June 12th, 2008
04:55 PM ET
14 years ago

Poll shows Obama with economy edge

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/12/art.econ.gi.jpg caption="Obama has the edge on the economy, a new poll says."]
(CNN) - More Americans believe Sen. Barack Obama is better suited to handle the No. 1 issue on voters' minds - the country's economic woes – than his likely rival in the fall election, Sen. John McCain.

In what could be a warning sign for the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, a new poll released by CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation found that 50 percent of registered voters nationwide say the Illinois senator would best handle the economy, while only 44 percent said the same for McCain.

View full poll results [PDF]

The news could be particularly troublesome for McCain given voters nationwide have consistently ranked the economy as the most important issue currently facing the country. In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released last week, 42 percent of registered voters named the ailing economy as their most pressing concern, almost twice the amount that named Iraq - the second most important issue. In the same poll, nearly 80 percent of Americans said the country's economic conditions were in poor shape.

WATCH how the candidates are talking about the economy

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland notes that Obama's edge over McCain on the economy is even higher among voters most concerned with the issue.

"Voters who say the economy is the country's number-one problem say that Obama would do a better job than McCain on the economy by a 57 percent to 39 percent margin," Holland said.

The new poll doesn't offer McCain all bad news however. A majority of voters say the Arizona Republican is better suited than Obama to handle foreign policy issues. McCain repeatedly touts his foreign policy credentials on the campaign trail and 54 percent of voters aid he is best suited to handle such matters. Forty-three percent gave the nod to Obama when it came to foreign policy.

But overall, voters said Obama tends to agree with them more so than McCain on the issues that matter most - 56 percent said Obama is in agreement with them on the most vital issues compared to 50 percent who said the same for McCain.

Meanwhile, both candidates score high marks when it comes to leadership qualities - 66 percent said McCain has the necessary leadership qualities needed to be president while 63 percent said the same for Obama.

In what appears to be a draw for both candidates, the poll also shows voters are evenly split on whether leadership skills or the candidates' stances on the issues is most important in deciding their vote. (47 percent say leadership qualities is most important while 46 percent say their stance on the issues is.)

Holland notes Obama has the clear edge among voters most concerned with issues while McCain does nearly as well with those most looking for leadership qualities.

"Voters who say that issues are more important than the candidates' personal qualities are going for Obama by a 58 percent to 37 percent margin," he said. "But McCain has a 53 percent -41 percent edge among voters who sya that personal qualities are more important than the candidates' stands on the issues."

The poll comes as both candidates have increasingly made efforts to appeal to voters most threatened by the economic woes. Obama kicked off a two-week campaign tour Monday that focuses on the economy and takes him through several battleground states that will be up for grabs in November. He's specifically targeting white working class voters, a demographic that repeatedly supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

John McCain is also aggressively targeting those voters this week, and is attempting to paint Obama as a typical Democrat who wants to raise taxes and regulate government.

"On tax policy, health-care reform, trade, government spending and a long list of other issues, we offer very different choices to the American people," he said earlier this week.

soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Joe

    Holland says in the article that, "Voters who say that issues are more important than the candidates' personal qualities are going for Obama by a 58 percent to 37 percent margin,"

    However in the pdf of the poll posted, it shows Obama at 50% and McCain at 44%. With the margin of error at 3% it still does not match what Holland is saying.

    Furthermore, the article implies that there is a significant edge by Obama on economic issues. But with the margin of error taken into account, it is not a large difference.

    June 12, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. John B. From New Hampshire

    he prolly doesn't wanna use his full name for people exactly like you, Carla. Those of this country who take more stock in a person's NAME than the person themselves. HMMMMMMMM

    June 12, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. young, gifted and black

    Please report on the following statements by McCain just 3 years ago:

    RUSSERT: The fact is you are different than George Bush.
    SEN. McCAIN: No. No. I-the fact is that I'm different but the fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I've been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.

    Check the huffingtonpost for more on this interview.

    McCain=Bush's 3rd term


    June 12, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Dying in Illinois

    How much money is Bush making on all of his stock in oil???

    June 12, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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