Obama Leads Among Readers for First Time

For the first time in our survey of this year’s presidential election, Barack Obama moves ahead of John McCain in reader preference. Here is a quick summary along with the reasons underlying readers’ preferences.

The twists and turns of the never-ending presidential campaign continue. In our last survey of readers, published on August 18, John McCain had a 15-point edge over Barack Obama. Back in May, readers gave McCain a slight edge of 3% over Obama.

But, in this latest survey, Obama now has a lead of 51% to 44% over McCain. Most readers said that the first debate did not influence their vote (67%) and 41% think that Obama won the debate as opposed to 27% saying that McCain won.

One big difference in this survey and the previous ones cited above is the selection of the vice-presidential candidates. Very few readers commented directly on the selection of Joe Biden (D-DL) but a number of readers commented on the presence of Governor Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket.

Here is a summary of the results of the survey taken earlier this week:

1.  If the election were being held today, who would receive your vote for President of the U.S.? Total Responses Percentage Grand Total
John McCain/Sarah Palin 765 44% 1737
Barack Obama/Joe Biden 893 51% 1737
Other 28 2% 1737
Undecided 51 3% 1737
2.  Did the first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama influence your vote? Total Responses Percentage Grand Total
yes 399 23% 1737
no 1161 67% 1737
undecided 25 1% 1737
I did not watch the debate 152 9% 1737
3.  In your opinion, which candidate was the winner in the debate? Total Responses Percentage Grand Total
Barack Obama 711 41% 1737
John McCain 461 27% 1737
Neither Candidate Won 423 24% 1737
undecided 142 8% 1737

Here is a sampling of representative comments from readers that gives some insight into the thinking of those who participated in this survey.

A range assistant from the Bureau of Land Management in Buffalo, Wyoming is still undecided: "I am registered Republican, but am still undecided – the first debate did not help, so I am hoping the next one will."

A retired Postal Service clerk from Mantua, NJ says he is afraid for his future: "I’ve never been so frightened in my life. I gave people too much benefit for having some brains. Since I’ve retired I pay more attention. People are not as smart as I thought and now I’m afraid……very afraid."

A project manager from the Corps of Engineers in Kansas City, MO does not like the expansive proposals of Obama: "Economically, big spending proposals by Obama would completely nosedive the economy. Government does not know best how to spend my money."

A security manager from TSA in Dallas is concerned about the left wing policies of Obama and his connections to controversial people: "McCain/Palin have better experience foreign and domestic to run the country. Obama is too far left with too many connections to people of suspect integrity."

A counselor with the Air Force in Ft. Walton Beach, FL has this comment about Obama: "I still haven’t heard Obama give any firm plan on anything. He talks a better game but say’s nothing."

A CSI with USDA in Brawley, CA had mixed emotions about the first debate: "I think John McCain had the better answers in the debate, but I grew a bit tired when he kept coming back to, "Obama just doesn’t get it." "

A retired DoD manager from Suffolk, VA is also concerned about the ideology he sees with the Democrats’ nominee: "Obama only offers more Socialist programs – in fact, he sounds like Fidel Castro did in the 1950’s. He also was going to bring change – and he did. I fear Obama will sell out the U.S. to pure Communism. His ideals makes him a Communist, if not by choice, by definition."

A supervisor with the Department of State from Charleston, SC is an Obama supporter: "Even if the debate had been cancelled, I still would vote for Barack Obama. I think he is the best candidate for president."

A geologist with the Forest Service in Missoula, Montana is critical of McCain’s performance in the debate: "McCain was more articulate than I expected, but much of what he said was utter nonsense. I think Obama has a hard time responding to nonsense, therefore neither won."

A manager with the Social Security Administration in Baltimore faults McCain for picking Gov. Palin as his running mate: "John McCain showed that he has poor judgement by picking Sarah Palin as his VP. I do not trust John McCain. Barack Obama is more intelligent and understands the issues. He is a loving family man with outstanding ethical values."

An HR specialist from NASA in Edwards, CA thinks Palin is being treated like a "Barbie doll": "Palin was a bad choice. VP needs to have a head on their shoulder and they (the Republicans) are treating her like a "barbie" doll."

A program analyst from the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska wrote: "No way no McCain no Palin, from this Alaskan."

A microbiologist from the Army in Frederick, MD also faults the selection of Gov. Palin: "Barak Obama and Senator Biden are the best choices. I am personally appalled at the Republican’s choice for VP. She has no experience, neither she nor her running mate have any knowledge of science and the environment, and she has zero experience in managing foreign affairs."

A reader from Pensacola, Florida says the media is trying to destroy Sarah Palin despite being as qualified as the Democrat’s presidential candidate: "The News Media is trying to destroy Sarah Palin. She is just as qualified as Barack Obama and the news media tries to make him shine, If Barack becomes president of the US then we are in big trouble."

An IT specialist from the IRS in Lanham, MD commented: "Senator McCain’s indignation and arrogance during the debate coupled with the fact that Governor Palin is definitely not qualified makes it obvious that Senators Obama and Biden are best qualified to lead our country as President and Vice President respectively."

An accounting technician from the Bureau of Reclamation in Denver is afraid of Obama: "We are in for big changes no matter who gets elected. I personally am afraid of Obama."

An immigration and employment specialist with the Dept. of Labor in Atlanta sees Obama as a change agent: "I think that this country is in dire need of change. Obama is that change."

A labor and employee relations specialist from HHS in Atlanta favors Obama: "In my opinion, Obama may not have the experienced as Mccain may have when it comes to foreign policy, but he has the judgement, diplomacy that is needed to repair the damage caused by the Republican Party during the coarse of the last eight years."

A manager from the Dept. of Homeland Security in Washington, DC is considering a vote for a third-party candidate: "It’s sad but for the first time in my voting career spanning more than 3 1/2 decades, I’m seriously considering cast my vote for a third-party candidate. I at least can believe in their historical integrity and they have not yet been totally corrupted by the special interests that really run our government and country."

A hydrologist from the Geological Survey dislikes "shallow conservatives and naive women": "I once held McCain in higher esteem, but he increasingly seems to be more of the same with Bush policies. Any candidate who claims to shoot from the hip really makes me wonder about their decision-making abilities. Obama just seems smarter and more level headed. McCain’s choice of Palin was an additional dissappointment, as it really seems less about picking a good vp for our country and more about appealing to shallow conservatives and naive women."

A regional director from the Dept. of Labor in Atlanta has concerns about Gov. Palin: "Deep concerns about the health of Sen. McCain. Leaving the country in the hands of his VP scares me!"

A human resources specialist from Washington who has worked for various agencies does not like either candidate but voting for Obama: " I really don’t think the Obama has enough experience to be President nor do I like the positions of McCain. I am going with Obama purely because I would like the war to end sooner rather than later and I am concerned that the Supreme Court would become far to conservative if McCain is elected. One day I hope to actually vote for someone instead of the lesser of two evils."

Our thanks to all readers who took the time to send in their vote in this recent survey and a special thanks to those who sent in their written opinion.