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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why Indiana is Trending Blue in 2008

60% of Hoosier voters list the economy as their top issue, and Obama has a 59-34 lead with those folks:

New polling out today shows Barack Obama with a 2 point lead in the Hoosier State. The question to be answered is "where, in a state that hasn't given it's electoral votes to a Democrat since LBJ, is this support coming from"?

Is it a bounce from the Chicago media market, friendly turf for a widely-known local politician? That market affects 1/5 of the state, not enough for such a dramatic shift. Is it "the black vote"? Black voters normally turn out for Democrats, and it's worth noting that Indiana is 86% white. No serious gains there, either.

A new report from Salon provides some insight into the demographics that really are affecting the presidential race in our state this year - suburban Republicans - "upscale moderate voters who might be attracted to John McCain for economic reasons but recoil because of the social conservatism symbolized by Palin's presence on the ticket".

Some further stats from Polling Point:

-Independents who answered our poll said they went 46-36 for Bush in 2004, now they say they're 49-39 for Obama. That's a 20 point swing.

-But Obama is also peeling off a lot more Republicans than John Kerry did. Bush won them 92-4, but McCain is only up 86-10 in his own party. That's a 12 point gain for Obama even with GOP'ers.

-Obama is leaking a lot fewer Democratic voters here than Kerry did. Kerry won them 73-17, but Obama is taking them 84-11. A 17 point gain there means that Obama is doing double digits better with Democrats, Republicans,
and independents relative to 2004 Democratic performance.

-Obama has significantly increased the Democratic performance with urban voters, as the conventional wisdom suggests and you might expect. A 51-38 lead from 2004 is now a 63-32 one. What you might not hear about as much is the fact that is making strong inroads with rural and small town voters as well. Bush won rural voters by 32 points last time, now Obama has halved that and trails McCain by just 16. Bush dominated in the small towns, winning 53-35 last time. Now Obama has the race with those voters in the margin of error, down just 47-44.

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