Politics

Obama Beating McCain on Voter Outreach

by Lydia Saad

Majority of swing-state voters have heard from Obama’s campaign

PRINCETON, NJ -- More U.S. voters say the Obama campaign has contacted them at some point in the last few weeks than say the McCain campaign has done so, 38% vs. 30%.

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Both presidential campaigns appear to be focusing their voter outreach efforts on those who already support their own candidate -- suggesting that "get out the vote" activity is the primary game being played "on the ground" at this late stage of the campaign. Many more Obama voters say they have been contacted by the Obama campaign than by the McCain campaign: 46% and 30%, respectively. Likewise, more McCain voters have heard from the McCain campaign than from the Obama campaign: 39% vs. 24%.

However, even on this basis, Obama holds an advantage. Restated, nearly half of Obama voters (46%) say the Obama campaign has contacted them in recent weeks, compared with 39% of McCain voters whom the McCain campaign has contacted.

Fueled by a record-setting campaign war chest -- he is on track to raise nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars, including $150 million in September alone -- Obama has also made greater inroads into the undecided bloc. A third of this group nationwide say they have been contacted by Obama's campaign, compared with 21% who have been contacted by McCain's.

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The intensity of the so-called campaign "ground war" in the battleground states such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New Hampshire is clear from a regional breakdown of the voter contact question. More than half of voters living in "purple states" (53%) -- those where the margin of victory for either George W. Bush or John Kerry in 2004 was less than 6 points -- say they have been contacted by Obama's campaign. Somewhat fewer, but still close to half (44%), have been contacted by McCain's.

Both campaigns appear to be putting far less effort into reaching voters in the red and blue states, although whereas about equal proportions of voters in each of these regions say Obama's campaign has contacted them, more red-state than blue-state voters say McCain's campaign has contacted them.

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Young Voters Getting the Call From the Obama Campaign

Adults under 30 years of age are twice as likely to have been contacted by the Obama campaign versus by the McCain campaign: 40% vs. 20%. While this in part reflects the higher rate of Obama supporters among young voters, it may also indicate the special emphasis that Obama's team is reportedly putting on getting out new voters to support him on Election Day.

Obama has a slight edge in voter outreach among those in the 30 to 49 and 50 to 64 age ranges, while he and McCain are tied at 41% among those 65 and older.

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Black Voters Also Hearing from Obama

Given blacks voters' overwhelming support for Obama's candidacy (88% of all black registered voters interviewed Oct. 27-28 prefer Obama for president), it is not surprising that the Obama campaign would heavily target blacks in its get-out-the-vote campaign. Close to half of all non-Hispanic black registered voters (45%) say the Obama campaign has contacted them in recent weeks. That compares with 37% of all non-Hispanic white voters.

Very few black voters have heard from the McCain campaign (12%), compared with 35% of whites.

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Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 2,014 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Oct. 27-28, 2008, as part of the Gallup Poll Daily tracking survey. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points. For results based on the subsample of 1,858 registered voters, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Red states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming

Purple states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

Blue states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington

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