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In the Margins: Three Weeks to Go

Barack Obama enters the final three weeks of the presidential campaign with the wind at his back. In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, Obama's favorability has climbed and the proportion who view him as a safe choice is on the rise, while positive views of McCain have dropped and fewer than three in 10 said he understands the economic problems Americans are having. And the vote margins are changing as a result.

Movable voters have declined as a portion of the probable electorate to 13 percent, and among the groups highlighted below, McCain now only meets or outperforms Bush's 2000 margin among white women, especially married white suburban women, whites without college degrees and white Catholics. In the previous Post-ABC national poll, he was outperforming or equaling Bush among conservatives, suburbanites overall, seniors, independents and all white voters.

The chart below compares how the race stacks up to exit poll results from the previous two presidential contests. Each row shows the margin among that group for the leading candidate, but keep in mind, not all margins are statistically significant.

Presidential Vote Margin:

                   2000       2004        2008
All              Gore  +0   Bush   +3   Obama  +10

Men              Bush +11   Bush  +11   Obama   +1
Women            Gore +11   Kerry  +3   Obama  +19

Whites           Bush +12   Bush  +17   McCain  +7
Blacks           Gore +81   Kerry +77   Obama  +93

White men        Bush +24   Bush  +25   McCain +13
White women      Bush  +1   Bush  +11   McCain  +1

Democrats        Gore +75   Kerry +78   Obama  +82
Independents     Bush  +2   Kerry  +1   Obama  +10
Republicans      Bush +83   Bush  +87   McCain +79

White Catholics  Bush  +6   Bush  +13   McCain +13
WEPs                        Bush  +57   McCain +44

18-44            Even       Bush   +1   Obama  +16
45-59            Bush  +1   Bush   +3   Obama   +1
60+              Gore  +4   Bush   +8   Obama  +12

65+              Gore  +3   Bush   +5   Obama  +17

Veterans                    Bush  +16   McCain +15

Suburbanites     Bush  +4   Bush   +5   McCain  +2
 Women           Gore  +5   Kerry  +3   Obama   +5
 White women     Gore  +0   Bush   +9   McCain  +8
 Married Wh Wom  Bush  +8   Bush  +21   McCain +23

White non-coll.  Bush +17   Bush  +23   McCain +19
White college    Bush  +8   Bush  +11   Obama   +9

Liberals         Gore +67   Kerry +72   Obama  +83
Moderates        Gore  +8   Kerry  +9   Obama  +28
Conservatives    Bush +64   Bush  +69   McCain +58

SOURCE: 2000 and 2004 data from network exit polling, 2008 data from the Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Oct. 8-11 among a random national sample of 1,101 adults, including interviews with 766 likely voters. Results shown above among likely voters.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  October 13, 2008; 11:59 AM ET
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Next: Reagan's "Comeback"


See the best Sarah Palin impersonations, short clip. Very Funny.

See What they didnt show during the debate
What the media didnt cover, the debate outtakes. A tense moment between tom brokaw and John McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama definitely has a healthy lead right now, but a number of other polls indicate that the race is tightening up. (see: Obama's double-digit lead in the ABC/Washington Post poll is not reflected in a number of other major polls.

Posted by: Sacha | October 13, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

It's funny when McCain says that raising taxes and restricting trade is not the way to go when the economy is hurting. Just look at where we are with Bush's tax cuts and free trade. He paid those companies with our tax dollars to move overseas. Then let them get away with keeping their profits off shore so they don't have to pay any taxes at all. We have a Traitor in the White House. He gave away the whole High-Tech industry to the Chinese. I wonder what McCain plans on giving away. Four more years of neo-con rule will finish this country off. We're as good as finished now. We'll never be able to repay the trillions of dollars we're in the hole for. We don't produce anything anymore, and we're out of oil. I guess he'll continue raping the land of it's coal and selling it overseas. Since the Electric company told me that prices are going up by 20 to 30% on Jan. one I guess he'll be raping us to.

Posted by: Hemi | October 13, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The debate between Carter and Reagan did not do anything in favor of Reagan in the "polls". Just after Reagan won by a surprise landslice, people started to say the debate placed Reagan on top of the polls which it is false.
Just after McCain surprise win next 4 November people will say it was racism, it was Joe the plumber, it was Sarah Palin, it was angry Hillary supporters, etec etc, wait for the big surprise! You heard it here first on 17 October 2008!

Posted by: Carmelo Junior | October 17, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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