Exclusive: McCain closes huge gap on key question for women
Since picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has obliterated what had been a 34-percentage-point deficit in a poll of likely women voters on the question of which candidate has a âbetter understanding of women and what is importantâ to them.
The two are now effectively tied, with McCain's 44 to 42 percentage lead within the margin of error of the most recent poll conducted by pollsters Kellyanne Conway and Celinda Lake for Lifetime Television. In Lifetime's July poll, women preferred Barack Obama on the same question by nearly three-to-oneâ 52 to 18 percent.
In this latest poll, conducted Sept. 11-15, age remained a key determinant in response to the question about womenâs concerns. Young women, ages 18-34, chose the Obama/Biden ticket as more empathetic to their needs, while women aged 35-64 went for McCain/Palin. Unlike black and Hispanic women, White women saw McCain and Palin as most understanding of their concerns.
About one in four women who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries now said McCain and Palin have a better grasp of womenâs needs than Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden.
The Lifetime poll reveals a diversity of womenâs views on several issues, with many of those differences related to a respondentâs race, party identity, marital status and generation.
However, those demographic differences faded when it came to the Democratsâ strongest showing in the poll, on a question regarding the economy. The women polled favored the Obama/Biden ticket 57 to 32 percent on which candidate âwill help middle class families the most.â Polling has shown all year that the economy tops voters' concerns.
The survey comes as women overall favor the Democratic ticket, 48 to 44 percent, according to the weekly summaries of Gallup polling. That marks a wider margin than Democrats enjoyed in 2004 on Election Day, but less than in 2000.
That Democratic drop-off with women since 2000, Gallup polling shows, is tied to Obamaâs recent downtick in white support among women and men alike. All summer Obama had roughly similar support among white women as Al Gore did in 2000.
Gallup finds McCain now leads with white women 51 to 40 percent, a wider gap than the GOP enjoyed among white women eight years ago.
However, it appears that Obamaâs message of âchangeâ has struck a chord with women, who in the Lifetime poll gave the Obama/Biden ticket a 14-point advantage on the question, 51 to 37 percent over the McCain/Palin ticket.
Overall, women said Obama and Biden would best âreform the way Washington, D.C. does businessâ by 47 to 40 percent. But white women narrowly favored the McCain/Palin ticket on that count.
And, independent women gave the GOP ticket an 8-point advantage on the change issue.
When women were asked which ticket could better âwinâ the war in Iraq, white, Hispanic and independent women, as well as women of every age group, voiced more confidence in McCain/Palin.
But when these women were asked which candidates can most likely âendâ the war in Iraq, Obama/Biden earned significantly more support. Women under age 55, Hispanic women, and independent women had more trust in the Democrats. Yet white women voiced more confidence in McCain/Palin to end the war.
Women overall did say the Republican ticket was more ready to lead, though Latinas and black women sided with Democrats. Democrats have a narrow advantage overall, 47 to 40 percent, as more capable reformers of government, though female independents and whites sided with the GOP.
Exclusive: McCain closes huge gap on key question for women - Yahoo! News