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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Big Ten poll shows big leads for Obama in Midwest states

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama leads his Republican opponent, John McCain, in all Big Ten states, according to results from the second Big Ten Battleground Poll released Thursday. 


The poll, which was led by UW-Madison political science professors Charles Franklin and Ken Goldstein, surveyed more than 550 individuals from the eight Big Ten states. Poll participants were either registered voters or those likely to register to vote before Election Day.  


The first poll was conducted the week U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced news of a necessary Wall Street bailout in September. Results from that poll showed a tight race in all Big Ten states, expect for Obama's representative state of Illinois. The second poll was conducted Oct. 19 through 22, after the economy worsened and the debates took place. 


One of the most interesting points is how the onset of the financial crisis changed the numbers from what we saw in September, which was really the high point of John McCain's success coming out of the convention ... over to Barack Obama,"" Franklin said during a 90-minute Big Ten Network special Thursday. 


Results from the second poll show Obama's largest lead in Illinois. He also leads by 10 percentage points in Indiana, where McCain led in the first battleground poll and a Democratic presidential candidate has not won since 1964. 


Obama is leading McCain 53 to 40 percent in Wisconsin and by nine percentage points nationally, according to the poll. 


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According to Michigan State University economics professor Charley Ballard, who joined Goldstein and Franklin during the BTN show, 63 percent of voters named the economy as the most important issue in this election.  


""The war in Iraq and terrorism haven't dropped completely off the radar screen, but [voters] are really swamped by economic issues, and that is something that favors Barack Obama,"" he said. ""By a margin of about 3 to 2, voters say that they trust Obama more than McCain to help with the economic issues.""  


Ballard said 91 percent of voters say the economy has gotten worse in the last year. 


""When the party in power faces those kinds of numbers of dissatisfaction, it makes it really difficult for their candidate - in this case, John McCain,"" he said.

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