For the second straight day, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll shows that the race for the White House is tied. Sunday’s numbers show Barack Obama and John McCain each attracting 43% of the vote. When “leaners” are included, the two candidates are tied at 46%. For most of the past month-and-a-half, Obama has led McCain by approximately five percentage points. It will take a few more days to determine whether this recent tightening of the race reflects real change or is merely statistical noise. (see recent daily results). Tracking Polls are released at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time each day (see recent demographic highlights).
Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free)… let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news. Also, take a moment to check out our weekly review of key polls. The Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator shows now Obama leading in states with 210 Electoral College votes while McCain leads in states with 171 votes. When leaners are included, it’s Obama 293, McCain 227. Recent state polling provided good news for Obama in Wisconsin and North Dakota while McCain improved his position slightly in Missouri and New Jersey.
Just 15% of voters say the nation is heading in the right direction while 79% say it has gotten off on the wrong track. McCain is supported by 85% of those who say the country is heading in the right direction. Among the much larger number who say the country has gotten off on the wrong track, Obama leads 54% to 38%.
Forty-one percent (41%) of voters say the economy is the top voting issue of Election 2008 and these voters prefer Obama by a sixteen point margin. Twenty-three percent (23%) name national security issues as their highest priority. They favor McCain by a two-to-one margin. Domestic issues such as Social Security and Health Care are most important for 12%, fiscal issues for 8%, and cultural issues for 5%. Obama leads by a wide margin among those who call cultural issues most important while McCain leads by similarly wide margins among those who consider fiscal or cultural issues tops.
McCain is now viewed favorably by 57% of voters and unfavorably by 40%. For Obama, the numbers are 54% favorable and 44% unfavorable.
McCain earns favorable ratings from 32% of Democrats while Obama is viewed favorably by 23% of Republicans. Among unaffiliated voters, McCain is viewed favorably by 58%, Obama by 53%.
Opinions are more strongly held about Obama than McCain–30% have a Very Favorable opinion of Obama while 26% have a Very Unfavorable view. For McCain, those numbers are 17% Very Favorable and 17% Very Unfavorable (see recent daily favorables). Among unaffiliated voters, 18% have a Very Favorable opinion of Obama and 16% say the same about McCain.
It is interesting to note that 57% of Democrats have a Very Favorable opinion of Obama while just 33% of Republicans are that enthusiastic about their nominee. However, 87% of Republicans have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of McCain while only 79% of Democrats have such an opinion of Obama. Other key stats on the race can be found at Obama-McCain: By the Numbers.
Other recent data shows that voters consider cutting government spending more important than balancing the budget and strongly reject Obama’s call for bilingualism. Nearly half (46%) support a military response if Iran attacks Israel. Voter approval of Congress has slipped to single digits but Democrats still retain a double-digit lead in the Generic Congressional Ballot. Voters perceive Barack Obama as closer to the political center now than they did a month ago and, strongly oppose a proposal that would lower the speed limit national to 55 miles-per-hour.
Daily tracking results are collected via telephone surveys of 1,000 likely voters per night and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. The margin of sampling error—for the full sample of 3,000 Likely Voters–is +/- 2 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.
A review of last week’s key polls is posted each Saturday morning.