McCain’s bump from white women

by on September 9, 2008  •  In Elections

From the latest Washington Post/ABC poll:

"Many of the shifts toward McCain stem from gains among white women, voters his team hoped to sway with the pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate. White women shifted from an eight-point pre-convention edge for Obama to a 12-point McCain advantage now." 

That's the lead. Buried much deeper in the story is this: "For all the tumult among white women over the past two weeks on the big picture of Obama vs. McCain, they are about where they were in June. McCain's gains come primarily from deepening his support among Republican women and reaching out to independents."

Without actually reading the data, it's difficult to know how much of a change – if any – this represents from the ABC poll less than a week ago. On the earlier poll, see the post based on the analysis of Marge Omero at, who wrote that McCain was drawing more support from Republicans, but not from non-Republican women.

My hunch is that McCain's pick of Palin – which now seems like a brilliant choice, at least until and unless her candidacy implodes – is giving him a longer post-convention bounce than normal. If that's correct, the first post-convention polls, on which Omero's analysis was based, did not pick up the full extent of the Palin effect. In short, Obama's Julie Nixon Eisenhower gambit – Republican women for Obama – now looks unlikely to produce much for him. At least until the next poll.

Here's more from today's Washington Post story, which did not discuss any poll data regarding women of color:

"[O]n the dominant issue of the race, the economy, McCain has whittled Obama's advantage to five points, the smallest it has been all year. McCain has also drawn even with the senator from Illinois on energy policy and has sharply narrowed Obama's leads on dealing with the federal deficit and handling social issues such as abortion and same-sex unions. He has also turned around a narrow Obama edge on being seen as the "stronger leader." The candidates remain about even on taxes, while McCain continues to hold a huge lead on the question of who would make a better commander in chief.

"Again, much of McCain's ascent on these questions comes from shifting support among white women. Those voters now give McCain a 10-point advantage on handling the economy; before the Democratic convention, Obama held a 12-point edge. On Iraq, the two were tied among white women in late August, but McCain now has a 22-point lead. There were similarly large changes in whom these voters trust on social issues, international affairs, energy, values and consistency in issues positions….

"Obama has made gains among those who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries, with 78 percent of women who wanted Clinton to win the nomination now backing him, a new high. But among all voters who supported Clinton, nearly a quarter say they plan to support McCain in November."


One Response to McCain’s bump from white women

  1. DepressedDem September 11, 2008 at 12:31 PM

    I find this commentary from Judith Warner really insightful:

    “Why does this woman – who to some of us seems as fake as they can come, with her delicate infant son hauled out night after night under the klieg lights and her pregnant teenage daughter shamelessly instrumentalized for political purposes — deserve, to a unique extent among political women, to rank as so “real”?

    Because the Republicans, very clearly, believe that real people are idiots. This disdain for their smarts shows up in the whole way they’ve cast this race now, turning a contest over economic and foreign policy into a culture war of the Real vs. the Elites. It’s a smoke and mirrors game aimed at diverting attention from the fact that the party’s tax policies have helped create an elite that’s more distant from “the people” than ever before.”

    link to

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