The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll 5/20/08

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows John McCain earning 46% of the vote while Barack Obama attracts 43%. This is the first time in nearly two weeks that the candidates have been separated by more than a single percentage point (see recent daily results). Tracking Poll results are updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.

McCain is viewed favorably by 50% of voters nationwide and unfavorably by 46%. Obama’s numbers are 49% favorable and 49% unfavorable Opinions about Obama remain stronger. The likely Democratic nominee is viewed Very Favorably by 27% of voters and Very Unfavorably by 35%. For McCain, the numbers are 19% Very Favorable and 22% Very Unfavorable (see recent daily ratings).

Just 13% say that Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Other tracking data shows that most Americans prefer lower taxes and fewer government programs.

New polling data released today shows that Democrats and Republicans have fundamentally different views about the economy—Democrats are far more pessimistic than Republicans. Polling released yesterday shows that, if McCain is elected, 49% believe victory in Iraq is likely. Fifty-nine percent (59%) say an Obama victory will lead to troops coming home during his first term in office.

Rasmussen Reports has recently released new polls from Ohio, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Alaska (see summary of recent state-by-state results). The Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator shows Democrats leading in states with 200 Electoral Votes while the GOP has the advantage in states with 189. Rasmussen Markets data gives Democrats a 62.0% chance of winning in November (results are updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants).

Other weekend polling showed the Republican Senate candidate in Nebraska in fairly good shape as the general election campaign begins. However, that is not the case in Alaska where Republican Senator Ted Stevens trails by two percentage points in his bid for re-election. Earlier polls show that at least nine other Republican Senate seats could be in play during Election 2008 including North Carolina, Oregon, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Kentucky, Virginia, and Texas. Republican incumbents in Maine and Kansas are a bit better off than many of their colleagues. Both Susan Collins and Pat Roberts are modestly over the 50% level of support in their re-election bids.

In the race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, Obama holds a 50% to 44% advantage over Clinton nationally (see recent Democratic Nomination results). As noted over a week ago, Rasmussen Reports believes the race is over and that Barack Obama will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. We will stop tracking the Democratic race in the near future to focus exclusively on the Obama-McCain match-up. Among all voters, Clinton is viewed favorably by 46%. The candidates are each favored to win one primary on Tuesday–Clinton in Kentucky and Obama in Oregon. Data from Rasmussen Markets give Obama a 92.6% chance of winning the nomination.

Rasmussen Reports regularly asks voters to identify themselves ideologically on both fiscal and social issues. The significance of this distinction is highlighted by the fact that just 11% of voters currently consider themselves fiscally liberal while 29% say they are liberal when it comes to social issues. An overview of how the nation’s voters break down along these lines was presented last fall.

Not surprisingly, among voters who are both fiscally and socially liberal, Obama leads McCain 84% to 6%. Among those who are conservative on both scales, McCain leads Obama 80% to 9%. As for those who consider themselves moderate on both fiscal policy and social issues, Obama is favored 54% to 36%.

When the views of those who are fiscally moderate but socially liberal are measured, Obama comes out on top, 72% to 21%. As for those who are fiscally conservative but socially moderate, McCain leads 70% to 20%. The categories of voters mentioned in these two paragraphs cover 67% of the nation’s voters.

Those with libertarian views—fiscally conservative and socially liberal—currently represent 5% of the voting public. They are evenly divided between McCain and Obama. See notes on other demographic comparisons. This is consistent with earlier polling which found an independent campaign by Ron Paul would draw slightly more support from Democrats than from Republicans. However, the overall impact of potential third-party activity this year may be a slight benefit for Obama over McCain.

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 and favorability ratings.

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