Polls: McCain Ahead in Key Blue States
If the election were held today, John McCain would win three states Republicans haven’t won in years, a meaningless Rasmussen poll passed on by CQ shows.
Arizona Sen. John McCain is running strongly in three states that have been solidly Democratic in recent presidential elections; a particular surprise is New Jersey where, a month ago, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had a double-digit lead, according to a new round of state-by-state general election match-ups. The series of polls by Rasmussen Reports, which included Michigan and Washington State, also underscored what most other national and state polling has found – high negatives for Clinton as far as favorability ratings. McCain often scores the highest favorability ratings, while Illinois Sen. Barack Obama comes out on the positive side, but by lesser margins.
Rasmussen says McCain and the Democrats are in a statistical tie in New Jersey, with McCain leading Clinton 45 percent to 42 percent and Obama by 46 percent to 45 percent, with a 4 point margin of error. A month ago, Obama ran closely with McCain but Clinton, showing strength in her neighboring state, had led McCain 50 percent to 39 percent.
McCain is also running a close race with the Democrats in Michigan, according to the Rasmussen survey conducted March 25. He leads Obama 43 percent to 42 percent, and Clinton by 45 percent to 42 percent, with a 4.5 percent margin of error. McCain is viewed favorably by 55 percent of voters, Obama by 50 percent and Clinton by 47 percent. This is a state the Democrats have carried in the last four elections. It is also one of the two states (the other being Florida) where the controversy continues over the Democratic Party’s decision to strip both of their delegates for breaking party rules by moving up the dates of their primaries. Forty-five percent of Michigan Democrats say there should be some kind of a re-vote, while 39 percent disagree. Mirroring a Gallup poll earlier today, a plurality of Democrats believe Obama would be a stronger opponent for McCain than Clinton (by a 48 percent to 41 percent margin) and 58 percent expect Obama to win the nomination.
Rasmussen noted that the Republicans have not carried New Jersey for 20 years, but added “in recent years, several GOP candidates have done well in spring polls only to see their hopes fade in the fall.”
Which, oddly, is what’s likely going to happen here. Polls taken in March of election years — before most undecided voters even realize that there’s going to be an election in November — are virtually meaningless. They reflect name recognition and snapshot reactions to recent events rather than considered judgment.
If, as seems likely, the general election pits McCain against Obama, several states that have been solidly “Red” and “Blue” in recent cycles may be in play. Both are different enough — or, at least, perceived to be different enough — from run of the mill candidates of their party that people will given them a second look. But the safe bet, certainly, is that states that have gone Democratic the last twenty years will go for Obama and states than haven’t voted for a Democrat since Lyndon Johnson will probably go for McCain.