The Race for the White House and Leadership: McCain Trails Obama on Key Leadership Traits

Obama Enjoys Double-Digit Lead over McCain On 9 of 11 Presidential Qualities

Three In Ten (30%) Americans More Likely To Vote for Obama If He Selects Hillary Clinton As Vice Presidential Running Mate

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ottawa, Canada – A new Ipsos poll of Americans provided exclusively to the CanWest News Service and Global Television shows that presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama leads apparent Republican Presidential nominee John McCain by more than 10 points on 9 of 11 ascribed Presidential leadership qualities.

And three in ten Americans (30%) say that they would be more likely to vote for Obama if he selects Hillary Clinton as his Vice Presidential running mate.

The poll, which comes as Mr. McCain plans to visit Ottawa, Canada’s capital, asked Americans to rate the leadership qualities on 11 different Presidential traits between the two apparent party choices for the November 2008 U.S. election.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted June 5-11, 2008. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of exactly 1,000 adults across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census

Assessing Presidential Leadership Qualities…

Given the choice between Barack Obama and John McCain as to which one they believe would be the kind of President that would exemplify a particular trait, most Americans choose Mr. Obama over his rival in the double digits for 9 of 11 categories tested, including the ability to bring change (52% vs. 33%), enhancing America’s reputation in the world (51% vs. 37%) and making the right decisions for the country (49% vs. 37%).

The lowest gaps between the two candidates pertain to which of them is best able to make America safe (Obama 43%, McCain 42% -- a statistical tie) and which would most “make one proud to be American” (Obama 45%, McCain 39%).

When it comes to which of the two candidates best displays leadership traits, women tend to select Obama over McCain far more than do men. Among women, Obama leads McCain by 9 points on keeping America safe (46% to 37%) while among men McCain leads Obama by 8 points on this issue (47% to 39%). However, on all other characteristics, except for “will make me proud to be an American” (43% McCain, 40% Obama,), more men select Obama than select McCain.

The “Direction and Leadership” Link…

With 73% of Americans believing things in the U.S. are “on the wrong track” compared to just 21% who believe the nation is heading in the “right direction”, the link between the apparent “direction” of the U.S. and the leadership assessments of the two nominees is evident.

Those who see the country on the wrong track are far more likely to choose Obama over McCain when it comes to leadership qualities, while those who say things are going in the right direction tend to choose McCain over Obama.

Among those who see the U.S. on the wrong track, 54% pick Obama (vs. 32% who pick McCain) as the one who will make the right decisions for the future of the country. Among those who say the country is on the right direction, 53% pick McCain and only 38% pick Obama as their choice for who will make the right decisions.

The Hillary Factor…

Three in ten Americans (30%) say that they would be more likely to vote for Obama if he selects Hillary Clinton as his Vice Presidential running mate while two in ten (20%) say it would make them less likely to do so – a 10-point gap. Choosing Clinton as his running mate would have a beneficial impact for Obama among Democrats (43% more likely to vote for him vs. 11% less likely -- a net difference of 32 points), those aged 18-34 (43 vs. 15% -- 28 points), women in general (33% vs. 18% -- 15 points) and Independents (28% vs. 15% -- 13 points). The impact would be negative among Republicans (12% more likely to vote for Obama vs. 34% less likely – a difference of minus 22 points). It would be neutral among likely voters (24% more likely vs. 24% less likely).

For more information on this press release, please contact:
Michael Gross, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
Washington, DC
(202) 463-2147

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The Race for the White House and Leadership: McCain Trails Obama on Key Leadership Traits


Michael Gross
Vice President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs