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Pennsylvania: Obama widens lead on McCain Obama 46%, McCain 42%

Barack Obama has now taken a four-point lead over John McCain in Pennsylvania 46% to 42%, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of state voters.

Five percent of voters favor an unspecified third-party candidate, and 8% remain undecided.

In last month’s survey, Obama had a narrow 45% to 43% lead over his Republican rival, but this was before Hillary Rodham Clinton dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Two months ago, McCain held a statistically insignificant lead.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Pennsylvania Democrats support Obama, up from 63% in May. The Democratic candidate has an eleven point edge among unaffiliated voters, little changed over the past month.

Party support is firming up for McCain as well, with 77% of Republicans backing him now versus 71% in May.

Obama’s gains have come primarily among men—the candidates are now virtually even among males. Last month, McCain had an eight point advantage.

Both candidates have jumped to a virtual tie in their favorability ratings with Pennsylvania voters. Fifty-eight percent (58%) view Obama favorably, compared to 51% last month. That’s a point higher than his best rating prior to the state’s Democratic Primary in April. McCain is viewed favorably by 57%, up from 49% in May.

McCain’s statements that a long-term U.S. military presence may be necessary in Iraq prompts 53% of voters to say they are less likely to support him, with 27% more likely and 16% saying the comments have no impact on the vote.

Similarly 55% of voters register concern about Obama’s associations with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the black nationalist minister of his former church, ‘60s anti-war activist William Ayers and Father Michael Pfleger, the social activist priest who recently mocked Hillary Clinton from the pulpit. Only 18% say they are not concerned at all.

Obama has a sizable lead among those voters earning less than $40,000 a year, with McCain well ahead among those who earn more than that annually.

Rasmussen Markets shows that Democrats are currently given a % chance of winning Pennsylvania’s 21 Electoral College votes in November. John Kerry won the state for the Democrats in 2004 over President Bush by a 51% to 48% margin. Four years earlier, Al Gore won the state by four percentage points. At the time this poll was released, Pennsylvania was rated as “Leans Democrat” in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator.

Holding on to Pennsylvania is considered critical for Obama’s candidacy.

Nationally, Obama has opened a modest lead over McCain in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

Less than half of the state’s voters (44%) rate Gov. Ed Rendell’s job performance good or excellent, with 28% characterizing it as poor. This view appears to carry over when voters are asked about potential running mates for Obama: 25% say they would be more likely to vote for Obama if the Pennsylvania governor is the Democrats’ vice presidential candidate, but 36% say they would be less likely to support such a ticket.

Among unaffiliated voters just 16% would be more likely to vote for Obama with Rendell on the ticket. Forty-two percent (42%) say adding Rendell would lessen their chances of voting Democratic in November.

If Clinton is Obama’s choice for vice president, 35% are more likely to vote for them, while 36% are less likely to do so. Unaffiliated voters are fairly evenly divided as to whether adding Clinton would make them more or less likely to vote for Obama.

The state’s last Republican governor, Tom Ridge, doesn’t help his party’s standard-bearer much either. Thirty-one percent (31%) are more likely to vote for McCain with Ridge on the ticket, but 30% are less likely. The response from unaffiliated voters is similarly divided.

Free trade emerged last week as a campaign issue with McCain’s strong endorsement of the North American Free Trade Agreement during a speech in Canada. Forty-one percent (41%) of Pennsylvania voters think free trade is good for the U.S. economy, but 32% characterize it as bad.

As the most important goal in Iraq for the new president, 53% say it’s bringing the troops home, as opposed to 40% who favor winning the war.

President Bush’s job performance is rated good or excellent by only 30% of Keystone State voters, while 51% say he is doing a poor job.

The survey was conducted in partnership with Fox Television Stations, Inc.

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Pennsylvania Likely Democratic

Latest RR Poll

RR Poll Avg.

"538" Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

McCain (R)

46%

46%

42%

Obama (D)

52%

52%

51%

This telephone survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports June 19 & 22, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.


Pennsylvania Trends: McCain vs. Obama

Date

McCain

Obama

11/01/2008

46%

52%

10/30/2008

47%

51%

10/27/2008

46%

53%

10/06/2008

41%

54%

09/28/2008

42%

50%

09/24/2008

45%

49%

09/21/2008

45%

48%

09/14/2008

47%

47%

09/07/2008

45%

47%

08/19/2008

40%

45%

07/23/2008

42%

47%

06/22/2008

42%

46%

05/21/2008

43%

45%

04/24/2008

44%

43%

04/09/2008

39%

47%

03/10/2008

44%

43%

02/14/2008

39%

49%

01/08/2008

46%

38%


Favorable Ratings for Presidential Candidates in Pennsylvania

 

McCain

Obama

Very Favorable

32%

40%

Somewhat Favorable

22%

16%

Somewhat Unfavorable

22%

11%

Very Unfavorable

23%

31%

Not Sure

1%

1%


Rasmussen Reports - Electoral College Balance of Power Summary

Republicans

160

Democrats

173

Toss-Ups & Leaners

205


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.