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About Those Independents...

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll hints that the 2008 presidential election could mark the year independents reclaim their status as a swing group. After Karl Rove's 2004 strategy attempted to circumvent independents by focusing on the GOP base, independents appear to be back in the driver's seat.

In this poll, independents split evenly between Barack Obama (44 percent) and John McCain (43 percent).

A closer look at their views on the candidates themselves and key issues and attributes hints that McCain faces a more uphill battle to convince independents that he is the better candidate to handle many top domestic issues or reflect their personal values. But even with these obstacles, McCain is viewed positively and runs about evenly with Barack Obama in a general election match-up.

Here are more crosstabs from the latest poll.

Q. If the 2008 presidential election were being held today 
and the candidates were (Barack Obama, the Democrat) and 
(John McCain, the Republican), for whom would you vote?
                Obama   McCain
All adults        48      42
Independents      44      43
The following results are only among political independents:
Q. Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of (NAME)?
                Obama   McCain
Favorable NET     63      57
  Strong fav.     29      18
  Somewhat fav.   34      39
Unfavorable NET   32      38
  Somewhat unfav. 13      21
  Strong unfav.   19      17
Q. Regardless of who you may support, who do you trust 
more to handle [ITEM] - (Obama) or (McCain)?
                        Obama   McCain
Issues of special
 concern to women        56       25
Global warming and
 other environmental
 issues                  50       29
Health care              50       32
Energy policy            48       33
Gasoline prices          45       32
The economy              49       37
Appointments to the
 U.S. Supreme Court      45       39
Taxes                    43       41
The war in Iraq          43       45
International affairs    42       45
The U.S. campaign
 against terrorism       33       55
Q. Regardless of who you may support, who do you 
think [ITEM] - (Obama) or (McCain)?
                             Obama  McCain
Would do more to bring
 needed change to Washington   64     22
Better understands the
 problems of people like you   50     32
Would do more to stand up to
 lobbyists and special interest
 groups                        49     35
Better represents your own
 personal values               49     36
Is the stronger leader         44     45
Q. Which of these is more important to you in a 
candidate for president: (strength and experience) 
or (a new direction and new ideas)?
Strength and experience       39
New direction and new ideas   51

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  June 17, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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