The prolific SurveyUSA has fresh trial heats on the potential presidential matchups in Minnesota. The results generally strengthen Barack Obama’s claim to be the more electable Democrat against McCain. The results are the opposite of what the same pollster found three weeks ago.
Cutting straight to the chase, if the election were today and the choices were Clinton and McCain, SurveyUSA found that the result in Minnesota would be:
Clinton: 49 percent.
If the choices were Obama and McCain:
Clinton’s four-point margin is within the poll’s 4.3 percentage-point margin for sampling error. Obama’s 15-point lead is well outside the error margin. SurveyUSA, which uses the robo-dialing method, completed interviews with 541 registered Minnesota voters last weekend, before the last round of primaries and caucuses gave Obama an additional boost, before the New York Times story about McCain and the lobbyist, and before last night’s Obama-Clinton debate.
The results mirror a strong emerging trend of Obama matching up better against McCain in many states, including some that could be in play in November.
Looking at the cross-tabs and breakdowns, here’s what jumps out at me:
McCain beats Clinton 51-40 among self-described independents, but Obama wins the independents 49-42. That’s a 16-point swing and is the essence of Obama’s electability argument.
Clinton beats McCain among women, but loses among men, while Obama beats McCain among both genders.
Among Republicans, McCain beats Clinton by 90-6, but beats Obama only 75-21. Is this evidence of the Clinton-unites-the-GOP-base theme?
Among the 35 percent who said the economy is the top issue, both Dems beat McCain, but Obama wins by a bigger margin (even though, according to conventional wisdom, the economy is a better issue for Clinton).
Both Dems also beat McCain by solid margins among the 14 percent who said Iraq is the top issue (although Obama wins by more). But among the 7 percent who said terrorism is the top issue, McCain wins by crushing margins against either Democrat. In the fall, if the national-security issue is perceived as terrorism, it will help McCain. If it’s perceived as Iraq, it will help the Democrats.
Just three weeks earlier, the same pollster asking the same question of Minnesotans found that McCain ran four points ahead of Clinton and seven points ahead of Obama.
This could be evidence of the wind at Obama’s back at the moment, or it could be evidence that things are flying around too much to pay much attention to polls like this one.
KSTP-TV is one of the sponsors of the poll and will feature the result on tonight’s news broadcasts.