Barack Obama leads John McCain by a 52% to 36% margin in Pew’s latest nationwide survey of 1,325 registered voters. This is the fourth consecutive survey that has found support for the Republican candidate edging down. In contrast, since early October weekly Pew surveys have shown about the same number of respondents saying they back Obama. When the sample is narrowed to those most likely to vote, Obama leads by 53% to 38%.
Just as ominous for the Republican candidate, Obama holds a 53% to 34% lead among the sizable minority of voters (15%) who say they have already voted. Among those who plan to vote early but have not yet voted (16% of voters), 56% support Obama, while 37% support McCain.
While Obama’s support levels have not increased much in recent weeks, a growing percentage of his backers now say they support him strongly. Currently, 74% of Obama voters say they support him strongly, up from 65% in mid-September. A much smaller majority of McCain backers (56%) say they support him strongly, which is largely unchanged from mid-September.
McCain is trailing Obama in early voting by twenty percent, which is simply incredible. The enthusiasm of Obama supporters has only intensified, while McCain's remains essentially unchanged. Now if you're a Republican you're going to argue that these voters may be voting early, but they can still only vote once. But a more measured response might be to acknowledge that the enthusiasm that is reflected by such stunning early voting totals will almost certainly carry over to election day; it's not as if a majority of Obama voters will turn out prior to Nov. 4th.