinton among males in two states (IA, WI), and among females in two state (CA,MN). Everywhere else, and in both gender categories and overall, Clinton did better than Obama in the last six weeks among these nine “should be Democratic this year” states.

When Obama improves his margins, Clinton improves hers more. When Clinton’s margins decrease, Obama’s go even lower. On average, Clinton outperformed Obama by 5.0 points overall, and by 5.6 points among men and 4.6 points among women.

Perhaps “outperformed” is the wrong word to use, because Clinton’s average margins against McCain didn’t change significantly. Clinton looks better than Obama in these nine states because during the last six weeks previously undecided voters are saying “no” to Obama, and supporting McCain, and Obama is losing some of the support he had six weeks ago. Obama is tanking, while Clinton is hanging in there.

NOTE: Data tables used for this post can be found at

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amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

the majority of Dem voters are female, so it's obvious who's stronger, i think.

and Obama's still not making any practical effort to woo women (or older voters).

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Sorry, couldn't help myself, but is there some particular reason why both Clinton and Obama are suddenly tanking with men in Massachusetts? Is it gay marriage? ;D

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

the short answer is 'no' for two reasons

1) the data I'm working on now is from only 9 states, and only two of them have enough Hispanic voters to claim that there is any chance that movement seen within the Hispanic vote is not just statistical noise. For instance, Oregon is 6% Hispanic. According to the data, Obama went from having 69% of the Hispanic vote in Oregon to having only 31%. That is highly unlikely to have happened -- its the result of the fact that (unless there was oversampling) only about 35 Hispanic respondents, and that's not enough to get reliable data.

2) What Hispanic vote? While its certainly possible that if Richardson was still in the race, we'd see evidence of "hispanic identity" voting, "Hispanics" are not a monolithic voting Demographic. Mexican Americans vote differently from Cuban Americans, who vote differently from Hispanics whose roots are in Puerto Rico. Trying to generalize about the "Hispanic" vote under these circumstances is really tough, and not terribly PC.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

My guess is that its not as bad as it looks -- that some of the swing is really just statistical noise.

What bugs me about MA is how badly Obama is doing there. MA isn't a "must win" state for Dems, its "the only state that Democrats win when they lose 49 states". I think Obama is seen as another Duval Patrick -- and Patrick is now very unpopular in MN. I don't think MA is really at risk if Obama runs -- but with those kinds of numbers it means that GOP can force the Dems to spend money and energy there to insure a win -- and that means money and energy not devoted to other states.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

is predominantly Mexican-American.

They are not monolithic, but they tend to be conservative on some issues, mostly social and foreign policy.

Although they have been voting Democratic in recent elections, that is largely due to former Governor Pete Wilson's anti-immigrant election campaigns in the nineties.

California is really a "purple" state, and without the Latinos we are red. Except for a brief period, we have had a GOP Governor since 1982. We voted for Reagan and Bush I in 1988.

McCain does well with Hispanic groups, but Obama does not.

No Democrat can win the Presidency without California. Period.

"McGovern - Mondale - Dukakis - Obama

The few, the lame, the losers

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

but in the Southwest and CA it is monolithic,pretty much.

Hispanics in McCain's home state are 90% or 95%+ Mexican, as compared to in NY or FL or other states.

It's just that they're so key for now and the future--a giant and growing and young voting bloc that we must get.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i hear...he's going to be visible even tho Obama doesn't want him to be.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

goes to an earlier post of yours—-

actually, I've avoided doing anything with the "white vote in the primaries" so far... and I've been avoiding it as much as possible in my November match-up pieces (Sexism,etc and this series.) That will change on saturday. Romorrow is Independents (and by Party) and Moderate (and by ideology) day.

Here's a preview...Obama is TOTALLY tanking among independents. His "better support among independents than Clinton" -- that's been cut by an average of 2/3 .

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

i guess i'm extrapolating and jumping to conclusions too much...

I know about the independents thing--i knew as soon as it was McCain (and when i read he was getting even anti-war inds in some states) that he would take them away.

"Straight-talking Mavericks" = enormous appeal to Ind men.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

i guess i’m extrapolating and jumping to conclusions too much…

you're just reading my mind. I have all those "primary white vote" charts in my head... I've run the numbers, I just haven't written about them. ;-)

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Via jerome Armstrong, look at the weak memo Obama's campaign supposedly sent to super delegates cherry picking the polls in the GE. I'm sure absolutely no one will notice that he uses several polls from February, a couple from pollsters that seem, let's just say, less well known, and he jumps from polling firm to polling firm even though many of these places poll a large group of states at once. As Jerome said, any blogger who put this together would be laughed and mocked. Or at least he would've been. Now on some sites, I'm not so sure.

This is the kind of spin that a candidate should never put it out because it makes them look weaker. By having cherry picked the polls so carefully makes it even more clear how badly the recent polls have been moving for him.

jeqal's picture
Submitted by jeqal on

Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other,they'd be Republicans -- Will Rogers
Ok sorry but laughed when I saw that.

I have also seen Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger