A Gallup analysis of exit-poll data finds Democratic Senator Barack Obama’s support among white voters if he runs against GOP Senator John McCain is about the same as Senator John Kerry’s was in the 2004 Presidential election:
Barack Obama’s current level of support among white voters in a head-to-head matchup against John McCain is no worse than John Kerry’s margin of support among whites against George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.
Much of the talk following Tuesday’s Indiana and North Carolina primaries has focused on just how electable Obama — now the highly probable nominee — will be in the general election. The Clinton campaign has argued that Obama’s weaknesses among white voters and blue-collar voters will hurt him against McCain in the fall.
But it appears that the way Obama stacks up against McCain at this point is similar to the way in which Kerry performed against Bush in 2004 within several key racial, educational, religious, and gender subgroups. That is, the basic underlying structure of the general-election campaign this year does not appear to be markedly different from that of the 2004 election. This conclusion is based on an analysis of exit-poll data from 2004 compared to the Obama-McCain matchup in 4,000 Gallup Poll Daily tracking interviews conducted during the first five days of May.
My DD’s Jonathan Singer (who is a former TMV coblogger) writes:
So at a point when Obama was getting hit as hard in the media (both paid and nonpartisan) as he ever has, attacked for his relationship with a neighbor (Bill Ayers) and his former pastor (Jeremiah Wright), Obama still runs about as well as did John Kerry, who only narrowly lost the last presidential election (give him 100,000 votes in Ohio or 100,000 spread across the Mountain West — Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado — and he would be in the White House today). For reference, Al Gore received 42 percent of the White vote in 2000, so Obama does not run too far behind him either.
Now it’s worth pointing out that neither Kerry then nor Obama today ran or runs as well as the Democrats as a whole did in 2006. According to nationwide exit polling from the midterm House elections, Republicans only carried the White vote by a 51 percent to 47 percent margin. This is to say that there appear to be a whole lot of voters within this demographic who could find themselves amenable to voting Democratic in the fall if the party can figure out its key to success during the previous election. That said, the notion that Obama is a particularly weak candidate in regards to the White vote simply just does not play out in the data.
Even so, talking points are talking points…for all three candidates. So don’t expect the Gallup exit poll analysis to change the perception that much.
But hard data like this will most assuredly be noticed by uncommitted superdelegates to the Democratic convention.