Monday, June 04, 2007

Poll: 1/3 Would Vote for Obama if he was Democrat Presidential Nominee


ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senator Barack Obama may not be as well known as Senator Hillary Clinton, but he has been consistently running second to her in the race for the Democratic nomination. When it comes to the final race, just one-third of adults (34%) would vote for Senator Obama if he was the Democratic nominee for President, while two in five (41%) would not vote for him. Perhaps underscoring the fact that he is still unknown to so many, one-quarter of U.S. adults (23%) say they are not sure. As one might expect, race does play a role. While three-quarters (76%) of African Americans say they would vote for him, that number drops to 41 percent among Hispanics and just 26 percent of Whites.

One group that should be giving him solid support, i.e., Democrats, does not seem to be completely sold on Senator Obama. While three in five Democrats (60%) say they would vote for him if he was the Democratic nominee, 19 percent say they would not and 20 percent are unsure. As they are most likely to actually go out and vote on Election Day, Matures (those aged 62 and older) are another group whose support Senator Obama will need. Right now he does not have it, as half of this age group (53%) say they will not vote for him.

These are just some of the results of a Harris Poll of 2,383 U.S. adults conducted online between May 8 and 14, 2007 by Harris Interactive(R).

Obama's Track Record, Political Opinion and Personality

People do not dislike Senator Obama personally; 52 percent of U.S. adults say they like him as a person. However, they also do not like him either. Ultimately, it seems that people just do not know him. Three in ten are not sure if they like or dislike the Senator as a person, one-third are not sure if they like or dislike his political opinions and 44 percent are not sure how they feel about his track record as a U.S. Senator. Minorities are, however, more likely to know him and like him. Just over six in ten (63%) African Americans like his track record as Senator, almost three-quarters (73%) like his political opinions and 84 percent of African Americans like Senator Obama as a person.

Looking more deeply, two-thirds of adults agree that the Senator is a very intelligent person and just under half (47%) agree that he inspires confidence personally. Almost the same number (48%) agrees that his diverse background would be as asset. While half (52%) disagree that the Senator is too young to be president, 44 percent agree that he lacks experience and is unqualified to be president. The public is split, however, on one issue -- 39 percent agree there is no substance to his candidacy and it is mostly the media propelling him while 35 percent disagree. Again, though, with regard to each of these statements, one-quarter of adults are just not sure, showing that the Senator needs to get his message to these people before they can make up their mind about him and his candidacy.

Democrats are not completely sold on the specifics of the Obama candidacy. While three-quarters (76%) of Democrats agree that Senator Obama is a very intelligent person and almost two-thirds (64%) agree that his diverse background would be an asset, just half of Democrats (53%) like his track record as a U.S. Senator. Until these numbers rise among the Democrats, he may continue to trail Senator Clinton in the primary race.

When it comes to Barack Obama's political philosophy, again, people are just not sure where he stands. Four in ten (42%) say they are not sure while one-third (34%) say the Senator is neither too liberal nor too conservative and 21 percent say he is too liberal. And, again, even his own brethren are unclear. While half of Democrats (56%) say he is neither too liberal nor conservative, one-third (37%) are not sure.

So What?

Although primary voting is still seven months away, with a crowded field of Democrats, Senator Obama needs to ensure that his message -- who he is and what he stands for -- is being heard. While he is currently getting media attention, those that matter, i.e., the people who will be voting, need to know who the Senator is. Until that happens, they may like him personally and think he is smart, but they are not sure about things that may impact their voting for him.

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding.


This Harris Poll(R) was conducted online within the United States between May 8 and 14, 2007, among 2,383 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world.