McCain and Obama tied in GSPM poll

The race for the White House between Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is nearly gridlocked, according to results of the 2008 GW-sponsored Battleground Poll released last week.

Although the candidates are at a statistical dead heat, more than a third of the respondents said they had a strong, favorable impression of Obama while 23 percent felt that way about McCain, said Ron Faucheux, lecturer at the Graduate School of Political Management, who helped conduct the poll.

The Battleground Poll was first conducted in 1991 as a way to monitor public sentiment on political elections and became sponsored by the University in 2004. It is performed by outside pollsters and is overseen by GSPM.

This year pollsters asked 1,003 registered likely voters about their feelings on variety of political issues, including the economy, President George W. Bush and the current presidential race.

“When looking at the poll you have to ask, ‘Where is the support and how intense is it?’ ” Faucheux said. “I think that this poll showed that – at the time it was taken – Obama’s favorability was stronger and more intense.”

About half of participating voters said Obama is the candidate that will create more jobs and improve the economy, compared to 39 percent of voters who said McCain is more qualified to address those issues.

Respondents said they perceived McCain to be the stronger leader and the more qualified candidate to deal with the Iraq War.

“The candidates will use the upcoming conventions to reinforce their positive and comparative messages,” Faucheux said in a news release. “This survey acts as an important benchmark going into the remaining weeks of the campaign which includes the vice-presidential picks, acceptance speeches and three scheduled debates.”

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