The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll 5/09/08

Rasmussen Reports has been tracking the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination daily for nineteen months… since November 2006. For the last few months, the most remarkable feature of the race has been its consistency and stability. Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both running historic campaigns and both have captured the votes and hearts of distinct and important constituencies within the Democratic Party. Obama has won Primaries in states where the demographics favor his campaign and Clinton has won in the states that favor her campaign.

However, while Senator Clinton has remained close and competitive in every meaningful measure, she is a close second and the race is over. It has become clear that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee.

At the moment, Senator Clinton’s team is busily trying to convince Superdelegates and pundits that she is more electable than Barack Obama. For reasons discussed in a separate article, it doesn’t matter. Even if every single Superdelegate was convinced that the former First Lady is somewhat more electable than Obama, that is not enough of a reason to deny him the nomination.

With this in mind, Rasmussen Reports will soon end our daily tracking of the Democratic race and focus exclusively on the general election competition between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. Barring something totally unforeseen, that is the choice American voters will have before them in November. While we have not firmly decided upon a final day for tracking the Democratic race, it is coming soon.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Barack Obama attracting 47% of the vote while John McCain earns 44%. This is the fourth straight day that Obama has had at least a one-point advantage over McCain. While it is not a statistically significant lead, it is the first time Obama has led McCain on consecutive days in two months. The last time Obama outpolled McCain for four straight days was in mid-February (see recent daily results). One key to this changing dynamic is that Obama now leads McCain among unaffiliated voters by nine percentage points.

As we look to November, the Obama-McCain match-up will feature a clear generational component. Obama leads by twenty-three percentage points among voters under 40 while McCain leads by eleven among those over 50.

In today’s tracking, Hillary Clinton has a five-point lead over McCain, 48% to 43%. Tracking results are updated daily by 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Rasmussen Markets data gives Democrats a 62.4% chance of winning in November.

Rasmussen Reports recently released general election polling data for Wisconsin, Missouri, and Georgia. Additional state polls will be released later today and throughout the weekend (see summary of recent state-by-state results).

Among all voters nationwide, McCain is viewed favorably by 49% and unfavorably by 48%. (see recent daily favorable ratings). Obama’s numbers are now a bit better than McCain’s—51% favorable and 47% unfavorable. That’s the third straight day that Obama’s favorable ratings have been higher than McCain’s. Prior to these past three days, that hadn’t happened since March 10. For Clinton, the reviews are a bit less flattering–45% favorable and 53% unfavorable.

In the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Obama holds a 50% to 42% advantage over Clinton nationally. That’s the first time Obama has reached the 50% level of support since April 15 (see recent Democratic Nomination results). Tracking poll results are based upon nightly telephone interviews and reported on a four-day rolling average basis. Two nights of interviews for today’s update were completed after the Indiana and North Carolina Primaries. For those two nights on a stand-alone basis, Obama leads Clinton by eleven percentage points.

Obama leads Clinton by twenty-one points among those who use the Internet daily or nearly every day. Clinton leads among those who are less likely to be online.

There are, of course, still a few remaining Primaries to play out in the long-running process for the Democratic Nomination. Next week’s contest is in West Virginia where Clinton has a huge lead. The week after, Obama leads in Oregon while Clinton has a huge advantage in Kentucky. Expectations that Obama will be the Democratic nominee have risen sharply in the past couple of days. Just before Tuesday’s Primaries, Rasmussen Markets data gave Obama a 73% chance of winning the Democratic nomination. The most recent results give Obama a 89.3% chance of emerging victorious (these results are updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants).

As Obama appears to be wrapping up the Democratic Nomination, Rasmussen Reports notes that the VP slot belongs to Hillary Clinton if she wants it. A separate commentary by Rutgers University Professor Gerald Pomper makes the case for Virginia Senator James Webb as Obama’s running mate.

On the Republican side, Kathryn Jean Lopez from the National Review makes her case that Mitt Romney should be named as John McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate. An earlier Rasmussen Reports commentary said that Romney is one of the three candidates McCain should never consider. The other two are Mike Huckabee, and Condoleeza Rice.

Other commentaries today include one by Robert Novak who notes that Obama may turn out to be either a flawed or a fantastic candidate. In a “Perfect Calm for John McCain,” Froma Harrop asserts that “The core problem for Democrats is that Obama’s backers are reliable Democrats, whereas Hillary Clinton’s are unreliable Democrats.” Joe Conason writes “Hillary Plays the Crazy Card.”

The Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator shows Democrats leading in states with 200 Electoral Votes. The GOP has the advantage in states with 189. When “leaners” are added, the Democrats lead 260 to 240 (see summary of recent state-by-state results). The ongoing competition between Obama and Clinton may be causing angst for party leaders, but the competition has been good for the Party label. In fact, the Democrats now have the largest partisan advantage over the Republicans since Rasmussen Reports began tracking this data on a monthly basis nearly six years ago.

Daily tracking results are collected via nightly telephone surveys and reported on a four-day rolling average basis. The general election sample is currently based upon interviews with 1,600 Likely Voters. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Results are also compiled on a full-week basis and crosstabs for the full-week results are available for Premium Members. See crosstabs for general election match-ups, favorable ratings and Democratic primary.

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